What should be the expectation of a hangar door weather seal?
If we asked one hundred hangar door owners what constitutes an acceptable level of sealing for hangar protection, the summary would be “there is no single answer”. That’s because it depends on the use of the aircraft hangar.
Take for example the aircraft hangar that pumps out controlled air to keep the workers comfortable, this hangar door would benefit from a stronger weather-seal design than the quiet, private box hangar that nobody works inside.
“AeroDoor wants architects to know that there are choices when it comes to weatherseal and soffit design to help achieve your requirements.”
A hangar door before the weather seal has been installed. This picture highlights the airspace needed for the doors to maneuver.
Typical weather seal specifications on a rolling hangar door
- 2-ply cloth inserted neoprene ⅛”-inch thick.
- Color: Black
- The neoprene is secured to the frame of the hangar door leaves by 60-inch x 1-inch retainers. The retainers are made from 16GA galvanized steel and include pre punched holes for rust-resistant fasteners.
- Neoprene is applied as flap type on most edges, and bulb type on the leading edge.
- Installed as adjustable and readily replaceable.
How can the sealability be improved on a hangar door?
Replicate certain sections of exterior weather seal design on the interior. For example, the sill seal would be applied to the inside and outside of each door leaf. In other areas we change the shape of the neoprene to offer better cohesion, which is done by wider or thicker neoprene.
We can add a floating weather seal across the top of the door. This will provide better seal coverage between the top of the door and the building when the roof deflects upwards.
A final recommendation would be for the building manufacturer to design a step down soffit in lieu of a regular soffit design. (See illustration below)
Requesting an Air Tight Plenum from the hangar door manufacturer
A sliding door or bottom rolling hangar door can never be considered airtight for several reasons:
- Airspace around the pickup brackets.
- Airspace between the door leaves.
- Fixed top guide rollers have no weather seal barrier when the building deflects upwards.
- Unevenness in the finished floor.
- In extreme cases horizontal deflection in the door leaves can produce gaps beyond the seals.
Sealability for a fuselage aperture:
A fuselage aperture is a circular shaped hole in the center of the hangar door and it allows the door to close around the body of an airplane. With various sizes of wide bodied aircraft to accommodate, sealability is a raised question.
A solution is to install a foam bumper around the circumference of the steel frame aperture. The bumpers are typically reinforced polyvinyl chloride covered with chemical resistance to diesel and JP-4 fuel, hydraulic fluids, SAE-30 oil and salt water. The bumpers can be made to carry an electric fail safe sensor so that the aperture will reverse if the bumper detects contact with an obstacle.
Air leakage has become a common conversation when we discuss ventilation and energy requirements of certain styles of aircraft hangars. A rolling door made up of many sections can be adequately sealed for most environments, but to deliver the best and most efficient design, the requirements should be highlighted to the hangar door manufacturer during the initial design stage. A meeting between the hangar door manufacturer, architect and design team would be advisable.
Paul has over 14-years of sales and marketing experience in the hangar door industry. Prior to this, Paul spent 8 years working in a sales division of Apple Inc, where skills in supply chain, selling and customer service were taught at a multinational level.