By Ian J. Twombly
Pilots are a notoriously thrifty bunch, which is why it’s not unusual to see multiple airplanes in one hangar. Why waste all that extra space?
For this application, and pretty much any other hangar-related movement, there’s now Red Viper. Don’t let the ferocious name fool you. These so called “aircraft positioning devices” are nothing more than well-built ramps with castering wheels.
Simply roll the airplane on, push any direction you like, and roll it back off again. At less than an inch off the ground, airplanes nicely slide right up onto the platform. That low clearance makes the ramps ideal for any type of wheel—faired or not—but it can cause problems in the hangar, where a smooth surface is a must.
Each ramp holds 2,000 pounds, and you will obviously need three. The set is reasonably priced, and if it allows you to split the cost of a hangar with a new friend, it’s money well spent.
Price: $200 each; $585 for three
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By Chris Rose
Packing an aircraft for flight over land is typically dictated by three things: weight and balance, need for access, and simply trying to make it fit. Flight over water, however, should involve a fourth consideration—what if I have to make a water landing?
None of us like to think about a worst-case scenario, but a bit of preflight organization can go a long way toward keeping a bad situation bad, and not tragic. Begin with an honest and detailed egress plan for your passengers. Explain how the life raft (which you are carrying, right?) works. Pack the raft on top of everything else and practice the movements for retrieving, deploying, and securing it.
Wear an inflatable life preserver the entire time you’re over water, and pack a survival grab bag with basic items such as water, energy bars, sunscreen, a flashlight, and signal devices. These steps will help ensure that your survival gear isn’t just whatever floats to the surface.
Chris Rose is a photographer for AOPA who makes many, many trips for the association.
This may be the first app in the history of Apple’s App Store that does exactly what the name suggests. Airport Courtesy Cars is a new iPhone tool that enables users to search for information about courtesy cars. The app is organized by state, and includes a map search feature. Most listings are basic in nature, but some include detailed information submitted by users. Being brand-new, there are only about a thousand listings as of this writing, but the database is growing. Get it for free and help it grow. —IJT
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