Ultralight hangar, building a hangar for an ultralight aircraft, The Ultralight hangar by Richard Pike.

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Building an ultralight hangar.

The hangar is 24' deep and 35' 4" wide. The outside walls are 8' high to the top of the wall, and then the roof beams set on it. The side and back walls are made up of 4'x8' sections of chipboard, nailed to a framework of 2"x4"s, which are nailed to10' long 4"x4"s sunk almost 2' into the ground.

There are eight 4"x4"s in all. The side wall 4"x4"s are 12' apart on center. Nail up a rectangular frame of 2"x4"s  that is 96" high, and 139" long.  This is one of the wall sections. 

I doubled the 2"x4"s top and bottom. The 2"x4" that is along the top of the frame should extend over the top of the 4"x4"s that are in the ground, giving added support, and helping you position it for nailing.

Within this framework, nail 2"x4"s vertically every 2'. Position them where the 4'x8' chipboard panels overlap, and in the middle of the panels for support.

The chipboard panels should completely overlap the outside of the 4"x4"s. Do not cement the 4"x4"s into the ground until the hangar walls are finished, and everything is nailed in position and squared up. Then cement them in, and let it harden before you start to put the roof on.

At the same time, pour some footers for the trusses to stand on;  make the trusses and cut the roof beams while you are waiting on the concrete to cure.

The hangar width was determined by the length of the roofing panels, 18' was the maximum length of the heavy gauge Strongpanel sections I chose, so the rear wall was sized to allow the panels to reach almost to the peak, and still stick out 2" over the eaves. 

The peak is covered by a standard pre-bent cap.Southview.jpg (29772 bytes)
The two outside rear wall sections are 137" wide x  96" high.  The center section is 139" wide x 96" high, and is built and hung just like the side walls. If you cut out a door section in the back wall, do not cut through the two bottom 2"x4"s, just plan to step over them...

The heart of the hangar is the two cantilever trusses, which are very simple, and are similar to built-up wing spars, because they sandwich sections of chipboard between 2"x4"s to make a very strong structure. The bottom portion is 24" wide and 75" tall. Resting on top of this is the center of the truss, which is a 4'x8' sheet, with two lower corner triangles cut away.

To cut away the rear lower corner, starting at the corner, measure out 3', and up 2', draw a diagonal  line, and cut that triangle off. To cut off the front lower triangle, starting at the corner, measure out 3', and up 1', draw a diagonal line, and cut that triangle off.

To make the rear end of the trusses, cut a 4'x8' sheet of chipboard down the middle, making two 2'x8' sheets.  To make the front end of the trusses, cut a 4'x8' sheet on the diagonal, so that you have two "almost triangles" that measure 8' on the top side, 3' on the rear side, (the side that butts up to the middle section of the truss), and instead of coming to a point at the front of the triangle, you want 8" of vertical depth. Look at the pictures, it will be obvious. Now box the whole thing in with 2"x4"s on both sides, just like in the pictures, and think ahead about how you accommodate splicing the 2"x4"s. 

Think about where all the stress lies, and make the 2"x4"s that go up the lower leg continuous to the top of the truss, have them stop just at the top horizontal 2"x4"s. Likewise also the 2"x4"s that run out the front, keep as long as possible to where they tie into the rear portion . Avoid splicings  that are the same on both sides, stagger the splices.
You will use one sheet of material for two vertical legs, one sheet for both truss rears, one sheet for both truss fronts, and two sheets for the truss centers. You will need 26 sheets of chipboard total for the hangar.
The distance from the front side of the truss leg to the front of the hangar overhang is 11', this should accommodate most light planes.

The nose of my Kolb MKIII pokes right up to the drip line, so I have a heavy tarp that is attached up and inside the front eave, and is tied down and out to keep water off the nose.

Get several helpers to set the trusses up, anchor them securely to the rear wall at the 4"x4", and brace them so they won't lean while you set the roof beams. Start from the back and work out as you nail the beams from the walls to the trusses. I made the beams from 2"x6"s , from the walls to the trusses, and the center sections of the beams were 2"x4"s from the trusses to the peak.

Sheet metal roofing of your choice, corrugated barn tin was too light for me. I used Strongpanel, it cost as much as everything else combined, but I can walk on the roof. Use light stuff for the front and rear eaves. I did not use gutters, I wish I had. The splash from the run off is deteriorating the lower edge of the chipboard. The lower edge of the walls stops about 2" above the dirt, this allows the air to circulate, and keeps moisture from collecting even during long humid spells. The leaves blow under and in, but leaves don't corrode the airplane... 

The floor is covered with sheet plastic, and then covered with used carpet. Find someone that is re carpeting, and get the sections intact, if possible.

The outer front walls will tend to flex unless they are triangulated. Cement a length of steel rod in the ground about 1' out from the corner, and run some flying wire from there up to the top corner of the wall, turnbuckle it snug, stops the flex. 

The roof doesn't have too much pitch, Tennessee never has more than 24" of snow at a time, and I can clean it off faster than it comes down most of the time. The roof may need more pitch farther North. I have a couple posts sized to brace up under the front of the trusses whenever I am expecting heavy snow anyway.

The Hangar
Courtesy of Richard Pike


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