Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

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Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby KFS1998 » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:14 pm

Hope you are all well and healthy. I wanted to get your opinion regarding airplane storage. Here in Miami hangar space is between $800-950 per month. Tiedown space is $180 per month on a paved surface or $80 on grass.

I have decided that I will be keeping the airplane outside with full airplane covers. Now I ask of you for your advice. If it was your option, would you choose paved or grass tiedown? Pros-Cons?

Thank you!
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby Jim Collins » Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:26 pm

With grass, you often get mice trying to find a new home (ask me how I know) and over time the tires like to sink in. With pavement you can still get mice but not as often. Good luck
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby hilltop170 » Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:25 pm

I am not in favor of storing a plane outside with covers for several reasons.
1. Dirt and dust will get under the covers and grind into/ruin the windows and paint when the wind blows.
2. Covers flapping in the wind will mar the paint.
3. If a cover restraint comes loose in a strong wind, it will whip itself against the plane possibly causing damage.
4. Covers can impose loads on the structure in a strong wind that might cause damage, like bending trailing edges or violently forcing control surfaces to their stops repeatedly.

Instead of covers, consider covers inside the windows to shade the interior from sun damage. I have made inside covers from bulk water heater foil-backed bubble insulation from Lowes or Home Depot. They work surprisingly well. There are also commercially made inside shade covers.

I would pay the extra for a paved tiedown if I could afford it.
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby bgiesbrecht » Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:25 am

I would also do what Mr. Pulley suggests. I tiedown on pavement outside, but no outside covers, only inside shades & cowl plugs, for the reasons mentioned. On gusty days out on the ramp, I'll see the covers & straps playing drumset on the paint and windows of the planes they are covering. Add some dirt & dust stuck to the felt inside the cover and it's like sandpaper.

If you get the reflective material from Lowe's / etc, make sure you clean up the edges nicely because they can otherwise scratch the windows. I eventually sucked it up and paid for the Bruce's shade which is pricey but well-made and folds up nicely.
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby DaveF » Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:31 am

You’ll get more condensation forming on the airplane when parking on grass.
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby KFS1998 » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:05 am

Thank you everyone for the suggestions and comments.
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby Ryan Smith » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:56 am

I would do anything in my power to store an airplane in a caustic/humid environment inside. I parked my airplane outside in Venice, FL for three days and the airplane was nasty enough on the inside that I bought a box of Damp Rid to soak up the moisture.

Also, my airplane sat untouched outside for a year in San Diego when it was two years old and the corrosion that set in the wings during that time period is astounding. Even sticking it in a group hangar...these airplanes don’t fare well outside in that kind of environment.
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby ghostflyer » Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:38 pm

If you leave your aircraft near the coast,well it’s the salt air that blows into every nook and cranny. That salt causes engine issues only after a short time and then the strong winds hammering the control surfaces. The UV rays attacking the plastics[windscreens ,interior plastics, paint work ] and the rubber tires and seals around the aircraft . If the aircraft is stored in a dry area of the country then its sand blasted and the dust moves in. A closed hangar is the best. When you store your aircraft in the open regardless what it is sitting on you have the issue of the 2 legged rattle snakes that can remove your favourite radio.
Ps. I have a friend that had a turbo Cessna 210 that was left out on the tarmac and something was eating his seats and wiring . He had all sorts of issues that were costing him big money . Couldn’t find the rat so he grabbed a O2 cylinder and climbed and sat for a couple of hours around 18,000 ft. Problem solved but then was a very bad smell next week in the 100deg heat . It was in his seat. We can’t stop laughing .
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby GAHorn » Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:07 pm

It can be so stressful for a new owner to face these sort of questions. But it might be helpful to remember that many of these airplanes lived outdoors most of their lives. The advantage of an all-metal airplane in “the old days” was it’s better durability for outside storage.

To keep mice/vermin out of your plane:
Don’t store it with snacks inside. (I don’t allow eating in-flight because crumbs, nuts, chips, etc. find a way into/below the floor and attract vermin. Water or coffee is all I allow personally.) Keep air-vents and openings obstructed with those little woven-plastic pot-scrubbers to block wasp/daubers. Small Dixie-cups stored/inserted upside-down in exhaust stacks keep daubers from building nests inside mufflers (and blow out if the engine is started and they were “missed” on preflight.) 8)

I stored my 206 outdoors, on grass, with a “Bruce’s Custom Cabin Cover” for 7 years without any problem whatsoever as regards abrasion-damage. It kept the windshield and side windows and interior protected from sun and keep prying-eyes out of my cockpit. The only problem with a cabin cover IMO is what to do with it when one goes flying. It takes up room and 10 lbs. So do owned chocks.

A hangar is best, but if a hangar is out-of-the-question.... don’t let that stop you from enjoying your airplane.
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby KFS1998 » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:06 pm

I have managed multiple GA aircraft here in South Florida and all of them have been stored outside for the same reason, hangar space is very expensive.

I do agree with all of your comments but i do believe that the worst mistake an airplane owner can do, here in South Florida is to let their airplanes sit and not fly them, not wash them and not do prover preventative maintenance.

I wish hangar space was anything less than $400 here in Miami, maybe I need to move to another city / state! :D
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby hilltop170 » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:03 pm

Or find an airport that will allow you to install one of the small, portable hangars. Port-A-Port is the only brand I am familiar with and not even sure if they are still in business but there are several other inexpensive brands. Used ones are sometimes available from airports that are closing. Some research might yield some good results.
Richard Pulley
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1951 170A, N1715D, s/n 20158, O-300D
Owned from 1973 to 1984.
Bought again in 2006 after 22 years.
It's not for sale!
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby KFS1998 » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:15 pm

Great Idea!
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby n2582d » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:35 am

Port-A-Port is out of business but parts are still available at http://www.portaportparts.com. I found a Port-A-Port in Merced and moved it 40 miles to the airport in Mariposa this last week. Physically moving it is only half the challenge. The other half is getting required oversized load permits from every fiefdom one passes through and finding appropriate tow equipment.

I like your automatic door opener Richard. Is your hangar door hinged on top with a long piano hinge?
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby KFS1998 » Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:05 am

8O
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Re: Airplane Storage - Outside tiedown advice request

Postby TFA170 » Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:00 am

My plane is currently stored outdoors on grass. It has been primarily outdoors for most of the 5+ years I have owned it. I do have inside covers on the windows and it helps a ton. However, I'd be lying if I said sitting outdoors was generally helpful for my plane, its appearance, or its condition. I am currently in the process of erecting a hangar on my property to finally get the old girl inside where she deserves, but am terribly familiar with the So.Fla climate, prices, and reality as I grew up there.

I apply a generous coating of corrosion-X into every nook and cranny at least semi-annually and try to wash my plane whenever I can. This is small solace to the reality of storing outside on the grass as this does lead to dirt and grime buildup.

As previously mentioned, flying and exercising the plane is the best recourse, followed very closely by being diligent on washing and maintaining appearances, staying on top of any surface corrosion, and thorough inspections into the deepest darkest crevices whenever you can.

Yes, many of these old girls have lived the bulk of their lives outside in the elements, but it doesn't mean we can't do a little better wherever and whenever we can!

Where are you at? I spent a lot of my youth tearing up the pattern of 9L at KOPF and the alert area to the west...but that was many mango seasons ago.
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