Wing cradles

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Robby

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Not sure if it's what you want but if you're interested - I moved 2 18ft wings in a truck ( 26ft ) on a 'wing cradle' of sorts. Can post a picture or 2 and maybe give you an idea of what worked for me if you want.
 

Autodidact

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You might make something where you can bolt the wings to it with the wing and strut attach points. Might be easier than trying to make a form fitting cradle, and you wouldn't want the wings to slide around in transit. I think you will get lots of good ideas from these guys, though!

On the other hand, if the trailer gets smacked and the wings are bolted to it...
 

Dan Thomas

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We move wings using cradles made of plywood, two-by-fours, and strips of carpet about two feet wide. You want the wing's weight distributed over a large area of leading edge if possible, if it isn't practical to mount them by their usual mounting points as previously suggested.

Dan
 

wally

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What I did for my Pitts wings (thin aluminum leading edge, wood ribs, spar, etc) when I moveit to the hangar is make a frame from 2 X 4s. I cut long strips of carpeting about a foot wide, nailed each end to the uprights and let them hang down in deep loops. With the leading edge down and cradled in the carpet they were well supported. I put casters on the bottom so I could move them around. This would work for hauling them. 3 or 4 loops of carpet would do each wing. I used just 2 loops since it was just in the hangar.

When I brought the wings home, the lower wings, about 8 ft long each were just laid flat and tied down in the back of my pickup with a piece of foam under and another piece of foam bertween them. The upper wing, one piece, 17 ft long was laid flat on some foam on an open trailer under the fuselage and tied down so it would not scoot around or blow off.

I helped load a Piper Comanche on a trailer years ago. The wings sat leading edge down in a 2 X 4 frame and I believe this setup had a long piece of padded wood the leading edge rested on.

Depending on how much room you have, leading edge down in some sort of cradle or flat with foam. I have seen bed matresses used for the flat method.

Just spread the weight over the most solid part of the wing and pad the contact points somehow. Tie it so it does not blow off or move.
Hope this helps.
Wally
 

Hot Wings

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if it isn't practical to mount them by their usual mounting points as previously suggested.

Dan
This is a good way to move them around the shop, but I'd not even consider it for a road trip. Most trucks and trailers are sprung so stiffly that they can beat the poor plane parts to bits in a short time.

Distribute the load as much as possible and use bungees to keep the tension on your tie-downs. Plain ropes tend to come loose no matter how often you stop to check the load. Any movement isn't good.

The suggested method of using wide carpet strips slung in a "U" shape is a good one. If you can find old carpet padding, and have the room, wrap the wings in a couple of layers and stack them flat. I've don it both ways with success.

If you tow on an open trailer make sure that all the wiggly bits like ailerons are well secured. Looking back to see a fluttering surface depart down I-25 is no fun. :whistle:
 

autoreply

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This is a good way to move them around the shop, but I'd not even consider it for a road trip. Most trucks and trailers are sprung so stiffly that they can beat the poor plane parts to bits in a short time.
I've trailer-ed gliders this way for thousands of miles, works flawlessly, even in rough terrain.

The suggested method of using wide carpet strips slung in a "U" shape is a good one. If you can find old carpet padding, and have the room, wrap the wings in a couple of layers and stack them flat. I've don it both ways with success.
Usually in the older gliders we use two strips of carpet, one at the root, one at 2/3rd of the span. The spar is pulled downwards by a metal bracket, the tip by a cord. Works fine, both for composites and wood/fabric wings.
If you tow on an open trailer make sure that all the wiggly bits like ailerons are well secured. Looking back to see a fluttering surface depart down I-25 is no fun. :whistle:
And maybe even more important, check this after 5 miles of driving. It's incredible what can come loose when driving.
 

Topaz

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This is a good way to move them around the shop, but I'd not even consider it for a road trip. Most trucks and trailers are sprung so stiffly that they can beat the poor plane parts to bits in a short time.
Letting a little bit of air out of the trailer tires will soften the ride quite a bit, too. Not good for the tires if you go overboard with it, but there's a happy medium. Keeping your speed down on the highway, however frustrating it might be for the transport crew, is another good tactic.

When my father and I brought the old Aeronca home, we built cradles with plywood 'stations' cut to the shape of the airfoil leading edge (which was pointed downward), then strung a few wood 'stringers' between the stations to help spread the load. Some soft shag carpeting inside helped keep the loads distributed and kept any hard edges away from the soft bits.

Worked like a charm.

I definitely second the comment about making sure you have GOOD gust locks on all control surfaces before you begin moving. Airflows are coming from really weird directions for the aircraft under these circumstances, and even if the control surface doesn't depart the airframe, you can damage control stops, hinges, etc. very easily.
 

Hot Wings

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I've trailer-ed gliders this way for thousands of miles, works flawlessly, even in rough terrain.
/QUOTE]

It might work for your gliders, evidently it did. :)

The only finished glider I've moved any distance was my Duster and there is no way I'd even consider driving down an interstate here, much less a dirt road with those wings supported by nothing but the 2 stock 1/2 in. (13mm) pins, but it's a wood wing that was designed to strength requirements rather than stiffness.

Being it's a strut braced bi-plane the OP is planning on moving the orignial it wouldn't work without rigging up some sort of attach point at the "I" strut fittings.
 

Durand Sky Ranch

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Lots of good ideas here. I like the carpet strap idea however, I am concerned the wings would swing and move around to much. The plane has no ailerons it uses spoilers which is a plus. It does have full span flaps on all four wings though.

I would like to build the cradles before I get to the plane just to save time on site.

-Chris
 

Durand Sky Ranch

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The CriCri I am building has a custom trailer, as shown in the photo of one. The wings have their own supports on each side. This may be helpful?:ponder:

Shannon
I Like the configuration, however, My plane is a Bipe and the top wing is two pieces giving me four wings to transport. The other thing to note is my plane is side by side seating making it a little wider and a trike landing gear. The gear is over 82" wide, 82" is about the width of an average car trailer making a little tight.

-Chris
 

Hot Wings

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Lots of good ideas here. I like the carpet strap idea however, I am concerned the wings would swing and move around to much.
Take a sheet of 1 inch blue foam with you, or buy it there. A quick cut with a knife makes nice form fitting chocks for such things.

Duct tape, bubble wrap, sheet foam, carpet padding, and bungees are my tools of choice when having to move a plane in pieces. If the deck of your trailer is wood a few long sheet rock screws and a cordless drill are handy too.
 

Topaz

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I Like the configuration, however, My plane is a Bipe and the top wing is two pieces giving me four wings to transport. The other thing to note is my plane is side by side seating making it a little wider and a trike landing gear. The gear is over 82" wide, 82" is about the width of an average car trailer making a little tight.
Any chance you can get a spouse or friend to drive with you, hauling a second trailer? Wings in one, fuselage in the other. That'd really make things easier, in your case. 400 miles is a bit far for a second trip.
 

Hot Wings

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Any chance you can get a spouse or friend to drive with you, hauling a second trailer?
Or maybe just put a ball on the first trailer and tow 2? It's perfectly legal in my state and seems to be most everywhere. A small snowmobile trailer will handle the wings and struts.
 

Durand Sky Ranch

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We used to pull tandem trailers quit often for work. I don't think I will have a space issues on the trailer. The wings are only about 10' 6" long each. I plan on setting 2 wings on each side of the fuse ahead of the stabilator.

Th only thing I might have to deal with is clearing the landing gear. I think I will have to build some short legs to raise the cradles over them.

If you havn't seen it here is a short video my 11 year old filmed of my uncle and I pulling the plane out for the first time in a few years. It might give you an idea of what I am working with.


Thanks to all of you for the ideas!
-Chris
 
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shafferpilot

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Jul 18, 2010
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Cincinnati, OH / USA
I've got one packing idea for you or anyone else worried about protecting anything fragile in shipment. Build a box into which whatever you are shipping can fit. Cover your item with plastic wrap, garbage bags, etc. Place blocks of foam under your item to hold it off the bottom. Use spray foam insulation in many different spots to fully support and cushion the items. Watch out, that stuff expands and expands and expands. It also gets quite hot if you use an entire can in one spot all at one time, so this foaming should be done in small stages. Fill in any empty areas with Styrofoam peanuts, and you're good to go. Unpacking at the other end is actually a lot of fun ;) It's like molding a custom wing cradle using the wing itself as the mold.
 
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