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Thread: Beam Span to lift a small plane

  1. #1
    Associate Engineer
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    Nov 2016
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    Beam Span to lift a small plane

    Hello,
    Im new to the forum and not an engineer. I am a small time carpenter in Southeast AK. I have a friend with a small plane, 1200 lb dry, maybe 1500 lbs with fuel. He keeps it in a hanger and would like to get it off the ground to do a few different projects on it. Above the plane are two big I beams, not sure exactly, maybe 20" tall, not sure about the width, but very strong according to him. I have no idea about the supports for these beams but feel safe assuming that its well founded. The problem is that they run perpendicular to the direction he needs them to run. He wants to put a beam between them in order to hoist the plane. The existing beams are about 20 feet apart. I think a chain wrapped around the "new" beam and some sort of chain hoist/come-a-long will be used. This load will be centered, not likely to swing much, and not held up for long, maybe 24 hours at a time. I need to know what size beam we need. one thing to consider: materials are not cheap to get here: there is no road in to town, all things must be barged in. Wood would be best for me. I'm not a welder.

    Thanks for any help in advance.

    David

  2. #2
    Lead Engineer Cake of Doom's Avatar
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    Things to consider:-

    Are the existing beams already loaded? Whats their condition?

    Connection from new beam to existing. I'd be more inclined to go with a bolted connection with web stiffeners welded into the existing section.

    If it really is going to be just a chain thrown over a steel, I'd expect stiffeners to be fitted to the new beam as well to prevent buckling. The strong points on a plane are usually located at the nose and under the wings (to be confirmed). Wouldn't jacking it up be a better option than suspending it and risking damage?

  3. #3
    Associate Engineer
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    Nov 2016
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    we need to swap out the wheels for skis on the plane. He talked about jacking it up and decided that hoisting would make the work easier. Im not sure of the status of the existing beams, I have not seem them, but I bet they're holding up the roof. lets just assume the existing beams are strong enough. I'd prefer to install a wooden beam as its what I'm comfortable working with. that said how big of a beam do I need? three 2x12's screwed and glued together? a gluelam?

    thanks

  4. #4
    Lead Engineer Cake of Doom's Avatar
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    I can't ethically advise you any further. There are too many unknowns about the existing structure for me to sleep at night, on the off chance that you would use my advice. Sorry about that and best of luck with your project.

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