Preparation & Building Area

Tools, Work Stands, Templates & Jigs

Work Area

You will require a cleared work area of 22'x15' minimum as your Challenger will be at least 20' 0" long, based on the length of a Challenger II. The Challenger I is a little shorter at 18' 6". A garage usually will work well in this case if you cannot afford a hanger for the build process.


If you have already ordered your Challenger Kit, now would be a good time to assemble all the tools you will be needing for the coming construction process. As Challenger BTT already has a web page on recommended tools, I will not reproduce it here. Instead, just click on the following URL link to bring up the Recommended Tools web page in a new browser window.


It's just a lot easier and less expensive to build some saw horses for the wing construction. Also, the saw horses are easy to move out of the way for other things, such as working on the fuselage. Just put them under the wing spars where they look like they are giving equal support to the spars. Not at just the ends, for instance, but otherwise it's not critical for placement.

The only reason for leveling is to avoid introducing any twist into the spars while doing the assembly or covering. You will notice you can grab the ends of the wing platform (as it comes from the box) and easily make some twist in it. The saw horses only need to be level in regard to each other, not in regard to the floor itself. You can ignore floor slope as long as the tops of each horse are level to each other so as not to create twist in the spars.

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I made my own saw horses from kits I bought at Home Depot. They sell a quick assembly hard plastic kit that you just put some 2X4 legs on and another 2X4 across the top. You will need 6, 8' 2X4's. Cut 4 of them in half (4' each) for the 8 legs. The other two can be cut to 6' and laid across the top. The kits allowed me to lay them flat or on edge. I chose to lay them flat for more surface area. A 6' top piece worked good for me since the wing is only 5' deep.

Note the black assembly kits right where the legs and top piece join. Very simple little kit, but it works and is very sturdy for what you will need it for. As you can see, even with the ribs on you can turn the wing over with the saw horses between two ribs if need be.

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503 Engine Work Stand

In anticipation of wanting to temporarily hang and then remove the engine from the airframe several times before covering the fuselage, I built this stand out of plywood and 2x3 lumber. It makes installing and/or removing the engine an easy one-person job that takes about two minutes. This has made planning and installing the fuel, starting, electrical, and control systems very simple to do. You just push down on the back of the fuselage frame to lower the root tube between the angles of the engine mount and install one of the engine mounting bolts. Then you pivot the engine up until the second bolt can be slipped into place. Removal is the opposite. The fuselage can then be rolled forward leaving the engine on the stand. This stand also provides a convenient work surface on either side of the engine when working on the carbs or other accessories.

Courtesy of Jim Lartin-Drake.
Jim's Challenger II N333JN web site.
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NOTE: As the construction or kit build progresses, we will most likely be adding additional Work Stands, Templates & Jigs to this web page. Please return periodically to this page for possible updates. We will also announce any changes to the building web pages on the "New Arrivals" web page.