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Thread: Hangars

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    Default Hangars

    HANGAR TYPES


    The evolution and development of aircraft hangars was influenced, not unsurprisingly, by the development of the aircraft themselves. Although as will be seen during the war years it was sometimes a case of the aircraft being made to fit the hangars! Another factor that impacted upon hangar design was the need to erect them rapidly and use in their construction the minimum amount of materials.

    As the first aircraft came into service the need to keep the fragile structures undercover led to the first "hangars" being constructed, invariably these would be large tent structures. However as the numbers and complexity of the early types grew and permanent airfields were developed the first of what are viewed as hangars today began to be constructed. One of the more numerous was the General Aircraft Shed, examples of which can be seen "coupled" at Duxford; a fine example also still stands at Tadcaster in North Yorkshire. These designs were from circa 1916 the Duxford ones being to design 332/17 which was a more substantial build than the Tadcaster one.

    During the inter-war period the "A" type hangar became the standard hangar design, the design number was 19a/24 but appears on some site plans annotated with different drawing numbers, reflecting perhaps the fact that it could be constructed to differing lengths as was required. Another hangar design from this period was the "F" Shed. The next hangar type, and a direct descendant of the "A" type was the "C" type. The generic drawing number for the "C" was 2029/34 and referred to the early "Hipped" type, which referred to the roofline. The development of the "C" meant that various designs and therefore drawing numbers emerged, "Gabled" "C" types again made reference to the roofline, having a series of gables running the length of the hangar. A further derivative of the early "C" types was the "Aircraft Repair Shed "C" Hangar. These were more slender than the normal "C", had workshops and test bays on the side and only had four sliding front doors as opposed to the usual six. Examples can be seen at RAF Manby in Lincolnshire, amongst other places. The final development of the "C" type was influenced by the impending war, the "C1" or "Type C - Protected" had a sloping front roofline and large windows to allow a blast to pass through, drawing numbers for these included 8180/38 and 5533/39. Some of the last "C1s" even did away with the brickwork, being constructed of asbestos sheets, saving on materials and manpower - the shape of things to come!

    Other hangar types from this period were the "D" type (2312/36) and the "E" and "L" sheds, looking like elongated blister hangars and found on maintenance and storage units such as Burtonwood. The last permanent hangar design prior to the war was the "J" and "K" types, an early attempt at limitation of materials which resulted in a cavernous curved steel roof building, the "J", fitted out internally for operational stations, was design 5836/39, whilst the "K", found mostly on maintenance units was 3084/39.

    This need for savings on cost and manpower led to the use of temporary or transportable hangars, usually from the late 1930's through the war years, although the Bellman hangar (the T2 forerunner) was from 1937, drawing number being 8349/37. The most well known of these WW" hangars was the "T2", although as reference to the table shows this came in a variety of designs and drawing numbers, usually attributable to the amount of internal bays, and therefore the length.

    The Robins and Super Robins were smaller types of hangar and could be found at many airfields, a variety of other types could also be seen; again reference to the table is required. The "T2" however remained the "standard" hangar on most "duration only" airfields, joined later by the Ministry of Aircraft Production (MAP) B1 design (11776/41), giving the classic "2xT2 and 1xB1 configuration.

    As can be seen previously the dimensions of the aircraft that they would hold largely dictated the hangar design and more so dimensions. An interesting experiment to the contrary took place at RAF Kelstern in Lincolnshire towards the wars end. It was noted that the Avro Lincoln aircraft coming into use could only fit into the T2 hangars sideways. In an effort to address this redundant tramlines were laid into a T2 at Kelstern, a Lincoln flown in and mounted on a special trolley, the aircraft was then towed sideways into the hangar! The tram tracks can be seen today.
    Last edited by Richard Flagg; 13-04-2014 at 23:23. Reason: Formatted title

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    Default Defence Estates WWII Hangar information

    Link to Defence Estates documents referring to Worl War II Hangars - http://www.defence-estates.mod.uk/pu...2/tb_02-02.pdf and J/K Hangars http://www.defence-estates.mod.uk/pu...dmg/dmg_25.pdf

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    F Sheds are in fact Admiralty seaplane sheds dating to WW1 but re-designated as Type F when many were removed from the WW1 sites and re-erected in the late 1930s at the Armament training camps. The Hinaidi shed is the same, but adapted as an end-opening version. You are also forgetting Type B Sheds, erected at Martlesham Heath, Rhu and Pembroke Dock which is the transition shed between Type A and C. There is also an earlier type C shed as erected at North Coates and Farnborough and were also to be erected at Digby and Mildenhall but never were. This being due because the standard RAF raf shed was accepted in the early 1930s as an end-opening shed rather than side-opening. This off course was the reason for the type B shed at MH, it being an experimental shed named 'Giant' built in 1927/28. The other type Bs are much later, built as seaplane sheds as the clear height opening was 40ft, large enough for flying boats. You are correct when you say that hangar design was based on future aircraft designs, hence the 40ft clear height for the MH hangar. When aircraft designs had stabilized, came the proper type C, in its first form was a gabled version (1934) built at Gosport, Northolt, Turnhouse and Mildenhall, then the much more common hipped version (1935-1937). The austerity C (Scheme L) (1938/39) which was designated by certain authors in the 1980s as type C1 but in fact are still classified as type C. The clear height of these are 30ft as against 35ft of the earlier Cs. You are quite correct about the construction of the so-called C1s. J and Ks is also correct, these being Scheme M sheds. Interestingly too, your quite right about the Lincoln bomber, this a/c was built to wartime production standards and was without anti-corrosion treatment it therefore had to be garaged in a hangar. But the existing hangars were too small and the thing had to enter the shed sideways. The tramways were built at Lakenheath to take the Lincoln, but I had no idea that this was the case at Kelstern too. I could go on, but I wont bore you any further.

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    Never boring Paul, happy to get the gaps filled in. Interestingly the remains of the Lincoln into hangar experiment can still be seen at RAF Kelstern as the tram tracks are still there.


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    Noel, you mention the C-Types at Manby and are correct but quite interestingly (and this probably defines their description), they are seven bay hangars. I was up there recently and just out of interest, counted them! I had never really bothered before but glad I did. This is opposed the six-bay expansion period types (an example of which is at Church Fenton) or the more usual ten-bay types, which can been seen at most expansion period bomber airfields.

    I don't have a site plan, therefore no drawing number for teh Manby sheds - can anyone enlighten us?

    Chris

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    Default Blister Hangars

    As I did not see a close up picture or plan of a WWII 'Blister' hangar, they look a bit as present aircraft shelters ?
    Were some of them in concrete or were they all built in wood and/or metal ?

    Thanks and nice weekend to all of you... Bank Holiday on Monday for us !

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    Blister hangars were built in wood originally, then metal latice arched girders when the spans were increased - see my book for more details

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    Paul,

    Which book as you wrote many I think !

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    British Military Airfield Architecture ISBN 1 85260 462 X, published by Patrick Stephens Ltd, 1996.

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    C hangars can and were built to any length, if you pays yer money yer can have as many bays as yer like - Sir!

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