Jacking the Swift...


I've had my Swift up on jacks once myself and wasn't very pleased with the way I had to weigh down the tail to keep it on the ground. (piling weight on the horizontal until it wouldn't lift) Now I'm faced with having to jack the mains in the air again. I barely remember someone suggesting that a stand be placed under the firewall when jacking the mains off the ground. Anyone ever use such a method? Any other suggestions out there for getting the gear up safely? I don't have any good way to tie the tail down in my hanger. ( Though I could probably install something ) I'm not too fond of the idea of putting that much tension on the shock strut by using the tailwheel as a hold down anyway. Any thoughts on that? Thanks, Horst

I use a 70# sandbag. I place it on a terry cloth towel up against the fairing between the horiz stab and vert stab near their leading edges. No problem... Steve Wilson

Horst: A hoist can be attached to the engine lifting eye. (with the top cowl removed) Either the nose has to be lifted up or the tail weighted down! A couple of tires, one on each side of the horizontal stabilizer, tied together loosely with a rope works. -- Jim

Checking the Swift landing gear is an operation every owner should perform several times each year. Remember - three of the reoccuring AD's involve the landing gear. I place my sand containers on the horizontal each side of the vertical, then, with my "Swiftjacks" at the jack points, raise the mains off the floor. Total time including emergency down check: 30 minutes max- unless I find something that requires attention. For more on this see me or any of the Swifters at Nationals. My name is Kerby.

Thanks for all the replies. Guess I'll try some sand bags. It just seems that anything I put on the horizontal wants to start sliding when the deck angle increases with jacking. No one else ever heard of a cradle or stand under the firewall, huh? -- Horst

I am a new Swift owner and went thru the same thing. I use an old sheet (cotton, not polyester) and fold it then lay the sands bags on the sheet with the bags/sheet hanging ahead of the leading edge of the hori stab on each side of the vert stab. I use 50# bags of play sand in thick poly bags. Yes, 50# too much but that's what the smallest bag size is. I put the bag as close to the vert stab as I can (actually lay it on the fillet).  I could not find a jack which would go under the wing jack points so I bought a set of Alpha jacks that are 4" too long. I fabed a wood block to go under the bottom of the main struts with a pad and use my truck (GMC Pick-Up) scissors jack to jack up each main strut enough to get the Alpha jack under the jack point. When I am finished with what ever possessed me to jack the plane up, I put a ramp under my main wheels and just roll the plane off.

Sounds like a long explanation for something simple. Well........... When I was buying my Swift, Travis Hall from Dallas area told me two things during our first conversation -- don't jack the plane without weighing down the tail and if you use the cable emergency extension system, make sure you crank it back the other way before retracting the gear. I have actually had to use the extension system and have jacked the plane several times so I will always hear Travis' words whenever I get close to doing either. Steve Roth <>

Subj: Jacks
From: John Cross <>
I was reading the answer man archive this morning and noted a comment about finding jacks that are the right height for the Swift. Most small jacks start at 26" which is too high. One comment was that you could put a scissors jack under the wheel and jack it up to get on the other jack. That gives me the willies. I get visions of punching a hole in the wing trying to set the wing jack point down on the little teeny dimple on the jack. I just bought a great set of jacks that are 21" (if I remember right) that fit the Swift. I got them from up there near you in the frigid tundra. The company is:
ALPHA AVIATION INC, ATTN DON MC DONALD, 1505 CHATEAULIN LANE, BURNSVILLE, MN 55337, USA, Phone: (952)431-4770, Phone: (800)231-0948,
Fax: (952)431-1322
The pair was $374 delivered. btw-I use bags of lead shot (available at any reloading supply shop) to held the tail down. you can lay them on a towel right at the horiz stab root. -- John Cross N2398B

The jacks I have were meant for a Mooney and are just a little too tall to slide under my Swift. The easy solution is to lift the tailwheel on to a box about a foot high. The jacks then fit under the jack points with room to spare. Before raising the gear on the jacks, I usually put the tailwheel back on the floor. A friend has a set of jack stands, not jacks, and he uses a little bigger box and when he puts them in place and removes the box, the wheels are just the right height off the floor. -- Jim

Michael Bell <> writes...
I'm a new Swift owner as of this week and would like to know where to buy a set of jacks. A couple of suppliers have tripod jacks with a minimum 21" height which seems like it would work with about a half inch to spare. Before I start re-inventing the wheel I thought I would see if there is a source that is known to be good. Thanks, Mike Bell N34RX

Karl says...
Make your own, they are cheaper. For your information, here is my recipe for sturdy, reliable and highly mobile jack stands,
---Harbor Freight 6 ton rated hydraulic jack stands (2) (about $20 each) (get this high capacity type because they also have a little longer piston travel)
---Harbor Freight 4 caster automobile wheel dollies (2)
---4 inch square steel tube (need about 12 inches). This will form the outside tube.
---3.5 inch square steel tube (also need about 12 inches). This will be the inside tube.
---1/4 inch flat steel plate 12x12 inches (qty 2)
---Weld the 3.5 inch square tube to the base plate
---Weld the base of the hydraulic jack to the 4 inch tube
---Cut the tubes to insure that overall height with collapsed tubes, base plate
and jack is about 17". This is necessary for jacking up an aircraft with a
flat tire. (caution: since I have never even had the tires on my airplane yet, use your
own judgement as to minimum height!)
---Drill through both tubes (raising the outer tube) at various increments to allow total basic height (jack fully collapsed) at 17inches with riseincrements at 19 and 21 inches. My welder made pins with rounded blunt ends for use when extending the jacks.
---My welder only "spotted" the base of the jacks to the top of the 4 inch tubes so as to minimize the heat transfer into the base of the jack. He welded a short length (~1 inch) tube (same id as the wing jacking nub OD) to the top of the jack.
---If the aircraft is going to stay on the jacks for an extended period of time, just cut a 6 inch (approx) sleeve from a 3 sided extruded channel and slip it around the jack strut tube for use as a stop. Secure it in place with a hose clamp or some large tie wraps.
---If your welder is reasonably cheap this comes to under $200 for a cool set of aircraft jacks.
The roll arounds make moving the aircraft around in a crowded hanger a real cinch!

(Editor says... Sounds like a great deal but for those of you who aren’t do-it-yourselfer’s check out this website. Http:// ...and get the 21 inchers...)

From: "starwizz" <>
Subject: RE: May #1 GTS Internet Update
I just got my jacks from Wag Aero. The 21" are $180 (the 24" are $150, go figure). The shipping is a killer at $80. They look great and seem very sturdy. Well, they hold 43K off the ground which I find very convenient during gear swings. -- Mark