Tag Archives: airplane hangar

Airplane vs. Pole Barn-Guess Who Won?

In all fairness to the airplane, it actually rolled onto the patio of a pole barn. The airstrip, near Auburn, Indiana, is a grassy field. The 74 year-old pilot of the 1965 Cherokee 140 airplane lost control of the plane while attempting to takeoff – so it actually did not “fall” into the pole barn (more technically post frame building).

Surprisingly enough, even though the plane never lifted off, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is responsible for handling the investigation. It is my humble opinion the pole barn will be entirely exonerated of any culpability in the case.

As of 2014 there were just under 200,000 privately registered aircraft in the United States. Interestingly enough, up until 2010 once an aircraft registration was assigned, it lasted forever without renewal. The rules then changed, so owners would have to register them every three years.

The reason for this change in rules? The FAA had lost track of how many airplanes in the nation were actively still around! The cost of registration? All of five dollars. This assumes a renewal notice was received from the FAA, which many pilots do not get because planes change hands on a frequent basis and there was no mechanism in place to keep owner’s names and addresses current.

Among the owners of planes who recently had their registrations expire has been the owner of Cessna N725DT, our own president, Mr. Donald Trump!

Most pilots would prefer to have their one of 200,000 planes housed inside of pole barn hangars, rather than parked not so cleanly into the side of one.

I read a recent article posted by a pilot, in regards to parking at his airport. His parking costs – $35 per month outside or $235 to rent a hangar. Besides parking his plane in the hangar, he also stores a car, motorcycle, furniture and other boxes of stuff which used to fill his garage. In his mind, the hangar is almost free when he views it as being a large storage unit and private workshop.

When looking at renting a hangar – building your own post frame hangar might be a viable proposition. The $235 monthly rent would make the payments on a $20,000 hangar which you would then own, instead of being subjected to the whims and will of a landlord.
Looking for a hangar? The answer could be closer than you think with a new post frame building!

Planning your new hangar? Get a few tips here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/09/hangar-2/

Airplane Hangar Exposure C

Why Your Airplane Hangar is Probably Exposure C

I had the joy of growing up “hanging out” (pun intended) at airplane hangars and doing a lot of flying including having my hands on the controls of a Cessna 182 for many hours before I became a teen. One thing for certain about airplane hangars – they are always built with the idea of being able to take off and land the airplanes which are housed inside, somewhere in the general vicinity of the hangar!

Yes, I know this reads like a mission for Captain Obvious.

After all, what would be the use of a hangar if not to be able to fly the plane?

Airplanes do require a certain amount of space to be able to land and the runway better be fairly flat, as well as not obstructed by things like other buildings and trees. Those tall things generally tend to make the life of a pilot miserable.

A Hansen Pole Buildings client recently ordered a new post frame hangar with an Exposure B for wind. This is the short version of the definition of a B exposure:

Wind Exposure B is a site protected from the wind in all four directions, within ¼ mile, by trees, hills or other buildings. This would include building sites in residential neighborhoods and wooded areas.

Whereas, Wind Exposure C is a site where there is open terrain with scattered obstructions having heights generally less than 30 feet high. (Commonly associated with flat open country and grasslands).

If you are curious and want to know all there is to know about Wind Exposure here is some good late night reading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/wind-exposure-confusion/.

Being a fairly simple guy, I am scratching my head at this wondering how the plane is going to takeoff through all of this protection.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Managing Partner Eric did a quick Google search of the site and let me know it is in the middle of a field!

In the event you are in need of a new airplane hangar and you are getting quotes from providers which do not specifically indicate on the Exposure C for wind, chances are good you are being quoted for Exposure B. The difference in design strength for resistance to wind loads is roughly 20%.

Think about it…..

Do you actually want your several hundred thousand dollar airplane to be parked in a building which is under designed for the actual wind conditions which could be applied to the building?

Bi-parting Doors on Airplane Hangars

Double Bi-parting Sliding Doors for an Airplane Hangar

airplane-hangar-buildingEvery once in a while I get asked a Dear Pole Barn Guru question which just demands its own space in order to do the subject topic true justice. This happens to be one of them.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I want to build a 50x40x16 for an airplane hangar. I need a 45×14 door. Without spending a fortune on a bi-fold or hydraulic is there a way to double sliding barn doors? LUKE IN SARAH

DEAR LUKE: The answer really comes down to would sliding doors be the best design solution and/or be practical.

Bi-parting sliding doors on double tracks would mean you would have four sliding door panels of roughly 11’6” in width each. In order to fully open these doors, they would have to be able to slide PAST the corners of the building and out into space (actually they could slide on a header out to a column which would be planted 9’ away from the building corner).

This poses some challenges – first being, do you have exclusive access to a location this far away from the building corner? Second, if you do have the exclusive rights, these posts tend to become targets for things to run into. When (not if) something does run into one of the columns, it is going to damage the something, as well as potentially create a “fall down, go boom” situation for your sliding door track.

You can read some of my own personal experiences with sliding doors on hangars here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/09/hangar-n3407s/

Now the practicality part (yes, darn the practicality thing).

In order to get four sliding doors to function properly it will require steel guide brackets to be poured into (at the least) concrete piers at the intersection of each door. These will tend to get in the way of your plane (or vehicles) going in and out.  The piers should extend below the frost line, to minimize the possibilities of frost heaves making it impossible to open the doors.

Sliding doors, on their own, tend to not be the tightest for security. Placing them on double door tracks multiplies the possibilities of being unable to seal them well. Plan upon visits to the inside of your building by small rodents and feral cats. Neither of which is ideal (mice can chew up the insulation on wiring faster than one might imagine).

My recommendation – we can design a post frame building kit for you which will accommodate a Schweiss Door.  No, they are not free, however they are a well-regarded door and should provide for you years of operation as a happy hangar owner. Here is an article with more information: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/02/hangar-doors-2/

Nested T Hangars

For those of you who have been following my blogs the past 2 days on T hangars, there is a variant of them known as the nested T.  By nesting the tail sections into the center of the structure, the over-all length of the hangar is reduced enabling the same amount of aircraft to be housed in less square footage.

Nested HangerMy first nested T hangar experience as a post frame building was again at the airport at Chehalis, Washington. To see how this particular hangar laid out, we can again play connect the dots (see my blog two days ago for the first dots game).

Place 15 dots left to right evenly spaced to simulate 10’ spacings. Spaced 16 feet, 32 feet and 48 feet from the first series of dots, replicate the first 15 dots below them.

In the uppermost row, left to right, erase dots 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12. Next row down erase dots 3, 7, and 11. Third row down erase dots 5, 9, and 13. Bottom row erase dots 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14. By connecting the remaining dots (without going through the erased dot locations), this example will create a total of six units with 40 foot wide door openings, in a total building length of 140 feet.

Not only does the nested T hangar save in building material but also requires less taxiway length than the standard T hangar design.  Pole building design allows for virtually any door opening width, door height, and overall depth.

The extreme versatility of post frame nested T hangar design allows small and large hangars to be combined to meet individual storage requirements. It permits inclusion of jet pods or clear span modifications which can give the opportunity to house a special airplane with a custom hangar at a very reasonable cost.

Structural frame members are pressure preservative treated timbers or glu-laminated columns selected for strength, affordability and ease of erection. Unlike most hangar manufacturers who opt for “cantilever construction”, Hansen Pole Buildings prefers “post and beam” type construction.

“Post and beam” has long proven itself a superior construction design of T hangars – not only because it creates a stronger, more durable structure with more equal distribution of roof loads, but also because it offers maximum flexibility of design.

Prefabricated wood with metal connector plated roof trusses are used across the door opening in the post and beam style. We advocate trussing the door openings, supporting the door, and attaching the roof instead of supporting the roof and attaching the door. After all a T hangar is pretty much just a series of doors with a roof over it. This design feature accommodates the major load of the whole hangar and door system and provides the mounting for the door operator and other components necessary for smooth, safe, and continuous door operation.

I hope you had fun with this series on hangars…I know I did!