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Maintenance

Working room

Hangar designs continue to evolve. Ian Harbison reviews projects from three industry suppliers
 
Butzbach
 
Hangar doors are generally designed to slide or fold and to enclose the end of a hangar. Occasionally, special design requirements mean that they have to be modified to suit a particular project.
 
In some cases, the door has to cater for different aircraft models. One such project for Butzbach was  a modification to the Beluga hangar at Airbus in Toulouse. The current fleet of five aircraft, which are based on the A300-600, will eventually be replaced by the larger Beluga XL, based on the A330-200 Freighter. Aside from the large base aircraft, the cargo bay is 6m longer, 1m wider and 0.5m higher than the original, to allow a pair of A350 wings to be carried.
 
When the aircraft arrives in Toulouse, it is moved into the unloading hangar, to allow unloading in high wind conditions – the upwardly opening forward door could act like a sail – with the rear  of the aircraft remaining outside. By using a customised cut out, the doors can be tightly closed around the fuselage. This has now been modified to take account of the different fuselage diameters of both Beluga variants. This will cover joint operations, the standard aircraft being retired by 2020, while the first Beluga  XL arrives in 2019.
 
Another use of cut outs is when an aircraft is too big for an existing hangar. Not surprisingly, this was the case with the A380. Butzbach supplied such a system to Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, and has recently supplied a similar system to the MRO’s facility in Munich for incorporation into existing doors.
 
Of course, the company continues to be involved in new hangar projects, the most recent being for Turkish Technic, at the recently opened new Istanbul Airport. This features 156m x 21.5m sliding doors at each end of the hangar, for easy aircraft movement. These can be moved without power in extraordinary situations, like extreme wind conditions or a power loss. Extensive use of translucent fibreglass door material allows a large amount of sunlight into the hangar, and lights up the interior evenly and without any glare.
 
Delivered to an extremely tight schedule, this project was not without challenges, and not just  for purchasing, production, engineering and assembly. The external influences of working on such a large construction site could not be taken lightly, and led to some delays that were outside the company’s control. The fact that it was completed by the specified deadline was in huge part due to the 22 Butzbach fitters, who were working on both door systems simultaneously. 
 
Buildair Engineering & Architecture
 
Buildair Engineering & Architecture dates back to 2001 and was started in Spain by professors of structural engineering from Barcelona UPC University, who had come up with the concept of buildings constructed by linking together identical inflated tubes. The first examples of this modular approach were small scale, designed as promotional buildings at events like the Singapore Grand Prix.
 
The first entry into aviation came in 2013, says Felipe Cano, Commercial Director, with a project for Airbus at its military facility at Getafe, near Madrid. Originally, this was a single bay hangar, measuring 70m long x 54m wide, with a movable inflatable front door and an apse-shaped shelter in the rear. This enabled line and heavy maintenance tasks to be carried out under cover, with a 23m clear height giving space for an aircraft on jacks.
 
As a perfect example of the flexibility of the system, the hangar was extended in 2015, enabling it to accommodate two aircraft, such as A310 or A400M. This was achieved by simply adding additional tube sections. This increased the length by 40m to 110m, and the useful area from 3,560m² to almost 6,000m², making it the largest inflatable structure in the world. >>
 

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