Aircraft Hangars

Kingsville, TX (18) and Meridian, MS (18)


Project Overview: The Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, is a training ground for student pilots, with a fleet of T45 Goshawks that are used to instruct Navy pilots to land on aircraft carriers.  On the tarmac, the aircraft are subjected to intense sunlight, a heat index that can reach 103°F and other natural threats, such as hail storms.  This weather exposure hastens the deterioration of the planes’ exterior finishes, interior fittings and electronic components, resulting in significant maintenance and repair costs.  The glass canopies over the cockpits are particularly susceptible to damage.


Challenge: Shelter Structures’ challenge was to design, build and erect 18 custom fabric aircraft hangars in just six weeks, so that work was completed in time for a previously scheduled air show featuring the Blue Angels.  Because Kingsville is located in an area where hurricanes are a possibility, the semi-permanent structures also needed to withstand hurricane force storms.  A major challenge during the assembly phase was Kingsville’s frequent strong, gusty winds,  which often forced the installation work to temporarily shut down.


Shelter Structures


Solution: Shelter Structures created individual open-air fabric aircraft hangars that provide each plane with critical protection from the elements, while allowing easy access for maintenance and fueling.  The shelters lower cockpit temperatures by 80 degrees in the summer sun.  Their translucent fabric covers allow natural light in, eliminating energy costs associated with traditional metal buildings.

Aircraft Hangar

Shelter Specifics: Each aircraft hangar, measuring 57’6”W x 50’L x 23’H, is built to withstand sustained winds of 110 MPH with the fabric cover on, and 150 MPH with the cover off.  Their rugged 28 oz. fabric offers a lifespan of 15 to 20 years in this demanding environment.

Results: Robert Coleman, CIV NAVFAC SE, PWD, the Quality Assurance Evaluator on the project, was extremely pleased with the quality of the shelters and particularly with the knowledge and dedication of the installation crew.  “I have never dealt with a contractor so committed to excellence and to the job,” he says.  “They were well synchronized – just a great team working together.”  To meet the tight deadline, the crew would return at 11 p.m. or midnight to finish work that had been shut down earlier due to high winds.  “They even finished three days ahead of schedule,” says Coleman.  “I didn’t think it could be done.  They had total, 100 percent dedication.”

The Kingsville Naval Air Station was the pilot project for this type of semi-permanent aircraft hangar installation, and was under scrutiny from every level, including site visits from two Admirals.  The fabric shelters have since been successfully replicated at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, MS (another 18 hangars).