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Model Take-off Dolly

If you want to try your hand at Aerotowing, or have an electric model that you want to rotate off ground rather than hand launching the model, but don’t have undercarriage on your model, be it a scale glider or sport glider, then building a quick and easy model Take-off Dolly is your answer.


This one was made so that I could venture into Aerotowing. It was used to launch my 1/5 Scale (3m) Pilatus B4. Whilst the Pilatus has a fixed undercarriage, I didn’t want the wing tips to drag on the ground and get damaged, especially that we were taking-off from a Tarmac runway. The dolly kept the model well clear of the ground and was very stable.

There are a number of photos of these types of take-off trolleys out there on the web, but I could not find any plans; so I analysed the photos and although I initially started to build from Plywood like may others that I had seen, it was getting rather heavy. A bit of head scratching and remembering Phil Morgan’s Model stand, also featured on the Slope-dudes “ How To” pages, here is the one I made also from plastic overflow pipe. It is  neat, lightweight and durable, the width can be changed to allow for larger scale models and it works a treat, this also allows for it to be flat packed.

Made from Plastic Overflow pipe and plastic fitting the finished product was completed in just an afternoon. A quick trip to the local DIY store should see you obtain all the bits you need, except the wheels, you'll need to pop into your local model shop for these. I used 3" wheel - used on Tarmac, however, I think 4" wheels would be better suited to short grass.


Length of Plastic Pipe Base (2x 350mm)
Diagonal (2x 160mm)
Top (2x 240mm)
Rear (2x 150mm)
Joints (6x 30mm)
X Brace (2x 250mm (suits a 190mm width fuselage))
Plastic Angles 6 x 90° Angles
4 x 45° Angles
4 x “T” Pieces
Wood / Plastic Dowel 2x Wooden Dowel / Plastic pipe (15mm x min 50mm)
(mine are 15mm plastic doubled wall pipe with a wood dowel inside.)
Wheels 4 x Wheels (Min 80mm (3”))
Bolts / Washers / Nuts 8 x 5mm Bolts/Washes/4 x Nylock Nuts or Optional x4 Wing nut for X Braces + 4 Normal Nuts
Pipe Adhesive  
Pipe Lagging (Optional) Thin Walled Foam Pipe Lagging as wing seat

The Dolly height considers the prop clearance of a few Electric models that I have, The length is optimised to suit most of my models, although if you wanted to drop the flaps more that s few degrees, then you would have to take this into consideration in the length of the Top Strut. Please note that if you change the height or length of the Dolly, due to the front angle, all pipe lengths will change.

Each side made separately flat on bench and glued with pipe adhesive.. Make sure that the angles are correct and aligned and that the “T” Pieces are angles correctly so that the finished dolly is Square. Glue all joints except for the X braces.

Colin W









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