Hangar Rash And Wobble!

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Written by Greg Schutte
RC Slope Soaring
As seen in the June 2021 issue of Model Aviation.

ONE OF THE DOWNFALLS of owning RC airplanes is the awkwardness that accompanies them when it comes to storing, working on, and transporting them. It also seems that most of the damage to my airplanes comes from hangar rash and not from flying.

Half of my Slope Soaring airplanes are one-piece designs with the wings permanently attached to the fuselages. Having to adjust throws or change batteries while they are wobbling on the table just flat stinks. This annoying wobble continues when I transport and set them up at the flying site.

I have seen some variations of stands online, so I thought I would give it a try. The design I came up with is a simple and cheap PVC pipe stand that cost me less than $10 to build.

The materials you will need are one 5-foot × 1/2-inch diameter white schedule 40 PVC pipe, eight 1/2-inch 90° PVC fittings, and 6-foot long, 5/8-inch pipe insulation. You should be able to find these items at your local hardware store. You will also need a saw to cut the PVC pipe into sections and a hammer to connect the parts. Finally, you’ll need some Super Glue to glue the parts after assembly.

When you buy the fittings, get the contractor pack. There are 10 fittings, but the whole package will probably be cheaper than buying them individually. I also noticed that the 10-foot piece of 1/2-inch PVC pipe was only a couple of cents more than the 5-foot piece. You can easily make two stands if you buy a 10-foot piece of the PVC pipe and two contractor bags of 1/2-inch elbows. You will already have enough pipe insulation to do both stands. I made two of them.

all of the pieces are measured and tools are gathered to start the project

All of the pieces are measured and tools are gathered to start the project.

the elbows are connected to the 12-inch pieces of pvc pipe

The elbows are connected to the 12-inch pieces of PVC pipe.

the completed stand

The completed stand.

the stand is assembled and is ready for the joints to be tapped together and straightened

The stand is assembled and is ready for the joints to be tapped together and straightened.

a stabilized airplane is ready to be worked on

A stabilized airplane is ready to be worked on.

To prepare to build one stand, wipe down the PVC pipe and fittings to clean off any dirt and oil. Next, measure and cut the 1/2-inch PVC pipe into four 12-inch sections then four 3-inch sections. I recommend cleaning the little fuzzies off of the ends and beveling them for easy installation into the fittings. Cut two 12-inch pieces of the insulation foam.

I then put fittings onto the 12-inch pieces first, installed the 3-inch pieces, and put them all together. Use your hammer to bottom-out the pieces into the fittings by gently tapping on them until they stop moving. You can now adjust the entire frame to make sure it is square and is sitting flat on the table.

After you are satisfied with its alignment, use the Super Glue to permanently glue the joints. Glue them together only after you have completely assembled the frame. Now use your finger to open the precut slit on the insulation pieces and install them on the frame. That is pretty much it. You can paint the stand if you choose.

These little stands are strong, lightweight, and easy to handle. You can easily stabilize your airplane on one to set it on your workbench, pickup tailgate, or simply on the ground. I also use the stands to tie down my airplanes when I am transporting them. A sock or bag of small rocks or lead birdshot can be thrown over the legs to keep the stand from moving around, and a couple of smaller bungees can be used to strap down your airplane. You could screw some small, metal eyelets into the stand to attach the bungees. The stand is rugged enough to be used on the ground when you are out flying.

PVC pipe is a lot like Legos when it comes to building useful things. I have built a rack that hangs from the ceiling to hold the fuselages and wings for some of my other RC airplanes, and have plans for a workbench. But those projects will be for future articles.

Fly safely!

the pvc stand on a hill

The PVC stand on a hill.


League of Silent Flight (LSF)


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