Not that this has ever happened to me, but in the event you ever manage to get a DG-1000 stuck in the mud at the edge of a runway at an uncontrolled airport, I have some advice for you. First, realize that you have not one but three problems. Let's deal with them in chronological order. Solving them out of order is not recommended.
Not Getting Hit
Remember, your DG-1000 has a 20 meter wing span. To minimize the chances of getting hit by landing aircraft, be sure to rotate the glider so that the tail is just over the runway and the wing's exposure is minimized.
It should be painfully obvious to even the most unaware pilot that there's an obstruction just off the runway. But just in case, be sure to have a handheld radio handy and consider standing at the exposed wing tip to make it more visible.
Make sure the exposed wing is the low wing. You never know when someone may mis-judge their approach height and end up turning off into the mud. Err, I mean "and end up hitting your wing." Yeah, that's it.
Getting it Out
This is tricky. Do not attempt to rock the glider back and forth to "get a running start" or "build up some momentum" to get it out of the mud. Doing so simply makes the hole larger, allowing the glider's landing gear to sink deeper and deeper.
After unsuccessfully rocking it back and forth, do not attempt to pull it out with one of the local towplanes. The towplane will huff and puff, but will ultimately be unable to solve the problem.
Instead of all that, get about seven male adults to grab the leading edge of the wing, as close to the wing root as possible, and lift up while pushing backward. Their combined strength will be sufficient to get the glider out of the hole without doing any damage.
Then use a truck to tow the glider back to the tie down area and think about what an ordeal that was.
Cleaning the Landing Gear
With the glider out of its hole and safely back in the parking area, you have a new problem. The landing gear and gear doors, as well as the nose and tail wheels, are covered in mud. What to do?
You can try to get down on the muddy ground with a bunch of rags and towels to clean it up. However, you'll likely find that rags work great for cleaning off the gear doors and knocking the really big chunks off the gear. But beyond that they're pretty useless.
My advice is to call it quits early, drive home, seek reinforcements, and then head back to the gliderport the next morning. Not only does it give you time to consider the problem (and ways to avoid it in the future), it means you can fly again the next day!
What seems to work quite well is one of those 2-3 gallon hand pumped sprayers. They're often use to spray plants, water-proof decks, and so on. The nozzle must be adjustable. You want a nice fast stream rather than a wimpy mist.
Expect to spend between 1.5 and 2.0 hours under the glider. You'll use around 5-7 gallons of water (bring extra), lots of paper towels, and a few rags. The hardest part to clean will be the far side of the disc that's part of the big disc brake. You'll spend 40% of your effort there.
After you're all done, take a few test flights.
Posted by jzawodn at February 22, 2004 08:59 PM