Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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designrs
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Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby designrs » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:13 am

It was interesting to see at Sebring this year how many planes with folding or removable wings had fuel tanks in the wings which could fold and or store with fuel in the tanks. That seems to be the trend along with the designs to accommodate. Some designs fold and store the wings on the aircraft. Other designs have both fold and remove wing options. Will post a few specific examples.

Also of note was the emphasis on trailerable aircraft. In fact there was a seminar "Tour the USA by LSA and Motorhome".

When you think about it, it might make good sense for VFR flying. Drive out of cold winter that would have kept your grounded for weeks, and go fly the tropics!

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designrs
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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby designrs » Wed Jan 21, 2015 9:27 am

A bit of thread drift, but I'd be curious to see what percentage of owners who have planes with folding wings actually fold them, and if so, how frequently.
- Bruce


Most of the foldable / removable wing options were STOL high wing taildraggers. There were also low wing aircraft with the option as well... such as Panter's aggressive aerobatic aircraft. (will post photos).

It's possible to remove the wings on an RV-12, but it is my understanding that it's not a "quick remove design" and the plane really wasn't built with that option in mind.

Come to think of it, wings could be removed from my SportCruiser, but it's actually a disassembly. Probably not a good idea to do it often! LOL

It would be great to see more msnufacturers incorporating easy to remove wing design.

Another issue is folding vs. removing. For example, the Panther wings fold quickly... but they also remove quickly. The dealer prefers to remove the wings and store them in a cradle for safer transport.

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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby Nomore767 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:02 am

Speaking of the RV-12, which I own, it's said that the wings are removable in 2 mins by 2 people:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnWrXKfh_XM

Wing removal can be done in order to trailer the aircraft as you suggest. Another point is that it can make the annual condition inspection easier by improving the ease of access to areas requiring inspection.

When I first looked at the airplane removable wings wasn't really interesting to me. Once I'd considered the process I think it's a feature which is overplayed in some regards. For example, for ME, I want to keep things as simple as possible. It's a nice day and I'd like to drive quickly to the airport and go fly. If I had the plane at home in a storage space I'd need to get the plane loaded onto the trailer and the wings safely secured. I'd need a special trailer built for this. I've seen some and they're expensive. Some are elaborate mobile mini-hangars which is a nice option. The airplane has to be legal to tow also. The RV-12 tail wings are just the max size to be legal to tow it on the highways.
You also need a vehicle strong enough to tow the trailer.
My local airport will grant access if I have at least a tie-down which is about $85 per month. My hangar is $100 month albeit an open type with no door. If I had a shop/garage especially for the airplane, and a place to park the trailer it 'might' be worth considering. I don't. On the other hand I chose the SLSA version of the RV-12 because I I didn't have the time, inclination, space or tools to consider building one.
Once at the airport I now have to take the plane off the trailer, move the wings into position to be reinstalled. This, as the video shows, takes 2 people. My wife and I couldn't do it between us. The 2 guys in the video know exactly what they're doing. It's certainly not something I could do on my own.

Other than possibly removing the wings during annual I plan on leaving them on. The airplane is an LSA and quite small so I'm not sure that the advantage with ease of access at annual is 'that' great. I'd rather have fixed wings and a tank in each wing, instead of behind the co-pilot, and perhaps increase capacity to 24 gals. When I was at Sebring last year I spoke with the Vans folks and countered their pitch about removable wings with these concerns. They don't have any plans to offer it as an option.

I've flown the Remos GX and really liked it, but as far as the folding wings are concerned, the school never used that option. Instead the condition of flight controls being connected is of prime concern. This wouldn't be a factor if the wings were fixed.
On the RV-12 you pre-flight the locking pins prior to flight and there's a switch now which also alerts you to the pin condition as well as another alert on the panel which prevents engine start if the pins are not properly locked, which you can override if it's faulty. Either way, I'd rather not opt for removable wings and avoid all of this. I'd prefer that Vans offered me the choice although I'm sure they're not going to do this, for now.

Many reviewers of LSA wax poetic on such items as engines that 'sip fuel' and 'removable wings' that offer amazing flexibility to owners who can trailer their airplane or store it at home. The devil, as always, is in the details. I would say this is not as easy or practical as you start to think it through. For ME it's not a really attractive option but I'm sure there are those who think the opposite.

comperini
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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby comperini » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:11 am

My plane's wings fold easily enough too. I never do it, since I have a hangar. But it's nice to know I can, if I ever wanted/needed to.

http://www.aerotrek.aero/wingfold.htm
- Bob
COMM, CFI, DPE, Light Sport Repairman/Maintenance
http://www.sportpilotinstructor.com

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MrMorden
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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby MrMorden » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:15 am

If you only need one seat the OneX from Sonex Aircraft is pretty awesome. Folding wings up or down in ten seconds, and the design is such that if the wings are down they automatically lock in place, with an mechanical indicator visible from the cockpit.

It's also sporty, fully aerobatic (+6/-3g), and cruises about 150-160mph at altitude (still LSA compliant because CAS at sea level is under 138mph).

http://www.sonexaircraft.com/aircraft/onex.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Avpjuj2Pw
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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby Wm.Ince » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:19 am

designrs wrote:It's possible to remove the wings on an RV-12, but it is my understanding that it's not a "quick remove design" and the plane really wasn't built with that option in mind.
Actually, the RV-12 was specifically designed to have removable wings . . . not an "option" at all. That is why there is no provision for wing fuel tanks. It was all about economics. That withstanding, the vast majority of RV-12 operators do not remove the wings, unless inspections/repairs are required.

As mentioned before (with video on Van's web site), two people can remove and reinstall the wings in about 10 min. Sometimes though, the spar pins can be a little stubborn to extract/insert.
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Nomore767
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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby Nomore767 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:38 am

Wm.Ince wrote:
designrs wrote:It's possible to remove the wings on an RV-12, but it is my understanding that it's not a "quick remove design" and the plane really wasn't built with that option in mind.
Actually, the RV-12 was specifically designed to have removable wings . . . not an "option" at all. That is why there is no provision for wing fuel tanks. It was all about economics. That withstanding, the vast majority of RV-12 operators do not remove the wings, unless inspections/repairs are required.

As mentioned before (with video on Van's web site), two people can remove and reinstall the wings in about 10 min. Sometimes though, the spar pins can be a little stubborn to extract/insert.


Bill,

You're right it was designed to have removable wings and thus fuel in the cabin tank. That said, I spoke with Vans and Wally Anderson, of Synergy who assemble to SLSAs, about the wings at last year's Sebring Expo. He was talking about it as a great feature and I replied that it didn't really matter to me . I asked both Vans and him about an option to have fixed wings and wing tanks with higher capacity. Predictably, they didn't really have an answer. which is fine as it was designed like that way and probably very expensive to offer the option of fixed or removable wings.
Interestingly Vans don't bring the airplane to a show on a special trailer and do demos on how this feature works for a prospective owner.
However, this is a feature that was designed yet few people seem to embrace it and use it like that. Most accept the wing removal makes the annual easier and saves tie trying to access the inspection areas. For that, I am okay and see that as a plus.

I guess the point is….at these shows they tout and sell features that whilst cool aren't as likely to be used on a day to day basis. Which makes you wonder, when they designed it, who was really going to actually remove the wings.

Still, it's a wonderful little airplane.

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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby Wm.Ince » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:48 am

designrs wrote:Bill,

You're right it was designed to have removable wings and thus fuel in the cabin tank. That said, I spoke with Vans and Wally Anderson, of Synergy who assemble to SLSAs, about the wings at last year's Sebring Expo. He was talking about it as a great feature and I replied that it didn't really matter to me . I asked both Vans and him about an option to have fixed wings and wing tanks with higher capacity. Predictably, they didn't really have an answer. which is fine as it was designed like that way and probably very expensive to offer the option of fixed or removable wings.

Interestingly Vans don't bring the airplane to a show on a special trailer and do demos on how this feature works for a prospective owner.

However, this is a feature that was designed yet few people seem to embrace it and use it like that. Most accept the wing removal makes the annual easier and saves tie trying to access the inspection areas. For that, I am okay and see that as a plus.

I guess the point is….at these shows they tout and sell features that whilst cool aren't as likely to be used on a day to day basis. Which makes you wonder, when they designed it, who was really going to actually remove the wings.

Still, it's a wonderful little airplane.
I agree. Great little airplane . . . that I almost owned! . . . :)
Bill Ince
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3Dreaming
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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby 3Dreaming » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:17 pm

While not intended for trailering, the wings on a CT are easily removable. It is a little more work than the RV12, and you still need a couple people to do it. Draining the fuel is the hardest part in my opinion.

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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby Nomore767 » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:27 pm

Wm.Ince wrote:
designrs wrote:Bill,

You're right it was designed to have removable wings and thus fuel in the cabin tank. That said, I spoke with Vans and Wally Anderson, of Synergy who assemble to SLSAs, about the wings at last year's Sebring Expo. He was talking about it as a great feature and I replied that it didn't really matter to me . I asked both Vans and him about an option to have fixed wings and wing tanks with higher capacity. Predictably, they didn't really have an answer. which is fine as it was designed like that way and probably very expensive to offer the option of fixed or removable wings.

Interestingly Vans don't bring the airplane to a show on a special trailer and do demos on how this feature works for a prospective owner.

However, this is a feature that was designed yet few people seem to embrace it and use it like that. Most accept the wing removal makes the annual easier and saves tie trying to access the inspection areas. For that, I am okay and see that as a plus.

I guess the point is….at these shows they tout and sell features that whilst cool aren't as likely to be used on a day to day basis. Which makes you wonder, when they designed it, who was really going to actually remove the wings.

Still, it's a wonderful little airplane.
I agree. Great little airplane . . . that I almost owned! . . . :)


Almost? Do tell….what changed your mind?

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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby Jack Tyler » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:48 pm

" 'In fact there was a seminar "Tour the USA by LSA and Motorhome'."

When I walked the EXPO grounds last year, multiple times both days, the biggest crowd was always the one gathered around the Roadtrek Class B and its accompanying trailer with (I think) an Avid tucked away inside. I'm betting this is the speaker Rich mentions. This exhibitor sets up all these wonderful pics taken around the country where he and his wife have camped and flown from. He offers cost breakdowns, on big foam board sections, that detail how 'inexpensive' this recreational lifestyle is, based on real dollars spent doing it over almost a decade. (His numbers are helped by the fact he built his LSA and bought the Roadtrek - a less expensive model - used. But they are real numbers in the sense anyone else could take the same approach). He exhibits at EXPO each year on his own dime because he thinks it's an option more people - especially pilots with more wanderlust than their plane can provide - would consider if they were exposed to it. But insofar as interpersonal style, the guy is no missionary. He answers questions in as much depth as you want but lets his 'story' sell itself. Watching that exhibit was like watching bees gather around Spring blossoms. There's steak there, but also lots of sizzle.

The other side of the story is what it's like to trailer a heavy load, in variable weather conditions, getting very low mileage, and then unload/rig/fly/unrig/reload the plane. Other details are how many camping locations accommodate what is a pretty long load and at what cost. (The commercial KOA-types can be pricey for this kind of long rig when compared to the public parks & forests. However, many state/USFS campground pull-thrus are too short. And towing such a trailer to the airport from home is one thing; towing it across the country (and back) is quite another. It's certainly do-able, and with the proper equipment (that can be expensive) it's challenges can be reduced. A good friend (and savvy engineer who bothered to think through the static and dynamic load issues when buying the truck and trailer) did this just last year: From Florida out to Montana, camping each night, flying around Big Sky country, then towing it over to Michigan (for an RAF project that was underway) and then back down to Florida. He can now say he's done it. Since his Just Highlander is pretty slow when measured against across-USA traveling plans, I asked him if he would do it again. The answer was quick and absolute: Next time (which is this summer) he will fly, not tow. Faster, cheaper, more fun, less hassle, and easier on the plane, truck and obviously the trailer.
Jack
Flying in/out KBZN, Bozeman MT in a Grumman Tiger
Do you fly for recreational purposes? Please visit http://www.theraf.org

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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby zaitcev » Thu Jan 22, 2015 12:41 pm

I looked at it too and the non-folding tail was a deal killer for me, as well as weight. Almost all airplanes require a 8 ft wide trailer. You need a full size truck to pull that, maybe even 3/4 ton.

The only feasible airplane would be a Kolb, because its tail folds. Also, unlike Avid clones such as Aerotrek, the wings fold flat against the fuselage. This cuts down on the required width significantly. But I was unable to find an enclosed trailer that's narrow enough yet long enough. Kolb requires 19 ft minimum, better 20.

A gyroplane seems much easier to pack into a trailer of reasonable size, but gyros are exceptionally tall. You'll never pack one into a typical trailer without doing something about its mast.

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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby langj » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:32 pm

The airplane I am building has folding wings. It's a Zenith ch-701. It is a tricycle gear stol aircraft. I have not seen one folded but I was told by someone who has, it is a two man job and to expect 20 to 30 minutes. Fuel does need to be drained from the wings before hand.

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Re: Folding Wings / Trailerable Aircraft

Postby aeropup » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:32 am

Hi guys

I´m new at this forum but this thread can´t be more convenient to me.
Have you ever heard about the AEROPUP?
Real folding wings, foldable by one person without disconecting fuel lines nor other dirty/hidden task
It fits in a conventional trailer
Please, see more details in our web or in the my others threads
http://www.aeropup.com/pics-gallery-1.php

Thanks!

langj wrote:The airplane I am building has folding wings. It's a Zenith ch-701. It is a tricycle gear stol aircraft. I have not seen one folded but I was told by someone who has, it is a two man job and to expect 20 to 30 minutes. Fuel does need to be drained from the wings before hand.


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