Portable Hangars - Are They Worth It?
Portable aircraft hangars are particularly helpful for backcountry and bush style aircraft like Cubs or Aviat Husky tailwheel styles of planes. Any type of fabric-over-frame aircraft must be hangared and sheltered from the UV rays of the sun. UV rays break down the fabric, resulting in the need to have it replaced every few years. Erect a portable aircraft hangar on grass airfields, home tarmacs or open air fields.
Custom sized portable aircraft hangars are available for a variety of aircraft wherein small jets to helicopters can be serviced.
In order to determine if the cost of a portable aircraft hangar is viable, make the case by crunching the numbers. For example, constant exposure to the sun and elements leads to erosion of the fuselage or airframe. Calculate the cost of repairing or replacing the fabric or air-frame every three to five years versus the one-time investment and the results almost always indicate that it is well worth the price.
When making the case for the hangar, determine the square-footage needs for your aircraft, tools, towing gear, work benches and spare parts. Cross reference this calculation with the available portable aircraft hangars on the market. When possible use online services to construct virtual mock-ups to get a visual of the shelter.
Another facet that makes the case for a portable aircraft hangar is the ability to add a heat source to the enclosed space, letting you store the aircraft in a partially heated environment. For examples of this, just look up north to Canada and Alaskan airfields and strips. Good areas to view regarding heated hangars in Alaska include Talkeenta Airport, where the majority of Denali expeditions are staged and outfitted via bush aircraft. Merrill Field in Anchorage is another great resource for viewing the portable shelters as the majority of general aviation aircraft in Alaska's largest city are stored and hangared.
If you fly floats, look into a hangar with the ability to be retrofit on docks, piers or tie-ups to make portable shelters along waterway shores. Benefits of this water-based shelter include protection from shore birds and gulls, barriers against large waves and high winds, and protection from the aforementioned UV rays from the sun.
Aircraft ownership requires many different considerations and tasks. Part of ownership is deciding how to keep the valuable investment protected from the elements and sun. Hangar space is often hard to find, and when you do, it comes at a premium cost.
Your aircraft is a huge investment and represents fun, joy and passion. Take care of it with a suitable portable aircraft hangar to ensure the aircraft's long-life and protected frame.