Airplane Test Stand

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
This is a project I've wanted/needed to do for a while now, and with decent weather it's time to get it done. As I get older, I'm finding it harder and harder to tune or work on planes while they're sitting on the ground. Taking planes to the flying field is better, as I've got access to the flight stands. However, this doesn't work for my bigger planes, like the 1/3 scale Cessna 152, where the landing gear are too wide for the stand. With a stand more tuning can be done (in comfort) at home so more time can be spent flying at the field. :)

Step 1, is laying out some 5/4 x 6 x 96" deckboards. The two center ones will be left 6" longer than the rest to give me a little more room for tricycle/nose gear. The overall width is around 34", wide enough for any plane I own (for now?). 2x4s are added across the deckboards to hold them all together. I put a small nail between each deckboard - the gap will allow fuel or other liquids to spill off the top while it's in use.


The "backbone" is a 2x6, which is plenty strong (overkill, actually). Moving it around is getting very difficult as the 5/4" deckboards are very wet & heavy.


Legs will be about 36" long which will make this stand a bit taller than any other stand I've used. I'm 6'3", so the extra height of the stand is a welcome change. The legs are about 30" taller than the work surface, which again is designed to handle my biggest planes.


A couple hours into the project and I'm done for the day. The legs are braced and it's just about ready to flip over so I can do the rear leg. I'm *really* not looking forward to flipping it over, and will probably need my son to come out and give me a hand. Some wheels will be added to the front legs so I can move this beast around the garage more easily.


Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
It's not quite done, but it is done enough to use. I need to replace one wheel axle and then build a tray to hold my starter battery, and then add some tie-down rings to secure planes that are being tested (especially planes without wings). The need for a battery tray became apparent today when I tried starting the first plane - the cables were too short to reach from the prop to the ground, so the starter battery had to be put on a chair. During the design and construction I made the center two planks longer in front to account for tricycle gear planes. Turns out it's really not needed for that, but it does make a very handy spot to put a starter for planes like my Nothin' Extra. Not so much with the Cessna below - that's a little too close to the running engine than I'd want my hand!

The extra wide base also gave me plenty of room for transmitter, tools, etc. while working, and the 38" height of the platform was fantastic! The stand takes up a ton of garage space, but so far I'm lovin' it. The only change I'd probably make if I had to do it over again would be to make the main platform about 6-8" longer.



Master member
Nice job on the stand it is built to last.

I use a Lipo for my electric starter put an XT60 on the end of my starter, glued velcro to the starter and put a velcro strap around the battery. This way any 12 volt Lipo I have laying around will power my starter and no need for a separate battery. I did the same thing for my flying box wired up with XT60 any 12 volt Lipo can power every thing on my box, just much more convenient.

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Here's a nice and easy safety upgrade to the stand - straps and tie-down rings. I added 8 of the rings at various points on the table so I can secure planes when testing without the wings. A couple were added at the tail end of the bench so I can also strap down the tail as needed. The straps themselves are simple 1" wide nylon straps.

The plane in the picture? Well, if I said recently that I was done buying projects, I was wrong. :rolleyes: This is an RC Guys Cessna 188 "Agwagon", in 1/5th scale, 98" wingspan. It accidentally came home with me yesterday when I went with a buddy to go pick up a massive Comp ARF Yak 55, 104" span plane. I figured the Agwagon would be a perfect home for my second Zenoah 38 gasser. It needs a little work, including setting up the smoke system, the electronics, etc., but will be a fun project. If anybody is interested in following along I'm going to do (yet another) rescue/build thread.

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