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Thread: Hangar Construction Methods

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Hangar Construction Methods

    So I am getting soft in my old age and hate Texas summers. After installing radiant heat in my work hanger and seeing what it did for productivity in the winter I want an air conditioned hangar. My work hangar is 80x65 with office shop and paint booth taking up roughly a third of it. It is poorly insulated with some old spray in stuff that is falling off and the sliding doors are not sealed. This hangar is the only thing on the east side of the airport and I like being away from everyone and everything. My other hangar is 60x45 on the main airport and I use it to store my own airplanes along with customers waiting to get worked on or picked up after work. I have a tilting trailer that I tow them back and forth with, I hate starting an engine just to taxi and shut down. My initial plan was to build a small hangar big enough for a Cub, insulate it and install a good door and add heat and air conditioning. Well then when you look at what it cost to build you might as well build bigger and it goes on and on. Well now I have someone willing to buy my storage hangar worth the money so I am planning on building a 60x40 or 60x45 next to my existing work hangar. I want to use a Higher Power door, insulate well and heat and air condition. Flying Miss Daisy John Mead is helping me figure that part out. I got a quote for a conventional bolt together metal building from Mueller for the 60x40 for right at $30K and another from Miracle Truss for $42K plus another $5000-5500 in out sourced lumber. It appears the Miracle Truss hangar is easy to construct using wood between the girts but wonder what the benefits are for the extra money. A couple of friends are going to help with the construction and one use to build metal buildings for a living and is quite good at what ever he does so I am not really worried about the actual construction. Anyway, looking for advice, pros, cons, experience, tribal knowledge on a subject I have dreamt about for years and looks like I might be able to finally build and configure it the way I want it. Any advice greatly appreciated.
    Steve Pierce

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    Think bigger. 65x60. Think bathroom. You won’t regret the extra space.
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  3. #3
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    It will be next to my other hangar with full bathroom, kitch, etc. The problem I keep running into with bigger is envisioning the electric bill in the.middle of summer the bigger the hangar is. I can fill it up as can be attested to by anyone who has been here.
    Steve Pierce

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    Big Ass fan or one of the variants. I’ve heard most of the company’s offer display or scratch and dent models cheaper if you’re flexible. Doesn’t cost much more to go up in height on the side walls. More upper storage, cooler in the summer if you can vent. Yes, more to heat but that’s what the fans are for. Put a couple windows in your hangar door so you can confirm that no knuckleheads pulled up to close to it before opening. I’d have Higher Power doors on all four sides of my hangar if I could have afforded them

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    52’ door is the cutoff before jumping up in price to the next bigger width. For one or two planes, it’s plenty wide. If I was having to jockey more around in a 60’ hangar I’d bite the bullet for a little wider. 14’ door height and I think you can get about anything in? That means a 14.4-6’ rough door opening I think

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    I’d much rather have wood frame than a metal building. I had a hard time convincing my insurer to cover my metal shop building in Bryan. Apparently they aren’t metal building fans, either. I’m not a fan of SIPS, either. Better than bolt-up metal but noisy. Wood framing is cooler, warmer, and quieter.

    Big Ass Fans are silly expensive. I added 4- 8’ Hubble fans for a fraction of the price. They work great.

    LED lighting will reduce the electric bill significantly compared to fluorescent.

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    Do you guys use pole construction down there? Most hangars up here that are under 80’ wide use pole so you don’t have to spend large amounts on concrete foundations. I just put up a 40x40 shop at the lake and it’s right around $20 a sq foot installed.

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    Disco ball and brass pole.....
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    I went with block and conventional truss. It was just as reasonable as metal. Lock your price in on any steel product because steel has been going up almost every week.
    Last edited by Fortysix12; 02-26-2021 at 09:53 AM.

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    Not sure how it is in TX, but construction lumber around here has gone up about 5X in the past year to year and a half. Not sure what steel prices have done in the same time, but material choice may be a big cost factor.

    If you go bigger, you might consider putting a garage door system in to close off a portion (I had that in my shop in NY) so you only need heat and AC in a smaller work area. Construction cost will go up, but utility cost over time may offset that cost difference.


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    180Marty's Avatar
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    Would geothermal heating and cooling be a good option for air temp. Up here more people are using geothermal and horizontal boring. The system is able to go down up to 30 feet to get to the 50 degree constant temp of the earth.

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    Don't do what I did a few years ago: I got a working large commercial AC unit for free, in exchange for some crane work actually. Not concerned about its energy consumption, since I have a surplus of free power, I figured why not? Installed it in my 40 x40 shop, and 2 days later noticed it wasn't working as well as at first, and THEN noticed the filters were black! Then it hit me.....it sucks in the inside air, conditions and filters it, and sends it back, a terrible choice for a shop. Using outside air for the input wouldn't work, so I ditched it, sucked it up and bought a large commercial swamp cooler. Mounted high up (14' ceilings) on the opposite side of my metal working/welding area, a cracked window exhaust the smoke and fumes as fast as I make them, perfect.

    Lumber is so high now, (I'm on construction sites most days, craning) that LVL (the glued together lumber, like OSB but boards) is being used to frame houses here. The stuff used to be super high dollar, and never used for residential construction, I only saw it in high dollar commercial work, and rarely. I asked a contractor about it, they love it, up to 24' lengths, all perfectly straight, but the reason they are using it is NOT because it has dropped in price, but that old fashioned lumber has exceeded it in cost, unbelievable. Best thing I ever did was separate my personal hangar (attached, but downstairs, with a door) from my working shop. Keeps the shop mess off the plane.

  13. #13
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    Steve, you're a smart guy and I'm sure you have looked into this on the financial side. Is the real estate leased from the city/airport and you have to give it back after xx years with all improvements included? Can the lease, if one exists, be modified if you decide to start another Cub Crafter type business and want it in perpetuity? Our land lease where the hangar stands was for 33 years and then reverted to the city/county joint owners with no compensation for improvements.

    There are blimp hangars at Naval Air Station Moffett in Sunnyvale, California that were built of wood in 1940 and are still being used by Google to park their 767. So wood can last a long time.
    "The sword of freedom is kept sharp by those who live on it's edge." - Scott Adams
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    Generally for long clear-span building a pre-Engineered metal building is the most cost efficient/sf. out there and they are easily insured if not too big. You have been in my hanger and I could easily A/C it with two 5 tons ground units (and possibly with one except when it's Texas hot) on a free discharge keep moving with the Big Ass fan but it wouldn't be cheap to operate.

    I'm curious, did the number from Muller include insulation, including for the door (and the metal there) if needed?

    Sure they are not that difficult to erect if one has done it more than twice but anything you self-perform will take time away from earning your living and if you self-erect it you really need to rent a good Skytrack and likely take out a builders-risk insurance policy (which you will definitely need if you are borrowing). A regular erector would likely have both of these covered.

    One thing to think about is how you will you work in it, how much hoisting ability will you need and how high of a ceiling is really needed because you need to remember that HVAC installation costs and operating expenses are more cubic foot based than square so you may greatly benefit from installing an lowered/insulated ceiling, but that needs to be accounted for in the design.

    If you want a ceiling a viable option might be to talk with a truss company and price long span wood and/or metal trusses on say 36" centers sitting on 2x6 walls will full plywood sheathing on the inside (it makes a great shop surface) and R-Panel on the outside. Then an uninsulated R-Panel roof and a R-Panel or other sheathing (or cheaper yet dry-wall ceiling) with conventional blow-in insulation and a couple of pic points planned for the trusses for direct use or that you can suspend a trolley-rail from.

    I agree with Stewart (did I really say that ) that SIP's can be problematic, especially in load bearing walls although they really look good on paper. But one thing they do really well is to make a roof over long span trusses (metal or wood), but as with many things shipping and installation workmanship is everything...

    I kind of like the concrete block suggestion (depending on eve height) and I would think qualified labor would be available around Graham. But unfortunately block walls are really poor insulators and you would likely need to fir out inside in order to well insulate it but you would also have a truss to hang a ceiling from.

    Fun stuff!
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    Mr. Pierce;

    Regarding Insulation - I cannot overstate the value of spray foam insulation. Yes it's stupid expensive on the front end. But here in the Great Basin Desert I've got one of the most comfortable hangars I've ever encountered because of it. I've got a wood framed steel sheathed building - 50 X 50. In the summer - during those 110 plus days that hangar barely gets up to 80. I don't need fans. I've got a big industrial heater in it and here in the winter I can keep it as hot as I want. We work in our shirtsleeves even when it's in the single digits outside. It's also fire retardant. It can increase the fire rating of any wall considerably. They told me sample numbers but I've forgotten them. Another thing I love is that it helps quiet things down in there. The wind can be wailing outside ( as it often does here) and it's not even noticeable.

    If you're going to build it yourself I would recommend the style I've got here. I paid people to do mine as part of setting up the ranch here, but it sure looked easy. A crew of three guys only took a few days to get 'er done. Plant posts, string wooden members between and then screw the metal to the members - easy peasy.
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    Not sure how it is in TX, but construction lumber around here has gone up about 5X in the past year to year and a half.
    Not sure where you are located but a friend of mine has a sawmill in Virginia and sent this to me. He is getting about double from a year ago.
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    My Dad built his dream hangar a few years ago, 54x60 metal building with a raised center where it looks like a fancy barn w/ 14 ft walls, full slab, full bathroom plus 1 more water stub out, closed cell foam insulation, and 2 split duct air conditioner/heater units, and 3 regular sized ceiling fans. He’s at about $25/sq ft having done almost everything himself outside of the slab, building erection, and insulation. He sets the AC at 80 in the summer and 65 in the winter and hasn’t seen a bill over $120 yet, keeping the humidity out in the humid East Tx summers makes a huge difference while working in there.

    The 2 biggest things I wish he would have done differently are installing a better hangar door, it’s 2 accordion style doors, and better lighting. He has probably 10 single bulb fixtures that are fairly dim, my mechanic has 6 LED highbay fixtures in a 70x70 that put out a huge amount of light. He also mentioned the other day he wished he would have put a smaller set of sliding doors somewhere on it for moving equipment around without opening the hangar door.

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    I’m a big fan of Morton buildings. Incredible insulation, quiet and strong! I heated mine in the Michigan winters for an unbelievable low cost. The Morton crews are no nonsense, they get it done quick and right. I would go at least 48 wide, I think that is a magic cost/size dimension before cost increases.

    Kurt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    So I am getting soft in my old age and hate Texas summers. After installing radiant heat in my work hanger and seeing what it did for productivity in the winter I want an air conditioned hangar. My work hangar is 80x65 with office shop and paint booth taking up roughly a third of it. It is poorly insulated with some old spray in stuff that is falling off and the sliding doors are not sealed. This hangar is the only thing on the east side of the airport and I like being away from everyone and everything. My other hangar is 60x45 on the main airport and I use it to store my own airplanes along with customers waiting to get worked on or picked up after work. I have a tilting trailer that I tow them back and forth with, I hate starting an engine just to taxi and shut down. My initial plan was to build a small hangar big enough for a Cub, insulate it and install a good door and add heat and air conditioning. Well then when you look at what it cost to build you might as well build bigger and it goes on and on. Well now I have someone willing to buy my storage hangar worth the money so I am planning on building a 60x40 or 60x45 next to my existing work hangar. I want to use a Higher Power door, insulate well and heat and air condition. Flying Miss Daisy John Mead is helping me figure that part out. I got a quote for a conventional bolt together metal building from Mueller for the 60x40 for right at $30K and another from Miracle Truss for $42K plus another $5000-5500 in out sourced lumber. It appears the Miracle Truss hangar is easy to construct using wood between the girts but wonder what the benefits are for the extra money. A couple of friends are going to help with the construction and one use to build metal buildings for a living and is quite good at what ever he does so I am not really worried about the actual construction. Anyway, looking for advice, pros, cons, experience, tribal knowledge on a subject I have dreamt about for years and looks like I might be able to finally build and configure it the way I want it. Any advice greatly appreciated.




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    Steve,
    Be happy to help, i do this for a living. My adds are on the calendar. I do the adds just to help out the org. Not because it makes sense, kinda like aviation in general, either u are in it or not. Feel free to call me anytime no strings attached, i enjoy helping guys build hangars.
    Cell is 301-514-8758. Good Luck
    Dave G.


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    I am very happy with my stick built, sheeted hangar...but I got it done before lumber prices went crazy. I can’t comment on Texas needs but I would think a tin covered metal building would be a hot box in the summer. Insulating a building can be expensive so that could really be a factor in overall construction costs. I’m not sure how expensive spray foam is, but it might be worth factoring all of the aforementioned construction styles with the cost to insulate each. A Supercub.org hangar building seminar in grahm could really make a nice fly in event...lol

  22. #22
    40m's Avatar
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    Here in the Northeast high density foam runs about 80 to 100 cents a board foot installed. 12"x12"x1". In addition to its insulating properties and its ability to significantly reduce the amount of infiltration (typically upwards of 80% of heat loss is due to infiltration) it adds greatly to the strength of a buildings envelope. I suspect in your zone 2-3 inch thick should do all you need it to do. By far the best bang for a buck, comfort now saving all along the way. Good luck Steve.

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  23. #23
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    Prices have changed but many of the questions I had when we started our hangar are the ones you are considering.

    First thing I will say though, is that it is far easier to install everything NOW, than realize in five years you 'should have'...

    Put in the bathroom with a shower. At least rough in the plumbing for that ability. Maybe in ten years you decide to retire and sell the old hangar, now you will need a bathroom. Also, when it is Texas (dry) HOT, you are not running back and forth, having to have the old hangar door unlocked. Increased productivity.

    BIG DOOR!! We went 55x15 opening. Beaver wing is inches shy of 50 wide; Beaver and 206 tail on amphibs are just under 15' tall. Maybe not your every day plane, but you never know when a customer might decide to bring one home. Now is easy to build a big door. Also, being able to move either of the front two cubs out without moving the others is a nice feature.

    MORE FLOOR SPACE. I realize you are doing fewer annuals and more rebuilds, but consider how much room sheet metal tools and layout tables take, now stuff in two long term projects with wings on and an annual... 40x60 gets eaten up quickly. The other benefit is that if the owner of a completed plane is coming soon, you don't have to lose production time moving planes back and forth across the ramp to storage hangars all the time.

    For cost savings quality insulation, in-floor heat and quality doors and windows are your friends. Stop airflow. Insulate extra in the lid, keep the heat or cool in.

    As far as wood vs. metal, getting a metal building well insulated is far more difficult than wood. If you go steel, it would be wise to use the high density foam, and spray foam all of your steel to prevent air migration and the steel from radiating heat/cold inside. You do enough welding to understand how that happens.

    We have a guy here that fought a M-truss building, the wood stringers plates were not properly aligned. Just an FYI.

    Lastly, when we built ours the insulation was a big factor, but the reason we went wood was that we wanted a finished inside look, not a warehouse. The contractor told us that steel buildings require a wood building be framed inside the steel to construct rooms or install sheetrock. That required what equated to being two buildings being built- steel outside and wood inside. We went with wood to get the finished product we desired.
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    My happy place. But mine’s a toy box, not a tool for work. I have a big shop and no desire to hang out there. Big difference and perhaps a factor to consider.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    My happy place. But mine’s a toy box, not a tool for work. I have a big shop and no desire to hang out there. Big difference and perhaps a factor to consider.
    Those are the 8’ Hubble fans you hinted at? About what do they cost per fan?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 180Marty View Post
    Would geothermal heating and cooling be a good option for air temp. Up here more people are using geothermal and horizontal boring. The system is able to go down up to 30 feet to get to the 50 degree constant temp of the earth.
    Don't believe he has the surface area required to keep the geo field from heating up in a couple of years.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!
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  27. #27

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    What's wrong with a toilet seat and plastic bag lined 5gal bucket from Home Depot...works for me and much cheaper!
    Quote Originally Posted by phdigger123 View Post
    Think bigger. 65x60. Think bathroom. You won’t regret the extra space.
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  28. #28

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    Hangar Construction Methods

    40’ wide is too narrow-50’will seem twice as large
    Spray foam insulation for all above reasons
    I have a couple porta cool evaporative coolers on wheels but ya can’t shut the hangar up or it gets almost foggy
    They work good in arid Kansas summers...
    I have a ac/ furnace salvaged from a house and it keeps a 30/30’ shop cool
    Maybe you could curtain the shop in half to hold down cooling heating??

    I put in Powerlift doors on both ends, trouble free
    I can give you a number if you want

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    Last edited by flynlow; 02-27-2021 at 08:15 PM.

  29. #29
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    Looking at the Miracle Truss web site it looks like they use 29 gauge metal panels ?
    I like 26 gauge . Stands up to the weather in my neck of the woods much better .
    Hail storms got the roof on my house 2 times and the hangar 200 ft away was undamaged both times .
    Neighbor close by with 29 gauge out building had damage .

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by flywhatever View Post
    What's wrong with a toilet seat and plastic bag lined 5gal bucket from Home Depot...works for me and much cheaper!
    Surely you jest sir! The urinal came out of a church house demo job, $0.00.
    Note the old throttle on the table by the toilet, the old "go" lever, still in service! Shower just out of view to the right, dryer also.

    Actually the bucket and bag trick is what I use in my crane building in town, beats the heck out of using the mini mart john down the street.
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    Surely you jest sir! The urinal came out of a church house demo job, $0.00.
    Note the old throttle on the table by the toilet, the old "go" lever, still in service! Shower just out of view to the right, dryer also.

    Actually the bucket and bag trick is what I use in my crane building in town, beats the heck out of using the mini mart john down the street.
    Do you wash your hands in the urinal or stand on your toes and lay it on the top edge?
    Actually after enlarging the pic I saw what looks like a marble stepping stone, cool.

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    Steve,

    I’m in agreement with some others that anything much under 50’ wide will be narrow....the plane will fit, but it feels really cramped. I built my hangar 50’x50’ and it turns out (IMO) the magic size for me would have been 50x60. Lol....you have to stop somewhere though. I built mine mostly by myself, so that limited me by what equipment and tools I had (or had access to) I poured the concrete by conning some friends into helping. I framed the walls in sections and stood them up...I set the 50’ trusses with a skidsteer with a jib on it. 2/3 of them I set by myself. (Not recommended). I would think a steel building would require some lifting equipment to accomplish...I traded airplane parts and other services for equipment access from Pilot friends...I bet you are in a much better position than I for barter trade services. Just sayin. Does your airport have specific requirements ? Some require a steel building, built to approved standards. That really solidifies decisions when they are made for you.

  33. #33
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I was curious if there was an advantage to the Miracle Truss vs conventional steel bolt together buildings. With the cost of lumber right now it doesn't pencil out to build that way. Steel is going up but locking that cost in now. 60 feet wide and was planning on 40 feet deep but now thinking of moving my carport back and going 45 since that is the size hangar I will be replacing. 12 foot sidewalls will be tall enough for anything I need to put in it. My 182 will fit. Amphib Super Cub won't but that is usually only once or twice a year although the AOPA give away Super Cub is on its way now. Float planes are kinda rare in Texas. My long term plan has always been not to build anything else on my airport property by my maintenance hangar. It is 80 feet wide and 65 feet deep and sets off the highway by itself away from the other structures on the airport. My lease is for a 250x150 foot track of land but it is not called out via a survey or anything else. I am 6 years into my second 15 year lease where the property never resorts back to the city, the only way for them to take it over is by imminent and pay me fair market value. I always counted on my storage hangar on the main part of the airport as money in the bank and later in life I could sell it. I wouldn't want to sell a hangar right next to the big hangar but I guess I can cross that road if and when it happens. I don't plan on water and sewer in the new hangar since it will be literally 5 feet from the main hangar with all the amenities including two apartments. Septic is on the opposite side of the hangar and I just don't see it being worth the expense. I am planning on a 48x12 foot Higher Power door. I like the way they operate and seal up. Spray foam insulation for the reason listed above. John is working on best way to heat and cool, good thing is I have natural gas right there. Fans seem like a good idea and have yet to figure out what I want to do on the floor. Something bright and easy to clean. Clean up to much oil on old concrete over the years. Good LED lighting is a must, my current hangar has very poor lighting. I was about ready to nix the whole project up until someone wanted to buy my storage hangar. My house and hangars are very close to being paid for and at 55 years old, self employed, no retirement I don't want to go in debt. Hopefully the sale will go through and I can do this. It is something I have dreamt about for a very long time. Appreciate everyone's feedback, gave me lots and lots of things to think about.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  34. #34
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Meant to include this screen shot from Google maps showing my work hangar and storage hangar with airport layout. The airport is land looked until the build lots of infrastructure to access places for more hangars. I am at the bottom of a slight hill and my planned hangar site is west of the big hangar on the highway.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  35. #35

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    What is a Higher Power door? A type or brand? How high is a super cub on amphibs? Sounds like you have it figured out.

  36. #36

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    https://www.wipaire.com/wipaires-tec...ked-questions/

    i thought a Supercub on amphibs would fit in a 12’ high hangar...even room to spare for the door. I suppose antennae install would be important

  37. #37
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    What is a Higher Power door? A type or brand?
    Very good Brand.

    https://www.hpdoors.com/


    Transmitted from my FlightPhone on fingers...

  38. #38
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    There’s a builder ready to build out two 60x60 spots at our state owned airport. While he has long-standing relationship with the lumber yard, his numbers still show it cheaper per foot to build wood, either pole barn construction or stick framed.

    Personal opinion, Morton Buiidings are attractive as they are finished well. Anyone can build the same way and get the same look, (many do) it’s a pole barn with metal in/out. Works good and lasts a long time. The Amish do it very fast in the northeast.

    For my friend the builder he plans to stick build on the slab, partially due to the known efficiency of his framing crew, and the ease of typical insulation methods.


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    Steve, have you looked into ICF poured concrete walls? Structure and insulation done in one step and fast. I don’t know the economics for your state and climate but it can make a lot of sense in many applications.

    David


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  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5191H View Post
    Steve, have you looked into ICF poured concrete walls? Structure and insulation done in one step and fast. I don’t know the economics for your state and climate but it can make a lot of sense in many applications.
    I've got very limited experience with this type of construction, but the one project with which I was involved was great; super easy and quick. I've heard great things about it - especially regarding the insulation effect of the forms that are left. We've got a guy here in the valley who has used this several times and swears by it. If it is financially feasible I'd say this definitely merits investigation.

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