Build an RC Model Storage System — Do it yourself organization!

Jan 08, 2013 18 Comments by

Airplanes on the workshop floor always seem to catch “Hangar Rash.” Organizations is a great way to keep the our of harm’s way. Aviation modelers are an eclectic group coming from all walks of life.  Once we conquer the basics of flight we tend to acquire a variety of aircraft varying in type or style as much as our backgrounds.   Avoiding dreaded hangar rash and having a safe place to keep our fleets is something we can all use.  Designed my Model Airplane News contributor, and Blogger, Carl Layden, this system is primarily targeted at .40-.60 size airplanes, the following method is scale-able from small electric planes and park flyers to big 50cc gassers.

To construct this storage system you’ll need:

Fuselage Hangar

2 – 8ft. 2x3s

1 – 6ft, 1/2 inch dowel

6ft, ½ pipe foam insulation

10 – 4in wood screws

3ft brass plumber’s chain

cup hooks – 2 for every aircraft

Wing Shelf

3 – 10in shelf brackets

½ inch plywood (approximately 2ftx2ft)

6ft – 1in trim molding (or wider)

2ft – 1/2 inch dowel

2 – cup hooks

The amount of each will vary depending on how many aircraft you plan to hang this way.  Along with the building supplies you’ll need some basic carpentry skills & tools (wood glue, saw, drill, hammer, etc) and a bare wall, the wall of a garage or shed make a good location.

The first part of the project is to construct the fuselage hanger.  Begin by arranging the airplane fuselages on the floor with the tail pointed towards the wall approximately 4-5 inches from the wall. If you put the largest airplanes next to each other you usually fit a smaller model between the two, move it a little further from the wall such that it does not interfere with the horizontal stabs of the larger aircraft.  When you have finished arranging your airplane fuselages as you would like them to hang slide 2 2x3s under the tails of the aircraft.  The longer fuselages will hang from the 2×3 closest to the wall the smaller ones from the other 2×3.  Record the distance each 2×3 is from the wall, you’ll need it later when mounting the fuselage hanger.  You’ll need to remember the way the aircraft are arranged, write it down or take a picture for reference later.

Using a square and the fuselage as a guide make two marks on the 2×3 the width of the fuselage at the leading edge of horizontal stab.  Each fuse will hang from its horizontal stab.   The marks for the dowel holes need to be further apart than the width of the fuse.  Increase the gap by making two additional marks 1 ½ inches outside the first two, this will increase the gap 3 inches.  Repeat the process for each fuselage.

Measure the distance from the floor to the leading edge of the stab for each aircraft recording the largest distance.  The dowels will need to be cut 2 inches longer than the highest stab.  In my case the dowels were 10 inches long (highest stab was 8 inches off floor).  Cut two dowels to length for each fuselage you will be hanging.

Drill a ½ hole through the center of 2x3s at each mark you made for the dowels.  It is best to use a drill press to keep the holes are perpendicular to the 2×3.  You can do it freehand, however take care to ensure the hole is drilled straight down through the 2×3.  Using good quality carpenters wood glue, glue the dowel s into the holes, let the assembly dry overnight.  When the glue has dried sand the structure removing any rough edges.

Prime and paint the wooden structure, I painted it to match the color of the wall.  After the paint has dried it can be mounted on the wall.  For typical drywall over stud construction walls use 4”(#10) wood screws or lag screws(with washer).   In an earlier step you recorded the distance the 2×3 was from the wall when the planes were arranged on the floor.  Measure down from the ceiling this distance, this is where the hanger needs to be mounted.

The fuselage hanger should be mounded level on the wall using the screws to attach it to the wall studs.  The screws must be in the studs to support the weight of the hanging aircraft.  If the wall you are using is of a different construction like concrete block, brick you will need to use appropriate anchors to mount the hanger.

Cover each dowel with pipe insulation cut to length such that the end of dowel is flush with pipe insulation.  Screw a cup hook into the end of each dowel.  Hang your aircraft as you arranged then on the floor (that’s why you took the picture).  String plumber’s chain between the cup hooks on end of dowels making a safety chain to keep the fuselage from accidentally falling.  That completes the fuselage hanger construction and installation.

The method I used to store wings is easier than the fuselage hanger.  If you have the space you could use vertical 2×3 & longer dowels in a similar fashion to the fuse hanger.  I didn’t have that much space so a more compact storage arrangement was needed.

Begin by cutting the ½ plywood, it will be the shelf used to store the wings.  The shelf should be 2 inches wider than the maximum wing cord, the length of shelf will vary depending on the number of wings.  My shelf is 18in x 18in this accommodates approximately 8 wings with a maximum cord of 16in.

The next step is to make a ‘lip’ around the shelf to prevent the wing tips from sliding of shelf.  Nail the 1in trim around 3 sides of shelf (not the wall side), keep the bottom of trim flush with edge of plywood this will create the 1/2in lip around the perimeter of shelf.  Sand the shelf removing any rough edges, then prime & paint the shelf.

Using 2, 10in shelf brackets mount the shelf on wall, approximately 18in above floor ensure the area above the shelf is clear.  I mounted mine a little higher to allow storage of shopvac under it.  Screw another 10in shelf bracket to the wall 30in above shelf aligned with left or right edge of shelf.  Cut an 18in length of ½ dowel (or width of shelf used).   Attach ½ dowel to upper bracket, cover dowel with pipe insulation.  Place cup hooks at either end of dowel.

Put wings on shelf vertically leaning then against the dowel that extends out from upper bracket.  String the plumber’s chain between the cup-hooks as a safety chain.

That completes the construction aircraft storage system.   For a $50 investment (and time) you have a safe way to store aircraft between flying session prevented dreaded hangar rash.

Carl Layden, Featured News

About the author

Carl provides coverage of Atlantic Canadian events and people. In more than 30 years of RC flight, his interest has ranged from micro to giant scale, including a few of his own designs. He has served on the MAAC board of directors and was president from 2004-2006.

18 Responses to “Build an RC Model Storage System — Do it yourself organization!”

  1. Mauricio says:

    Neat! Thanks…

  2. B.GUIN says:


  3. DAY says:

    Since my garage walls already have shelving and cabinets, I had to resort to another system. I have two 1″ or 1 1/4″ (thick walled) PVC pipe, 5 ft long hanging from the ceiling, parallel to each other. They are spaced about 4 ft apart and covered with foam pipe covering. Since I park low to the ground cars ( one 97 corvette, and the other a BMW Z-3 roadster) it is not a problem, until I pull the van in for some reason or another. I only have one side finished so far, but it is working out really well, and yes, I can walk under it and the planes.(I am 5’6″ tall) I can get 3 or 4 planes and wings on there at a time if necessary. And, it is cheap to build.

  4. Danny says:

    Excellent idea!

  5. Cliff Campen says:

    Good idea, particularly the two different hanging levels to allow the planes to be staggered for a tighter fit.

  6. Shaggy says:

    How big a plane will this work for?
    I’m just worried about hanging heavier planes this way.

  7. Doug says:

    Is the stress level on the horizontal stabilizer too much? Perhaps some sort of support along the landing gear might help share the wieght.

  8. joe says:

    First Class

  9. Mike says:

    Nice system if you have open walls, :o ( … I’m still searching

    On your ceiling rack…. you place the planes across both pipes (perpendicular to them (since they’re 4 feet apart)?

  10. john eskow says:

    this will not work on gas models it will cause the tank clunck to freeze in a u shape position

  11. Flyoz says:

    Thats a neat rack if you have wall space.

    Sadly I dont so i used an old laminate table. You know the 60s style 1/2″ metal tube leg and metal frame with laminated board top.

    I bolted 4 lengths of chain to the ledg ends of the inverted the table and hang it from the ceiling. The planes park flat on the (old underside) now the new topside of the table.

    You can use spaced metal hose clamps around the legs (and screwed into the ends of dowl as wing rack/holders on the two legs at each end of the upside down table :D
    the whole lot can be at just over head hight for easy acess but is out of the way so you can work /park underneath :D

  12. lakeman1 says:

    Looks neat but….you should NOT store your aiplanes nose down for long periods of time. The clunk line in your fuel tank will curl around to the front of the tank and sometimes will not straighten back out when you fly. This can kink the line or cause the clunk to hang up when flying inverted. I still haul some planes to the field nose down but I shake it before flying to ensure that the clunk isn’t hung up. I have had to replace a few clunk lines because of this. A better system would be to turn the planes around when hooked to the wall. Just wrap a bungy cord around the landing gear and hang them on hooks.

    • michaelpowell says:

      It depends on the type of planes you fly. This is for a collection of similar types of front engined monoplanes. If you fly deltas or high performance gliders, or even helicopters you need to work out something for you.

      I use a couple of vertical rails which lean against the wall like a ladder. From the rails I’ve fitted some wood dowels that point away from the wall. The planes sit on top of these. I can get about ten vertically stacked above each other.

      The rails just lean against the wall so I can move the ‘ladder’ elsewhere. Suits my planes, but the helicopters need a home next.

  13. member1339778756 says:

    Hi Folks,

    Thanks for all the feedback. The heaviest fuse I’m hanging using this method is about 15lbs (50cc).

    Appreciate all the cautionary notes regarding clunks moving to front of tank, indeed it’s a good idea to ensure that your clink is where it should be before flights. The structure of tail of most sport aircraft is strong enough to support the weight of the fuse, if however it is a light built up structure hanging from the tail may not be the best idea for you.

    For those without a ‘free’ wall some of the other suggestions listed here may work for you.


  14. John says:


    Many thanks , just what I needed!

  15. Bill Munro says:

    Excellent article. Good stuff Carl

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