Metal is now the industry standard for airplane hangar design. In fact, an extensively detailed Naval Facilities Engineering Command Report that sets out the criteria for Naval aircraft maintenance facilities makes it clear that there are no other sensible options besides steel. The very first sentence of the Structural Requirements section of the report reads: “The modular structure of a maintenance hangar should be a steel frame system.”1 (p. 25)
According to Civil Engineering Magazine's article, “A Turnaround for Hangar Design,”2 even when the U.S. Navy, Airforce, and National Guard are building & testing experimental, new, and inventive designs, with alternate construction shapes and materials, they always use a steel frame. There are many reasons for this: the structure “must be able to resist multiple loads simultaneously, including dynamic loads from the door systems, live and dead gravity loads, and horizontal seismic and wind forces, plus the large internal uplift forces generated by hurricane-force winds.” Frames are “designed to be "self-erecting" to avoid excessive construction phasing,” one of the compelling sell-points of prefab steel buildings.
Quonset Hangar Buildings
- The most cost effective aviation storage building
- Superior wind & seismic durability
- Fast & simple construction
Straight Wall Hangars
- Maximum usable space for all airplane types
- Virtually no size restriction
- Modular by design
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Tangible Benefits for both Commercial & Recreational Aviators
In addition to superior sturdiness, airplane hangar requirements are characterized by the necessity for large areas of free floorspace. In a discussion of airplane hangar valuation, produced for Appraisal Journal, Timothy Lindsey discusses the variety of designs employed to accomplish this: “Common structural systems used to achieve a large free span include trusses, rigid frames, long-span open web-joists, and cantilevers. Some of the tallest and largest free-span buildings are arch truss systems.”3 Manufacturers of prefabricated metal buildings have employed engineers to achieve all of these precise requirements, bringing together large free floor space, unparalleled sturdiness & load-resistance, fire and weather-proofing, and warrantied long-lasting durability, all at astonishingly low prices when compared to building from any other available material. Finishing options are endless, though business minded individuals with an eye to saving money on insurance, can get the very highest insurance credit rating by going with a metal hangar building, whose exterior walls have been finished with an attractive ultra-combustion-resistant masonry exterior.
Inspiring technological breakthroughs are re-inventing the precise science of hangar-door design. Civil Engineering cites one such design, produced by Megadoor Inc, in Atlanta, GA which consists of, “a structural fabric curtain covering horizontal steel beams,” that pairs steel's sturdy strength-to-weight ratio with a significant reduction in mass, “light enough to attach to cantilevered elements and raise up into the structure.” Another design, by Kalwal, bonds “translucent fiberglass-reinforced faces to a grid core of interlocked structural steel I beams,” to promote natural light transmission, for significant savings in energy costs4. For more info on hangar door options, please visit our Blog article on Hangar Doors. We hope to include an addendum to this article soon, to keep our visitors abreast of the latest technological innovations.
With the 30% to 60% savings in construction time and costs, and unparalleled flexibility of expansion without interrupting interior operations, one cannot afford to build a commercial or light airplane hangar building from any other material. With an eye to energy-efficiency, careful choices in terms of office-space insulation, and hangar-door construction, you may be eligible for a tax rebate for sustainable practices. Visit the IRS Energy Efficient Commercial Rebate area for more information.
When it comes to airplane hangar construction, steel is by far the best choice. No other option touches a pre-engineered steel hangar in a cost & benefits analysis. Take advantage of the technological innovations that are revolutionizing hangar construction today.
Further Hangar Related Information:
- This report can be found downloaded for free online at: wbdg.org
- “A Turnaround for Hangar Design” appeared in Civil Engineering Magazine's, Vol. 67 (1997) Issue 5, p52
It was written by James O'Kon
- This article appeared in Appraisal Journal: Vol: 76 Issue: 1 ISSN: 0003-7087 Date: 02/2008, p26
The author, Timothy J. Lindsey, appraisalinstitute.org
His LinkedIn Profile is located at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/timothy-lindsey/4/183/42a
- Taken from the article, “Denver Hangar has Translucent Walls,” which appeared in Civil Engineering,
Vol. 68 (1998) Issue 7, p87