Door Designs for Your Metal Airplane Hangar

Published March 12, 2014 by Whirlwind Team

airplane hangar doorsYou have a choice in the design of the door for your aircraft hangar. Each door design has its pros and cons. Selection depends on door size, placement, hangar structure, and the proportion to be opened for various uses. Cost and appearance also factor into your decision.

Hangar doors can also come with small doors in the center and top called tailgates, so-called because they allow planes with tails higher than the hangar eaves to enter.

Before you go shopping, gather these details together so you get the appropriate door for your particular hangar.

  • Building dimensions
  • Clear wing depth
  • Clear tail bay width
  • Clear overall unit dimensions
  • Proper eave height
  • Details about the operator, door jamb, weather stripping, and support
  • Metal building details including purlin and girt requirements
  • Electrical requirements
  • Safety factors

This is a small portion of the detail required for your purchase but it will get you started.

Door Types

Bottom Rolling Doors

Bottom rolling doors are mounted on heavy duty wheels that follow a bottom track and open to the sides. A rail or angle is located along the bottom of the door track to support the full weight of the doors, and is often installed flush with the concrete to provide a smooth entry into the building. The top of the door is guided by top rollers running on either side of a guide angle. The door is typically designed with multiple leafs to ease opening and closing. These leafs are placed on adjacent tracks, allowing them to be stacked when opened. Additional framing can be provided if the door leafs need to stack beyond the edge of the building itself.

Pro: Can be used for very large openings, including widths over 100’ and heights over 50’. Easy to open and clean, cost effective, durable.

Con: If the doors are manual, some strength is needed to operate them. Tracks can jam if not periodically cleaned.

Bi-folding Doors

Bi-folding doors open on rollers vertically somewhat like sideways stackers, folding in two at the center of each door. Electric bi-fold doors are especially economical for T-hangars, consecutive rectangular hangars, and large bulk storage hangars with openings under 80 feet wide and 20 feet in clear height.

Pro: Strong, dependable, usually operated with electric motor.

Con: Expense, need for professional service if jammed.

Hydraulic Doors

Hydraulic doors are similar to bi-folding doors. They are hinged along the top of the leaf and open as one large unit with the aid of hydraulic cylinders located along each side jamb.

Pro: Lots of vertical clearance, strong, dependable, usually operated with electric motor.

Con: Expensive, need for professional service if jammed. They also place a lot of stress on the building jambs, requiring heavier framing.

Folding Fabric

These doors also open vertically on rollers. For more money, these can be made as secure as a metal door.

Pro: low cost, nice-looking, won’t dent.

Con: Low quality and less security although pricier options address this.

This gives you an idea of the variety and cost of various door designs for steel airplane hangars. Depending on your needs you may prefer one over another. Do your research and ask people with similar needs what they went with and how it is working out for them.

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