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Hangars – where an aircraft rests

What is a hangar?

A hangar is a closed facility that houses planes or spacecraft. Metal, wood, fibers, and concrete are used to construct hangars.

The word hangar is derived from Middle French hanghart (“enclosure near a house”), which is derived from Frankish *haimgard (“home-enclosure”, “fence around a group of dwellings”), which is derived from *haim (“home, village, hamlet”) and gard (“fence around a group of buildings”) (“yard”). The word gard is derived from the Old Norse garr (“enclosure, garden”).


Their main purposes are to keep aircraft safe from the weather and direct sunlight, as well as for maintenance, repair, manufacture, assembling, and storage.

Credit: Nasa

Hangars necessitate the construction of unique structures. The width of the doors, including the aircraft entrance, must be substantial. The more intricate the structure, the larger the aircraft to be introduced. Sizes are classified according to the span of the hangar:

SizeSpan in meters
Sless than 30 m
M30–60 m
L60–90 m
XL90–120 m
XXLMore than 120 m

XXL hangars are designed for the world’s largest aircraft, such as the Airbus A380, Boeing 747, and Antonov 225, which are the most difficult to construct. A hangar may accommodate up to 20 planes at once.

Note: A Boeing 747-400 may easily fit inside a hangar with a diameter of 300 feet.

The largest aircraft hangar in Asia is located at Beijing Daxing International Airport. The hangar is about 40,000 square metres, or five football fields or 96 basketball courts in size. Three wide-body planes and three narrow-body planes can be accommodated in the hangar. It can accommodate simultaneous base maintenance on 12 aircraft, including two A380s and three B777s.

Beijing Daxing International Airport Hangar
Credit: news.cgtn.com

Requirements to build a Hangar

A careful examination of the following will enable the designer to calculate the space requirements.

  • Determining the sort of aircraft that will be housed in the hangar.
  • The maintenance functions that will be conducted in the facility.
  • Determination of the type and size of shop space required to carry out the maintenance tasks.
  • Determination of the type and quantity of warehouse space needed to support the maintenance activity.
  • Calculation of the required floor space for the Office and Administration Area.
  • Identifying special-purpose spaces such locker rooms, restrooms, personnel berthing places, dining areas, and public lobbies, to name a few.
  • Calculation of the required floor space for the Building Utilities Area
Credit: entegra.com.au

Going through these steps to build a highly functional hangar

Step 1: Determine the types and numbers of aircraft that will be housed in the hangar.

During this step, the future owner of the hangar must provide information regarding his aircraft fleet. Such details as the following:

  • The fleet’s aircraft types
  • The fleet’s total number of each type of aircraft
  • The variety of aircraft that will be housed in the hangar
  • Provision for future aircraft that may be parked in the hangar

Step 2: Determine the hangar facility’s maintenance function.

The owner’s input is required for the maintenance that will be performed on the aircraft at the hangar. This can range from no maintenance to a total overhaul of the plane.

Step 3: Compile the aircraft characteristics.

Step 4: Figure out how much hangar space you’ll need.

Step 5: Estimate how much area the maintenance shops and warehouse will require.

Step 6: Assess the office/administration area’s space requirements.

Credit: skiesmag.com

Other requirements for Hangars


The type of hangar door to be used is one of the most important design factors to consider. There are various sorts (slide, vertical lift, bifolding, fabric, and so on), each with its own set of benefits and architectural consequences for the overall structure.

Credit: gensteel.com

Mechanical Systems

The HVAC requirements in certain corrosion control hangars are so rigorous that the mechanical rooms might be as large as the hangar space itself. The mechanical rooms should be adjacent to the hangar area and have an exterior wall for outside air requirements. In order to shut down in the event of a fire, the HVAC in the hangar space must be connected with the fire detection system. Water mixed with an Aqueous Film Forming Foam is used to protect the hangar space from fire. An overhead system or water cannons located near the floor can be used to achieve this

Foam Fire Suppression Systems
Credit: global-aero.com

Electrical Systems

The hangar space should be classed as hazardous or nonhazardous, and the electrical equipment should be constructed accordingly. When deluge sprinkler protection is provided, electrical equipment in the hangar space should be waterproof. Because aircraft and ground support equipment operate at different voltages and frequencies than those provided by public utilities, the facility requires a variety of power supply voltages and frequencies.

History of hangar types

Side-opening Aeroplane Sheds

Side-opening aeroplane sheds were the first known aeroplane hangars or sheds. The earliest of them was constructed at Kent’s Leysdown. Steel, lumber, concrete, corrugated iron, and corrugated asbestos sheeting were used as examples of construction materials.


General Service Aircraft Shed (Belfast, Belfast Truss)

Construction began in 1916. The hangars were constructed with a characteristic latticed Belfast Truss roof beginning in 1917. Later sheds were built with brick and timber supports instead of wood covering or cement.


The first transportable hangar was the Bessonneau hangar. The French-designed hangar was the first to be used during World War I, and it remained in operation until 1936, when it was eventually replaced by the Bellman hangar. They were supposed to be rebuilt in 48 hours by 20 people using only wood and canvas.


The Bellman hangar, constructed in 1936, was a transportable hangar. Because of the comparatively basic unit method of construction, it could be easily erected and removed by inexperienced people. Around 400 Bellmans were produced between 1938 and 1940, mostly out of steel. The lack of roof height was one of the key concerns with these hangars.


Blister hangars were temporary arched structures made of wood or steel that were quite tiny. They were created in 1939 and saw service during WWII.



After the Bellman hangar was deemed outmoded, Type T hangars with higher roofs were built. The T2 was the most successful of these.

Type C

It enabled aircraft manufacturers to create planes with wingspan of more than 100 feet. The steel structures’ walls were originally brick-clad in an effort to blend in with the surrounding buildings and landscape. For improved bombing protection, this was eventually upgraded to reinforced concrete.

Type J and Type K

The design of these hangars was substantially the same, although they were used for different reasons. Type J hangars were used for aircraft maintenance on active airfields beginning in 1939, while Type K hangars were utilised for aircraft storage on Aircraft Storage Unit (ASU) airfields. Steel columns supported arched steel trusses, with a thin steel plate roof.

Type L

A series of closely spaced triangular steel arches were used to construct this kind, which were subsequently covered with a coating of concrete, dirt, and turf. A 70-foot opening was created by sliding steel doors. The majority of these hangars were constructed at aeroplane storage facilities.


Lamella hangars are based on the Lamellendach (segmental roof) design from Germany. The first hangar of this sort, with a maximum span of 82 feet, was built in Heston in 1930.

Hangars are vital structures that should not be overlooked, and their design is largely determined by the aircraft they house and their size.

Credit: petrainc.net



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