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Parking and Securing Light Aircraft on Grass and Rough Airfields

I never really thought about what the owners of light aircraft do with their small aeroplanes after they park them on a grass airstrip or airfield. I never really thought that it was a ‘thing’, that is until one day I was talking to a pilot of a light aircraft and then he showed me a photo of a light plane that had flipped whilst parked.

light aircraft on grass rough airstrip upside down no ground anchors deployed

It was an interesting topic of conversation because it made me aware that cautious pilots of small or light aircraft carry their own ground anchors to tie down to when parked. How much ground anchoring depends upon a number of factors such as the size and lifting capacity of the light aeroplane given certain wind speeds Also a consideration is the ground density.

GroundGrabba tie down ground anchors for light aircraft on grass and rough airfields 1
GroundGrabba tie down ground anchors for light aircraft on grass and rough airfields 1

Which Tie Down For What Ground Type?

Given landing strips and the grass rough airfields are not all the same you’d want to be prepared for whatever you come across…especially if you haven’t had the luxury of research before your journey.

Soft ground will mean you’ll need to tie down anchor deeper and or wider than a hard clay surface for example. For softer grounds the GroundGrabba Pro II would be the pick versus hard ground where the GroundGrabba Pro maybe better placed to work for you.

Again, you’ll need to weigh up the number and type of light aircraft tie down anchors you use based on several factors. But bottom line is that you’ll want your light aircraft to stay grounded despite sudden wind gusts. So …it’s your call.

Different ground anchors require different deployment methods but to make it easy for the pilot a cordless drill or impact wrench is generally used because old hammer in stakes are no longer in vogue nor can they grip as well as the screw in variety or ground anchors.

BUY ONLINE HERE in Au or HERE in USA

Light aircraft grass rough airstrip ground anchoring 1
GroundGrabba Pro II Light aircraft grass rough airstrip ground anchoring 1
Light aircraft grass rough airstrip ground anchoring 2
GroundGrabba Pro Light aircraft grass rough airstrip ground anchoring 2

Your Choice

There’s a choice of which light aircraft ground anchor tie downs to choose from. There is the GroundGrabba Pro and GroundGrabba Pro II. As you can see both are different lengths and have different width flights/spirals. Ideally you’d want to carry both if you did not know what type of earth you will be anchoring your light aircraft down to.

The minimum you’d want to carry is three of each however if you want to be very sure you’d want to carry double that number along with ratchet tie down straps too.

BUY ONLINE HERE in Au or HERE in USA

GroundGrabba Pro II Light aircraft grass rough airstrip ground anchoring 2

Use a Bow Shackle To Link

For best linking of your tie down ratchet strap it’s best use a bow shackle. Have the bow shackle under the collar of the GroundGrabba and then hook your ratchet strap into it. Make sure that if the planes wings flex and slacken the tie down ratchets that the ratchet hooks do not fall away and unhook from the bow shackles.

Weight

Weight of the GroundGrabba Pro is 230 grams whilst the GroundGrabba Pro II is 450 grams. Then you’ll need to consider the weights of your ratchet straps, bow shackles, cordless drill and maybe the cordless battery charger too.

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Camping near Grafton May 2019

Heavy Duty or Not Heavy Duty…

In the wee hours of Saturday morning we were woken by a strong windstorm smashing up our site. We were up like every 2 hrs (3 times) fixing dropped ropes or broken loops in the guy ropes etc. Our bad…. when we set up we ALWAYS use our PoleGrabba’s …this time we neglected to!😱 All the while our GroundGrabba stakes never budged…yippeee, if only everything else worked as well! After putting the PoleGrabba’s on and securing everything we headed back to bed.

The wind came in waves. The next time we were up was after the tarps corner ripped out and let the immediate area around it flap wildly. I got Susu to hold it whilst I gathered a rope to bind it. Susu was almost lifted off her feet as the wind howled.

On the fourth occasion, snuggled back up in bed, we kind of just lay there and then the windstorm grew even more violent. Wind howling, eyes wide, listening until we heard a BAM….. shit… Out we went to see what carnage lay before us this time? About five poles down and the tarp flapping wildly. We ended up with a skylight in our tarp, ripped corner, ripped out D loops. Basically a written off tarp and several steel poles too. We had NEVER experienced something like this, ever.

In the morning we had beautiful blue skies, no wind and calm. It didn’t reflect what we had experienced at all. We headed off to Grafton to replace the tarp… with a Heavy Duty one like we already had (or so we thought!) As it turned out it was less of a heavy duty one in comparison to what we were replacing. We only discovered that when we drove back an hour in the bush to set the new tarp up. Needless to say for the rest of the time we never had a return of howling forces.

Conclusion:
The words Heavy Duty is really misused. On our way home we stopped to return the tarp. It wasn’t easy and I had to stand my ground that the tarp was NOT Heavy Duty… using our damaged Heavy Duty tarp as an example. Then I was told what I needed was an EXTREME Heavy Duty tarp. Sheesh…who’d of thought! We live and learn.
At the end of the day we realise that there are different perspectives of what’s considered Heavy Duty and what’s not. Just like when we see other tent stake designs that are narrow and smooth edged – are considered Heavy Duty. I compare our GroundGrabbas which are categorised Heavy Duty also – there’s no comparison.

Twas a fun night!

Here’s a little video

Camping - Grafton Nymboida River
Susu dodging a photo
Camping - Nymboida River, Grafton
Cutting up firewood
Camping - Nymboida River, Grafton
Yours truly securing firewood to the trailer
Camping - Nymboida River Grafton
Heavy Duty?
Camping - Nymboida River, Grafton
Susu the chief fire lighter