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Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

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Old 12-26-2010, 10:11 AM
  #1  
Joystick TX
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Default Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Aka: Field Bench, Safety Bench, Field Stand, Plane Stand, Run-Up Stand, etc.
No matter what you call them, they are hated or loved by modelers. If you like them here is another option; if you don’t like them feel free to skip the rest of this post.
As far as I know the first “formal” starting benches we used at the Greater Southwest Aero Modelers Club (GSWAM) were the ones based on the “Safety Bench” we built back in early 2000.
When it became time to replace our original “Safety Benches” some of the club members wanted the new benches to address some issues they had with the old ones and asked for some modifications. The major complaint was the lack of room on the top. Next was a tipping-forward problem when used with powerful engines. This problem was our fault; we used un-treated lumber and put heavy field boxes on top of the bench arms instead of suspending them below the arms. Personally, I did not like the use of several different sizes of wood, wheels, and the complexity of the bench.
Using inputs from club members I created a list of “design goals.” After reviewing the list, I realized it would be easier to do a “clean slate” design.
In late 2005 a new design, inspired by the old benches, was completed and the prototype bench was built. Club members provided feedback and some modifications were made and six new benches were put in use in January 2006.
At our field, we saw no difference in the useful life of the benches between treated or untreated lumber. Both lasted almost 5 years before the lumber started to rot and the joints became loose. Nails were used on the first benches; screws were used on the new ones. Time will tell if the cost and labor difference (drilling pilot holes) pays off.

Our club just finished building six more of them to replace the old benches. The cost per bench was a little over $50.
We use the benches on a rough, grass and weed covered land-fill and having four legs, instead of three, has never caused a problem with stability. The benches weigh about 100 lbs and settle into the ground very well. Even without wheels, they can be moved by one person.
Standard safety precautions for starting and running your engine should be followed when using this or any other bench. Note: This bench does not make you safe, you do that.
Some new precautions: Make sure your wing is secure on the fuselage. Hold the airplane when starting the engine (it may run backwards.) Use two hands when lifting the plane from the bench (it may be oily and slip.) Do not try to lift the plane over the uprights – pull it straight back until the prop is clear (you may slip and the prop will be near your neck.) Hold, tie down, or use up-elevator/trim on the airplane when running the engine at high RPM (prevents the prop from hitting the bench.) Leave your plane on the ground in high winds (it may blow off the bench.) Don’t drag the bench sideways (it will weaken the structure.) If the engine has over 30 lbs of thrust put it on the ground (the bench could move forward or tip.) This design has been tested with engines up to 20 lbs of thrust with no problems noted.

The plans are located in the “Attachment.pdf” file below. The plans are also available in MS Word format. If you would like a copy, just PM me with your email and I will send them to you.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:06 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Removed from:  All Forums >> Radios, Batteries, Clubhouse and more >> The Clubhouse 

Reason: Duplicate thread posted

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Old 12-29-2010, 07:41 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Portable Model Aircraft Starting Cart>>

>>

Aka: Portable Field Stand, Plane Stand, Starter Stand, Lightweight Plane Stand, etc.>>

>>

When our fantastic club flying field, the Greater Southwest Aero Modelers (GSWAM), was temporarily closed; I managed to find some not so great places to fly that did not have any facilities such as benches or tables. Also the area, where flying was “safe” and clear of obstacles, was often a long distance from the parking area which made getting the plane and equipment to it a big hassle. At my age everything is a hassle.>>

>>

Since I am lazy and IMO “laziness is usually the mother of invention”, I threw together this cart to make it easier for me to fly and the closing of our field less painful. >>

>>

The design shown is for tail draggers only. You can easily modify it to fit your plane as required. The cart can be converted back to the original cart function in about a minute. Take down and set up is fast and easy with only three wing-bolts and two clip-pins. I also found the cart is handy in the shop for holding the planes while I’m working on them. The wheels help a lot.>>

>>

Standard safety precautions for starting and running your engine should be followed when using this or any other aircraft holding device. Note: This cart does not make you safer, you do that.
>>

Some new precautions: Since the cart is on wheels, duh, make sure you tie it down or block the front to make sure it does not move forward or tip forward. Running the engine at high RPM on this cart is NOT recommended. Make sure your wing and landing gear is secure on the fuselage. Hold the airplane when starting the engine (it may run backwards.) Use two hands when lifting the plane from the stand (it may be oily and slip.). For this cart, it is usually better to lift the plane over the uprights since they are short and close together (avoids prop strike on the uprights.) Leave your plane on the ground in high winds (it may blow off the stand.) This design has been tested with engines up to 20 lbs of thrust with no problems noted (both plane and stand were securely restrained.)>>


I did not use plans to make this project since it is basically just an “add on” to an existing cart and there are many cart types out there that would work. If this exact cart is widely available or you want some measurements let me know I may crank out some basic plans.>>

>>

The pictures below may give you some ideas of what you can do; with some help from your local lumber yard.>>

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Old 12-30-2010, 10:53 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

That's a really nice setup!
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:29 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Can anyone tell me why this subject "Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)" or any part of the subject title such as "Model Aircraft" or "Starting Bench" or "Bench" or "GSWAM" does not show up in a search?

If I do a search on other subjects or part of the subject title I get a list of all the threads, but not this one.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:40 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Steve
Now all you have to do is make one where the uprights fold back and tie downs for a heli
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:52 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Had a response to my trouble ticket about why this subject does not show up in any searches.The problem is still there. Will check again in a couple of months to see if it is fixed. 

It is a problem with several topics and they don't know why, or how to fix it. I know a world-class programmer who is great at debugging software. He is also out of work right now.

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Old 04-11-2011, 11:18 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Updated Bench Plans, let me know if you need them in MS Word format instead of PDF.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:32 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

totaly a fantastic build. do one for my jato car?
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:59 PM
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Clay Walters
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Hi Joystick,

Used your plans and built my first this past week with very little modifications. Plans and assembly tips much appreciated.

Clay



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Old 04-22-2011, 06:37 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)



Looks like you did a great job. Hope you enjoy it..

I can't tell for sure from the pictures, but I hope you have the front legs angled back per the plans.

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Old 04-23-2011, 08:32 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Just curious, and it may be the angle of the photos, but it appears that the center three boards on the platform need to extend a little more to the front to accomodate trike gear aircraft...all the photos show taildraggers and there doesn't seem to be enough surface for the nose gear on a trike.
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:04 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Trainerjock,

That is part of the reason the front legs are angled back, if they were vertical, or made from 2x4's,there would be little space for planes with trike gear. If you look at the bench side view in the plans, you will seethat the angled legs allow moreroom for trike gear and also move the bottom front of the legs forward to prevent a tip-forward problem during an engine run.

If more woodwas added to the front of the bench, itwould shift theCG forward and increase the tip-forward problem. Like any design, there are several trade offs that are not always obvious. It is always a good idea to check with the designer before mods are made to see what problems may crop up due to what seems like a simple change.

The bench will work okay with trike gear as long as the center of the nose wheel isless than15" from the leading edge of the wing. If the nose gear is over 15", from the leading edge of the wing,the plane would be either too big for the bench or a canard which is not what the bench was designed for.

I don't own any planes with trike gear, but I did get inputs from as many club members as I could before I started the design. So far, I have notheard ofany problems with trike geared planes.

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Old 04-23-2011, 09:10 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Thanks for the response. 15" from leading edge of the wing is more than adequate for my planes. The largerst I fly are .60 size. I am going to build one for my shop as a setup and engine tuning bench. Awesome design. Sure beats the plywood table with padded shelf brackets I'm using now!
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Old 04-23-2011, 09:19 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Make sure you use the plans from Post #7, they are the latest update. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:59 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Yep...downloaded those plans. Looks like a fun project too. Thanks again.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:01 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)


ORIGINAL: Joystick TX



Looks like you did a great job. Hope you enjoy it..

I can't tell for sure from the pictures, but I hope you have the front legs angled back per the plans.

Yep; "as per plans". But kept cross supports vertical to minimize sagging and used the remnants from the leg cuts for the front shelf brackets. And I used 5/4" thick treated deck planks for the top surfaces.

Think I used plans you'd posted earlier but everything went just fine.

Thanks again,

Clay
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:36 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Some info on the design rationale.

The rear cross member, PN 7, was flat to get the brace for PN 6 as far to the rear as possible, The logic was to preventPN 6 from pulling loose at the front in the event someone sat on the bench. Sagging has not been a problem.

Some of the benches were built with the front cross member in a flat position. Some people said that may be unsafe because of the possibility of getting hurt by the prop while reaching under it to get to items onthe "shelf."

Rear aircraft restraints were not recommended due tosome ARF's not having a strong enough stab to hold the planeduring a full throttle engine run. We found that one P-47 manufacturer actually builds their stabs with the grain running parallel to the fuselage.
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:54 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

Steve,

Not saying it would be a problem but my experience with lumber left outdoors is that some is going to bend or warp no matter how much TLC it gets. Appreciate your safety factor considerations as well. I made the forward sitting step instead of turning the front cross-support flat to deter setting items up under the stand. Didn't put wheels on it either and that was the first criticizm I received at the field...as the guy that usually mows the pits has a different perspective. Told him to not carry it; just lay it over on one side, mow, shift to other side, mow. But I've been doing my own yard work since I was a lad and do appreciate that sometimes it would be nice to just roll it out of the way. (If they want wheels they can add them.) Heck, I just thought they'd appreciate a new starting bench.

We'll see,

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Old 04-29-2011, 10:04 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

More design considerations:

The angle cut on the bottom of the legs makes it fairly easy to drag the bench backward or forward for mowing. You do need to lift up the front or rear slightly so the legs will not dig into the dirt. I never thought of laying the bench over because ours are all in a line and the mowers would need to zig-zag between them. I moved the benches a lot for the mowing crew. I am 69 years old, have had two back surgeries and have not had any problem dragging them. We have six of them at our field and it gets mowed two times a week.

Wheels could be added, but wheels will decrease the amount of engine trust required to move the bench forward. The front legs are sharp so they will dig in if the bench tries tomove forward.Adding wheels may not be a problem if the bench is used ona grass field. The addition of wheels would also increase the cost per benchby 10 to 20 dollars which put it over theoriginaldesign goal of $40..

We have not had any problem with warpingon benches that were left out for over five years. They received little to no care. I think they may have been cleaned or hosed off a couple of times, but they were never refinished. We just built new ones this year due to some of the wood rotting.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:36 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

It has been almost six months since the new benches were completed. The spar varnish is holding up well under the gas, nitro, rain, and sunshine. They still look like new.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:31 PM
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ORIGINAL: Joystick TX

No matter what you call them, they are hated or loved by modelers. If you like them here is another option; if you don’t like them feel free to skip the rest of this post.
Why would anyone "Hate" a starting stand? I can see someone not wanting to use one. I built one for our club a couple of months ago and so far only a couple of us have used it, but hopefully no one wants to get rid of it because they don't like it. Most of the members haven’t seen one before, so it’s taking a while for them to venture into “new” territory.

I used plans from the Meroke club and modified them. For the problem of the airplane sliding backward I made an adjustable stop for the tail wheel .

I'm not questioning what you said, I'm just wondering what reason someone would give for Hating it instead of just not using it. I have seen more mishaps from people starting on a regular table and carrying it to the flight line, or just starting on the ground with no restraints, than using a starting bench.
[quote]ORIGINAL: Joystick TX
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:06 PM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

RoyR,

Trust me "hate" is mild. I have had a lot of mail on the subject, most of it has beenpositive, but I'm glad I don't live near some of the people who complained about the benches.I'vebeen toldthatthe benches are unsafe andcause loss of fingers,prop damage, engine damage, plane damage, hearing damage and back problems. Just abouteverything but global warming,flood and tornado damage. Maybe the lumber used could be related to flood damage.

Several times, I have considered removing the entire subject. I suspect some nut will try to sue me because the bench caused his marriage to fail. It is just not fun anymore.

We have over a hundred club members at our field and most people use them. They don' have to kneel down in the mud in the winter time and the engine does not kick up a bunch of dust and dirt in the summer. The ones that don't use them usually have a good reason,mostly because their planes are too big to fit on the bench, or they fly electric planes. A couple are just too stubborn to change the way they have been starting their planes for the last XXX number of years.

Looks like you did a great job on your bench. Hope the guys at your field learn to appreciate it andthe work you did for them.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:07 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

When we got our first starting bench the only one that really hated it was the guy who mows. It was just something else to have to move out of the way. I took a 5 year break from the club and have just rejoined... we now have 2.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:42 AM
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Default RE: Model Aircraft Starting Bench (GSWAM Style)

We have six benches and three to four people mowing and trimming weeds. Usually there is someone waiting to fly when the mowing is finished, so they help out by moving the benches.

Based on some of the bizarre concerns and scenarios they come up with, I think most of the complaints come from people who have never used the benches. The odds of some of the events they complain about  would be like winning the Power Ball Lottery every day for a year.

One I liked pretty well was "If you lay your glow starter down on the bench top, it will roll off the bench and when you bend over to pick it up you will stick your head in the spinning prop and die." My answer was "Put your glow starter back in your field box, which fits on top of the bench, and if you don't have a field box, lay the glow starter down between the spaces in the boards so it can't roll off." Or, if this a big safety concern, drill a hole in the tip of the bench for the glow driver and placard the bench with instructions and warning signs and conduct weekly training sessions and document all that in the club files.

Personally, I think anyone that really is that stupid and clumsy would have been killed off, by the process of natural selection, due to lawn mowers and/or stepladders.
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