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Thread: Hangar door trainwrecks

  1. #1
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    Hangar door trainwrecks

    I have been building some rental hangars in my spare time, I like to study hangar doors on other hangars while out and about I have had really good service from Schweiss bifolds. My friend sent me this pix from FL anybody know where is was? Supposed to be a hydroswing. I want to try a hyd door on my next one, just wondering why it failed.
    Also post some pix of your door failures if you have had one, should be good clean fun.

    Jim



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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Looks like a hinge failure or the hinge attachment. Or, perhaps the cross member to which the hinges were attached?
    N1PA

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    pzinck's Avatar
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    I have one of the early hydroswings, at least here in Maine. I have heard they have some failures where the hydraulic ram attaches, I have looked at mine and seem to be fine. Someone told me they have some sort of retrofit or beef-up. After viewing jims picture, perhaps I will call the company that is making them now. https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...inal-01-15.pdf Seems as though schweiss had some issues as well.
    Last edited by pzinck; 01-16-2017 at 06:55 AM.

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    pzinck's Avatar
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    Check out Powerlift hydraulic doors, From what I've been told, they're the best hydraulic door on the market. I know a guy that installs them, and he said they've replaced a lot of other brands with them, and had no failures to date. The biggest one he's had a hand in is at the Casper, WY airport (lots of wind), I believe he said it was 80 or 90' wide, by 20 something tall.

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    sub3's Avatar
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    It's all fun and games until you let someone use your hangar who forgets to unlatch the door before pressing the open button.

    I'm sure the modern doors you guys are taking about have a failsafe for this..

  7. #7
    little wing's Avatar
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    After lots of research, A Higher Power hydraulic door will be going on the hangar I'm about to build. Flymore has a similar door but I can't remember the MFG, maybe he'll reply.

    With the way these types of doors operate they place all the weight, strain and wind loading only on the two beams installed inside your hangar, none of the load is placed on the building. Most of the others place all the load on the building structure. Our friend who manufactures steel buildings advises against the ones that hinge at the top, (compare the link photos to the photo at the top of this thread).

    http://www.hpdoors.com/

  8. #8
    pzinck's Avatar
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    I wonder how many of these door failures are from abuse? I have always shoveled mine and make sure it is unfrozen before opening. If one used as a snow shovel or was latched like above post states would add a lot of stress to these fatigue points. Did a quick inspection of mine this morning and all seems well. Will do a more thorough inspection when I have more time.

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    Billy,

    Take a look at these if you haven't already, lots of them around Tulsa as they are made in Eastern Oklahoma. The thing I like is with the rotating action/upper track to partially balance the load there is significantly less cantilever load and with auto drop pins at the bottom they will take a full wind load and no mid-column load to resist.

    I'm putting one on my new hanger.

    http://www.floatingdoor.us/home/

    Kirby
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  10. #10
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    As I recall, on at least one of the hangars at my airport, the hinges (for a bifold) were specified to be bolted on but the contractor who erected the buildings elected to just weld them on to save some time. Dunno if he welded at the same spacing as spec'd for bolts, but so far nothing's failed. But if the mfr specs a certain way to install, it seems like you'd be a damn fool not to do it that way. IMHO all the engineering for that installation went right out the window when they struck the first arc.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Door wrecks:

    i had an old bifold system excite me one day. The motor chain to reduction gearbox failed. Door ran down from about 7' open. When the door bottom hit the threshold and folded "in", half of the hinges for folding "spit" into the hangar. Thank God no persons were in the line of fire. This was an old homebuilt cobbled together door and hangar. I had to fix it.
    Last edited by Dave Calkins; 01-16-2017 at 12:23 PM.

  12. #12
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Another bifold story, I was not present, but know the hangar well:

    Door switch was selected to close, door began to close, door came down on a shipping pallet that was leaned against a side pillar.

    Cables on that side went slack, ugly noises, door lower roller came free of track, moron stopped door. Moron proceeded to pry and kick pallet from under the door without first supporting door (a forklift was available within 70 feet of threshold). When pallet was pryed free door fell and when cable slack was taken up several pulleys were split and cables kinked. A week later several cables failed. Thank God the door wasnt over an airplane or person, and door did not fall when cables failed and unwound from system, cables falling to hanger floor.

    Moron didnt bother to inspect system after event and before cable failure. I had to fix it.

  13. #13
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    SuperCub and bifold story:

    lineboy opened door and pulled out airplane to fuel it, then put airplane back in hangar, almost all the way into hangar.

    Lineboy selected down and when door contacted SuperCub spinner the airplanes tail came up.

    Lineboy got on his back and used his feet and leg strength to hold up door!!!! Dont ask me how!! Someone came to the rescue.

    SuperCub was toy airplane of owner of Duncan Aviation, based in Lincoln Nebraska.

    Same lineboy duct taped a wing tip light on some jet after knocking it off with fuel truck. Pilot discovered duct tape at next destination.

  14. #14
    gdafoe's Avatar
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    I have some friends with some experience with the Higher Power doors. They seem to think they are the best. They look to be very well built. I have a Schweiss Bifold with the cable lift system. Cable goes over a pulley at the top then down to attach at the bottom near the cable rollers. Very poorly designed pulley system at the top resulted in the pulleys cutting or wearing the cable very quickly. That design has no real way to adjust the cable length to balance all the cables. After replacing cables too often, about 10 years ago I redid the cable system copying the way Schweiss runs their strap system. So now there is a roller at the top that the cable goes over then comes down 3 feet to long 3/4" bolt to give you some adjustment to balance the 4 cables. This has worked very well for these 10 years with no problems. Should have been done like that from the start.

    I have a hangar door story about a moron that pushed the down button as he was rolling his BMW motorcycle out of the hangar. By the time the windshield got to the door the door was too low to back out any more. Found out that a BMW K1200 will hold up a 40 foot bifold door. Not going to mention where that happened.
    Gerald

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    Farmboy's Avatar
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    I looked at a lot of doors for a friend of mine in Middlebury, and I too believe the Higher Power door is my reccomendation, and my choice should I need one. Spoke with them again last year at Sun/Fun, and along with the videos and material I prefer this design. I have seen and used a number of cable powered doors over the years but ironically saw the first installed Higher Power door at John Graham's' tractor Hangar (ex-floatplane hangar) just last month. He too is a believer.

  16. #16
    skukum12's Avatar
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    My neighbor is putting up a wooden hanger and going with the Higher Power door. The building designer that sold him the wood package gave a sigh of relief that the HP door was chosen. The door can free stand and operate on it's own. No beefups of the building necessary.

  17. #17
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    I made a quick insp of my HiFold this evening when I got home, and found a frayed cable to replace. glad I caught it. Thanks Phil!

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by sub3 View Post
    It's all fun and games until you let someone use your hangar who forgets to unlatch the door before pressing the open button.

    I'm sure the modern doors you guys are taking about have a failsafe for this..
    You said it. I have replaced the jam twice in the same rental because Einstein the pilot cant remember to unlatch the door. Last time I asked him how in the devil can you fly that Cherokee if you cant remember to unlatch the door?

    jim

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    Before I fixed my tailwheels to accept a 150 towbar, I would push them back with the handle - facing in the hangar. The side swinging doors on a Port-a Port had a nasty way of starting to close. Harmful to ailerons! Ouch!

    Damaged a rudder once because the upper door had not fully latched, and a little breeze came along just as I was pulling the craft out. Ouch!

    Beats the crap out of a ground loop, I guess.

  20. #20
    irishfield's Avatar
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    24 years.. ZERO issues... never worried about standing under it or leaving an airplane parked 1/2 in and out. Would NEVER have that comfort with a hydroswing.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Cable run Schweiss bifold style and nothing else for me. Mine was built locally and is 2" x 2" x 1/8" steel tube all around.
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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishfield View Post
    24 years.. ZERO issues... never worried about standing under it or leaving an airplane parked 1/2 in and out. Would NEVER have that comfort with a hydroswing.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Cable run Schweiss bifold style and nothing else for me. Mine was built locally and is 2" x 2" x 1/8" steel tube all around.
    And it has a doggy door

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

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    Thanks Kirby, I'll try to see one in person. Kinda hard to tell from their website but the track system looks very similar to David's, except that his is hydraulic. Does this door use cables located on the exterior???

    Speaking of David, he had a tornado go very near to his ranch a few years ago. J-3 in the hangar did some amazing things from those winds. There was yellow paint from a wing tip left about 12' high on one wall and skid marks on the apron. He had an overhead door that blew in causing the building to pressurize, thus opening the bi-fold. At some point the Cub was taken outside on the ramp, turned 180 degrees and on its way back into the hangar the door came down like a mouse trap just behind the cockpit nearly chopping it in half. Learning from this, beefy door locks for storms are a must for me.

    During remodel of my hangar, 4 sliding doors were converted from hangaing tracks to rollers on the bottom, pegs at the top riding in the old tracks. Works much better, however, a storm that came through right after getting my 185 removed 3 out of 4 of those doors. Somehow they went against the storm direction. Was amazed that there was no damage to the airplane. Fretting a major storm with your sweetheart plane in a three sided hangar with no tie downs gets you to thinking. Use a top quality door and still have a way to tie down inside the hangar, you may need it someday.

  23. #23
    skipster's Avatar
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    26 years Wilson aluminum bi-fold, Zero problems. Zero maintenance so far. I wonder if the door in the first post was left open in high winds?

  24. #24
    jnorris's Avatar
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    When I bought my first airplane all those years ago, I kept it in one of the T hangars at KISW. These hangars were originally built in the 40s and were showing their age. They had sliding doors that all slid to one side. The tracks were designed to let the doors slide in the same track across the hangar opening, but when they slid to the side the tracks were arranged in such a way to let the doors "stack".

    Anyway, these tracks and rollers had all seen better days, and the doors would occasionally hang up, get stuck or sometimes a roller would come apart. So one day I'm coming back from a flight. I put the plane back in the hangar and start closing the doors. The first door goes all the way across to the end, at which time it comes totally disconnected from BOTH of the rollers in the track. The door teeters for a moment, then falls flat down on the ground in front of the hangar! (Fortunately, the upper part of the hangar guarded against the door falling into the hangar and onto the plane.

    So I finished closing the other two door panels, went up to the FBO, and talked to my buddy Karl. All I said was, "Hey Karl, I had an issue with my hangar door. You might want to check it out!", after which I left. He never said a word to me about it, but the next time I came to fly the door was all repaired and everything was working great. (Yes, he is still my buddy to this day!)

    Haven't had any problems with the door on my hangar here at KOSH yet, but I see that a few of the cables are just starting to show some signs of wear. A little maintenance is in order.
    Joe


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    Quote Originally Posted by little wing View Post
    Thanks Kirby, I'll try to see one in person. Kinda hard to tell from their website but the track system looks very similar to David's, except that his is hydraulic. Does this door use cables located on the exterior???

    Speaking of David, he had a tornado go very near to his ranch a few years ago. J-3 in the hangar did some amazing things from those winds. There was yellow paint from a wing tip left about 12' high on one wall and skid marks on the apron. He had an overhead door that blew in causing the building to pressurize, thus opening the bi-fold. At some point the Cub was taken outside on the ramp, turned 180 degrees and on its way back into the hangar the door came down like a mouse trap just behind the cockpit nearly chopping it in half. Learning from this, beefy door locks for storms are a must for me.

    During remodel of my hangar, 4 sliding doors were converted from hangaing tracks to rollers on the bottom, pegs at the top riding in the old tracks. Works much better, however, a storm that came through right after getting my 185 removed 3 out of 4 of those doors. Somehow they went against the storm direction. Was amazed that there was no damage to the airplane. Fretting a major storm with your sweetheart plane in a three sided hangar with no tie downs gets you to thinking. Use a top quality door and still have a way to tie down inside the hangar, you may need it someday.
    Check out Sisemore's at Claremore.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Billy,

    Take a look at these if you haven't already, lots of them around Tulsa as they are made in Eastern Oklahoma. The thing I like is with the rotating action/upper track to partially balance the load there is significantly less cantilever load and with auto drop pins at the bottom they will take a full wind load and no mid-column load to resist.

    I'm putting one on my new hanger.

    http://www.floatingdoor.us/home/

    Kirby
    A few years ago I purchased plans for the Ultimate door from the daughter of the designer, they also provide kits. He created it as a cheaper alternative. The original design called for a wood door, with cables and overhead garage rails as an upper track to create the same rotating action. I have seen a few of these made with wood and also with light steel tubing that have been in use years. They seem to work well. My father had a similar door on his single car garage back in the 50's, rotated both up and out ending with it partially inside. The floating door looks like a similar, improved design. I like it.

  27. #27
    moneyburner's Avatar
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    This is slightly off-topic concerning choosing a door, but . . . .

    Here's what I've learned about overhead and hangar doors:

    Obviously, they can be heavy and are often moving in the vicinity of expensive things (airplanes, cars, trucks), and soft things (people, dogs, my wits, and so on). When they fail, sometimes, they just stop. But then again, sometimes they don't.

    They are machinery, and if you want them to continue working properly and safely, they need eyeballs and finger poking from time to time. That won't always find a fault before it fails, but it sure can't hurt, can it? Unlike a pen, you might not wish to just keep using it until it fails, because that could possibly be embarrassing or cause an unsightly rash when it does.

    Wire ropes and straps wear out, gearboxes and motors need inspection and service. Limit switches need adjustments periodically. Hinges need inspection and lubrication. Hydraulic cylinders can fail internally, hoses degrade and leak (or worse), pins wear, seals fail, metal fatigues, setscrews back out, and so on ad infinitum. I've found quite a few faults from things not being installed properly in the first place that would have failed catastrophically if they'd been exposed to a bit of stress or a shock load. My mentor used to tell me to think of overhead doors as mouse traps, and act accordingly when using or working on them. I consider that to be very good advice.

    I suggest taking a quick and dirty look at it before each use, but personally, I'm kind of nervous around those things, having seen a large high-bay overhead door come down so hard it cracked a few windows in the shop. It certainly would have killed anyone if they'd been in the way. Usually, the manufacturer has a pretty good idea of how often this should be done, and that is a great place to start. If you don't have the maintenance paperwork, the manufacturer will probably be happy to send you more; they really don't want their doors coming down on you or your airplane. (Except Nick, at Satan's Vile Doors of Death, LLC. He's a dick and hates everybody; I can't believe they're still in business).

    It is also recommended that you never walk under, or drive under a moving door; if something bad is going to happen, that's almost always when it does. Why not wait a few more seconds?

    Last, but not least, here come the lawyers: if you keep maintenance records that show you doing due diligence according to the manufacturer's recommendations, you may not lose your lucky spaceman undershorts if something bad happens.

    I've got a Schweiss bi-fold door with strap lifts. It's worked fine apart from a few minor installation errors, but that is no fault of the manufacturer.
    Last edited by moneyburner; 01-17-2017 at 01:55 PM.
    Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum videtur

  28. #28
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  29. #29
    pzinck's Avatar
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    The more I think about this subject I really believe a high amount of these door failure, any type could be traced back to non maintenance, improper use and leaving the door up in high winds. I try to never leave mine up in high winds. I have seen some used as snow plows with a foot or more of new snow. All doors need inspection and maintenance.

  30. #30
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    Since this thread has organically evolved from wrecks to door design, I am waiting for someone to talk about the counterweighted doors designed by one of our own!

    counterweighted doors!! Guys???!!

  31. #31
    moneyburner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NimpoCub View Post
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    Most door operators can be wired generally so they do one of two things; it can move only while holding the up or down button (as long as the up or down limit isn't open), or it can be wired so you hit and release the button and it will continue moving until the up/down limit switch is opened, like most garage doors. If it's wired like the second method, a required bit of safety equipment is an obstruction sensor that reverses the door if young Billy or Scooter runs under it while it's coming down.

    I'll take a stab that this one is wired like the second method, but someone either couldn't figure out how to properly install the sensor, disabled it, or it wasn't working. Another good reason to inspect things now and then, which might prevent this sort of comedy.

    Which stops being funny the moment your airplane or truck gets squashed or someone gets hurt.
    Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum videtur

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    Quote Originally Posted by moneyburner View Post
    Most door operators can be wired generally so they do one of two things; it can move only while holding the up or down button (as long as the up or down limit isn't open), or it can be wired so you hit and release the button and it will continue moving until the up/down limit switch is opened, like most garage doors. If it's wired like the second method, a required bit of safety equipment is an obstruction sensor that reverses the door if young Billy or Scooter runs under it while it's coming down.

    I'll take a stab that this one is wired like the second method, but someone either couldn't figure out how to properly install the sensor, disabled it, or it wasn't working. Another good reason to inspect things now and then, which might prevent this sort of comedy.

    Which stops being funny the moment your airplane or truck gets squashed or someone gets hurt.
    That picture, I believe from past reports, was the result of a broken lift cable.

    However, I won't argue about a safety switch but with a nose dragger it would have shot its little beam under the tail resulting in a future beer can... so there you have it one more reason that tail draggers are safer!
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  33. #33
    moneyburner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    That picture, I believe from past reports, was the result of a broken lift cable.

    However, I won't argue about a safety switch but with a nose dragger it would have shot its little beam under the tail resulting in a future beer can... so there you have it one more reason that tail draggers are safer!

    Thanks for the info - I shouldn't speculate. I removed a previous post because I decided that it was in pretty poor taste. SQUIRREL!!!

    I don't know how a photo eye would work with a door like that as they do with an overhead garage door; the door parts would get in the way, I think. There are other methods, such as a contact strip or pneumatic switch along the bottom.

    My door looks like that one, but it has straps instead of wire rope. There are four, spaced across the span. I think most of them would have to break before the door would come down, but maybe not.
    Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum videtur

  34. #34
    barbwire's Avatar
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    I have two HI Folds and one Schweiss Door. All three are bifold and I have not had a problems with any of them. Once you learn how to adjust them so they close tight, they work well. A little lock tight helps to keep the adjustment nuts from backing off. Also lube well twice a year.
    I will say the Schweiss is the heavier built of the two manufacturers.

    For you guys having trouble with people not unlocking the doors or not pulling the wind pin. Take a piece of card board and write " REMOVE WIND PIN" and tape so they have to lift it up to get at the up-down buttons. I had the same problem until I did that and no problems since.

  35. #35
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    In my world, there are more bifold doors than others. If that is consistent with the REAL world, statistically there are likely to be more bifold incidents than other designs......just like in MY world.

    I dont have a thing against bifolds FYI

    .....just sayin'

  36. #36

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    10 years with two HydroSwings, left open often, in wind, opened against snow, often, zero issues. I like the design because the harder the wind blows when they are closed, the tighter they seal, simple as can be. I trust my life (and others) every day to hydraulics, my doors are the least of my concerns.

  37. #37
    Scouter's Avatar
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    Courier guy or Phil Z does your hydro swing doors have safety check valves to prevent the door from falling in case of a burst hose? We have some equipment on the potato side with long heavy hyd booms that move over people. The manufacturer insists on check valves to catch it in that event. I have never seen a door fall on a plane though


    i have a Hifold door plus a Schweiss. Both very good companies with helpful tech support. Jeremy at Schweiss has saved me a lot of trouble. Lots of good links in this thread to door manufacturers


    jim

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by skukum12 View Post
    My neighbor is putting up a wooden hanger and going with the Higher Power door. The building designer that sold him the wood package gave a sigh of relief that the HP door was chosen. The door can free stand and operate on it's own. No beefups of the building necessary.
    I would not mind more information about your buddy's hanger package and door.

    Looking to build a hanger in the next couple of years here, and deal with big snow loads here, and cold temps. Would be nice to not have to ship from Seattle.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  39. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scouter View Post
    Courier guy or Phil Z does your hydro swing doors have safety check valves to prevent the door from falling in case of a burst hose? We have some equipment on the potato side with long heavy hyd booms that move over people. The manufacturer insists on check valves to catch it in that event. I have never seen a door fall on a plane though


    i have a Hifold door plus a Schweiss. Both very good companies with helpful tech support. Jeremy at Schweiss has saved me a lot of trouble. Lots of good links in this thread to door manufacturers


    jim

    Yes, of course, I guess some think they don't? They've had the science of hydraulics, when used to lift critical loads over people, figured out for some time now. A burst hose (and I've never seen a "burst one" on my various cranes and boom trucks, they'll start leaking first) makes a mess but it shouldn't lower the load. The loading on my door is predictable and small, ( as compared to the shock loading that can happen in other hoisting equipment, due to operator error) and it's way overbuilt for it's job. Plus all the working parts are kept inside, out of the sun, unlike other hydraulic equipment hoses that degrade from UV exposure. I also like the newer bi-folds with the straps. But the headroom loss from any bi-fold as compared to a HydroSwing type was a deal breaker for me.

    Over the years, it's always been interesting to see the different schemes people come up with to open their hangars, it's the first thing I look at when flying into a new small airport or strip, (the smaller the better, the homebuilt ones are the ones I like) the mechanical ingenuity on display is fascinating! Like the ones that feature a concrete filled 55 gallon drum or two as a counter weight at the rear, that help raise the door through a series of pulleys, gotta love that. I still feel a bit guilty that I wimped out and bought ready made, after building two previous ones earlier, but I was in a hurry and had the dough, no regrets though, as they work better then anything I dreamed up.

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    Tango, I believe he had Spenard Builders Supply put the wood package together. The door isn't here yet, but its a Higher Power door. HPdoors.com I believe, it is hydraulic if that concerns you.

    Interestingly, I helped the very next neighbor put up an R&M with a Schweiss bi fold this summer as well. Both guys are comparing notes and they think they have the same amount of money tied up in the wood and the steel building packages. Wood is 48x50, 12 foot ceiling. Steel is 50x52 with an 18' wall.

    I will confirm the wooden building package supplier.
    Last edited by skukum12; 01-19-2017 at 09:31 AM.

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