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Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 11-12-2014
Though many better equipped flying fields have safety starting stands, many larger planes don’t fit on them or seem dangerously close to flipping the stand over when the engine is run up. Lacking a suitable stand many RC’rs have used pieces of rope looped around the tail feathers and tied to a fence post to restrain the plane. Others made a pair of padded stakes that were driven into the ground separated enough to allow the forward fuselage between them so they contacted the leading edge of the wings. All are decent ideas and all have failed more than once. The thought of my own 24” prop chasing me is frightening so I looked for a better idea. That was when I found the Safe-T Airplane Holder.
The Safe-T Airplane Holder is made from square steel tubing with welded joints for strength. The uprights are 11”-tall and have 7” between them, counting the thick foam padding. I have yet to see a plane that did not fit between these uprights.
The upright assembly is secured to the 14”-long by ½”-diameter spike with a pivot that locks out at 90-degrees in one direction. I have been using my Safe-T Airplane Holder for a couple months now and the 90 degree stop has not changed at all. The manufacturer of the Safe-T Airplane Holder says that they tested it with a 100cc, 35% airplane at full throttle and I see nothing to suggest they are exaggerating. I have run up my 60cc engines to full power repeatedly and the Safe-T Airplane Holder has yet to vary from vertical at all.
Using the Safe-T Airplane Holder is as simple as it can get. Find a good starting spot for your plane and drive the Safe-T Airplane Holder spike into the ground just ahead of where you want the tail feathers to be. I use a large hammer because trying to stomp a 14”, ½”-diameter spike into virtually any soil ranges someplace between really difficult to impossible.
The only catch to setting the Safe-T Airplane Holder up is that the uprights only fold up one way. The worst case scenario is you put it in backwards but even then you can just turn it around without having to pull it out of the ground.
To use the Safe-T Airplane Holder you pull your plane back so that the tail feathers are behind the uprights, fold them up and push the plane forward so the leading edges of the horizontal stab are against them. Now you can start the plane and as long as you don’t push it back in the process it won’t chase you down.
When you are ready to taxi to the runway just pull the plane backwards several inches until the Safe-T Airplane Holder uprights fall to the ground. Then you can push it forward and go to the flight line or wherever you can begin your taxi at your field. Just remember the prop clearance and don’t pick the tail up too high….
I am very happy with my Safe-T Airplane Holder and am certain I am getting a little more flying time in because I don’t have to wait for a friend to spot the plane while I start it. I also like using the Safe-T Airplane Holder rather than an inexperienced spectator to hold the plane. The Safe-T Airplane Holder is safer because it doesn’t have to know what to do, it just does it automatically.
The Safe-T Airplane Holder has a street price of just - $39.95 (11-11-2014) for the painted version. They also offer a powder coated model (same design and materials) for $49.95. I opted for the painted version but either are a good value for the amount of convenience and safety they bring to your flying.
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