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Old 09-12-2020, 06:55 PM
JackinMichigan's Avatar
JackinMichigan JackinMichigan is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Canton, MI
Posts: 237
Default Dad had a stroke. How can I get him in the plane?

My father and I spent 5 years buiding our RV-10, and while I was flying off the mandatory 40 hours he suffered a major stroke. He lost almost complete use of the left side of his body, but thru time and a lot of physical therapy he's been able to regain about 25% of the use of his left leg, but his left arm is still a useless chunk of meat dangling from his left shoulder. He's able to walk with the use of a cane, but his very unstable and cannot climb stairs without strong hand rails.

We both want to get him in the plane, but neither of us can think of a good way. He's not a small man (6'-1" and 240lbs). I ordered a nursing-home style sling used for getting people in and out of bathtubs and tried hooking it to an engine crane, but the crane had not nearly the necessary reach and the aircraft cabin ceiling was too low. He can barely get in his own car, so nothing that needs him to climb into or balance onto anything will work.

We're out of ideas. Does anybody have any workable solutions here? It's absolutely tragic and unfair that he can't get into the plane he spent years building and financing.
Jack and Dave Groat, father and son
RV-10 N1861G
Build #41389, started Oct 2012
Current status: 1st Flight 11/10/17
50 hour oil change: 8/29/19
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:13 PM
Bill.Peyton's Avatar
Bill.Peyton Bill.Peyton is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 1,828

How about a long ramp from the rear. Remove the front seat and put him in the back seat. Itís much easier to get in and out. Alternatively, mount a hoist to the ceiling of the hangar on a trolly and use the sling you have. My Dad helped with our Rv10 and is now 96. I was able to get him in a couple of months ago. He had not been in the airplane in at least 5years. He was a happy guy after flying that day. It took three of us to get him in and out, but I am going to continue to periodically get him back in.
Keep trying until you find a way!
Bill Peyton
RV-10 - 1125 hrs
First Flight Oct 2012
Aviation Partners, LLC
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:43 PM
mfleming's Avatar
mfleming mfleming is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Joseph, Oregon
Posts: 674

If you get him in the aircraft, how are you going to get him out in an emergency
Michael Fleming
Joseph, OR
sagriver at icloud dot com

RV-7 Slider #74572
Started 11/2016
Empennage completed 11/2016 (sans fiberglass)
Ailerons and flaps completed 3/2017.
Wings completed 12/2017
Started on QB fuselage 01/2018
Sliding canopy mostly completed 10/2020
Wiring completed
Avionics harness build in progress
Donated for 2021 and so should you
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:48 PM
Peter Costick Peter Costick is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 112


Maybe construct a platform on wheels that will bridge the wing. Then sit him on it and slide it into position so he can shuffle across into the aircraft.

If he can't get in from the RHS because of his arm, then maybe load from the left and he can work his way across.

Good Luck
Peter Costick
Melbourne Australia
RV7A Flying, VH-SVN
2020 Donation Made
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Old 09-13-2020, 04:45 AM
catmandu's Avatar
catmandu catmandu is online now
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 941

Originally Posted by mfleming View Post
If you get him in the aircraft, how are you going to get him out in an emergency
If you get him in the aircraft, how are you going to get him out with that big post-flight grin?
Mike C.
Sierra Nevada
RV-6A bought flying
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:16 AM
Masterplumber Masterplumber is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Jefferson City, Missouri
Posts: 76
Default Muscle

I had a pilot cousin that I was close to that was in a similar situation. I had a Cessna 210 at the time. It is a high wing which changes things somewhat.
We went to the airport without a plan, but with 5 young muscular cousins/nephews that wanted to help. After a few swear words and work, he was in and we had a wonderful flight. A family project we all remember.
Hope this helps, good luck, it's worth doing.

John Koonce
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:21 AM
BrianHOU BrianHOU is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Houston
Posts: 10
Default Idea for Dad

Hey I was reading your post and I was thinking that your problem is similar to one that I faced when I was trying to lift a huge water container over a fence but when lowering it down on the other side I needed it to move laterally.

You need to raise your pops up to the height of the seat and move him into the seat. With the least amount of hassle. I think you can do it with two or three ropes, a safety harness and a block and tackle.

I used a basic block and tackle to lift the item, but suspended the pulleys as high as I could so the object could be moved laterally once it was lifted. The higher the pulley, the more lateral movement you'll have to maneuver.

So - it'll take some experimentation, (put a younger friend in the harness!!) because of the wing and the doors, but I'm pretty sure it'll work. You'll need to be able to quickly and securely tie lines to hold them once you've gotten everything the way you want it...but once it's set up, he can be in the plane in five or ten minutes (depending on your hanger set up. (most of them are a post and beam frame, so you'll have places to suspend the rigging.

It's cheap, you don't have to build much, and your dad can use his good arm to help orient himself.

Harness like this:

Block and tackle to reduce the load for lifting dad

Rope like this to suspend:

Rope like this to move dad laterally:

see attached drawing
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Old 09-13-2020, 11:12 AM
leok leok is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Clarkston, MI
Posts: 408
Default A moderate fabrication project.

Hey Jack,

If you are up for a moderate fabrication project, I might have a concept that will do the job. My dad has a similar issue although not quite as much disability. I was able to get him in the plane with a small wide step ladder. Out was another matter. I helped him slide sideways out of the seat onto the wing, drawing his legs out after. Then he scooted with help off the front of the wing with me there to catch him. That got me thinkingÖ.

You couldnít take this with in the plane, but it would be good at the home hanger. Build a small JLG type chair lift on casters. Using a small HF bottle jack, lift the arm with the chair on it to entry height. Roll it forward over the wing with dad in the chair, then help him slide in. Reverse for exit. Iím sure it would do nicely, just need to get into the details of the design. Give me a call if you are interested.
Building started Oct 5th 2014, Flying since 1/16/2020
RV Hotel, come by and visit if you're in town
Dues paid 2020
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Old 09-13-2020, 05:48 PM
caapt caapt is offline
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Pottsboro TX
Posts: 86
Default Would an engine hoist work?

Put him in a fabric seat like a playground swing. Lift him up and lower him in. Leave the fabric seat under him to lift him out. Just a thought.
14A Wing Complete!
Tail Complete
Fuse Complete
Engine installed
Wing Mounted
Inspected and certified 1-31-20
First Flight 3-25-20
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Old 09-13-2020, 07:18 PM
VaNewbie VaNewbie is offline
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Charlottesville , Va
Posts: 9

I'm sorry to hear about your Dad, sometimes life isn't fair but I hope he can still enjoy being a passenger.

My thought on this: Rig a pulley system in the center of the hangar. Take the plane out of the hangar, hoist your dad up in the sling you mentioned, replace the plane under him and lower him down. A remote control garage door opener/pulley system would help.

I wish you luck, sounds like you and your dad are close.
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