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Keeping the fuselage from tipping onto its tail


Well Known Member
I put the landing gear on today and the plane is very tail heavy to the point that I have it cargo strapped to my toolbox right now to keep it from tail striking. I've still got more work to do in the fuselage down the road and would like to be able to crawl back in without worrying about tipping it over. Are there any standard techniques people have used to sufficiently weigh the front down or should I just put a jack under the tail?
I suggest a saw horse with a wide top & a rolled up area rug for padding under an aft bulkhead. My build was a tail dragger, yours is most likely an "A" model so pick your bulkhead carefully. This provides ultimate support & stability as you crawl into aft tail cone for work, leaves engine mount & firewall free for work.


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I put three saw horses under bulkheads with pool noodle pads then shimmed the legs till they were all firm. I crawled in there a lot.
I’m not quite there yet, but my plan is to insert the tie down ring and then bolt an aluminum angle “leg” to it. Similar to what you see on cargo planes when they’re loading/unloading.
It only takes a minor side load to collapse something like that when it is loaded. A padded sawhorse would be a much more robust option.
I‘ve loaded and unloaded everything from DC3s to Grand Caravans and never had an issue with the leg. Properly installed they don’t “collapse“. A properly installed saw horse will also work, but there is the potential to do damage to the skin, if it’s not placed on a bulkhead and padded properly. If you’re empennage is not attached you could even use something like the aft end of this rotisserie I built in lieu of the commonly used engine stand, which I felt was too unstable. It’s basically a piece of plywood bolted to the aft bulkhead.

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I have a jack stand that I've round out the top so that my tiedown ring rest into the rounded out top. I jack it up under the tail and it also has a hole in the top end of the jack. I run a worm clamp through the hole in the top of the jack and the tie down ring no way it is coming off even climbing back into the tail.
Do you have a picture you can post, Bob?
Yep, had to find it! The jack is made from a Harbor Freight hydraulic jack cylinder. I use this same wing jack to jack my wing up to change a tire. Can't do that with a sawhorse.
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I like it simple. Sawhorse(s) with padding, under bulkheads work well, easy to move around as needed. Easy to build a couple in custom sizes too.