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seb7701

Any tips for trailering a drifter??

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Hi again all.

 

I am yet again seeking some advice, given that I am soon considering 'pulling the trigger' on the purchase of a drifter which will require trailering home, due to distance and general logistics.

 

I am already reluctant, given the potential for damage, but nonetheless am hoping that removal of the engine and battery should make for a fairly unbreakable trip for the airframe.

 

Secondly, the wings, which are my greatest concern, (rubbing the fabrics etc) seem to be best folded with the undersides together (probably the only way they will go), sat on the leading edge on some thick but soft foam and moderately restrained.

 

Has anyone done this recently that can highlight some traps for young players??

 

 

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I have many times, if it is a long trip, I'd suggest disassembly of the wings, take them off, remove the ailerons, remove the upper and lower wing ribs, remove the bolts that hold the wires ( label them all clearly ), with helpers, lift the wing tips and the middle of the two wings and move it forward, lay it flat on the ground on carpet or a big tarp or grass, undo just on side of the wings, one bolt at the front and back, now have your helper hold the fabric at the wing tip while you pull the wing frame out of the pocket. Then take out the other side wing frame, roll up your fabric, disassemble the wings and then your done. Call me if you want to chat about it, takes about 1 hour once you have done it a few times, 0408931040.

 

 

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Hi again all.

I am yet again seeking some advice, given that I am soon considering 'pulling the trigger' on the purchase of a drifter which will require trailering home, due to distance and general logistics.

 

I am already reluctant, given the potential for damage, but nonetheless am hoping that removal of the engine and battery should make for a fairly unbreakable trip for the airframe.

 

Secondly, the wings, which are my greatest concern, (rubbing the fabrics etc) seem to be best folded with the undersides together (probably the only way they will go), sat on the leading edge on some thick but soft foam and moderately restrained.

 

Has anyone done this recently that can highlight some traps for young players??

Some things I learned the hard way trailering a Drifter from Muttaburra to Oakey-

 

1. Foam doesn't cut it, old carpet, I was told by Wayne Fisher, works well. I had to replace a spar that rubbed through 5" of foam and then the spar.

 

2. If you are going to replace the skins, consider removing them, it will make securing them easier, Or just completely disassemble them, and wrap the individual bits. If I was doing it again, I'd do this.

 

3. Engine and battery out is good.

 

4. Try to get a trailer that is lightly sprung, or use a purpose built trailer.

 

 

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Thanks both of you - that's the sort of stuff I was wondering, although cant say I am thrilled about having to remove whole skins from wings, although it's clearly for a good cause, I know.

 

Clearly, the wings are my main concern and I would happily remove ailerons and bits that could get wrecked, but hoped I could leave the rest intact with the right packing. Let's say I left them together (moving parts removed),what is she best suggestion from there?

 

Unfortunately I am a this stage, using a rather large low sided box trailer (that fits cars) which also has overhead racks which I hope could come in handy for the wings, if they were sitting on their leading edges on something.

 

How do you think skins would fair sitting on carpet, also on foam for cushioning?

 

Are there any bits in the wings that ad difficult to re-assemble if I did strip the wings? (I've never seen inside a drifter wing)

 

The annoying thing is that I spoke to Wayne F about trailering a while back and only remembered part of the chat, but remember speaking about rubbing through skins.

 

Keep the info coming and Pat - might have to give you a ring at a suitable time in a few days!!

 

The sucky part is that I would rather fly it, but it honestly is just too damn fa at 50kts!!

 

 

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I drove from Newman in North WA to Perth and then onto Melbourne with my drifter on top of my Prado, engine and battery still in the aircraft, no damage to anything, a few strange looks though.

 

 

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I drove from Newman in North WA to Perth and then onto Melbourne with my drifter on top of my Prado, engine and battery still in the aircraft, no damage to anything, a few strange looks though.

Patrick that would have been a site for sore eyes. LOL

 

Do you have a photo you can post, because I am trying to figure a way of getting my Javelin 95-10 on the roof of the Landcruiser when I am traveling with my caravan on the back.

 

 

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Pat, do you by any chance have a photo of what is inside the wings? I am trying to visualise how many parts are going to be in this mechano set?

 

 

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seb,

 

Looking at what you have to do to get your drifter home in a trailer and how much it will cost you to get it fixed if you did damage it somehow, if it were me, I would take a couple of days of work and fly it home, seem to me a better option, look at it as an adventure and a getting to know you time with your new baby...

 

David

 

 

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If you removed the skins and battens, it may be simple to use foam and carpet if you have an overhead rack. I imagine , Patrick that when you transport on a prado that the weight is not on the gear, but on the fuselage , so that the weight of the motor is supported directly?

 

 

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I wouldn't bother to take the engine off, they're very well mounted to withstand huge G loads and loads imparted by gyroscopic forces. When I finally sold mine I did trailer it from Gold Coast to Mt Isa and then the new owners towed it from there to Darwin. At the time a lot of the inland Highway was being repaired and replaced and there were shocking corrugations for long sections and no damage done at all. The fuselage sat on its own wheels/landing gear rather than the fuselage being supported, the Drifter gear legs are tough and do a great job of reducing any shock transmitted through the trailer suspension. The hardest thing is stopping it moving around on the trailer so you either need good quality ratchet straps or a sailor or truckie who knows what he's about with a length of rope.

 

I did disassemble my wings and would definitely suggest you do that. It's a good opportunity to inspect the wing structure of a used plane anyway. The disassembly is easy and you'd soon work it out without a manual but just take care not to strain the spars and cleat plates where the wings hinge together, you need two other patient people to help you and of the type who don't do anything at all until/unless asked!

 

The big thing is to take care when re-fitting the rib battens, it's not hard with old skins, though you may well decide to replace the skins once you pull the old ones off and maybe find them weak and brittle. Fitting the battens into new skins can be a real battle and involves the judicious use of a rubber mallet to beat the ribs into the pocket with baby powder or similar for lubrication. The battens have plastic fittings on their ends and the front spade fitting can snap off quite easily presenting you with a very unsettling problem to work out how to remove the offending piece from the pocket, and getting spares might be harder these days?? The rear end of the batten has a hook shaped plastic fitting which snaps in front of the rear spar. This is very easily broken with the mallet if you hit it in the wrong place or if it's brittle it'll generously wait until you are ready to click it behind the spar, before it breaks off. Getting the whole batten out of a new sail's pocket is another challenge for you in that event.

 

To get the velcro-ed centre section tight again just leave the flying/landing wires loose and hinge the wing down/up and close the velcro while the wing is high/low, when you lower/raise the wing it will pull it tighter, you may need to move the wing up and down a few times to pull the skins tight spanwise progressively.

 

But, why not just have an adventure and fly it if it's airworthy? This is a great time of year for a decent cross-country and 50kts is not a bad speed, I flew my Drifter from SEQld to the Kimberley in WA and Darwin and Arnhemland in the NT, and back, it was one of the most fun things I've ever done. And several people have done longer trips in Drifters since.

 

Another option is to see if someone wants to ferry it for you. Where does it have to get from and to?

 

 

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Mine came from Darwin to SE Queensland. I would remove the wing skins easy job. and roll as stated earlier. if its a suspended engine re the 503 I would remove it. the engine mounting tube is robust however 3 months after transport when I did an engine rebuild I found some really bad cracks in the tube. which the journey may not have caused but wouldnt have helped.

 

 

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Drifter factory at dalby has a few set up for trailering. They are not currently operating but im sure they will offer some advice.

 

 

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Thanks gents - liking all of this info. Would love to fly it but iffie on the distance due to lack of xcountry experience and was a little wary of liability issues if I had someone else do it. A/C is apparently very airworthy, but has to come from Melbourne. Would love to get someone even to bring it to NSW and I could probably grab it from there.

 

Overall this trailering business appears to be a right pain in the you-know-what....

 

 

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All really great advice, definitely remove the skins and leave the engine on, just make sure it is tied in well, it will want to swing a lot. I took off the gear legs and used old car tyres to provide the cushion, I have a very strong basket on the roof, aircraft was backwards and I put a post on the bullbar to support the tail wheel end of the tube. Used a forklift to get it on/off.

 

 

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Yep, agreed Patrick. I remember all of Wayne's comments about sticking two drifter on the roof of his pulsar etc. so I know it is possible, it just worries me that he is not around now to fix any of my stuff ups!! Buggered if I know where we would get wing internals and alike.

 

 

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I think the drifter factory setups remove tail as well cant quite remember it as a few months ago i was out there with work.

 

 

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I think the drifter factory setups remove tail as well cant quite remember it as a few months ago i was out there with work.

Yes the horizontal stabiliser will need t be removed, that's really easy though. They are too wide to transport legally. (2.5M if I remember correctly)

 

 

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Patrick that would have been a site for sore eyes. LOLDo you have a photo you can post, because I am trying to figure a way of getting my Javelin 95-10 on the roof of the Landcruiser when I am traveling with my caravan on the back.

Having seen a few tinnies that come back from fishing trips to the gulf, not sure I would want to sit in a plane that had been touring on top of a car.

 

 

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Swap the caravan for a Jayco Toy Hauler, just lower the ramp and push it in - keep the plane dry and warm 012_thumb_up.gif.cb3bc51429685855e5e23c55d661406e.gif (may not be popular with the co-pilot/better half)

 

 

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I hate to harp, but has anyone got any final tips for the job if I leave wings together?

 

How much gap is between the two wings when folded bottom to bottom, given they are joined? Could I stick a thin matress between the bottoms and wrap them in industrial shrink wrap and then wrap them in more stuff and then sit them on carpet/foam on their leading edges in the back of an Avis truck?

 

Failing that, anyone know a candidate to fly a drifter from Melbourne to the Nsw border???

 

 

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I hate to harp, but has anyone got any final tips for the job if I leave wings together?How much gap is between the two wings when folded bottom to bottom, given they are joined? Could I stick a thin matress between the bottoms and wrap them in industrial shrink wrap and then wrap them in more stuff and then sit them on carpet/foam on their leading edges in the back of an Avis truck?

 

Failing that, anyone know a candidate to fly a drifter from Melbourne to the Nsw border???

I think that would work, when folded in half, there is around 3" between them at the root. Use the carpet and foam anywhere they will contact other structure, just foam will chew straight through. If it is to be transported, in a truck, on it's landing gear, I would remove the engine, or at least support the fuselage under the engine mount. An acquaintance old me of a drifter being transported with no support on a rough trailer, breaking the fuselage tube at the engine mount.

 

 

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Thanks for that - appreciate the thoughts - particularly the info on the gap. Wayne F told me to remove the engine if trailering, so for the sake of around three bolts and some cables, why not?

 

I am hoping that if I wrap the bejeezus out of the whole package, so that the Dacron doesn't rub, the ribs etc will stand a little bit of pressure in the form of the whole package being strapped to the side of a rental truck, via the horizontal bars on the inside. Multiple straps with heaps between the straps and the wings, just to be safe.

 

Thanks for your thoughts, as this is doing my head in!!!

 

 

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