One-Person Assembly Rigs

Gunnar Blanke Project (10/9/2003)
(edited by Jim Hendrix)

Here are some pictures of the one person rig I used to assemble the glider a few weeks ago. Nice setup, it was built by Charlie Collman who flies at Boulder and is the Colorado State SSA Governor. He told me he got the design from Bob Leonard who is flying out of Moriarty, NM. Anyway I just made the same rig with a few modifications.

You can get all the materials at Home Depot except the jack and cradle. You can use any crank type jack, the easiest to find are ether from a Mercedes or a BMW. They are made by a company called Starz. You should be able to get one for fifteen to twenty dollars at the junk yard. You may have to do some searching. Take a magnet or file with you and look for a jack with a steel vertical tube, much less trouble to mount then an aluminum one.

The rig pictured was Mig welded. I use my gas welding setup to braze the mild steel 1x1x1/8 inch tubes together. Lincoln and Miller welders are on sale a General Air this month, I think I'll get a small mig setup, much less trouble and faster then gas.

You can make the cradle yourself. The form doesn't need to match the wing profile exactly. Just a nice form with some good padding will work just fine. Mine works great on both the Cirrus and Nimbus. Last Sunday we put an LS-3a, with the heavy wings, together, no problem.

Charlie made his cradle with a form that he and Bob Leonard borrowed from Fidel at George Applebay's. I called Fidel and he made two cradles for me. You can give Fidel a call at 505-832-0755. Go out to Moriarty, fly with Rick Kohler at Sundance Aviation, get your diamond altitude and pick up a couple cradles, one for you and one for a friend with heavy wings.

Gunnar Blanke

Tom Shipp Project

Refer to the photos of the assembly rig that I built. It's so easy to use that I now refuse any help.

This stand purchased from Home Depot provides the basic frame work for the one Person assembly rig. I also use this second stand to raise my right wing to the right height for pinning the correct height of the one Person assembly dolly since this serves the same purpose as a jack. The roller from the original stand was removed and a piece of wood and foam added to protect the wing. The stand cost is $20.00.

Ramp extension may not be required for some trailers but I made this so I could raise and lower the fuselage to make the assembly a little easier. The jack is my trailer jack so there was no cost envolved..

Mold for saddle, the side lips are removed which must be added to provide a lip at the edge of the saddle for added strength and a mounting point for the saddle to the assembly dolly. About 8 layers of fiber glass and resin was used to make the saddle. Don't do this operation in your basement due to the smell of the resin. The mold is based on a wing profile near the outside edge of the spoiler. The profile was compensated to allow for the 1/4 inch foam pad.

One Person assembly dolly made from the Home Depot stand as shown in # 1 above.

The saddle attachment mounting is a 5/8 dia steel rod with a nut at one end and pin at the other end for quick disassembly of the saddle from the stand. Note the added fixture that holds the saddle tight against the wing. This was embedded into the fiber glass saddle.

Bottom section of Stand provided a bar that pivots and allows the stand to remain upright when the wing is rolled out of the trailer or when turned parallel to the axel the wing can be rolled into place for installation. The axel is 5/8 dia steel that is the same dia as the holes in the wheels. The wheels may also be purchased from Home Depot. The bar was removed from the original stand and relocated here.

Upper brackets added to position the wing to a level position during assembly to the fuselage. The single stop holds the saddle in the vertical position. It is important to drill out the dimples where the saddle mounts to the vertical bar and add a couple of bolts to support the weight of the wing. Note the 2 bolts at the end of the string that is tied to the pin.

Saddle in it's rotated position.

My total cost of the one Person rig was a little less than $200.00 and was completed in about a month of spare time. Much of the rig was designed or changed as I progressed with it.

Tom Shipp
Cirrus # 177


Hans Berg, #59, Canada

Commercial One-Person Rigs

Luebke Wing Assembly Dolly

Luebke Wing Stand