Not every field has work benches available for the pilots. Some of us even fly from undeveloped fields. To assemble our planes we end up bringing our own tables, working on the ground or trying to assemble them while holding the components.
Earl had always used the bed of his pick-up truck as his traveling work bench and missed this after selling it, so he designed his own airplane assembly stand that breaks down for travel yet assembles quickly at the field. The fuselage rests safely and comfortably in a custom cradle and makes attachment of the wings and installing of battery packs simple and painless. This review shares what Earl has done for those who, like himself, can make things and for those, like myself, who can sometimes buy those things others make.
Parts I supplied
The tripod is made of three aluminum poles. A small chain fastened in the middle only allows them to spread out to a certain and equal distance from one another to provide a secure base. The poles have a dowel down them that is secured to the base via a pin through the wooden head at the top of the dowel which allows the legs to fold in for travel and out for use. The base is custom shaped so that the cradle only fits on one way. It has a nut in the center, and the cradle is secured to the tripod with a bolt through the cradle into the tripod base. For travel, Earl uses a small Velcro-like fastener to hold the legs together.
The cradle can be custom made to fit the size of the plane. Mine and Earl's have smallish end pieces since we use our stands for assembling gliders and small park flyers. A larger cradle would be needed for larger planes. The cradle has a center piece with two hinged end pieces that are secured flat to the center piece for travel with rubber bands.
At the field, simply remove the rubber bands, raise the end pieces to the full and upright position and lock in place with the latch on the outside of each end piece. I put the mounting bolt through my transmitter/parts tray, the bolt through the center of the cradle, and using the bolt and a supplied Allen wrench, I secure the cradle and the tray in place. Next, I place my plane's fuselage into the saddles in the cradle end pieces and secure it in place with the rubber bands (mentioned above) using the small dowels on the sides of the cradle end pieces. Note the padding on the inside of the saddles protects the fuselage and is built to last.
The pieces on the bottom of the cradle center section fit the base so that it only mounts in one position and does not turn on the tripod base. It automatically lines up the bolt hole on the cradle with the nut in the tripod base.
The only other thing to consider is making sure to set up the tripod on level ground. If there is any breeze, I set it up so that my fuselage faces into or away from the breeze but never to the side. If it is so breezy that the wind might move my plane on the stand I only use the stand to assemble the plane, and then put the assembled plane on the ground. In calm conditions, I leave the plane on the stand and avoid the morning dew.
The stand can be made as a platform to work on helicopters as well. Helicopter pilots may want one end piece with a saddle to cradle their helicopterís tail boom, or flat center piece with a parts tray maybe all that is desired. The nice thing is that they are custom made as needed. (Earl is thinking of making different removable saddles for those that want a combination airplane and helicopter platform.)
Earl has been making these stands for local pick-up thus far. His prices are $80.00 for a tripod and cradle. A tripod and helicopter platform is also $80.00 A combo with tripod, cradle and helicopter platform is $125.00. He adds a $5.00 charge for those who want to use PayPal to purchase. He has to determine packing and shipping charges for those that want to have one shipped to him. Earl can be contacted by e-mail: email@example.com
For some of us, these stands make working on our planes/gliders at the field much easier and more enjoyable!
My thanks to Earl Brown and his willingness to share his aircraft stand with fellow hobbyists. Thanks as always to our editor, Angela, for helping to make this review more readable.Last edited by Angela H; Oct 29, 2009 at 03:55 PM..
|Oct 30, 2009, 10:42 PM|
"Not every field has work benches available for the pilots. Some of us even fly from undeveloped fields."
Or the saddles of the work benches at the site are soaked in fuel... which is a very good reason to bring your own,
|Oct 31, 2009, 10:27 PM|
Joined Jun 2006
Earl Brown Assembly Stand
Mike-- A very nice write up covering my friend Earl's stand. Since i have one of his early prototypes, I can sure appreciate the details that you covered with the outstanding photographs. I always look forward to your next review.Wayne
|Nov 02, 2009, 01:02 AM|
very nice! Simple and sweet!
Considering the time it would take to fab ONE yourself.....not to mention gathering all the various parts, that appears to be a pretty reasonably priced portable stand. Especially for someone in my position(no field...no tables...no stands)
Thanks for the review!
|Dec 17, 2009, 04:20 AM|
India, Karnataka, Bengaluru
Joined Mar 2009
Great for every event
Hi Michael, this is an great idea. In fact this can be a good stand to even display aircrafts at any place other than flying field. In fact I am planning to make some of them for displaying models in some shows. Of course little modification required for that.
|Dec 18, 2009, 02:26 PM|
Joined Dec 2007
You might want to mention where Earl is located. Also include some dimensions. And a picture of a person standing next to one, for height reference, would be helpful.
From the picture, it doesn't look very tall. If standing, do you have to bend over to work on a plane sitting on one? Or are they meant to be worked on from a sitting position?
|Jun 11, 2010, 03:27 PM|
Nice and simple ! Would like one of these to assemble my H9 twin otter at the field. It must be put upside down after installing the wings to attach the struts to the wings with a screw. I like the tripod idea, esy to install and transport.
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