Friday, April 21, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: Another "Dolly" Takeoff!

On Feb. 18, 2006, I posted regarding how the good people at Hill Aircraft Service Ltd. accomplish a "dolly takeoff", and the Post was entitled Steve's Video Of The Day: I Said "Hello, Dolly".......... The camera angle showed the truck, dolly, and aircraft in motion. Well, perspective is everything when shooting video, and the closer one gets, the more you can focus on one certain aspect of an overall situation. So....let's jump in the cab of the truck with the driver who is towing an aircraft aboard a dolly, and observe a J-3 Piper "launched" through the lens of the video camera through the rear window of the truck!

VIDEO - Another "Dolly" Takeoff!

I don't want to be sitting in the back of that truck if something goes wrong.
I thought that the way we used to do it when I worked for Superior Airways in Thunder Bay Ont. was thrilling enough. We had a set of dollies (2 seperate ones, each with a tail wheel and automatic brakes that came on once the weight was off) that we used for Beavers, Otters and Beech 18's. The aircraft was hoisted up, the dollies but under each pontoon, and a stinger bar attached to the a/c tail wheel fitting.
We had an old Ford econoline van, (flat front) that had a 45 gallon barrel attached to the front bumper. The guy with the short straw got to stand in the barrel and hang onto the stinger and steer the a/c until rudder control was established. It was very important that the van driver accelerated at the same rate as the a/c or the barrel man got speared or stretched arms.
Usually things went okay, but I remember one incident (I was in the barrel) when we were launching an Otter and the pilot lifted the right hand pontoon up before the left one. The brake came on, the right dollie started going left at about the same time as the left pontoon cleared its dollie, and the dollies collided. Both of them cartwheeled end-over-end down the runway creating gouges in the suface and finally destroying a couple of runway lights before coming to rest on the grass. It cost our company many loonies to repair the damage done. I had a close up view of all the action and was praying that the van driver would keep his cool. Otter,
dollies, and both of us in or in front of the van survived to tell about it. By the way, the otter pilot was Pete Taylor, originally from BC, who was married to the daughter of the company, Roberta Wieben. Any relation?
Keep up the good work. This old bush rat checks your blog every day.
Bob Ostrom
Corpus Christi TX
Great comment, Bob. I "pissed" myself laughing. "Bush aviators" are a hearty lot, able to fly in bad weather and stand in barrels attached to Ford Econolines rumbling down a runway. Pete Taylor is no relation.
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