Monday, January 30, 2012

Heavy Plane Equals Back Problems

You know I thought I had a good back and up until last year I did.  The first time I threw out my back was in the most innocent of ways, however.  I was at the airport talking to my friend Joe (my A&P), no, actually it was his son and all of a sudden I needed to sneeze.  So, in order not to sneeze in the kids face I turned my torso and sneezed away.  BIG mistake.  Apparently, sneezing is a pretty violent reaction on the body and all your muscles really tense up in the moment of the sneeze.  And when I say violent, just ask my wife.  I inherited my sneeze from my Dad, and lets just say the big bad wolf had nothing on my dad. If your torso is turned one way or the other the uneven tension being put on your back during this violent reaction and muscle tension can knock your back right out of alignment.  Yup, that's right.  I wouldn't have believed it either if it didn't happen to me.  If you ask anyone with back issues, they will tell you that when they sneeze they are postured looking straight ahead.  Well, the back pain resolved in about two weeks.  I figured that was the end of that and I would always sneeze correctly from now on and that would be that; right?  WRONG!!

Apparently, there are other things one can do to throw out their backs.  No, really it's true.  For example, I was going flying one day with the family.  And was going to pull my 3000 lbs plane out of the hanger all by myself.  Why? You might ask.  I don't know.  I think it had something to do with my wife saying, "Wait! Don't you want us to help?"  Naaaaahhhhh, didn't even answer her.  This was a job for the MAN of the house.  Oh yeah.  So, I hooked up my tow bar and began to pull that puppy out.  Well, getting that plane moving out of the indents in the asphalt where the wheels rest is no easy task.  But, hey, that's what testosterone is for, isn't it?  I finally Man(fool)handled that baby out of there and then put the tow bar away and proceeded to put everybody in the plane including myself.  No problem.  I didn't even break a sweat.  After all, the only other time I threw out my back was with that sneezing incident.  And that was a fluke and mistake of bad posture, you know.  It could never happen again; nope.  When I pulled the plane I used standard Olympic athelete heavy lifting posture.  What could go wrong, eh?

Well, we went on our flight.  Got home later that day and went home.  Later that evening my back started to hurt.  I felt a little tension during the day in my low back, but I shrugged it off as a result of sitting in the plane to long.  I certainly could not admit to my wife that I should have availed myself of her assistance.  As the day went on, though.  OH BOY,  the pain got worse and worse.  I was laid up again.  I even had to stay home from work the next day because of it.  That cost me good.  Apparently, you can injure your back and have a delayed pain response too.  Who'd a figured, eh.

Needless to say, I was tired of throwing out my back.  So, I was looking for a solution to pulling the plane out safely.  I thought about buying a beater pickup truck, ripping off the front bumper and welding a pintle hook to the front chassis.  I would then get an industrial tow bar to hook to that.  That idea never really materialized.  But when I went to do my instrument rating work at Airmotive in Brainerd, MN, there was a pin up ad on the bulletin board for the "Aircraft Caddy."  This was a Battery powered tug that was made by a company in Little Falls, MN.  Home of Charles Lindbergh.  The company was aptly named the Lindbergh Aircraft Tug Co.  Hmm, go figure.

Take a look at one of these babies at work pulling and pushing on a Pilatus PC-12 like nobody's business.

So, long story short, I ordered me one of these babies and I have never looked back (get it?, back. No, OK). Hmm, well anyways.  Take care of your backs people.  Don't take it for granted.  I know alot of very once productive people reduced to disabled people because of irreparably injured backs.

Here I am pulling out 24MT about 50 yards from the hanger in a nice area of the ramp where there are no pebbles to ding my prop.  I could pull and steer this plane with 2 fingers now.  Oh, and did I mention it's green too (Oh Brother).  No internal combustion engine that won't start in the winter.  It is powered by two 12 volt Car batteries hooked in series to give 24 volts of power. And these batteries are rated with alot of cold cranking amps.   I can also jump my plane with this device.  Ahhhh, modern conveniences.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Feel free to comment.


  1. Good job there Doc, if you need a hand pushing that thing around call me, I will go flying with you if you have a spare parachute.LOL, take care buddy have a good trip, ALOHA NUI LOA. ALWAYS YOUR PUKA SHELL TOUR GUIDE. randy carter

    1. hey Randy,

      Thanks. We should go flying sometime. Take in a Twins game or something. Come back to my blog and submit your email address at the bottom of my page and the site will notify you a any new posts that you can have a laugh reading.



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