How to Display Model Airplanes From Your Ceiling

By Deborah Stephenson

After the time and patience that goes into building a model airplane, you'll want to display the work so others can see it. This is simple when the model is a car or other object normally associated with the ground, but airplanes are best displayed when they are in the air. Hanging them is ideal for display, but for best effect, you must do it in a way that makes the airplane seem as if it is really flying. It is also important to do it in a way that does little or no harm to the model.

Determine where the models will hang--either high enough to avoid head and plane collisions or in a spot that is out of the way. Recessed ceilings are ideal, but corners are good too.

Use a hot needle to make two tiny holes in the top of the fuselage. Use a candle to heat the needle to red hot; quickly wipe away any black soot from the needle, and insert it straight into the plastic. Place one hole near the cockpit area and one near the tail.

Make two more holes; one in the top center of each wing using the same process.

Use the finest fishing line you can find that will support the weight of the model; measure and cut two pieces double the length of the distance you want your model to hang from the ceiling plus about 12 inches (for adjustments). For example, if your model will hang 20 inches from the ceiling, cut 52 inches of line (20 + 20 + 12 = 52).

Push a piece of fishing line into the forward hole in the fuselage and fasten in place with a drop of superglue. Push the other end of the same line in the aft hole and glue the same way. This line will control the pitch of the airplane’s nose.

Repeat the gluing process with the other line--one end into each of the holes on each wing. This line will control the angle of the wings.

Repeat the above steps for each model.

Attach hooks to the ceiling where you plan to hang your models. (If you change your mind, a bit of spackling compound will easily hide holes from small hooks, but if the models are lightweight try taping them to the ceiling temporarily while you work out your display.)

Suspend both lines of each plane from a single hook. Control tilt by pulling the lines up or down until the plane hangs as desired. Use a permanent marker to place a dot on each line where it contacts the hook.

Remove from the hook and tie the lines together at the marks. Hang the plane from the knot to test angles before cutting off excess, then re-hang over the hook. Your plane should be at the proper angle for display.

Follow the procedure for each additional plane.


Suspend wood or metal models by mono-filament loops under the fuselage--loop around the tail section and near the nose. Loop wings as well, or hang from any convenient fastening point.

Planes look more dramatic when tilted slightly in one direction or another and with wings angled. For a nice effect, use several of the same type model and position them to look as if they are flying in formation. (Especially good with fighter jets!)