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What are the best sheds for aircraft hangars?

What are the best sheds for aircraft hangars?

Best sheds for aircraft hangarsIf you are looking at building an aircraft hanger, you may be wondering, “What is the best hanger option for me?” With various options on the New Zealand market, choosing the best shed design and suppliers can be challenging.

In this article, we discuss what features to look for when comparing different aircraft hangar designs and what makes the Alpine system different.

Key features of aircraft hangar design


All shed designs have limited distances they can span without the use of centre supports. The maximum distance, or span, varies depending on the design.

In most cases, the building span will determine the width and height of your hanger door opening, also known as the daylight opening. Your requirements will depend on what type of aircraft you hope to fit inside.

For example, a Cessna 172 has a wingspan of 11.0m. Therefore, your door opening will have to be a minimum of 12.0m wide to allow the aircraft enough room to get in and out. Depending on the door design, the building span may have to be 13.0m to 15.0m to accommodate the 12.0m door opening.

When speaking to a potential hanger provider, ask if they can achieve the necessary span with their system. 

If you are looking to store a helicopter, the required door opening may be able to be reduced, depending on which helicopter size. However, one important thing that is often overlooked is the ability to carry out preflight checks inside the hanger and out of the weather. You will need enough room to spin the rotors freely, which requires more room.

Clearspan aircraft hangar design


Most rolled steel sheds rely on apex braces, knee braces, and c-section purlins which allow birds to perch directly above your expensive aircraft. Over time, this can lead to significant damage from corrosive bird droppings, not to mention an unhygienic environment to carry out maintenance.

Birdproof building design


Over time, condensation in a hanger can cause significant damage to your aircraft. While all shed designs can have this issue to some degree, some experience a lot less condensation thanks to the materials used.

While steel sheds are prone to temperature fluctuations, the internal temperature of a timber shed is more consistent. This means timber sheds experience less condensation build-up and are temperature regulating, leading to a dryer environment for your aircraft.Aircraft hangar with man cave area

Fully Open End vs Filled in Gable End

For rural sites, some clients opt for a fully open end to keep it as cost-effective as possible. However, this can bring challenges when you want to add doors later. To have a door system added, your shed needs to have a structural lintel designed, essentially to fill in the gable end “triangle”.

If you want to build a simple shed and add doors later, we highly recommended that you choose a shed with the gable end filled in. This makes it much easier than retrofitting it later, which requires engineers, is more costly, and is more time-consuming.Fully open end hangar vs filled in gable end hangar

Hanger door framing provision

Hanger doors are extremely heavy and can put a lot of pressure/loading on the shed itself.

Some designs, such as rolled steel, won’t be able to carry this weight without additional structural supports. This can be achieved with engineered structural steel legs and structural concrete footings. However, these are complex to design and construct, and can also add considerably to the installation costs.

At Alpine, we use a structural steel rafter and lintel system, allowing hanger doors to be easily be added without any other structural supports. This allows for greater flexibility with your door design and saves time and money in the installation. For more information on what the right door system for your hangar is read our article here

Aircraft Hangar with open sliding doors

Alpine Buildings Aircraft Hangar design 

Here at Alpine, we specialise in clearspan, birdproof buildings that are well suited to aircraft storage. Our combination of timber poles, timber framing, and structural steel is extremely strong and can accommodate large aircraft with a wingspan of up to 20.0m.

Our unique design also provides ample clear space without the need for knee and apex bracing, making it easier to store and manoeuvre aircraft within the shed.

Contact the team today to start planning your clearspan and birdproof hangar or download our free hangar brochure for more information on our range. 


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