How To Use Wood To Care For An Aircraft

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Pablo Edronkin

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How To Care For An Airplane

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Within the context of bush flying and aircraft operations within the wilderness, it is of the case that expensive equipment becomes worthless and pointless.

This is particularly the case of chocks: Every aviator knows that these items are required to keep an airplane, helicopter, gyrocopter, etc. in place once parked because you never know what the wind or natural slopes in the terrain could do, but you know that damage will always be expensive. But how expensive are chocks?

Take a look at the simple, inexpensive wooden chocks under the main gear.
Take a look at the simple, inexpensive wooden chocks under the main gear.

If you peruse thorough any catalogue you will soon find that a pair of regular chocks will cost you between fifteen and twenty euros. Not much money for most people that fly indeed, but money anyway and guess what? You could get the same functionality for free as well.

Just any chunk of wood or stone with no sharp edges or points will do. Place a couple of them at the front and back of your main gear wheels, and that will be all. However, expedient wooden chocks have a couple of advantages over stones: First of all, if stones break they might end up in pieces having sharp edges and points even if the original stone chock didn't; wooden chocks entail much less risk in this regard.

where are the expensive chocks?
Where are the expensive chocks?

And secondly, if you have to carry your expedient chocks in your craft, and you fly something like a ULM, a PA-11 or in and out of mountainous regions, every gram that you can take of your takeoff weight might prove essential for safety and indeed, wood is lighter than stone.

You can dig small, shallow depressions in the ground and move your aircraft there, but moisture or mud could turn this into an impractical proposition, especially at the moment of preparing your flyer for departure.

It is even possible to build your own wooden chocks in a couple of minutes.
It is even possible to build your own wooden chocks in a couple of minutes.

And in the case of aircraft equipped with skis, take into account that you will have to place something under the landing gear as soon as possible after landing and taxiing to your parking spot because due to friction and compression caused by movement, snow and ice might have liquefied under and around the skis and their associated mechanisms. So, once temperature falls again, that water might freeze forming a solid ice block that could cause a lot of trouble and even mechanical problems.

Use wood planks or appropriately cleaned trunks or branches for that end. You don't need expensive mats or special devices, and in those places where usually bush flying takes place, wood tends to be abundant and free.

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