How to Pull a Camper and a Glider to a Contest

It all started with a simple principle; if you are going to do it, it has to be overboard.

The evolution of my tow vehicles: My first tow vehicle was an Econo line van, blue, white, and rust. With a window air conditioner mounted in the passenger window for camping in Waynesville OH. The common trend for the elite is an oversized RV with a diesel engine, towing long skinny white trailers. With a large RV, the worse thing is driving your house around the grid and towing the glider out to the line. This is where my parents' fantasy of retirement comes in; their 5th wheel you could leave set up in camp, and have a truck to drive around the airport. However that requires three cars for my brother's and my summer road trip. This is where “Bo” comes in. Bo stands for Behemoth.

Weekend Warrior makes a 40 plus 5 foot 5th wheel, not your ordinary travel 5th wheel, but a toy hauler, meaning the whole back opens up into a ramp and there is a garage. There was a small wall with a door separating the garage and the living area. However a Cobra trailer is too long to fit in the garage, and the wall was the first thing to go. There was a wine cabinet that was alsoin the way. After a few days of modifications, my Cobra trailer rolled into the 5th wheel. But as I said before there are only two of us. So how do we get Boyd’s Discus A in there too? Upside down and backwards of course. Now we are down to 0ne car, one 5th wheel, 0ne Cobra trailer, and two gliders.

Once the Nimbus is de-rigged and put in the trailer, we remove the tail and canopy of the Discus and place them in a safe place, raise the gear, and place the fuselage in a dolly. Then we remove the wings and mount them to the outside of my Cobra trailer. Then lift the fuselage up and flip it upside down, and walk it tail first into Bo. There is a small saw horse that the canopy rail sits on, on the top bed. We then secure the canopy and tail. Then get the electric winch out, run the spectra out the door and attach to the axel of the Cobra trailer. At first we thought the winch goes really slowly; however ,when the trailer is loaded with unprotected wings and a very small margin of error….it goes way too fast.

At first we thought the winch was unnecessary, and that we would just push it. However. when it took four people struggling to get the empty trailer into Bo, we realized the winch was a great investment. With years of dreaming, this became reality less than two weeks before the Open/Standard Class Nationals in 2009. My parents decided to buy a 5th wheel for “it’s time to take a vacation” from the airport. We had to get Class A driver licenses, outfit Bo to carry the Discus and trailer, and modify the Cobra trailer to fit the Discus.

Some advice to anyone who may attempt this: The ( glider ) trailer MUST be raised so the tires are off the ground; on the return trip we blocked the axle and let out the air in the tires. The ride in Bo is very smooth and the ( glider ) trailer tires were directly over Bo’s tires; however, the light bouncing in Bo was amplified through the Cobra shocks. A jack ended up coming through the bottom of the trailer and scuffed an outer wing panel. The rudder suffered a worse fate and some of the trailing edge was removed. It was a sinking feeling when we opened the back of Bo to find fiberglass filings on the ground, and to see a hole in the bottom of the trailer.

This is the ultimate glider trailer. It brings a new meaning to "You can’t fly your house, but you can live in the trailer."

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  6 comments for “How to Pull a Camper and a Glider to a Contest

  1. Robin Clark
    January 22, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Wow! My fantasy executed. It looks marvelous. Thanks so much for posting your story and photos. I'm looking forward to seeing it in person some time.

    • Garret Willat
      January 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Well you have heard the saying that everything in the USA is bigger…well….just want to prove the stereotype. There are 4 Queen beds and 1 full bed. A shower that you can stand and move in, 150gallon (567liters) freshwater tank, refrigerator and freezer that are large by European standards, 32TV so you can have a wicked game of Tennis on the Wii, the garage alone is for a full size car. We did have to get a different license to drive it, as we roll down the road at about 26,000+lbs (11,800kg). It is the same length as a lot of semi trucks, so you cannot drive it down small streets on a retrieve. Which is why we have the trailer inside. If we made an aluminum box to slide in like you see containers shipped to Namibia, we could easily get another glider or 2.

  2. May 27, 2012 at 10:13 am

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