Ever since the wingspan of rc models exceeded three feet in length, proper storage of flying models has been an issue. During this blog, we’ll look at several methods of storing radio control planes under different conditions.
For rc modelers who have a large number of aircraft, the best approach is to get them off the floor to prevent damage from a number of sources. The use of hangers, while not a new idea, will serve to mount the models from the ceiling where they may hang freely out of harm’s way. The most common hangers are designed smaller aircraft weighing under four pounds. Heavier models will require larger hangers. An appropriate hanger size would be a 4′ by 3/16″ steel rod, big enough to reach a ceiling beam as well as strong enough to support the plane. Bike hooks and smaller scale hooks may also be used to mount the hanger in the ceiling, depending upon the weight and size of the model. Suggested tools are a ruler, vise, sandblaster or sandpaper, a degreaser, drill, stud finder, and pencil. Optional tools include 24″ by 3/16″ inside diameter tubing for padding the rod where the wings are supported in addition to glass cleaner or hairspray.
The first step to preparing the hangers is to bend the steel rods. Find and mark the center point of the rod, securing it to a vise then bending a 90-degree angle into the rod. Remove from the vise and complete the bend so the rod is folded in half. Use the vise again, if necessary to reinforce the bend. Find the center of the bent piece, bending it again to about 45-degrees, spreading the legs out slightly wider than the plane’s fuselage. You can work different bends which correspond to the fuselage shape. Next, prepare the hangers for painting. This may be accomplished by using either a sandblaster or a bench grinder with a wire wheel. Sandpaper may also be used. The purpose is to remove any residual oils from the metal in order to give a good surface for the paint to adhere. A degreaser or TSP will clean up any remaining residue. Then, spray paint the hangers, making sure to let them dry completely. The next step is to add tubing to insulate the hanger where it contacts the wing. Be sure the inside diameter of the tube matches the outside diameter of the rod. This will act as a buffer between the hanger and the wing of the rc plane, advantageous for heavier planes as well as those having a delicate finish. Hairspray and glass cleaner are good treatments for the hanger surface with hairspray acting as an adhesive as it drys. Finally, mount the hooks in the ceiling, draping the hangers through the hooks.
Planes may also be mounted on the wall area of a garage or storage building. If space allows, the entire aircraft may be secured with hangers draped around wall mounted hooks, as with the ceiling example. However, if storage space is limited, the fuselage and wing components may need to be stored separately. By using metal shelf brackets placed about two feet above the floor level supporting a wooden shelf, wings may be placed in small storage bins on the shelf. In this mode, the wings are high enough not to be disturbed by traffic inside the area, yet low enough not to conflict with fuselage storage. Fuselages may be hung by either the tail or propeller, with the tail preferred due to the larger surface area. The disadvantage of tail hanging is gasoline accumulation near the engine. Rotating fuselage positions may help in overcoming this. Finally, if no other space is available, an appropriate rc plane makes a good decorator item for a den or rec room.
Another method of storage, which has gained favor in recent years, is the use of PVC tubing. Its advantages are simplicity, flexibility, and a relatively low cost. With the use of a scissors-like cutting tool, PVC tubing may be cut to any length or configuration. While three to four-tier racks are the most popular configuration, many variations are in use. Since PVC racks are light, they are easily transportable, allowing an rc pilot the opportunity to fly several planes at an event. Cement is usually not necessary to secure PVC tubing, since the tubing is usually snug at the 90-degree joints. PVC pipes may also be used with metal hangers and hooks with the PVC acting as an insulator, as well as a work stand frame for rc models.
RC model stores sell a variety of storage kits, with most priced about $50, depending upon the configuration and type of kit. Some avid enthusiasts have even purchased outdoor buildings in which to store their planes. With all of the possibilities, rc model storage is not a one size fits all endeavor.