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Durability, Sustainability, Reliability Matter in Aviation

tension fabric aircraft hangar with clamshell door

Sustainability is more than an idea in today’s world. Most industries now take “green” choices into consideration in their day-to-day operations for items such as vehicles, materials and supplies, as well as when designing and investing in new buildings. Beyond the environmental benefits, there are many economic benefits associated with sustainable business practices, ranging from lower cost recycled materials to energy efficiency to tax incentives.

Aviation Industry Addresses Sustainability Challenges

modern aircraft taking off on runway

The aviation industry is actively engaged in moving toward a sustainable future with innovative thinking across the industry to achieve reductions in energy use, pollution and waste generation, and at the same time, improve their bottom line.

Airline Fuel Alternatives

As an industry dependent on moving large equipment long distances, fuel is a major cost and environmental impact component of the business. Aircraft use of fossil fuels is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases, leaving the industry with a challenge as it tries to transition to a low carbon future. As the world seeks to take action to limit the impact of climate change, the aviation industry is actively developing a path to alternative fuels, such as Rocky Mountain Institute’s sustainable aviation initiative to develop alternatives such as biofuels.

Innovative Aircraft Design

New aircraft design is also experiencing transformative change as engineers seek to reduce fuel requirements with more efficient engines, lighter aircraft through innovative material science and sleeker, more aerodynamic designs. Advanced aircraft designs use the principles of fluid dynamics between air and aircraft to reduce drag and maximize fuel efficiency. Even solar-powered aircraft and electric hybrid options are being explored for future aircraft design.

Improved Aircraft Durability

aircraft interior showing red leather seats and overhead bins

Airlines invest heavily in their equipment and expect in return several decades of service from each aircraft. Mechanical inspection and maintenance is a major investment as well, a necessary and vital part of the world’s improving record of airline safety and aircraft service life. In addition to maintaining the aircraft in flawless mechanical condition, it is in the airline’s financial interest to keep the other components in excellent condition as well. One trend is to build more durable interiors, to passenger-proof them so that the constant flow of people in and out of the airplane results in minimal tearing, cracking and breaking of seats, tray tables and other passenger amenities. Fewer replacements of parts like seats and overhead doors means a lot of savings over time for large airlines. And, sturdier, better built aircraft that last longer means less use of resources and less discarded plastic and metal parts to contaminate the environment.

Energy Efficient Aircraft Hangars

Aviation hangars have not been neglected in the move toward sustainability in aviation. LEED certification has become a standard for energy efficient buildings that are environmentally friendly and provide for lower operating costs to their owners. The first LEED Platinum aircraft hangar was installed in Burbank, CA in 2007. It includes elements like solar panels, large-rotor fans, and translucent roof panels in the builder’s proprietary design steel framed building. Green building is a growing trend around the world and is a natural fit for the aviation industry that operates costly, large-scale facilities like airports, passenger terminals and aircraft hangars.

Tension Fabric Aircraft Hangars Deliver Sustainability

Allsite tension fabric structure permanent airport hangar with large aircraft and bright lighting

As an alternative to traditional hangars, tension fabric aircraft hangars have become a reliable answer to meeting the need for temporary or permanent hangar space for aircraft storage and maintenance activities. Modular, easily transported to the site, and made from sustainable aluminum, tension fabric structures are a solution for airlines large or small in need of energy-efficient, low impact structures that provide all the services of a traditional hangar without the environmental footprint of a traditional construction project. And, they are easily moved or removed and reused when no longer needed, leaving no long term impact. As reusable structures, they are environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional construction options. Durable and stable, with equivalent wind resistance ratings to traditional buildings, they serve the same function as permanent structures at lower financial and environmental cost.

The tension fabric hangar design features an environmentally-friendly, high strength, extruded aluminum frame that can be used indefinitely and is fully recyclable at end of life. Heavy-duty PVC fabric is tensioned over the frame, creating a temporary or permanent structure, according to need, that is highly stable, all-weather and able to offer same amenities as a traditional building. The building can provide ample natural ventilation with the installation of vents, louvers and industrial fans. Overhead truss systems support necessary aircraft maintenance and safety equipment.

Tension fabric structures offer large, open hangar space that can be located wherever and whenever it is needed. The hangar can be built in a choice of widths and any length that is required, accommodating both large and small aircraft and adaptive to available space at the location. Optional translucent fabric panels allow external daylight in, reducing lighting costs. White fabric interior panels increase interior brightness, further reducing use of artificial lighting and energy costs. The white external PVC fabric reflects UV radiation and sunlight, deflecting heat away from the structure, keeping the building interior cooler, further reducing energy use.

Customize your Fabric Aircraft Hangar Solution

Open end fabric aircraft hangar with space shuttle craft

Allsite’s modular, lightweight aluminum frame tension fabric aircraft hangars can be transported and installed anywhere. They can be equipped for harsh climates with a variety of weather proofing and insulation options. A variety of anchorage options provide for their use on any terrain with no advance preparation or foundation required. This lowers the cost and environmental impact of installation.

The structures can be equipped with a choice of doors and openings, including freight and personnel entries, as well as clamshell aviation doors to protect aircraft and equipment. Each structure is custom configured before delivery so that it meets the client’s needs in an efficient and economical package, delivering exactly the space and amenities needed.

As part of an overall strategy toward sustainable business practices, fabric hangars are a perfect fit when looking for efficient ways to temporarily or permanently expand hangar capacity without a large environmental impact or a large financial investment in new buildings. For more information on tension fabric aircraft hangars to help your business expand sustainably and control costs, contact Allsite today.

Author Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan is Allsite's Director of Business Development, with degree in Psychology from Lafayette College and 14 years experience in matching customers with Tension Fabric Structure solutions. Read more about Peter and the rest of our team at

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