How to implement aircraft wingtip streamers / trails


I am working through trying to get a game up and running in UE4 and would like to add History trails off the wingtips of the aircraft I have flying around. Ideal would be to have the trails shown for last 3 seconds the remove them (to avoid the screen getting full of trails!).

I am clueless where to start with this as I dont just want generic lines behind my models, I want the lines to actually show where the aircraft was X seconds ago:


Any help or pointers well received!


Not an expert but i would say create a SMOKE particle effect with a few animations (fade, distort, wind movement) etc…

Have a look at using particle effects in the engine.

You will also need to setup a blueprint so when the airplane takes off and is in the air for X seconds, the particle effect with animation needs to begin and when aircraft lands, needs to stop etc…


As Lukecliff already mentioned, use a smoke particle effect -> you can find one in the starter content.
To get more information about particles, take a look at this site: :slight_smile:

I was thinking of using the sample particles, but how would I get them to follow the trail the aircraft had flown? I don’t just want the particle effect behind the aircraft, I would like it to show the historic position of the jet (as if it had a smoke trail like airshows).

Disable “use local space” in your particle (required tab) + increase the spawn rate :slight_smile:

Thanks, I am getting there (but also am clearly stupid - can you point me to the “use local space” setting? I am editing the sample P_Smoke particle).

As far as best practice, am I ok to just “attach to” the aircraft with the smoke particle or should I edit the mesh and attach the particles there?

Just add a socket to your mesh and attach the particle system to it :slight_smile:


Great! Thanks - Looking pretty much like I wanted! Thanks for your help.