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RC Airplane Storage


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 by Model Airplane News contributor 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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System Shelf Brackets

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.

RC Model Storage System Shelf

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.

RC Model Storage System

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.

RC Model Storage System


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Add a Comment
  1. Great ideas for little planes….. but what about when your fuselage weighs 50lb with a span of 198″ ??

  2. Be careful if you hang foamies this way; the horizontal stab can warp easily.

  3. Not good for glow powered planes. Small amounts of fuel left in the tank even after emptying will eventually eat away the brass feed throughs. I put hooks in the ceiling and hang the fuselages from the prop. Good for both glow and electrics. However, I agree. No easy way to store big 50 lb planes except to use large amounts of space.

  4. I like the way the fuselage is stored but not real fond of the wing storage, I would be afraid when i went to get one out of the middle that others would fall out too.

  5. and when you have more planes than wall space? LOL

    Plane Crazy

  6. I’ve had no warpage after years of storing fuselages in this manner. What made this approach unique is the alternating mounting heights. Thanks for sharing the idea.

  7. That’s great food for thought, I plan on doing that with pegboard to make it modular. Always looking for good shop ideas. Only immediate issue I see is the baseboard heater below a bunch of models, I gotta assume it was not used again after the model hanging project.

  8. You should hang foamies, especially light indoor ones, from their props to prevent warping … make simple horseshoe shaped hooks out of hangers and slip them over a 3/4″ dowel you hang under a ceiling, or off the wall using the kind of bracket you’d use to hold the pole in your closet.

  9. I use a similar system that is great for gas or electrics. Glow powered planes are a different story as any fuel remaining in the engine draws moisture which can eventually cause rusted bearings (I’ve just replaced them on two engines that were stored for about a year. Run out all gas in the engine after flying and use an after-run oil ( I didn’t). It should keep the bearings in good shape.

  10. I have a better plane organizer I would like to send photos could can you give me an email address thank you

  11. Well done, there are lots of ways to store planes, this is just one more good version.

  12. Looks great. While some have expressed concerns, it looks like it works fine for the planes in the photo. Had a similar discussion recently on FG. Popular options seem to be hang by tail, landing gear of wing tube. Personally use prop for small planes. Thanks for sharing.

  13. you have a lot more space than I do. several years ago I lost my 20 X 30 shop and am now in a 12 X 28 shop. I put all my floor mount tools in and then added a few more for good measure. My fuses and wings are stored on metal shelf brackets, the wings have pipe insulation and the fuses have 1 X whatever I had in the wood rack. BTW I also build furniture in the same shop.

  14. It looks like all your planes are two piece wings with no fixed landing gear. My fuselages don’t have landing gear to keep them off the wall; so I hang them by the prop from the ceiling rafters. For the one piece wings I use a PVC rack. It is not very efficient with landing gear taking up a lot of the space

  15. I’m in a similar situation right now….I have two Hostetler planes and three Balsa USA big ones….a 12 x 11 bedroom. What’s a guy to do…already got rid of the wife. The kids are grown and gone. I have planes and kits in every room (including the bath tub).

  16. Me? I built a section of “T” hangars for all my planes/”hangar queens”.

  17. What I don’t see mentioned is my personal concern about hanging planes nose down, and that is deformation of the fuel line inside the fuel tank caused by the clunk hanging down.

    This is perhaps somewhat less of a concern with the more flexible silicone fuel line than the stiffer line used with gas models, but still could be a problem. Another concern would be residual fuel leaking out of the tank over the long term. I only hang my models tail down for these reasons.

    1. The same basic system, with the spacing of the support posts widened and the supports themselves lengthened can be used to hang planes by their landing gear with the nose pointed upwards.

  18. This works great. I have used a similar system for 10 years using metal garden tool brackets. They even come with the foam covering. However I like this one better as it allows you to mount more aircraft by bringing them closer together and it would be far cheaper to build.
    One modification I would suggest is to slightly angle the dowel upwards. That way the model can never slip off and you don’t need the safety chain.
    I also have a run of power points along the wall between the models so I can charge the receiver batteries overnight while they hang there.
    However be careful what you store below the models as I have had small amounts of fuel leak out of the glow engines on occasion.

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