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Hangar Advice

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Hangar Advice

Old 30th Oct 2007, 16:37
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: France
Posts: 6
Question Hangar Advice

Helo, erm, Hello All:

Buying an R22 to put behind my home in France and am now confronted with the problem of housing the machine. Can use an existing but decrepit wooden barn, build a permanent structure, or erect a portable hangar. The last would be easiest as I do not own the land and should relations get strained/blade-slapped, it would be easiest to relocate. But what are the important aspects of heli hangerage from those that know? : Waterproof obviously, but should the shelter be heated, "electrified", plumbed etc? Would a portable hangar suffice and if so, who builds such shelters? Any advice gratefully received. Sincerely, Mike.
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Old 30th Oct 2007, 20:44
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Location: 5 nM S of TNT, UK
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Basically they are happiest out of the weather. Mine lived for the last two years in the fenced off corner of a cow shed, which it shared with 50 cows in the winter and had sole occupancy in the summer. The shed was ventilated with open slats in the upper half, and the temperature inside was a good 3-4 degrees above that outside in the winter if a little fragrant! I never had any condensation problems at all. Unfortunately my farmer neighbour sold his sheds a few months ago so I lost my hangar, and where between 50 and 150 cows used to live is now the home of 4 horses. Such is progress.

My R22 now shares a shed with some old farm implements and my fixed wing aircraft. The shed is ventilated by a big hole in the end wall which nobody has ever got around to mending. Strangely there is a considerable condensation problem in there, so I keep a silica gel dehumidifier in the cabin and change it every few days. It is not really man enough for the job, but as there is no mains power I have little choice.

Having said all that, my local airfield has two R22s that sit outside all year round, but still seem to start OK except in the coldest weather. Corrosion is a different matter which is being discussed on another thread.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 00:04
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Slingblade, I don't think there is any doubt about the benefits of hangarage.

A fellow R44 pilot (member of a syndicate) was moaning to me the other day about how their old Astro is constantly sick (maybe due to the fact that it is v old but also possibly exacerbated by the fact it is kept outside in the pissing rain and howling winds), he is the only member of their group that feels hangarage is important.

The wet and the wind are bad for our machines - period.

I would go for an R44 sized concrete helipad.
Grass sucks, damp muddy carpet in the winter and cockpit full of clippings in the summer. Wood is too slippery.

I would recommend a well ventilated dehumidified area, no bigger than it needs to be (so that your dehumidifier doesn't have a cathedral sized area to fail to cope with). I picked up an ex-industrial dehumifidier from a local plant dealer for 250, it sucks the water clean out of the hangar, I see no condensation on the bubble, the fuselage or even dampness inside the instruments when I have remembered to leave it on. It needs emptying every day - really quite satisfying to pour 3-4 gallons of H2O outside where it belongs.

I would also build a hangar that will fit an R44 in. (Just in case you trade up or sell the house to another robbo pilot).
This is what I did in 2001, so when I upgraded from R22 to R44 in 2004 there was no drama!

If the building is separate from your house you may want space for a bowser inside the hangar also.
Yes, yes I know this is not advisable etc..., but I put my cigar out before refuelling and I do hate to get my hair wet (or more importantly the fuel wet) in the rain.

If you have electricity to the outbuilding then you can run a PCL (pilot controlled lighting system) to your pad www.bestwindsocks.com do a great reliable and inexpensive PCL which I switch on from 2-3 miles out, you can programme it to whatever frequency you choose.

Finally you need lots of girls in bikinis and collapsing palmtrees to complete the thunderbirds-Tracey-Island meets James-Bond-Villain-Hideout look.

Have fun,

Last edited by scooter boy; 31st Oct 2007 at 22:15.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 07:56
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I agree with SB about the bowser. It is very very convenient especially in the cold, windy or wet weather to be able to do all your preflight inspection and fuelling up inside the hangar then just wheel it out and fly when you are ready.

Electric power availability is a real advantage although I sadly am unable to have it now.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 09:14
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It depends to a great extent on where in France?....A place in Brittany is obviously going to need more planning than a place on the Cote d'Azur...

I used to keep a company machine at my home, but got sick of cleaning the snow off on my own everyday, so we had a 'hangar raising'party/BBQ in the Summer, and threw up a transportable shed...

Then I got sick of pushing it(H500) in and out on my own all the time. So I got two lengths of channel and set them in concrete with a small outfacing slope. I welded up a wheeled landing dolly/pad and the thing would roll out on it's own with just a little one handed pushing, and then I hooked up a small 4x4 electric winch (12 volt) to pull it back in...If anything went wrong with the motor, you could always push it out and fly, then look for a helper to push it back in...Never happened though. The 4X4 winches are great...

Bowser....Great in priciple, but check out the legal bit!

Good luck with it...170'
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 09:55
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Ta the tips!

Very grateful your input on this guys. You've brought up some important aspects which I will certainly incorporate into my final design decision. Best rgds, Mike.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 10:49
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I'd be careful about hangare beside a mob of cows, uric acid etc. same re a shed that has been used to store fertilizer in.

Seriously,there is a bloke over there Nigelh I think his name is. He is an ace on hanger construction, its a wonder he hasn't come along with a bit if friendly advice by now. As a tip don't tell him it's for an R22. That should get him talking. Tell him all of us R22 mob miss him.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 11:37
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Not sure of the height of a Robinson, but would a surplus shipping container do the job for you cheaply??

Speedbird 48.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 16:49
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There is a thread here about a standard shipping container that was modified to accommodate a B206. Also includes some photographs. See it here:

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Old 31st Oct 2007, 18:20
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Container Hangar......Now that's very cool....
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 18:48
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I have experience in Belgium and France (7 years)

1. Certainly go for a good dry floor (concrete in Belgium, thick "tout venant" in France, depends on building limits)

2. Have a good roof, preferebly insulated (mine is insultated wood)

3. The walls dont matter that much except that you may want indeed to be able to be a few degrees above ambiant for condensation so a certain degree of insulation is needed(mine are wood but not fully wind thight so that there is good ventilation)

4. Mind cows and other old animal barns with related acids, they may accelerate corrosion quite a bit

5. Don't forget to have electricity, even if it is "temporary"

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Old 31st Oct 2007, 23:09
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There is a 22 owner who runs a hotel near Bournemouth who keeps his machine in an old shipping container. Seem to think it just had a dehumidifier in it. Plant a few trees around it, and you would never know.
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Old 1st Nov 2007, 07:36
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A friend of mine kept his R22 in an old lorry back. A standard 40 foot container is not high enough, but certain types of lorry back are OK. You would almost certainly need ventilation though as they tend to sweat inside.
The other thing that is important is to make sure that the ground outside it is exactly level with the inside floor, as otherwise you will not be able to push it over the join on your own if you are using the standard Robbo wheels. I got a set of big wheels from www.R22bigwheels.com which help that problem a lot. I am considering the lorry back route myself, the only problem is that they are a bit of an eyesore and you wouldn't really want one in your back garden.
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Old 1st Nov 2007, 10:21
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You could clad container with either wood, or industrial building sheeting which has insulation as standard numerous different colours and thicknesses of insulation available.
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Old 1st Nov 2007, 13:17
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Yes a good idea, especially if you could locate an old truck trailer pantec (spelling?) which was refrigerated. Then you would simply plug in the old freezer unit but at a higher temperature. I have seen types which are simply bolted onto their running chassis, it would only be a simple job to unbolt it, lift it off, and possibly sell the trailer chassis and wheels to someone else.

You could paint trees on the side of it.

The best part is that the good sealing doors would keep the pesky squirrels outa the way. Not to mention the narrow aperture.

People out here - like contractors - buy them and mod them to make mobile chuck wagons, they come up "real beaut", to use a southern idiom.
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Old 1st Nov 2007, 21:28
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In the UK, "permitted development" allows you to put in abuilding up to 4m high with a pitched roof, in your garden, so long as not more than 1/2 your garden is covered with buildings, and so long as it is no less than 20m from a road.

In the fortunate position of being able to do this and wanting to put an R44 in it, has anyone else done it and have plans or a company who can knock something up?

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Old 1st Nov 2007, 22:10
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Worked in Northern Canada for years in 44's. If you have the cash then build it big enough to avoid "hangar Rash", cement floor , rails if you don't have the help. If you just want or can only afford a roof keep the following in mind...

- you need power for the battery blanket that you should have, especially if it's a Concorde. Also the 35 $ Tanis pad for your oil pan is a great investment...it's cheap and uses very little power. If you're not flying that much just plug it in the night before. For that matter just remove your battery and store in your nice warm house (Please not on concrete) and install as needed.

-Covers are relatively cheap compared to a full on hangar and work really really well when used in conjunction with what we call here in Canada "Buddy Heaters". If your machine is just in a barn this is a must and will put paid to any instruments going Kaput do to condensation. Put one by the pedals and the extra on the battery facing your dipstick if it's an Astro.

-The window cover is essential especially if you are looking to maintain re-sale value. Even if the machine is Timed Out that window is worth a fortune. And any dust, dung, or mud is just money out of your pocket.

If you fly quite a bit and have the money, then the Real Hangar with power, water (for the windows due to dust...never enough water), and a good clean floor is the way to go. Let's face it, DI's in the wind, rain , sub zero temps suck and you might miss something otherwise than if you were in a proper hangar.

If not then the Barn will work quite well with the above. Just remember...HEAT is the key. It will save your instruments, battery and engine a hell of alot of pain (ie cash) and will maintain performance. Not to mention your oil costs if you blow a seal when starting up with cold oil.

My 2 cents

Good luck, fly safe and have fun.

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Old 2nd Nov 2007, 09:42
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 96
Blade (#16)

Sounds like you are going to be lucky, I hope that you have read thro the attached link:-


(Use this or get professional advice only, do not rely on builders or 'self build etc websires)..

Note the 4 m height limit is for the external ridge of the roof....so clearance issues may be interesting...if the R44 height is 3.3m.. plus a trolley etc, say 3.6m;-dependent on the means used, such as wheels and so forth...

Allow say 300mm for structure and roof covering....leaving 100mm clearance...tight to say the least....and the trolley dim might be wrong.

Also check how close you are going to be to any residential building on site.. closer in any part than 5m and it will be considered an extension..and volume limits come into play....check thro that part is it 'polices' up many of the issues which may be relevant.

Just a quick guide....for a R44 with a bit of space around it...so you can walk in and around but nothing special, external dims would be in the order of 13m long, 3.5m wide...area 45.5sqm...if you have 3m tall side walls with a 4m ridge line the volume is going to be around 160 cubic m. You will need Building regs approval however, regardless of planning.

Also as the use (hanagarage for a helicopter) is not necessarily 'domestic' then 'should' somebody ask what it is for then a good 'answer' will be needed, depending on the area in which you live..

Also remember the onus is on you to ensure you do or do not need Planning to erect this building...if you do so and the local Planners deciede that you should have had planning its either a retrospective application or the courts...neither of which are necessarily inepxensive..even to a helo owner.

Keep us posted.
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