Officials at Schweiss Doors say just when you think you’ve seen it all, another customer comes to Schweiss Doors with a unique request.
Retired airline pilot Gene Buboltz of Cold Spring, Minn., was looking for two unique hydraulic applications for his lake home. One door is disguised as a wall, allowing him to drive his ATV into the lower level, where he also stores his jet skis. This room also serves as a rec room and a place to store his flying memorabilia.
The hydraulic door measures 4 feet, 6 inches wide by 6 feet, 7 inches tall.
Buboltz also came up with the idea of using a door system as a staircase in his garage. Schweiss Doors engineered a hydraulic lifting staircase from his garage up to the attic. The staircase folds up automatically, up and out of the way to allow for additional parking space in the garage. The staircase “door” is 3 feet wide and 10 feet, 4 inches tall.
Both can be operated with remote openers.
“What I really like is that I can run both from one pump,” Buboltz says. “I think it was the first system Schweiss engineered that ran off of one pump. The speed of the cylinders gets them up quickly. There’s no wiggle or shimmy, they are built very rugged and trouble-free.”
Buboltz grew up on a farm in Hector, Minn., and started flying while attending St. Cloud State College. He eventually picked up his ratings and accepted a job flying for St. Cloud Aviation, including at a Canadian branch where he spent a couple years flying floatplanes and a Rockwell Shrike Aero Commander from their distributorship.
The Shrike was the same plane that renowned World War II Spitfire jock and USAF test pilot Bob Hoover flew after the war. In it, Hoover performed his signature deadstick routine of loop, roll, 180° turn, landing and taxi to air show centers.
Buboltz’s early experience led him to a job flying passengers. He gained his instructor rating teaching floatplane flying along with sales work for the Rockwell distributorship.
His next career steps were flying for Bemidji Airlines and Republic, which was bought out by Northwest, and the regional carrier Pinnacle, where he retired in 2006 flying Bombardier 50-seat turbojet CFJ200s and SF Saab 340s, racking up 22,000 hours in the air.
Most of his flying these days is in his 1946 Europe.