June 2009 Issue

Portable Tiedowns: Claw is a Top Pick

But none of the tiedown kits remotely approach FAA recommended load ratings for tiedowns. If you want the airplane to survive a blow, tie it on a paved ramp.

Most paved parking ramps are equipped with tiedown rings, plus adequate rope or chain to do the deed. But some of the most-desirable destinations have nothing of the sort. At back-country airstrips, a friendís cow pasture and most fly-ins weíve attended, you need to bring your own gear. One option is to assemble a kit from hardware-store itemsórope and general-purpose anchors can meet the need. But as with everything else in aviation, if thereís a better way, someone will invent and market it...thus commercial tiedown kits. But are these things worth the money? Are they really any better than the classic cheap doggie auger you can buy at Wal-Mart for under $5? Maybe. Maybe not. While we agree the hardware-store stuff isnít optimal, we were curious about which of three popular commercial tiedown products are best. To find out, we obtained samples from each manufacturer, plus some gear from our local hardware store, then tried to pull each of these anchors out of the ground. The results surprised even the most cynical among our testing crew and reminded us that what works well in one soil type may not be worth the trouble in another.

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