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Topic-icon Aircraft Tugs

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4 years 3 months ago #446

Hi Paul,

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on your tug. I, too have a 20+ year old Northwest electric tug. I've replaced a few parts over the years but it's days are numbered. I really like the 110 volt AC powered unit in that I don't have yet another gas engine to take care of nor do I have to maintain car batteries. Unfortunately, AC powered tugs have gone the way of the dodo bird and I definitely need a new tug this year. I don't have a replacement yet in mind but I'm looking at Northwest, AeroKart, Lindberg Aircraft Tug, Dragger and AeroTow. There may be additional companies but I haven't found any more at this point.

Anyway, I'm still doing research and hope to have something this summer. Again, thanks so much for sharing what you're doing.

Best,
Scott Sherer
N344TB

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4 years 3 months ago #448

I'm using a Harbor Freight winch that I heavily modified. It has a much longer stainless steel cable now, and I've wired in a pair of those wireless Christmas light controllers ($10-20 at Home Depot). For a total cost of $130 it has been flawless.
VFRs, without TFRs,
Dennis

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4 years 3 months ago #449

Hi Dennis,

And in the aviation world, how can you possibly beat $130? A normal small airplane tug goes from $1,500 to $3,000! Nice job... post a picture sometime!

Best,
Scott Sherer
N344TB

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4 years 3 months ago #453

Scott and others that may be interested:

Here's a few pictures of the winch that I modified, and the remote controls that I used to make it wireless.

First, these are the remote controls that I used. I bought them at an after-Christmas closeout for $10 for the pair.



These remotes could also be used, and are readily available at many retail sources.


This is the winch modified with two additional power cords, extended stainless cable, and a spring "soft-stop."


The winch retains the original pendant control, so I have both wired and wireless control of the winch. The original power cord powers the winch and pendant. The two additional power cords power the "IN" and "OUT" power to the winch, through the wireless remote controls. You could do all of this with a single power cord and relays, but there was no way in enclose the needed relays within the existing terminal box of the winch. The "soft stop" spring was added when it was found that the extra length of cable increased the cable speed enough that it overstressed the original "auto-stop" feature of the winch. There's a few wiring changes required within the terminal box to complete the conversion, but it's all well within the skill set of most handymen or handywomen. When complete the winch plays out or winds in the cable at a very comfortable rate. The redundant stop features eliminate the concern that a pilot could lose control and winch the plane into damaging situation. I'm not posting the wiring changes here as that's an entire article in itself.

VFRs, without TFRs,
Dennis

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4 years 2 months ago #494

I went with a winch ($150) also, but with a slight twist. I use a DC powered portable winch - this way I could pull my Seneca out as well as pull it back into the hangar. The 12V DC portable winch is designed for ATV - I'm sure there are lots out there. I power the winch with a portable battery booster pack (or even small motorcycle battery).

I park my car in front of the hangar, anchor the winch to the towing eye of my car (or wrap around one of the tires), and pull the plane out. To get the plane in, I anchor the winch to the back of the hangar.

I added a wireless remote ($80) - it's made by Champion as an add-on. The winch came with a wired remote with a long wire. The wire is long enough to reach the tow bar (for steering), but not long enough for me to stand at the edge of the hangar door when the plane rolls in. I have only 1 inch on each side so the wireless remote lets me stand at the edge as the strobe light clears the hangar door for peace of mind.

Portable DC winch:
www.canadiantire.ca/en/automotive/powers...&utm_content=Default

Champion universal wireless remote add-on for winches:
www.amazon.com/Champion-Power-Equipment-...versal/dp/B007OTGY8C

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3 years 8 months ago #638

Hi Everyone,
I finally got a new tug after 23 years that will fit both a 172 and a Seneca. Here's a pic. It's an AIRTUG NFE-4 and I love it! No more back breaking effort to pull the old tug or hold it down to get traction.

What are you using? Post a pic if you can.

Scott Sherer

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