So I have these cute little yellow chocks. They are steel, perforated with large holes to keep the weight down, and low profile. The wheel pants on the Diamondstar come down closer to the tarmac than most wheel pants. That makes them more aerodynamic and makes the plane faster, but it also means that when the line man at the FBO puts the regular size wooden chocks against the wheels the wheel pants actually sit upon them a little. And then the wind shifts the plane a little, and the wheel pants crack. (Carbon fiber, fiberglass… not cheap to repair.) So now I have my own set for traveling and I pull them out whenever I park at an airport away from home. That’s worked perfectly. Back at KSMO I had the slightly heavier yellow set, still low enough profile for the wheel pants. They must be too difficult to see because twice when I have been away from home on a trip someone has run over them. I leave them in the tie down, set so that I can back the plane right up onto one and switch the other into place in front. I came back from one trip and two of the four were squashed flat. It could have been the fuel truck visiting another plane. It could have been the Santa Monica police SUV that patrols the airport twenty-four hours a day. It could have been another pilot using my tie down as a parking spot for a little while. I took them down to my repair shop and they hammered them back into shape on a vice. Another couple months and it happened again. I left them mostly-squashed since they were still usable as chocks. Then I parked the plane overnight and one of the tires was flat the next day. I don’t know if that was because the wheel was able to roll over the chock a little, or if there was debris I rolled over on a taxiway, but it made me want to fix the chocks.
Actually, it made me want to have someone else fix them. I gave them to my friend Art. He got them hammered flat, but he also said, “I have something better,” and he showed up with two pair of wooden chocks he had made. I had the person who was painting our house paint them white. Then I got some fluorescent orange spray paint. I created a stencil with a stencil font right in Microsoft Word. I used two little flags that the water conservation outfit has stuck in our lawn to mark sprinkler heads they didn’t like, and I used some caulk to “glue” them down in position.
It seems like it will be harder for someone to run them over. And they shouldn’t be as damaged by being run over. We’ll see. It’s just a silly little thing to do. It took all of twenty minutes of my time and makes the tie down seem a little spiffy.
In a similar vein it was difficult to pick our blue Prius out in parking lots on the West side of Los Angeles. The place is lousy with them. They’re like cockroaches. So we put Shelby stripes on it. If you know about cars you know how silly it is to have Shelby stripes on a car that gets 45mpg.