Designing a Hangar Home

90There are few more unique lifestyles than living in an airport community. The designing of a hangar home is a unique skill and one best handled by professional designer well experienced in the subject. In this article we will cover a few specific points that you will value as suggestions to consider.

1. As in most residential developments usually there are the restrictions. These restrictions can govern the size of the home, the size of the hangars, architectural factors such as whether or not the hangar must blend in with home, taxiway clearance issues and the like. As with any design it is important to become familiar with these covenants prior to beginning any design.

2. Because lot sizes vary from large to small, setbacks may be an issue. Another factor is whether or not the site is level or has a slope. Sloped sites are quite workable but present unique challenges that must be considered. Generally on sloped lots the hangars are placed on the lower section and the home on the higher section which allows the home and hangar to blend with one another nicely.

3. A key question is to consider how large to make the hangar. The first thing to consider is the 2000 square foot question. Most codes in the United States differentiate between hangars less than 2000 ft. and those that are larger. In general, commercial codes apply to larger hangars whereby easier residential codes will apply to the smaller hangars. This can affect the pricing.

4. Another common point to consider is whether or not to connect the hangar in the home. Connecting or not connecting each has its advantages and disadvantages. Connecting the hangar to the home is considered by most pilots to be quite advantageous. It allows one to stay out of the weather. It makes for some very interesting architecture. But if you’re looking to build projects then you need to consider the impact made by these projects such as sounds and smells which you may not want to enter into the home. In such instances building the hangar and home separately may be the way to go.

5. How do you intend to use your hangar? Obviously, one intends to put an airplane in the hangars but many folks user hangars for other functions as well. Hangars usually become storage bins. Like everything else this can be controlled. But common uses of hangars include workshops, storing boats, storing cars – especially if you’re looking not to build a separate garage, and storing motorhomes. Regarding motorhomes, modern motorhomes are generally greater than 13 feet in height above the floor when you consider their air-conditioner. That and the height of your airplane may be the determining factors as to how tall to make your hangar ceiling. These also affect the height of the door. When considering your hangar make certain that you predict, as well as possible, its ultimate uses.

6. Another important decision is to determine what type of the door you want. Hangar doors come, basically, in three types: hydraulic, accordion and bifold. There may be others but those are the most common. Hydraulic doors are usually hinged at the top and are opened as one single slab and in the open positions act as separate roof shielding the area just outside the hangar. These tend to be expensive but are very popular. Another common door is the bifold door. Bifold hangar doors normally have horizontal hinges, usually only one horizontally in the center. They are raised with belts or chains and tend to raise from the bottom up. Accordion doors are less common but are extremely practical. They require a track both at the top and the bottom and can be simply pushed to the side to open up the space. One advantage to accordion doors is that they do not require electricity to operate. Looking at various doors types is a good idea so that you can make an educated choice as to what type of door to select.

7. The structure over the hangar door is an important consideration. Hangar doors are usually quite wide varying from a minimum of 40 feet on up to greater than 55 feet wide. The header or beam spanning across the top of the door needs to be considered structurally. One way to handle this is by placing a steel I-beam across the door which will hold the weight of the roof. There are several disadvantages to this including higher construction costs due to the steel fabrication issues. Another disadvantage is that the beam bottom will usually fall well below the ceiling of the hangar causing the hangar door to be shorter than the ceiling height. Another, perhaps better, way to handle this is to use some sort of a gable roof or a modified gable roof over the hangar door. This allows the truss system of the roof to act as its own beam. Often the truss that spans over the door is a multi-ply truss and its bottom can be even with the ceiling height of the hangar. This allows the door to be higher and nearly the same height as the ceiling of the hangar. When designing the hangar discuss this aspect with the designer engineer who will work with you to determine the best solution.

8. Another thing to consider is fuel. Do you want to keep fuel in a fuel tank that you will keep inside your hangar? Perhaps there is fuel on the property that is maintained by the Association; this can be an excellent way when available. Of course, one can always fly out for fuel and this is workable most of the time but it does require careful organization of one’s flights and fuel stops.

These are only a few points to consider in the design of your hangar home – there are many others. Due to the uniqueness of hangar homes design it is recommended that you choose a designer who has had ample experience in designing hangar homes and who preferably lives and a hangar home personally. If you’re looking for designs on the Internet, you will likely become frustrated. If you’re intending to invest in a hangar homes to be built, it is best to find a designer to custom design a plan uniquely for you. Regardless of what type of design you end up building, your decision to design and build a hangar home will be, without doubt, one of the most thrilling and fulfilling actions you will take a pilot.