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Here is SkyVector showing some flying I have completed as of and including CrossCountry NAVs endorsement in March 2014.

Aircraft storage

Last updated by crayonbox Comments (8)

Categories: Trike Talk, Equipment

It has become very obvious to me that storing an aircraft is one of the more difficult aspects on being an aircraft owner.

I see several options, but not all of us are fortunate enough to have the choices other owners may have access to.

 Choices I have seen are; hanger (private owned or shared), trailer (pack away and store at home), or open airfield storage (with tie downs and uv covers).  

 The airfield option is the cheapest, but is it really wise to do this?  I have been thinking it may not be all that bad, unless there is a wild storm that could rip off the covers and flip the aircraft.  

All the options have disadvantages and advantages, such as damage due to sharing, or dismantling and assembling, regular transportation, or extreme weather, and related storage costs.

I also looked at the idea of storing a trike in a shipping container, but even in a 40ft shipping container there would not be enough width of height.

Any thoughts, ideas and experience you guys can share. Thanks.


  • Jozinko

    Yes CB, you are right, its a more difficult aspect.

    We havent our airport then we havent our hangar. Some people allowed us using their field. They making the grass there. We cant to build the hangar there. We all must everytime to transport our trikes on this field, put together wing and trike. It takes about 1h30min. I have my trike on a rented garage near my fathers house. When would be bad weather, we dont to try fly, because we woudlnt have a wet wings and trikes.

  • XC Triker

    Great topic CB!

    I think I'd rank the choices in this order:

    1. Enclosed storage  (Most convenient (usually), Safest, best protection, least wear (usually))- Hence most expensive
    2. Trailer- enclosed, or very good UV/weather protection
    3. Tie-down at an airport:  Personally I would never do this on a permanent basis


    Enclosed storage is usually the quickest to go flying and put away (depending mostly on the length you have to drive to get to the hangar).  Usually by far the best protection and least damaging to the trike- except for "Hangar Rash" (where you have crowded conditions sharing and they bump into each other a lot)-  also, I hangared at Oceano, about 500 yds from the Ocean and the hangar was falling apart from the salt air- rust would rain down on the trike when I moved the hangar door.  I knew the same processes were gong to happen to my trike there- in which case anything inland was likely better.  There is a part 103 trike that sits out in the open at Oceano under some tarps--  I think that's a really bad situation, because ...

    Out in the open, even under tarps, the wing is constantly "flying" against it's tie downs (there were some trikes in Hawaii, where hangars were not allowed on the airfield, where this probably contributed heavily to their failure and fatal crash), it's actual hours are way more than the hobbs meter indicates.  UV does get through most tarps-  It's not 100% dark under them-  given that the wing is fabric and it's getting some UV 24/7/365 that is also very cumulative.  The tarp keeps the moisture (in this case salt air) in too, and it's constantly slightly damp underneath.  In strong winds, the tarp also flaps and abrades the wing.  More critters, birds, mud wasps, etc can make nests in the trike in this situation.  More human critters can look, poke, explore, borrow or "fix" things.

    A trailer can be more convenient than an enclosed hangar sometimes:  It may allow a shorter drive than driving to an affordable / available hangar.  If you like to travel long distance (and not fly there), it can be more convenient.  An open trailer in your garage could be very nice--  also, you can go out and work on your trike at any moment.  If I have a question, or need to measure something, etc, I  have to drive 20+ minutes each way to get to my trike.  So, I often call Ken and ask him to go out in his garage and measure something on his Tanarg ;)    Then again, if Ken & I want to go flying, Ken has to drive 20 minutes to the dry lake or airport and I have to drive 20 min to my hangar.  At that point, I'm in pre-flight mode and he has to set up / clean up.  Putting the trike together and taking it down each time does add wear on the trike, and trailering itself (bouncing) adds wear.  Potentially, it's easier to have your trike/trailer stolen-- though I haven't heard of this happening (much- there was a stolen trike or wing listed here to watch for).

    Tie-down, long term outside I just wouldn't do.  (On XC if you can't get a hangar for a couple days, Ok)

    Sharing a hangar is a great way to increase the availability and affordability of hangars.  A trike can fit in a regular hangar with a Cessna for example.  I'd try and pick someone to share with that doesn't fly much-  OR I'd pick a TRIKER who knows how to move a trike and flys a lot- so you have someone to hang out with-  In which case, sharing a hangar really increases the fun. It's more fun working in the hangar when a friend is there too to BS with, help out, etc.

    I've seen some trikes fit in a cargo container before.  I've seen some nice track/dolly systems that allow the trike to be pulled in sideways.  I think it depends on the size of your trike.  You might consider taking two cargo containers and building a roof over them to create a hangar.  I don't know, but I've seen cargo containers with doors in the sides- or maybe you could cut the metal side of the container, bend it up as additional roof extension, put some sides and a door on it.

    A friend of mine has transported several used hangars to his property-- not sure where he finds them, but that is a possibility.   Metal buildings sometimes come up for sale and you can move them to your area.  I'd try to make it big enough for two so you can split costs, labor, etc.

    I have another friend who lives about 2 blocks from a rural airport.  He stores his trike in his garage on a trailer where he pulls up onto it sideways so that he can drive the trike completely set up to and from the airport.   @Ttabs does something similar to his cabin at Elk River (post some pics!)


    Here's some pics of various trailers in a photo album we can all share (we can all post photos into this same album)  HERE

  • trikepilot

    Everything above is true. If you are patch flying, get a hangar. If you are a destination flying, get a trailer.  If you do both then you will need both.

    I had a hangar that cost me 60 a month. I flew a lot. I mean a LOT of flying due to the quick pre-flight with an already assembled trike. Then I got bored with flying the same 200 mile radius around my home field. I bought a trailer and flew in CA, UT, AZ, TX, NM, CO, and OK. But I only flew when I could drive to a destination and spend 3 or 4 days there, set up the trike once and fly it a few times before I had to take it down again.

    I wanted to be able to do more flying locally but by then those old cheap hangars were torn down and new 400 a month hangars replaced them. I just won't spend 5000 a year to park my trike. The down side is that I don't fly as much as I would if I had it set up all the time. The hours add up slowly now because I only fly 3 to 4 times a year instead of every weekend.


  • crayonbox

    trikepilot - everything you say is so true too and makes sense to me.    Very much the same thought processes I have been through.  If you would rather fly a lot and not travel then the hanger option is the best - but that depends on hanger costs.  Traveling requires a trailer. 

  • jeff trike

    You can cover a lot more ground flying to your destination instead of trailering, and its a lot less wear and tear on the wing.   Fly.

  • XC Triker

    I've done all three (Hangar, Trailer, & tie-down (temporarily on XC trips)) & periods of more one than the other, but I'm an increasing proponent of  ....   FLY there!!!

    (I wrote some more of my thinking HERE in Noel's "Transporting your Trike" page.  YMMV) 

  • trikepilot

    I have flown into Oshkosh and flown at Cushing during Trikefest. I live in New Mexico. I could have either waited for a weather window and hoped it coincided with the event dates, or trailered to a closer location to fly from. I trailered to Illinois.I also never have to worry about get-there-itis. This is the malady that affects all pilots when they fly 500 miles to a destination for the weekend and decide that they just have to be back at work on Monday morning and fly in questionable weather. I load mine on my trailer and drive back home. Never an issue.

    Weekend after next I will be trailering to Bluff Utah with a half dozen other guys to fly our trikes in color country. If it gets windy, I'll go ride the motorcycle or mountain bike that I carry on the trailer with my trike. If it is not windy, then I'll fly the trike. If it gets rainy, then I'll stay inside the motor home that I tow the trike with and play cards or tell tall tales with the other trike pilots that will be there. I get to camp right where I park the trike. Whether the field I am flying from is a 80 acre farmer's field like Wayside TX, or a 600x800 patch of dirt like the Abq, PPG field, or a pull-off next to a gravel road in Kane creek canyon UT, or a paved runway in Bluff UT.

    I never have to worry about transportation when I get to my destination. Or getting fuel to the trike. Or whether the weather window will be large enough to allow me to fly safely to my destination and back home again a few days later. Or where I am going to sleep. Or where I am going to eat.

    My trike is not a Gold Wing that requires only smooth asphalt beneath it. It is much more like a dirt bike that can handle any terrain and doesn't mind a few scratches or a little road rash. This is what works for me. I know that Jeff and his friend fly a 400 mile radius around Abq. and have a great time at it. He has amazing pictures and video to show. But you won't see anything from Florida, California, Wisconsin, Tennessee, or Illinois on his flight logs because they all exceed the 400 mile limit. I have flown in all these places with the aid of my trailered trike.

    That said, Jeff has a HUGE number of hours behind him because he keeps his trike set up in a hangar 30 minutes from his house. I don't have near that many hours because it is a pain in the ass to set mine up every time I want to fly it, which is why I am mostly just doing destinations like Bluff Utah.

    You really want BOTH. A hangar and a trailer. I had both for awhile and loved it.

  • XC Triker

    Trikepilot (@bjcortesy) you make good points & warnings-  especially "Get There-itis" it's a killer.  I've flown many 500 milers and a few couple thousand milers.  Both (hangar & trailer) is good like you said ... there's a third too... fly while someone drives the trailer (house, bed, toys, shelter) along too!!!  Then you can have the best both at the SAME time  ;)

    Three or more pilots can fly that way with one trailer.  My wife drove our big Toy Hauler (and did so much for us) on our Top to Bottom trip from the San Juan Islands to San Diego (West Coast US on beach)- though she did stop at the Central Calif Coast (4 hours North of LA) and we completed the rest and back up to CC by trike alone.  Last year I flew from CC California to the top of Idaho and back this way ... it's great.  This year to get to Idaho and fly into Glacier NP (pics) we packed up the whole thing in the Toy Hauler and I drove it up to Idaho, she didn't have time to do that but flew up and met us and we drove back together.

    I like FLYING better (of course I like it when my wife or someone drives a support vehicle), but I'm also liking the adventure of going long distance without a support vehicle at all--  it just adds to the adventure.

    You will need to leave sufficient time to reduce Get There-itis, especially many extra days to get back.  You also need to be willing to leave your trike in a hangar at an airport (they're not actually hard to find along the way- I'd guess that 80% of the time we get a hangar by making a phone call- we just need one, and we can stick 3 trikes in it) and come home / back to work by alternate means- picking up the trike at a later date.  Many airports have courtesy cars- which are an adventure in themselves (see Craig Valentine's great stories), and several have pilot lounges with a bed & shower in them.

    Picture I took last month when four of us (@Ttabs, @GeoBlaze, Myself & Henry) flew from Washington state across Idaho and up into Glacier Montana:

    Leaving Glacier National Park

    We had a lot of friends & wives that should get recognition for helping us at various points along our adventures:  Like David Coy (@Wambleska) for bringing "hundreds" of gallons of gas and arranging an off airport landing in the middle of Montana mountains at Dan & Bill's House (thank you to them too!!) (& yes, TrikePilot we do land off airport  some gnarly stuff sometimes ;)    Nathan @Nwhiteafd, for his help @ Polson, and Carmen for putting us up in her house.  My wife, George's wife, Ttab's wife for all their help and support.  Much of our adventures couldn't be done alone, or just wouldn't be as good without mentioning the friends and family that gave tremendous & self-less help along the way, but rarely share the limelight, and the team and camaraderie that flew these together,  Thank you all !!