How to tie down an aircraft (properly)

Jason Schappert, the blogger behind the MzeroA website, has recently posted a video guide showing how he ties down an aircraft. After all and as Jason pointed out, neither he nor many pilots are actually taught how to properly tie down an aircraft – which can be very important if you live in a windy location (or in the case of Jason, in Florida where there are hurricanes and tropical storms). Likewise, there are a number of different ways to properly tie down an aircraft.

In the video, Jason shows his method and he pointed out the importance of tying off the slack in the rope so that it does not blow around and cause damage to an aircraft. In addition, he emphasized that tying down an aircraft is not like stringing a guitar as if there is a windy day or a storm, you don’t want the aircraft so tightly tied down to the ground that it ends up getting damaged. In other words, you need to remember to leave some flex in the rope.

Jason also invited readers to post a comment in the comments section about any particular method they use to properly and securely tie down an aircraft and it would probably be interesting to hear from a few UK or Europe based pilots.


5 Responses to How to tie down an aircraft (properly)

  1. S. Riggle September 6, 2012 at 01:06 #

    In my days as a line guy and to this day, I use a double half-hitch. The first on about 8 to 10 inches from the tie down ring, and a second one about 6 to 8 inches further down. The end can then be brought around the single line similar to your loop and tightened up against the lower hitch to “lock” it. The distances can vary with the rope length available. The half hitch self-locks with tension. I have seen aircraft stay in place in winds up to around 100 mph, but the rope type and strength play a part. Note: do not use cotton rope as its strength ma not be up to it, but it can tend to tighten up as it dries after soaking in rain.

    • Matthew Stibbe September 6, 2012 at 07:03 #

      Thanks – that’s really helpful advice! 🙂 Matthew

  2. Dan Lehman November 4, 2012 at 05:02 #

    I’m dumbfounded : you’ve tied off your plane >>WITH A NOOSE<<, set to slip maybe 20 inches???!! Holy hazard, Batman, that's incredible! (And is that old cotton solid-braid rope, or nylon?)


    • Jim December 26, 2015 at 18:07 #

      With all due respect, I think you are very much mistaken. You have just tied two slipknots, and all it takes is a hard pull on the long rope to slide both of those knots all the way up to the tiedown ring, creating enough slack to let the wing rise at least two feet.

      I was taught a double half-hitch, followed by a third single half-hitch immediately beneath.

  3. Robert T Newman June 1, 2017 at 15:06 #


    I’m surprised, you usually have sound lessons! Someone taught you wrong

    IMHO those are both the wrong knots, and your comments on tightness are not accurate.

    Use a simple Bowline, or double hitches, or other knows that don’t slip.

    loose ropes, as you show, can allow for oscillations to build up in strong winds which can tear planes up. Very Tight is much safer

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