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Old Dec 31, 2004, 03:08 PM
LiPo Suction Specialist
JDCochran's Avatar
Atlanta Hartsfield, Georgia, United States
Joined Apr 2002
1,667 Posts
What Vehicle Is Your Favorite to Transport Your Planes (and why)?

I'm in the market in 2005 for a new (or late-model used) vehicle. I'd like a medium-sized wagon-type or mid-sized SUV.

What's your favorite?

Pics of how you transport your planes would be appreciated. Also, pics of how you've integrated any storage racks/bins or charging stations into the interior would also help me decide.

A Hummer is not an option, by the way.


-- John
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 04:03 PM
jrb's Avatar
Edina, MN, USA
Joined Oct 1999
11,556 Posts
Here’s a shot of my 92 Explorer; I’ve also got a 2004. These are the planes I took to our E Fly-In in 03; lin 04 I took even some more and larger planes ( www.marcee.org ).

Wings ( Cub is one piece 82” ) hang just below the headliner.

Large fuselages on the floor of the storage area.

And, many others can travel on top off the roll-up luggage/cargo cover; a 2nd deck!

The Explorer is wide enough that I can eve get a fuselage crossways, just behind the front seat(s). I hauled my Mustang and American Flyer in that position.

The 92 is slightly smaller than the 04, so I’m sure it will do even better.

Haven’t as of yet, but I might need to use the roof rack sometime.
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 04:05 PM
Visitor from Reality
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
12,788 Posts
I've run a VW Passat for five years. Kind of unusual spec - 2.8 V6, with a five speed manual gearbox. Reliable as you'd like, quiet on the road, performance in terms of speed - 'adequate', handling - I drive the fun part at the front end, let the boring wagon bit follow on behind. MPG over the last 1500 or so mixed town & country driving is a little over 27 average - it has a fairly comprehensive driving function computer.

Hauls all of my models, up to the 84" Cub in my avatar with indifference. Very configurable load bed with a low loading height - it has more load bed area than my neighbour's baby Lexus SUV, and is easier to load also.

Best hauling trick was on a two week camping trip. Put a big box on the roofrack, with a bike on either side, filled up the box with light camping gear, the back of the wagon with heavy stuff. Knocked the MPG down, maybe 1 or 2 MPG. Has the great advantage over SUVs of a much lower roofline, I don't need a stepladder to reach the room, at 67" and a bit ...

Vehicle has two power points in the loadbed, but I haul a big RV battery for field recharging - ain't charging 16 jugs at 5A through a cig lighter, no way. I found two flat ssectioned rubber luggage hold-downs that just reach across the car between the pairs of front and rear grab handles. Slip wings over the hold-downs, just under the roof. Fuselages go in the back seat area. Wifey has thing about re-building the car interior for aircraft carrying, and I'm too idle to go building complex custom racks - YYMV

VW dealers seem to stock the high end Passats now, with '4Motion' AWD - it's Audi's well proven Quattro under another badge. Costs a lot, ups the weight of the car. Hardly worth the cost and effort over front wheel drive standard, if you can drive properly and know when to stay home in snow / ice. Still, many punters have been convinced that they 'need' FWD, and it does increase the profit margin. Live just outside DC, so snow is only a temporary problem.

If I had to go out and replace her right now, would get another, but possibly with auto trans as the traffic around DC is bad, getting worse.

I won't say a thing about Stupid Useless Vehicles - might upset those folk who like top-heavy converted trucks with lousy fuel consumption

Hope that helps.

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Old Dec 31, 2004, 04:07 PM
I like cheese...
Whizwaz's Avatar
Bloomington, IN
Joined Sep 2001
846 Posts
Back a couple months ago, this poor little Honda Element was on its way to Virginia from Indiana.
After stopping in Maryland, there were three F5B planes, two F5J planes, all the support equipment, and two pilots. Still a little room to spare! -- John P

Can't find that particluar photo, but you can see there is room to fit nearly anything.
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 04:10 PM
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Pat Daily's Avatar
United States, VA, Chesterfield
Joined Mar 2001
5,483 Posts
Hard to beat a good minivan--I have worn out 3 of them --1 Aerostar and 2 Windstars. They are very comfortable, quiet, fast and can haul a load of planes. Looking for my 4th one.

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Old Dec 31, 2004, 04:21 PM
LiPo Suction Specialist
JDCochran's Avatar
Atlanta Hartsfield, Georgia, United States
Joined Apr 2002
1,667 Posts
Thanks, guys. Great ideas. Keep 'em coming.

I'm considering making this a contest. If I choose your suggestion, you, yes you, can help me with the down payment.


-- John
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 04:51 PM
Andy W's Avatar
Marietta, GA
Joined Jun 1999
43,312 Posts
My '97 Dodge Caravan is a great model mover. With only the two front seats in place, you can get 8' wings in no problem..
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 05:22 PM
Master of the figure 9
Old Man's Avatar
United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined May 2004
2,682 Posts
My wife has a 96 Buick Roadmaster Station Wagon which was a dealers demo car. It has all of the bells and whistles and at 102,000 miles it will still spin the back tires. It is a great car it has a LT1 350 V8 and rear wheel drive. The kids tried to get her to trade it for a new car but she refuses to sell her baby. YES! Granted, we fly park flyers, but it will haul everything we need for a day of indoor or outdoor flying.

My oldest son (#1) drives a Chevy Tahoe which will haul all of our gear as well. The next oldest (#2) drive a Toyota pickup. I keep trying to talk him into getting a camper shell so that he can drive to the flying field but, he thinks that I should pay for it. WRONG again bucko.

I am glad that there are two large cars in our fleet because my little ZX3 focus is limited, even with the back seat folded down. But it does get 28 mpg an is easy to park on campus.
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 05:46 PM
Will fly for food
Joined Sep 2004
8,424 Posts
01 Jeep Grand Cherokee, just drop the seats and toss them in the back.
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 06:15 PM
Registered User
crashingagain's Avatar
Joined Nov 2003
964 Posts
My wife's Dodge Magnum. Big cargo area. Seats fold down for extra room. Gets there fast.
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 06:16 PM
Florida Flyer
Joined Aug 2003
120 Posts
Have two vehicles for plane hauling. My newest is my 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee. On many winter trips to Florida we have hauled all of the "useless" stuff my wife wants to bring like clothes and pots and pans as well as a large pet enclosure for our cat and then hung a couple of 2 meter plus glider wings and fuses from the roof on bungie cords. Oh Yeah, in my Reese hitch i put a platform on which I bolted a pickup truck type square tool box. plastic type. In that goes a couple of more planes plus radios batteries tools etc. Also bring my complete shop tool and parts supply in one of Home Depot type rolling plastic double stacked tool boxes.
Now for the second one I picked up a 94 Buick Roadmaster that with the seats put down can haul a 4?8 sheet of plywood without the tail gate open. Haven't yet exceeded it's capacity on the way to the field with a few planes and all my gear. My ex-boss had one just like it and drove it for years with loads of gear and just sold it to another buddy for a Florida model aircraft car. Can't beat em, and you VW types who rag on about fuel consumption need to consider the value of the models vs the safe transport these tanks provide without cramming anything in and dinging wings, fuses, tails etc.
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 06:17 PM
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Herleman's Avatar
Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
Joined Nov 2003
1,524 Posts
My 2003 CRV has become my favorite vehicle for any purpose.

It hauls five airplanes pretty easily on a rack that is almost a duplicate of the one in the Element in Whizwaz' posting #4.

I also have a 4X6 Haulmark enclosed trailer that I pull with the CRV. The trailer cal haul an amazing amount of stuff.

My CRV averages about 27 mpg (its a stick, I hear the automatics get better gas mileage in town and worse on the highway).

I've got about 50K on it and so far my only replacement cost has been for wiper blades.
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 06:41 PM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar
Telford, UK
Joined Feb 2000
7,522 Posts
At the other end of the spectrum, I have the worst possible car for transporting models. It's small, totally non-secure and can just be seen under it's payload...

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Old Dec 31, 2004, 06:57 PM
Registered User
Kevin Murray's Avatar
USA, NC, Greenville
Joined Dec 1999
9,273 Posts
Tim - What is that and do all those planes realy fit in there ?

In one trip ?
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Old Dec 31, 2004, 07:01 PM
rroback's Avatar
Los Angeles, CA (UCLA)
Joined Nov 2002
3,889 Posts
Honda element. I got one. It's great, it's plastic, so I can make a mess, and it cleans up easy.

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