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Bad: Bear eats your airplane. Rad: You fix it with duct tape and fly it home.
January 14, 2010 5:38 PM   Subscribe

If a bear destroys your plane in the woods you can use duct tape to fly it home. If you're crazy. Or brave. But it's more proof that duct tape can fix anything.
posted by mattoly (88 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
If a bear destroys you plane in the woods, does it shit a sound?
posted by DU at 5:38 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, but if the Pope destroys your plane in the woods he shits "Glory Hallelujah".
posted by dunkadunc at 5:41 PM on January 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you find a stranger in the alps, can you fix the windshield of his new Corvette with duct tape?
posted by The World Famous at 5:50 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


This story's been going around the online pilot community. It's a pretty great testament to the craziness of Alaska pilots. Here's a version with a few more photos, and a link to a December 20 newspaper story confirming the event.

It's worth knowing that plane has a fabric body. That explains both how it got mauled so easily and how it wasn't batshitinsane to fix it with duct tape and saran wrap. On second thought, it's at least bearshitinsane to fix the tail that way.
posted by Nelson at 5:51 PM on January 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


If you're swimming in the pool and you feel something cool: Duct tape
posted by DU at 5:51 PM on January 14, 2010


As a musician, and particularly when on tour, duct tape has been key to my happy existence. I can't say enough good things about duct tape.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:00 PM on January 14, 2010


I actually temporarily duct taped the splash guard back to the bottom of my car after badly misjudging the height of a pile of icey snow just a few weeks ago.
posted by empath at 6:22 PM on January 14, 2010


It is clear that the TSA must add bears to the list of items not allowed on carry-on luggage.
posted by qvantamon at 6:28 PM on January 14, 2010 [12 favorites]


Duct tape can fix anything...except ducts.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:33 PM on January 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's worth knowing that plane has a fabric body. That explains both how it got mauled so easily

You'd be surprised how strong bears can be. People I know have seen them peel back corrugated iron sheeting like it was tinfoil. A metal plane body would pose no challenge to a bear whatsoever.

Incidentally, an old Canadian nickname for duct tape (which may exist in other places as well) is '100 mile an hour tape'. I've heard many stories of bush pilots fixing holes in the wings of their planes with duct tape, using the number of layers corresponding to the speed of their aircraft divided by 100. So a plane with a cruising speed of 300 knots would require three layers of duct tape to fix an unexpected gash.
posted by Dreadnought at 6:42 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Finland we call it Jesus tape, because it saves everything!
posted by zeikka at 6:47 PM on January 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


...I was aboard an Air Deccan flight from Bangalore to Mumbai. Looked out my window and what did I see, A group of guys repairing the wing with some sort of muthafcukin’ duct tape. There’s some more repairs to the left of the one they are working on with what seems to be the same technique. Crossed my fingers, tossed back a shot of Black Label, and stayed on the flight. (with video of duct taping shot from plane window)
posted by 445supermag at 6:59 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I bandage my wounds with duct tape.
posted by invitapriore at 7:00 PM on January 14, 2010


When I was in summer camp (make that "Outdoor Leadership Training") THREE different kids managed to chop themselves with axes, twice on the shin and once on the foot. The counselor's reaction? "Just wrap that with paper towels and duct tape and don't tell the director".
Of course the bandages didn't work, and the kids ended up having to go to the hospital for stitches. I envied them for getting to leave, since what had been billed as 'wilderness leadership training' turned out to be stacking firewood to Marines-style chants and being woken up with an air horn at 6AM. I suspect most of the other campers were recommended by human services.

But at least I learned that you don't use duct tape to bandage real wounds.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:08 PM on January 14, 2010


You can use it to remove warts.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:12 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But at least I learned that you don't use duct tape to bandage real wounds.

I started getting a hot spot on my foot on the first day of a five day trip in the backcountry. I slapped some duct tape on it, wore it for the next five days and it never turned into a blister.

That said, electrical ties are even more versatile and much more valuable for field repairs. Don't go anywhere without both.
posted by bondcliff at 7:28 PM on January 14, 2010


Well, dunkadunc, I beg to differ.
I once cut my finger to the bone in the wilderness and bandaged up with duct tape and a splint. It healed just fine after a couple weeks.
Except I couldn't bend my finger past 90 degrees or feel anything with it for three or four years. Without that duct tape, I probably would have gone to the doctor and had it fixed correctly.
Now where's the fun in that?
posted by Seamus at 7:31 PM on January 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Mythbusters used duct tape to lift a car, and it worked.

Eventually it failed, but it was impressive nonetheless.
posted by bwg at 7:34 PM on January 14, 2010


I used duct tape to tape my feet (to prevent blistering) during Hood to Coast relay, and also duct-taped my feet to prevent blisters when I paced at Western States for the final 38 miles.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:36 PM on January 14, 2010


When i took a disaster assistance training course, they did suggest duct tape + some absorbent material for bleeding wounds if you didn't have proper bandages. You can get duct tape nice and tight around the wound and it provides compression. Of course its not supposed replace a trip to emerg.
posted by captaincrouton at 7:49 PM on January 14, 2010


Grizzly bears have a thing for rubber tires. I don't know if it is like a doggy toy or because of some taste or smell. I've had bush pilots drop me off in some remote wilderness areas in Alaska and you really have to be careful to protect your plane. Within minutes of landing the bears are out and gnawing on the tires if you turn your back. It gives you an idea of the immense strength of their jaws that they can bite right through a tire.
posted by JackFlash at 7:49 PM on January 14, 2010


I had a friend once who made a wallet with duct tape and a sheet of plastic. True story.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:51 PM on January 14, 2010


But at least I learned that you don't use duct tape to bandage real wounds.
posted by dunkadunc


I'm a Wilderness EMT. You can definitely use duct tape to help close wounds. Wouldn't be my first choice, but its definitely doable. Superglue is another interesting option.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:52 PM on January 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


What, no wall stapler?
posted by bardic at 7:57 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Duck tape.

I used to think "duck tape" was a bastardarzation of "duct tape," but it turns out that "duck tape" was the original - military - nomenclature. (Because it works for temporary semi-amphibious kind of applications like this one.)

Of course, I am a duc(t)(k) tape-a-holic. I have used it in at least a hundred different applications. Almost all of them worked. It is a godsend to those who don't exhibit the home improvement chops demonstrated on TV.

Although now that the flip 'em real estate market has shrunk, I notice that my wife watches cooking shows rather than home improvement shows. It is a better background noise in my life. I was always afraid, during the Home Improvement Era, that she was going to get some ideas - for me....
posted by kozad at 8:04 PM on January 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


To this day, my father, who was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, refers to duct tape as "100mph tape." They used it to fix everything on the Hueys.

I bandage my wounds with duct tape.

What, no super glue in the medicine cabinet?
posted by peeedro at 8:15 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you want to upgrade your tape inventory, get Gorilla Tape- even more durable than the duct stuff. There's also a snow and ice duct tape for winter outdoors use- nice for wrapping around ski poles for emergencies.
posted by ancguy at 8:30 PM on January 14, 2010


If you want to upgrade your tape inventory, get Gorilla Tape- even more durable than the duct stuff. There's also a snow and ice duct tape for winter outdoors use- nice for wrapping around ski poles for emergencies.

A couple of years ago, I used Gorilla Tape to make a temporary repair for a friend of mine who had busted the tailpipe clamp on her car. It held the pipe in place for a 6 or 7 mile drive to a service station. I was highly impressed: duct tape would have melted, warped and failed from the heat pretty quickly, but the Gorilla tape held it together. Fantastic stuff.
posted by zarq at 8:40 PM on January 14, 2010


My two year old Rav 4 is on year 1.5 of the driver side mirror duct taped in place. It shows zero sign of wear.
posted by docpops at 8:42 PM on January 14, 2010


I routinely ham my pants with duct tape, and the cardigan I'm wearing right now is patched on one shoulder with duct tape, looking like an epaulet. You may guess, correctly, that I'm shameless.
posted by semmi at 8:59 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


semmi: "I routinely ham my pants"

Really? I can only pea my pants. Let's get together and make soup.
posted by boo_radley at 9:09 PM on January 14, 2010 [42 favorites]


If a bear destroys your plane in the woods you can use duct tape to fly it home.

Wait, so the bear is taped up and stowed inside the fuselage?
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:28 PM on January 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


woke up this morning, i had to ham my pants
woke up this morning, i had to ham my pants
but i can't find no peas, lord knows i just don't stand a chance
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:33 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Two of my go-to tapes are 1) "engine tape," or aluminum tape, it's metal tape that comes packaged like duct tape. The glue on it never dries out or turns powdery, like duct tape does in a decade or so, and it can be used in high temperature applications, like holding lamp sockets in place. 2) is what my family has always called "glass tape," it's usually labeled "strapping tape," and it's a white fiberglass material. The trick is to get that in rolls that are 1 1/2" wide or more, the hardware store often only has 1/2". Glass tape is like steel strapping. The glue on it might get a little gummy in a decade or so, but the preferred usage is to take glass tape all the way around and tape it to itself forming a band. The glass tape will stick to itself indefinitely.

The exhaust system on my sister's Saab not only rusted out, but got busted up on an icy snowbank. The car could barely run because it had lost compression. I engine taped the crap out of that and three years later it's good as new.

I've heard that there are some very aggressive high performance industrial tapes, like a double sided tape that is used to join large steel structural beams, in place of welds, bolts, or rivets. I haven't located a supplier, but haven't really tried.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:48 PM on January 14, 2010


I had a friend once who made a wallet with duct tape and a sheet of plastic. True story.familiar with that.
posted by Tube at 9:57 PM on January 14, 2010


****I'm familiar with the duct tape wallet.****
posted by Tube at 9:59 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "after" picture looks crudely photoshopped.
posted by mecran01 at 10:06 PM on January 14, 2010


As I understand it, although they're broadly similar, duct tape, gaffer's tape, and 100-MPH tape are all somewhat different. (Gaffer's tape is usually black instead of silver, for the obvious reason, and I think more fabricky?) There's also something called "Mach tape", which is used to tape instrumentation to the outsides of test aircraft; and to close the circle, NASA apparently refers to duct tape used on the Shuttle as "Mach 25 tape".
posted by hattifattener at 10:09 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) "engine tape," or aluminum tape, it's metal tape that comes packaged like duct tape.

That's the stuff that is used on ducts, i.e. for HVAC work, rather than duct tape.
posted by ssg at 10:23 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Duck Tape, Duct tape, gaffer's tape, 100 mph tape, etc. are all pretty much the same thing with different names, hattifattener. The specific colour has nothing to do with most intended end-uses, but gaffer tape is deliberately made less reflective.

Now this stuff is different.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:28 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I recently needed some "liquid electrical tape." Now that's some good stuff: paint that turns into tape.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:35 PM on January 14, 2010


Well, duck tape and duct tape are the same within epsilon, but even the link you give says that gaffer's tape is different (it has a different adhesive, a different backing, and it's a different color; that's pretty comprehensive).
posted by hattifattener at 10:50 PM on January 14, 2010


Lets' not forget the annual Stuck At Prom contest. I usually hate corporate marketing, but I find this promotion oddly appealing.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:50 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gaffers tape is also made so it can be peeled off without leaving any residue behind. Its wonderful for jerry rigging camera mounts because it doesnt mess up the electronics when you are done.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 10:52 PM on January 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Agreed, hattifattener. That's why I singled it out, but I accidentally dropped the reference to the different adhesive.

*Hangs head in shame*
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:55 PM on January 14, 2010


One night the tread separated from one of my tires while driving home on the interstate. About 12 inches of rubber had come loose and was beating against the wheel well with every revolution. It was the middle of the night and nothing was open. I duct taped the tread back in place and drove it the last 15 miles home. It was still holding the next day when I drove the car to a garage to replace the tire. My wife has never been able to determine if that was resourceful or nuts but she has never forgotten it. Duct tape is wonderful.
posted by Tashtego at 12:12 AM on January 15, 2010


Duct tape, duck tape, gaffer's tape... here in Japan it all goes by one name: "gum tape", pronounced gah-mu tay-pu.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:00 AM on January 15, 2010


So if a duck wrecks my plane... I need bear tape...?
posted by Phanx at 1:06 AM on January 15, 2010


Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side and a dark side and it holds the universe together. -- Carl Zwanzig
posted by digitaldraco at 1:59 AM on January 15, 2010


The thing to remember about duct tape and first aid (or airplane fixing or whatever):

It is one thing to say, "Hey, this will keep me from getting a drop of blood on my project and ruining the finish."

It is another thing to say, "Hey, this will keep me from passing out due to blood loss before I can make it to the emergency room."

Neither of these is anything like saying, "Hey, this is an adequate substitute for adequate diet and exercise, regular doctor visits and a highly regarded regional hospital three miles away."
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:44 AM on January 15, 2010


So a bear walks into a restaurant, sits down and orders a fabric sandwich. The waitress asks him if he wants anything on it. He says, "No, I'll have it plain."
posted by minimii at 3:52 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


...I was aboard an Air Deccan flight from Bangalore to Mumbai. Looked out my window and what did I see, A group of guys repairing the wing with some sort of muthafcukin’ duct tape.

Was it to keep out the mothafcukin' snakes?
posted by inigo2 at 5:08 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


from link: “I've known people who have used duct tape to mount a hard drive...”

Ah, yes – the old mount-a-hard-drive-using-duct-tape routine. I find this useful all the time.

mount -t vfat -o context=ducttape /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1
posted by koeselitz at 5:22 AM on January 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


As the ancient handyman saying goes: If it's stuck and it shouldn't be, use WD-40. If it isn't stuck and it should be, use duct tape.
posted by ZsigE at 5:23 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


whoops, forgot the new security restrictions around mounting, shoulda been a sudo at the beginning there, sorry
posted by koeselitz at 5:25 AM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, but was it NUCLEAR GRADE?
posted by blue_beetle at 6:16 AM on January 15, 2010


Sigh. Gaffer tape is not Duct tape is not Duck tape is not 600mph tape.

The differences between the four are two -- the strap material and the adhesive. We'll ignore the class of cheap duct tape that we can sum up as crap.

Duck Tape, as mentioned, is a fabric based, waterproof patching tape, originally made for amphibious warfare use, and picked up the name in connection with the General Motors DUKW. It patches holes. The generic form of this is now the familiar silvery fabric tape that we call duct tape. It's stretchy and gummy, has a light side, a dark side, and holds the universe together. Race Tape/200mph/Tape/100mph is just a high grade version of duck tape, used for emergency body repairs on racing cars. It works if you clean what you're taping. It falls off at about 70mph if you don't. Gorilla Tape is a trademark name of this class of tape. It's good stuff, if you want to make sure you're getting good duck tape, get this.

But those aren't duct tape. Good duct tape is metal, not fabric, and has an adhesive that can handle higher temps -- around 85C -- and that flows just a bit. Between creasing the foil and the adhesive flow, you can get an airtight seal. Fabric duct tape, being really duck tape, does a lousy job at sealing most ducting -- esp if it's a hot air duct, then the adhesive fails quickly. Thus, the "true" statement that duct tape fixes everything except ducts. And, I'm guessing, it's not very good on ducks, but is very useful on DUKWs. And, as we've seen, planes, but it wasn't the ideal material. However, this wasn't a fast plane, and so it worked.

Gaffer's tape is different that duct tape. It's a stronger fabric, and very different adhesive, because Duck Tape is designed to seal a hole and resist water, while Gaff is designed to hold things down, then lift clean with no surface damage -- I've seen things taped to wallpaper, and then removed, with no damage. Good gaffer tape is *expensive* and *irreplaceable* at what it does. Gaffer tape, good or bad, is in no way water resistant. Do not patch your DUKW with gaffers tape. Do not gaff down anything that must stay there for years. Indeed, do not repair your airplane with gaffer's tape. Tape down the power cord to the aircraft radio with gaffers tape. Gaffer tape is a *temporary* solution, it excels at such, but will fail badly in the long term.

600mph tape is known in the aircraft trade as speed tape. It has a similar, but slight thicker and softer, aluminum backing as duct tape, but has the mother of all adhesives -- when placed and burnished onto an aircraft wing, it doesn't come off. I've been told (and only sort of believe) a procedure for patching holes in honeycomb aluminum helicopter rotors with this stuff, the important parts being that you must wrap all the way around, the top edge of the tape must face to the trailing side, and that you must then go apply the same length of tape to the opposite rotor in the same spot. Speed tape isn't structural, but it will seal holes and will keep them sealed in flight, and properly applied speed tape is a legal fix for many airfoil holes and dings. Look around when you are flying, you'll find a number of planes over time with a bit of speed tape on them to cover a gap in the skin until the next regular maintenance check that's long enough to replace the part with the hole.
posted by eriko at 6:18 AM on January 15, 2010 [53 favorites]


>Lets' not forget the annual Stuck At Prom contest.

Those kids are awesome for wearing duct tape suits and dresses to prom, but that had to have been the sweatiest night of their lives. I mean, being swathed in an impenetrable shell of duct tape combined with vigorous dancing? Anyone have any experience with this? What's it like?
posted by ekroh at 6:23 AM on January 15, 2010


whoops, forgot the new security restrictions

In this case you don't need the sudo, because the use of ducttape makes it work even when it logically shouldn't.
posted by Dreadnought at 6:31 AM on January 15, 2010


Can someone please cite the DUKW etymology? It's being bandied about as if it were gospel, but Wikipedia does not even mention that theory.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:15 AM on January 15, 2010


If you go down to the woods today...
posted by pracowity at 7:18 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's the handyman's secret weapon!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:22 AM on January 15, 2010


Phanx: "So if a duck wrecks my plane... I need bear tape...?"

Dunno if that would help much.
posted by idiopath at 7:39 AM on January 15, 2010


Dunno if that would help much.

That was caused by explosives, not a duck.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:53 AM on January 15, 2010


Friend of mine was a huey pilot in Vietnam and talked about patching bullet holes in rotors with speed tape. eriko has a nice breakdown, above, between the different types of awesome tape we're talking about.

I've repaired a whitewater kayak with plain 'ol silver duct tape. It's tough to get anything to stick to the rotomolded kayak plastic, but if with pressure and a little heat (hair dryer), you can form a pretty kickass patch.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:19 AM on January 15, 2010


Many (many) myths have been shattered since I started working at NASA, but one of the worst was this: apparently duct tape doesn't work in a vacuum.

I don't think I slept that night after finding that out...
posted by zap rowsdower at 8:21 AM on January 15, 2010


It's tough to get anything to stick to the rotomolded kayak plastic, but if with pressure and a little heat (hair dryer), you can form a pretty kickass patch.

Trick I learned working in an injection molding plant some 25 years ago. We were molding and printing on buckets. You can't print on a newly molded plastic bucket, even once you clean off the mold release. There's nothing for the paint to grab onto -- turns out (obvious to me now, but not then, I was young) that paint sticking to a surface is primarily a mechanic bond.

So, we'd put the bucket on a spinning jig, which would slowly rotated the bucket a couple of times -- about 20rpm, IIRC -- over a flame. It wasn't a blowtorch, but a wide set of nozzles making a soft flame like a stove (but a little taller.) The buckets would feel just a little warm after this, certainly not hot. But what the flame did was put a bunch of micropits and cracks into the surface of the plastic. And that gave the paint something to bond to, and it stuck.

So, next time, hit the spot with heat first -- or a soft flame -- then try patching. I suspect it'll grab much quicker.
posted by eriko at 8:43 AM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Heat works great getting the tape to bond, but I've tried heating and patching with the same plastic (cut from the cockpit rim of the kayak), and it's tough goings. The main issue is that if it gets too hot, when the plastic cools it gets brittle, which means that instead of a thin crack you get a hole in your boat the next time you hit a rock. Usually the cracks are really thin, so the easiest fix is to drill out both ends of the crack so that it doesn't spread, then use heat and pressure to apply overlapping strips of tape to the inside of the boat.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:01 AM on January 15, 2010


Well, that isn't as crazy as it looks. None of the really important surfaces appear to be damaged and the plane appears to be a good old Piper Super Cub , an extremely rustic plane designed with just this sort of situation in mind. The metal tube structure visible in the first picture is what really carries all stresses and the fabric covering is just that, fabric. It would possibly fly just as well without it (wings and tail excepted), although it would then possibly be a bit drafty inside.
posted by Skeptic at 9:06 AM on January 15, 2010


Ow, I've now seen the other pictures, showing the flat tyres and the damage to the tailplane. That's more annoying, although the pilot didn't fix those with duct tape.
posted by Skeptic at 9:11 AM on January 15, 2010


kozad : it turns out that "duck tape" was the original - military - nomenclature.

I was just coming in here to say the same thing. I only recently discovered this fact and was sorta amazed that I'd had it wrong for so long.

I always keep a roll handy in my trunk along with a roll of electric tape and a coil of rope. Between them, I can bind or repair damn near anything.

There is a cluttered, weird place near the Wisconsin Dells named Delaney's Surplus. I wandered into it a few years ago just to look at all the strange gears and tools and stuff, and I saw that they had an entire shelf of duck(t) tape. Every imaginable color of the rainbow, even mirror finished, and clear, it was like going for a hike and finding a freakin' treasure chest in the woods.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I bought a lot of tape that day. (Unfortunately, the one thing they didn't carry was gaffer's tape. Which is a shame, because that goes for a premium around here and I'd have love to have found a low cost source.)
posted by quin at 9:14 AM on January 15, 2010


Huge fan of duct tape. Was amused when I thought it was mistakenly called "duck tape". Now I know better. Thanks eriko. Dang, the cool and unexpected things one learns here never ceases to amaze me. Sweet repair on the plane. Nice post.
posted by nickyskye at 9:14 AM on January 15, 2010


It is clear that the TSA must add bears to the list of items not allowed on carry-on luggage.

Until that happens feel free to bring a bear onboard a plane in your carry-on.

If you dare!
posted by tommasz at 9:15 AM on January 15, 2010


This must be the thread where I can confess my delight this week upon learning that electrical tape comes in a low-temp version. I nearly did a jig right there in the Home Depot aisle!

I keep chickens, and their nest box is a square bucket laid on its side. To keep the shavings from being kicked out of the nest, I tape a small bit of scrap wood across the opening to create a 2" lip.

Other people use duct tape around their chickens, I guess, but mine relentlessly pick at the little fibers until the tape comes off. I had resorted to electrical tape, which (being smooth) does not excite their little chicken imaginations.

Unfortunately over the winter it's been unusually cold here in Washington. It turns out that when it gets below about 40 degrees, electrical tape will fail to stick to the sides of an ancient filthy plastic bucket. (Who knew?!)

I had been struggling with this for about a month before I found the low-temp tape, which is good down to -20 F. And lo, it continues to stick! No more re-sticking the fallen bits of tape every afternoon when I go out to collect the eggs!

(Now granted, a lot of people would have just bought a new square-sided bucket, and cut off 3/4ths of the lid. Me? I refuse just on principle.)
posted by ErikaB at 9:25 AM on January 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


If that plane isn't experimental, I believe that the FAA requires repairs to be made by a certified A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) mechanic, using approved and certified repair techniques only.

Since they flew out the duct tape and sheeting , it doesn't seem like the situation was emergent, so if the FAA sees this blog post the pilot may loose his license.

Am I wrong? I really am curious how this plays from a regulatory standpoint.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:31 AM on January 15, 2010


Am I wrong? I really am curious how this plays from a regulatory standpoint.

You're not wrong, but I can tell you're also not an Alaskan. Much less an Alaskan bush pilot. What is this "regulatory" that you speak of?
posted by ErikaB at 9:34 AM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Am I wrong? I really am curious how this plays from a regulatory standpoint.

I think they'd have to prove that he flew the aircraft in that state. That picture is (unfortunately) missing. Plus, even in the FAA you may find somebody with a sense of humour.
posted by Skeptic at 9:45 AM on January 15, 2010


I nearly did a jig right there in the Home Depot aisle!

I just found clear electric tape at the hardware store. Clear electric tape.

It's like we're living in the future. (I also danced.)
posted by quin at 10:18 AM on January 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cattle will eat the fabric envelope--covering--off aircraft. They seem to like the taste of the traditional "dope" used with linen aircraft coverings. Pilots had to be very careful when leaving a fabric aircraft in a field as they might return to a well-munched plane.

Today's polyurethane fabric systems apparently are not as attractive to cows.
posted by bz at 10:21 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe the proper way for the pilot to fly the jury-rigged airplane is with a ferry permit. Here's a a description of the process. Basically you ask the FAA in writing for special permission to fly the plane to somewhere where it can be fixed. Then you can only fly in daytime good weather, no passengers, etc. Apparently one of the requirements is a certified mechanic has to inspect the plane before you take off, which sounds impractical in this case.

And yeah, I can't imagine a rough-n-ready Alaska pilot giving a shit about the regulations. Happily, there's a lot of common sense built in to the FAA regs. As long as you are only endangering yourself and aren't being appallingly stupid, pilots have a lot of discretion. Assuming you don't care about insurance, of course.
posted by Nelson at 10:58 AM on January 15, 2010


What do you do when you get into a lunar fender bender? Apparently, duck-tape the rover back together and carry on.

I had no idea the moon was so close to Atlanta.
posted by pwnguin at 11:33 AM on January 15, 2010


Thanks for the clarifications!

I guess my main wonder was how much hurt he was opening himself up to if an FAA stickler came across his blog admitting he flew the plane in that state. Apparently some, but such a thing is not likely to happen due to A) Alaska is different B) the FAA has a sense of humor or is OK with regulations being broken as long as following them is impractical.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 12:00 PM on January 15, 2010


There are specific exemptions in the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations) for Alaska and Hawaii. (A couple that I remember are about overloading, which is ok to some extent in AK -- and about cross-country flight requirements in HI.)
posted by phliar at 1:45 PM on January 15, 2010


"Hi there. I want to talk to you about ducts."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:50 PM on January 15, 2010


For wounds? Duct tape is for amateurs (and has been posted, spotty track record).

Crazy glue.

I've glued myself together before - stitch-requiring gash (wash wound, pinch wound close, crazy glue all over where stitches would go, let dry), and it healed well enough that the scar's faded after a few years. After having stitches in my face pop open, I suspect that a well patterned glue treatment is more structurally sound than stitches, especially where the skin is thinner and is prone to more stretching.

My dad put a big assed cobbler's awl through his hand by accident - he pulled it back out (luckily not nicking any tendons), sprayed liquid bandage* on both sides, let it dry, and went right back to work.

I recall reading about various military organizations circa the Vietnam war experimenting with cyanoacrylamide (crazy glue) as field stitching, but had issues with sterility, which is surprising given that a good dose of gamma would sterilize the glue. Maybe it has to do with that stitches allow a certain amount of 'leakage' (of pus, with bacteria swallowed macrophages/monocytes). Dunno.

*essentially crazy glue
posted by porpoise at 9:28 PM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


With a big enough lever Archimedes could move the world, but with a big enough roll of duct tape we could stop him.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:24 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. I remember reading that crazy glue was originally designed for gluing skin after surgery, although Wikipedia does not agree. Last year, my son got a bad cut on his forehead caused by walking into a golf club wielded by his brother. The Dr cleaned it and glued the edges together. The glue was still there six weeks later, and, barely a scar.
posted by sneebler at 8:54 PM on January 16, 2010


"Genius" didn't know that fish in the plane = bear attraction yet "genius" can fix a plane with duct tape and fly it.

Ironic genius.
posted by stormpooper at 9:20 AM on January 19, 2010


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