by Rick Girard, EAA 597933
I NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SPACE in my hangar. It seems like something
always has to be moved to make room for the latest project, and I
often don’t have help when I need it.
Lately, I’ve been working on an airplane that needs a lot of
repairs, and I’ve needed to move things around a lot. Two of the tasks
involved the empennage and the wings, repairing and re-covering a
horizontal stabilizer, restoring the holes in the spar carry-through,
and new tail wires, to name a few. The aircraft is an experimental
light-sport, and neither the tail nor the wings are particularly heavy,
but they are unwieldy. I turned to a favorite second tier aircraft supplier, Harbor Freight Tools, for mover’s dollies. These are flat pallets
with full swiveling casters at all four corners that come in small and
large sizes. Each is rated for a 1,000-pound load, and even better,
both are regular items in the company’s sale fliers.
My first project was a tail boom dolly. In addition to the small
mover’s dolly, I used four pieces of 3/4-inch plywood: two sized
12-by- 24 inches and two 15-by- 18 inches. Two 12-inch pieces of
2-by- 2 lumber and a piece of carpet about 12-by- 30 inches complete
the materials list. The only instructions specific to this project are to
remove the carpet covering the dolly’s two rungs, and to use the
2-by-2s to reinforce the attachment of the two uprights. Otherwise,
the picture should suffice to show how it’s put together.
The second project, a wing rack, uses two of the large dollies. In
addition, I used two 10-foot 2-by-4s (adjust for your length of
wings), three 8-foot 2-by-4s, and some scrap carpet for padding (or
other material that will prevent scrapes or punctures; I used 1/8-
inch polyethylene foam sheeting that I found at the Yard Store).
All wood joints were made using Elmer’s Carpenter’s Glue
and decking screws. Pre-drill and countersink all holes so screw
heads can’t snag and damage your wings. Smooth all edges and cover
all surfaces that will touch the wings with carpet or padding.
First, remove the staples and peel back the carpet on the dolly’s
rungs. Don’t remove it completely; it can be reused. The frame of the
wing dolly is made by attaching a dolly to each end of a 10-foot
2-by- 4 oriented vertically.
Cut two uprights from the 8-foot 2-by-4s to 72 inches and retain
the drops for braces. Make four 8-inch braces for the uprights with
45-degree angles cut across the 2-inch side of the 2-by- 4. Attach two
of the 8-inch braces to each side of the uprights, making sure the
bottoms of all three are coplanar. Attach the upright assemblies in
the center of the outboard crosspiece of each dolly. Make two
24-inch braces for the uprights from the remaining 2-by- 4. Cut the
ends at 45 degrees across the 4-inch side.
Attach these braces from the inboard edge of each upright to the
inboard crosspiece of each dolly.
With the structure done, all that’s left is to attach the padding to
make sure that nothing can harm the wings as they are going on or
Once loaded up, I can move the dolly and wings into the wing bay
of my hangar, and I’m ready to go to work on the fuselage. All the
lumber, the three mover’s dollies, and the hardware came to less
than $50. A small price to pay for single-handed mobility.
To see EAA’s collection of Hints for Homebuilders videos
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