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Securing an RV-12


Well Known Member
Like most aircraft the RV-12 has wing and tail tiedown points. However, it seems to me that it would make a lot more sense to tie down the wings and nose wheel using the lug welded to the nose gear leg, rather than wings and tail. It doesn't take a lot of effort to sit an RV-12 on it's tail, so securing the nose wheel should be more effective than tying a rope to the tail ring, unless you run the rope through a PVC tube to act as a compression strut. How do you tie down your RV-12?
Wind pushing the tail down has a mechanical advantage (lever & fulcrum) that could pull a nose tie down out of the ground. A tail tie down compression strut is a good idea in addition to a nose tie down. Tying down at 4 points is definitely better than 3 points.
The first year after I completed my 12 (2012 maybe), it was tied down at OSH and there was a bad thunderstorm. The plane next to me ended up on its back. Mine rode it out with the three standard tie down rings and a set of "claws".

If outside in all kinds of weather or expecting high winds I like the idea of a four point tie down.
I made a two piece PVC pipe device to put under the tail lug when tying down the tail at OSH. Also you should never have the stick all the way back and secured when tying down - it should be at neutral. You can use a wood spacer block with the seat-belt-stick method (see the RV12 MODS sticky thread), or use the Van's tow bar and secure everything - rudder, flaperon, elevator - parking brake.

See http://www.vansairforce.com/community/showthread.php?t=132242
Can't for awhile... Two pieces of 3/4 inch PVC with a coupler (sized for correct length when joined, aligns almost straight down to ground when in use.) Notch on one end that the tie-down ring nestles into with a tractor-type safety-pin to keep it there. Used in conjunction WITH a line on the tie-down ring going to the ground further aft. Intended for use on grass, not asphalt.
Here is the tail strut I built with 1/2" PVC. The collar sleeves seem to add rigidity.

Tail Strut installed:


Tail Strut attachment:


Tail Strut Disassembled:

Mine is very similar. I think the top pin is necessary but the others are likely superfluous when in actual use, with a rear strap tie down. One thing to consider is putting a coupler at the very top, and cutting the eyebolt slot into it, which would be a lot stronger than just the pvc pipe, which can be brittle.
Need idea but what do you do if the ground is uneven and the PVC rod won't reach the ground? Is there any way to make it adjustable? Maybe use a fatter diameter piece of PVC with multiple holes in it so it can be adjusted?
Good ideas!

Went out to the hangar this morning and glued on a collar at the very top, notched it and re-drilled the pin hole. Looks much more sturdier.

Also, glued half of each collar to a PVC pipe. Cuts down on the number of pins needed.

I like the idea of having an adjustable piece so the strut will accommodate uneven ground. I'll have to think about how to do that.

Also, a friend came by and asked why I didn't put a plate on the bottom so the strut would not bury itself in the ground. Another good idea I'll work on.

As it is now, everything fits in a gallon plastic bag and fits in my tie down equipment bag.
Tail Pogo, version 1.02:


Top of Pogo


Bottom of Pogo


Close Up of Bottom of Pogo




Pieces and Parts


All fits in a gallon plastic bag.

Made of 1/2" PVC. The grey part was found at Home Depot Aviation, in the electrical department; and, is called a 1/2" Expansion Fitting, $12.56. Length of the Pogo is 32 3/4" minimum, and, 36 1/8" maximum - so, it has an adjustable range of 3 1/2". The whole thing fits in my 11" tie down bag.
The stakes were purchased at REI Aviation - a local outdoor store (camping, hiking, biking, etc.). They are tent stakes. I straightened them a little bit at the top with a vise. You can probably get something very similar at Cabelas / Bass Pro / or any other outdoor store.

The stakes serve a couple of purposes. First, they keep the Pogo Stick from swinging in the breeze, and, slipping and sliding when a downward force is put on the Pogo Stick. Second, if there is an upward force (wind hitting the 12 from the aft), they will help hold the tail down. I drilled holes in the 'T', at the bottom of the Pogo Stick, at an angle so the stakes would better resist side winds and upward forces.

Haven't tested this in a hurricane or tornado or big blow, so I can't testify whether this Pogo Stick configuration is a real help. I have read testimony from others that big blows do bad things to airplanes. Just trying to take some precautionary action.