Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
Those sound like the things we referred to as Manglers. They had knurled rollers that fitted in front and behind a main wheel and drove the wheel. “Manglers” because they chewed tyres.
The ones I used were battery powered ~60s.
Yes I have a mobility scooter that I converted about 5years ago to an aircraft tug for pulling my aircraft out of the hangar. I paid £20 for the mobility scooter at the time.
My Hangar ( ex-cowshed) has a quite steep sloping floor which when the aircraft was full of fuel was becoming difficult as the years roll by.
Mine is a 24volt scooter and I ditched the scooter battery and fitted two 12volt car batteries. It works brilliantly for me but my aircraft is not that heavy. I wouldn't want to pull a PA28 or anything like that with it
I spent some time making/welding up bracketry to use with a normal aircraft towbar and car towball.
By tr7v8
Lefty wrote:What about a ride on Lawnmower? They are already designed to be driven on wet grass. Only downside is that their clutch systems tend to be a bit clunky leading to jerky movement.

This would be my choice, a few years when I lived in Norfolk I used to use our Westwood 1100 to get our large caravan off the road & up the drive. The turn behind the house was too tight to use a car.
The transmission on the Westwood works by tightening a V belt between pulleys. At the back was a 5 speed & reverse gearbox. The drive had a bit of slope on it & was also pea shingle, traction was never an issue, even turning on the grass lawn.
By Lefty
Bill McCarthy wrote:There are a couple of tugs in the hangar at Wick which look like they’ve been left there since the war. Heavy, low slung, Lister engined things, operated by walking behind it - quite rare I would imagine. There is also an old VW double cab start up generator outfit lying in the corner.

Apologies, I’ve tried 3 times to load a photo but it failed every time.

I strongly suspect this is what you have in the Hangar. They were made by ML Aviation based at White Waltham and were a common site on all UK military airfields - and even on aircraft carriers from the 50’s, through to 80’s. Officially they were called a “Donkey”, but more colloquially known as the “yellow peril” (as they were generally painted bright yellow).

The operator started the engine and then walked in front / behind like an electric milk float (if you remember them) operating steering, throttle and brake via the long handle. It had two huge concrete blocks to give it weight and it could easily pull 10 ton aircraft or ground equipment.

You will note the solid rubber front wheel. This could cause steering problems on grass or loose ground. One of these skidded on a little bit of debris and ran over my foot - crushing all my toes on one foot. (It hurts !)
At our oft muddy strip Old Joe :salut: drags his Auster around by its with a ride-on mower.
But he's had to acquire another one cos Cher's little brothers stole his old one... :D
You could do far worse than look at a small Kubota type tractor ( e.g. Kubota B6100 series).

Capital expenditure would be greater than trying to adapt something else agreed, but it would do the job easily and you would most likely see every penny back ( or more) when the time comes to sell.
By Lefty
Bill McCarthy wrote:TKF - that’s the machine !

Bill, that was my photo of the “Donkey”. @TKF helped me to post the photo.

The “Donkey” can easily pull 5-10 ton wheeled objects - eg small - medium aircraft and ground equipment.
To start it:
1 turn the steering handle fully left
2 insert the starting handle through the hole in the steering handle and connect with the starter dog on the (Donkey) engine.
3 use your left hand to pull the little compression release valve on the engine
4 once engine is turning, release the decompression ring

On the gearbox there are two red levers. One selects Forward, Neutral and Reverse, whilst the second selects high or low ratio (fast or slow).

I would hate to count the number of miles I’ve walked leading one of those beasts around RAF airfields.
By PeteM
To move my DR250 (tailwheel) I have the back half of a mobility scooter. It has a long handle and a pair of arms which lock onto the tailwheel.

It will move the aircraft on short flat firmish grass and works well on hard surfaces. The original batteries have been replaced with car size leisure batteries and a solar cell for charging them up.

Generally a pretty good solution.
Thanks. My hitch and ball have arrived, so this weekend some welding to be done... Interested to see if (or how easily, if I'm being more optimistic!) it can move almost two tonnes of aeroplane. Flat concrete surface, so this should be a big help...
Sam Rutherford wrote:Hm, interesting point. The surface is perfectly flat, when moving by hand it stops by itself within a couple of feet so I don't think the stopping will be an issue (in my case).

How do riders of mobility scooters stop them?

Ah! brakes of course.............. :lol: