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Socata Rallye 235C - towing operation experiences



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 23rd 05, 03:41 PM
Artur Rutkowski
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Default Socata Rallye 235C - towing operation experiences

Hi,

Is here anybody who has experience with Socata Rally 235 as tow-plane?
Have you been flying this plane as tow-plane or being towed behind? What
are pros and cons? How does this plane look in comparison to competitors
like Pawnee, Maule, Husky, Wilga, Robin and so on.
I'll appreciate any relevant information because my airclub is
considering purchase of such a plane and we don't want to "miss"

Artur
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  #2  
Old February 23rd 05, 06:01 PM
JC
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On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 16:41:42 +0100, Artur Rutkowski
wrote:

Hi,

Is here anybody who has experience with Socata Rally 235 as tow-plane?
Have you been flying this plane as tow-plane or being towed behind? What
are pros and cons? How does this plane look in comparison to competitors
like Pawnee, Maule, Husky, Wilga, Robin and so on.
I'll appreciate any relevant information because my airclub is
considering purchase of such a plane and we don't want to "miss"

Artur


I used a Socata Rallye 235E for 5 years in a commercial glider
operation. I liked it very much. It has excellent power and great
visibility.

There are two weak points to the aircraft. The first is the shimmy
damper for the nose wheel. Here is a link to more info on the
problem:
http://www.aviline.com/rallye/shimmy/

Basically the shimmy damper is little small for the job it is being
asked to do and needs to be looked after quite closely. Do not let
the hydraulic fluid in it get low. (The machined block of aluminum
that holds the pistons in the damper cost $1,060 US 5 years ago.)

The second recurring problem was a leak in the fuel tanks. I had a
fuel tank leak about every two years I operated the plane. The
previous operator of the plane, who was also towing gliders had two or
three fuel tank leaks in the 7 years he operated it.

This is my theory on what causes the problem The tanks are aluminum.
The leading edge slats that come out at slow flight have support arms
that go through tubes in the tanks. As the wing flexes it tends to
concentrate the flexing at the bottom of the tube closest to
fuselage. Over time the flexing causes a pin hole crack in the weld
at the bottom of the tube. Both of the leaks I had were in this area.

The tanks are not that difficult to remove. The leading edge slats
needs to be removed and the tank comes out the end of the wing.

I am not sure how common this was with other Rallyes. We tried to get
the towplane down quickly after tows, so the towpilots would do a
power on spiral to get down. This would put at least 2.5gs on the
plane as it was letting down.

I do not know where you are located. Used parts are difficult to
locate in the United States. However there is a Socata dealer in the
US that stocks many Rallye parts. In a rush they will have parts
shipped overnight from France, but you will pay dearly for the
service.

I was able to locate some used parts in England and had them shipped
over. However the Freight Forwarding company in the US took much
longer to move the parts in the US and do the paper work (10 days)
than it took to get the parts from England to the US (2 days). Though
I think a better freight forwarding company could have managed the
problem more quickly.


There is a Rallye Owners web page at:
http://www.flyrallye.com/

  #3  
Old February 23rd 05, 06:10 PM
Chris Reed
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I've been towed behind a Rallye in Spain in an LS4 (hot but not a
particularly high airfield at 2,000 ft amsl), but I can't recall whether
it was a 235. The tow was fine - less powerful than a Pawnee but much
more positive than the Citabria we use at my home club in the UK.

Chris Reed
  #4  
Old February 23rd 05, 07:00 PM
Artur Rutkowski
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JC wrote:

On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 16:41:42 +0100, Artur Rutkowski
wrote:


Hi,

Is here anybody who has experience with Socata Rally 235 as tow-plane?
Have you been flying this plane as tow-plane or being towed behind? What
are pros and cons? How does this plane look in comparison to competitors
like Pawnee, Maule, Husky, Wilga, Robin and so on.
I'll appreciate any relevant information because my airclub is
considering purchase of such a plane and we don't want to "miss"

Artur



I used a Socata Rallye 235E for 5 years in a commercial glider
operation. I liked it very much. It has excellent power and great
visibility.

There are two weak points to the aircraft. The first is the shimmy
damper for the nose wheel. Here is a link to more info on the
problem:
http://www.aviline.com/rallye/shimmy/

Basically the shimmy damper is little small for the job it is being
asked to do and needs to be looked after quite closely. Do not let
the hydraulic fluid in it get low. (The machined block of aluminum
that holds the pistons in the damper cost $1,060 US 5 years ago.)


We (airclub) are considering taildragger, it shouldn't have such
problems, should it ? ;-)

I do not know where you are located. Used parts are difficult to
locate in the United States. However there is a Socata dealer in the
US that stocks many Rallye parts. In a rush they will have parts
shipped overnight from France, but you will pay dearly for the
service.


It shall be easier for as we are located in Poland, Europe. It's quiet
close to manufacturer in France, not mentioning polish licensed
manufacturers (PZL for example).


Could you describe its performance in towing operations like ground roll
and rate of climb ?

Thanks for previous info.

Artur
  #5  
Old February 24th 05, 06:00 PM
JVM
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Hello!

I have a certain experience of this beast in France, and, to add to
what has been told already, I would say that this is a relatively
complex airplane from a manufacturing standpoint, and this adds to the
maintenance costs.
As a towplane, it is quite a good performer, especially with Nimbus 4,
ASH-25 and the like, and not far from a 235 Pawnee, but with the
capability to cruise a lot faster, and to carry four persons, which
may be useful.
If you use the standard tricycle gear version, beware of the propeller
which stands very close to the ground, especially with a tired forward
shock absorber. In my club where the ground is very rocky (Vinon in
France) we have damaged at least three Hartzell propellers this way...
If you can seize the opportunity to get one of the unfortunately
ultra-rare classic gear A/C, this problem will disappear, as the
propeller is a good 12 inches higher from the ground! The other
advantage of the classic gear A/C is obviously the disappearance of
the shimmy problem, and also that it is very easy to fly and land, as
the ship is quite tail-heavy, so it is almost impossible to nose over.

JV Masset


On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 16:41:42 +0100, Artur Rutkowski
wrote:

Hi,

Is here anybody who has experience with Socata Rally 235 as tow-plane?
Have you been flying this plane as tow-plane or being towed behind? What
are pros and cons? How does this plane look in comparison to competitors
like Pawnee, Maule, Husky, Wilga, Robin and so on.
I'll appreciate any relevant information because my airclub is
considering purchase of such a plane and we don't want to "miss"

Artur


  #6  
Old February 24th 05, 06:07 PM
JVM
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Sorry, I forgot to say that most of my experience is with the 235E.
The 235C was the classig gear agricultural version, and almost unknown
in France (only one towing in Toulouse, to my knowledge, and the odd
unit as a spay plane). I have flown a little bit the classic gear
version of the 235E, which is virtually indentical airframe-wise to
the 235C, except that it has four seats instead of two.

JVM



On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 16:41:42 +0100, Artur Rutkowski
wrote:

Hi,

Is here anybody who has experience with Socata Rally 235 as tow-plane?
Have you been flying this plane as tow-plane or being towed behind? What
are pros and cons? How does this plane look in comparison to competitors
like Pawnee, Maule, Husky, Wilga, Robin and so on.
I'll appreciate any relevant information because my airclub is
considering purchase of such a plane and we don't want to "miss"

Artur


  #7  
Old February 24th 05, 07:20 PM
Robert Ehrlich
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Artur Rutkowski wrote:

Hi,

Is here anybody who has experience with Socata Rally 235 as tow-plane?
Have you been flying this plane as tow-plane or being towed behind? What
are pros and cons? How does this plane look in comparison to competitors
like Pawnee, Maule, Husky, Wilga, Robin and so on.
I'll appreciate any relevant information because my airclub is
considering purchase of such a plane and we don't want to "miss"

Artur


Almost all glider clubs in France use one or more Rallye for aero tow.
IIRC the Army made a gift of them to the clubs or sold them for a very
low price when they didn't use them any more. I never saw a towing Rallye
with less than 180 HP, although some of them have more HPs, so I guess that
180 HP is the minimum for towing operations. My club has a 180 HP Rallye,
we use it as few as possible since we have also a Super Dimona which tows
as well with only 115 HP, and the Rallye now has very few hours before
the next major overhaul, and we are not sure we will do this major overhaul,
considering the age of the airplane. This is fairly representative of the
general feeling about Rallyes : good tow plane, but a real flying airbrake,
so you need power, and they are aging, so the maintenance costs money.

Before the Dimona we had a Robin and every tow pilot preferred the Robin,
I think it has a better aerodynamic and a better power/weight ratio.

Amog the pros, one of them I hope you never need, but we used it: the wing
tips are easy to remove, we had to do it when it landed in the next field
after an engine failure just after take-off and we had to take it back by the
road which has a bridge over it somewhere with a width just a little lower
than the wing span of the Rallye.
  #8  
Old February 24th 05, 07:50 PM
Stefan
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Artur Rutkowski wrote:

Is here anybody who has experience with Socata Rally 235 as tow-plane?
Have you been flying this plane as tow-plane or being towed behind? What
are pros and cons? How does this plane look in comparison to competitors
like Pawnee, Maule, Husky, Wilga, Robin and so on.


We have a 180 hp Rallye and a 180 hp Husky. The Husky climbs somewhat
better, but the Rallye can be descended faster, so the net effect over
the whole tow cancels more or less.

This said: The tendency goes clearly towards towiing with the new high
tech ultralights. We did the comparison and found that a Remos G-3 with
100 hp tows as well as a Husky with 180 hp. Yes, even two seaters. (The
pictures at http://www.ecolight.ch/NewFiles/schlepp3_d.html show the
situation at the end of a 600 meter grass strip, which slopes slightly
upwards for the first 250 meters and was rather soft that day.) And I
seem to recall that Poland usually has large airfields and isn't
particularly blessed with mountains. The tow may take a minute or two
more, but is still much cheaper. And the neighbours will love it!

Stefan
  #9  
Old February 24th 05, 08:47 PM
Artur Rutkowski
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Thanks for all info!!! It's very useful as I have no experience with
tow-planes other than Wilga,Yak 12 or Zlin :-)

Could anybody provide more specific figures about performance of Rallye
235C version - especially climb rate and take-off run with heavy glider,
and fuel consumption during tow operations (I heard something about
75l/h !!!)

Artur
  #10  
Old February 26th 05, 03:00 PM
JVM
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On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 21:47:27 +0100, Artur Rutkowski
wrote:

Thanks for all info!!! It's very useful as I have no experience with
tow-planes other than Wilga,Yak 12 or Zlin :-)

Could anybody provide more specific figures about performance of Rallye
235C version - especially climb rate and take-off run with heavy glider,
and fuel consumption during tow operations (I heard something about
75l/h !!!)

Artur



A properly adjusted MS235E should use around 55l/h fuel on average for
towing. If you get to 60l/h you have a carburettor mixture problem...I
got this number quite consistently over the years. I suppose the 235C
might do a tad better because of the lower drag classical gear, and
its interior is lighter than the 235E interior (2 seats only, simpler
avionics...).
I do not know precisely the performance numbers for towing, but I
would say 3,5 m/s for an ASH 25, and 5 m/s for standard gliders are
close to the truth. The take-off run is about 250 m with an ASH 25, 15
m high run around 400 m on a field 300 m high.
I have often towed ASH and Nimbus 3/4D out of a 650 m long field at
1300 m (Sollières if Robert knows :-)) )altitude without undue worry,
and without wind...

Amically,

JVM
 




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