It's Ungainly to Push into a Hangar

Hello, I don’t have my own Cirrus yet, but this was the first time I tried to help a friend push his into a hangar. Wow, what a chore!

I suspect all fully castering nosewheel airplanes are like this. My freind has already torn off his rubberized tail tiedown eyelet once by using a winch. So now we are back to pushing it.

I have straps for my own airplane (a Cessna 172), which I hook to the landing gear legs and winch in (because I don’t like to use the tail tiedown either.) You can’t do this with a Cirrus because of the plastic fairings around the gear legs.

QUESTION: Can one use the cabin-entry stair-steps to pull a Cirrus from behind with a winch? Getting the airplane over the lip of the hangar floor is the main problem. We have used plywood, but it’s still a chore to do manually. If we use the stair-steps, obviously it would be best to attach the strap up as close to the airframe as possible, rather than below (where your foot goes.)

Thanks for any insights. I’ll become a member if I end up with a Cirrus. Promise!


Absolutely no problem using a EZ Powertow machine. I have used mine with about six previous aircraft with 100% success.

Cirrus SR22, Grumman AA5B Tiger (same nose wheel), Baron B55, Bonanza A36, Piper Comanche. Great little machine and very easy to sell if the situation changes.

Regards, Don

Naples Florida

You need to get a Volkswagon. They will tow anything.

I’ll second the EZ Powertow. I have the electric version - it makes handling a Cirrus very easy. There are other tows as well; Aero-Tows’ Lil Sherman is popular.

Check out a cool new option…best of all the different options ive seen and ive seen and used them all.


The others are correct. Your friend needs a powered tow that attaches to the lugs on the nose wheel to push the plane back.

To specifically answer your question though, NO. Do not pull using the steps or the tail lug. You can do structural damage.

They are. It does not help that the Cirrus is about a 1000 lbs heavier than a Tiger.

Your friend already figured out you should not pull from the rear tie down hook. It can eventually tear the hook out of the composite and that is an expensive repair. Yes, some folks have devised a harness to grab the steps and winch it in. While I believe (as opposed to know) those are strong enough, to be frank it is a poor solution and the strength is targeted at downward weight versus pulling. A tug is the best answer. You see them used here once in a while for under a grand, new they range from 1200 to 1600. Personally I use a gas EZ Tow 40 EZ - see here

I have heard of someone modified a hand tow bar to grab the front wheel from behind and attach a tow strap to it. The good news here is you are towing on the front tow lugs, clearly they were designed for that. Good luck.

Powertow is the way to go … we have 7 inch clearance on each side with a double railing to go over and it is no problem,

I have an Aero-Tow Lil’ Sherman electric tug (battery-powered) and it is just great, and their customer service is simply the best of any product I have ever owned.

Gordon, what’s it like on grass?

Probably very happy…




I see you’ve received several informative responses to your questions.

FWIW, over the years I’ve had to push back a number of planes into tiedown spaces or hangars, and maybe my soul isn’t as sensitive as it should be, but pushing the Cirrus doesn’t seem any more onerous. (Ok, the Citabria was definitely easier; you could practically carry it into the hangar if you wanted!)

Btw, the usual practice on COPA - whether you’re a paid-up member or a visitor - is to use one’s actual name, not a pseudonym.

I taxi right up to my hanger door, then PULL the plane nose first straight in. Push it back out in line with tape markers just a short distance when I want to fly . Works well for me (though I only weigh 168# wet). See my avitar for how I overcome inertia to get it rolling out the door though.

Man, looking at that…it sort of looks like I’m trying to commit suicide via guillitine…


Ha! Only a fellow-Desi could have figured that one out! Well done! You see, I’m in the Witness Protection Plan and I didn’t want the world Googling after me!


Sanjay Said:

Btw, the usual practice on COPA - whether you’re a paid-up member or a visitor - is to use one’s actual name,

not a pseudonym.

Anyway, thanks all, for your insights. Some quite entertaining!

I guess I didn’t make myself completely clear. My friend’s hangar already has a winch. He found out the hard way that you can easily yank the rubber tiedown out (not being fully acquainted yet with non-metal airplane construction.) But he’s learnt his lesson and he’s back to physically pushing with a towbar. The spot where the tarmac meets the concrete hangar floor is uneven–by a lot, if you have relatively small wheels and tires, as a Cirrus does.

“flycirru,” if you see this, can you tell us if indeed Cirri can be pulled in with a winch attaching to the step bars? You said you had heard of it being done. I’m thinking that if we snagged the step bars up high near the airframe, it might be OK. But, as you say, where the metal step rod attaches to composite parts, it might not be able to sustain this kind of load angle. Of course, we would use a perpendicular separator bar to hold the straps parallel so as not to pinch the left and right steps inwards.

Is there a cutaway diagram of this area in some document online? Like a parts-manual blow-up perhaps? This might give us a clue as to how it’s attached.

Thanks again to this active COPA forum. My buddy is a full member, but he doesn’t write in. It makes me nervous as hell helping him push his airplane into the hangar, so I told him I’d write in. I suppose I could use his username/password to log in, but I really didn’t want to do that to him.


Well, holy crap! This might actually work! The hangar is probably deep enough. THANKS for a great idea! We’d just tow it in with the winch attached to the tow bar. Problem solved. Maybe.


P.S. That was in response to suicide man, “mbruno.”


in copapedia it shows how to use a winch. I have used one. I would put the tow bar on the plane normally. before attaching it, I had a piece of rope in each side of the two bar. The ropes went backward to a spreader bar and then to the winch. This allowed me to use the front lugs to pull the plane backwards. It was easy. See copapedia for the details

don henline

Hi Hal;

This is my first post to COPA. With my partner, over the past 2 years I have owned a SR22 G2 and a SR22 TAT (of course) TN G3. I have benefitted greatly from the knowledge of many of the frequent contributors to COPA. Being a COPA member has saved me considerable money and made me a safer Cirrus driver for sure. I really appreciate it. The $50 you spend on a COPA membership will easily be the best money you spend on Cirrus ownership.

Usually, I don’t have much to add as so many others are more knowledgeable. On your question maybe I can help some. Our hangar is tight with about 6" on either side. For nearly two years we used a riding lawn mower to push our plane in for the past to years. Cirri don’t push well. As a former line attendant in my youth, I think the Cirrus is the hardest plane to push I have ever moved. The tractor was scary. In the winter, the tires spun on ice, wet pavement, and sometimes dry pavement. Control was limited. It sometimes took several tries to get our Cirrus back in the nest.

I also had the opportunity to use a gas powered tow bar. The tires spun on that going up our slope and on ice it was worthless. Something needed to be done. I didn’t want to go flying anymore because of the difficulty getting the plane in the hangar.

So, I searched COPA and found some threads on winches and learned a few things. Then, I started collecting parts.

First I needed a winch. I went to Harbor Freight but couldn’t find anything I liked. I found a Dutton refurbished winch (normally $399) on the Dutton website for $140. It was strong enough and fast enough. With shipping it was $150 and I had it in 3 days. What a deal!

The refurbished models are not always available on the website. I had to check back over the course of several days to find one. But the one I got is just like new. May sure you get the AC version with a clutch.

We already had a nice Aero Tow tow bar, to which we added a couple of 1" pieces of steel tubing painted up in yellow like the tow bar. To the steel tubing we added a couple of eye bolts. Total cost maybe $20 without the tow bar.

The winch didn’t have enough wire rope, but I had some 1/4" spectra like rope lying around, so we wound a hundred feet of that on the winch. It is easier to work with than wire cable, and plenty strong.

To the rope we attached a 18" crossmember so we could run more rope, covered in plastic tubing, up to the eye bolts where it is attached to the tow bar with carbiners. Total cost about $15.

The remote cable to the winch wasn’t going to be long enough, and we didn’t like the idea of messing with the cable, so we got on Amazon and purchased a Skylink remote for $25. We rewired the switch in the remote cable to always be on and plugged the winch into the remote box, which is the small grey box you can see attached to the side of the winch. (One thing about this particular remote is that once you switch on or off you must wait 1-2 sec before pushing the button again.)

We mounted the winch to the floor under the aircraft for several reasons 1) keep the winch out of the way. 2) if something goes wrong the winch can only pull the rope to the crossmember, so the plane will never be pulled through the back wall of the hangar, and 3) to keep the remote key fob closer to the remote box.

We also mounted a couple of chocks on the floor. If the plane were to go over the first one, it would stop on the second one before the wheel pant hit the winch. The cross member will hit the winch before the plane can be pulled over the second chock.

Works like a charm. I no longer dread coming home to my hangar. Hope this helps. Stan