If you think the exterior of Gary Acheson’s hangar looks slick and clean, wait until you see the inside — it sparkles.
Acheson owns a custom home building business and recently finished his family’s new 6,000-square-foot wood hangar at the Villeneuve Airport at St. Albert, Alberta, a community of 64,000 residents about 6.5 miles north of Edmonton.
The hangar includes an attached office, LED lighting throughout, in-floor heating, high R-value blown-in insulation in the walls and attic, and a lounge to hang out and relax in.
The hangar also boasts a room with a Cirrus II flight simulator and other electronic equipment most pilots would envy. He’s been a private pilot for about 20 years and has two sons-in-law with about 10 years in the air.
“I have a simulator room on one side and a lounge on the other side,” Acheson says. “The simulator is for the Mooney. We use it to keep us sharp and safe.”
The hangar currently houses his four-passenger Mooney Acclaim and a Cessna 182T Skylane. A friend occasionally stores a Cessna Citation.
The hangar features a custom-made Schweiss Doors bifold liftstrap door with autolatches and is equipped with warning lights and horns, as well as an emergency backup system. The door measures 55′ by 19.6′.
While the door was delivered in a timely manner, it was damaged en route by the independent shipping company that delivered it to the extent it wasn’t reparable. Even though the bifold liftstrap door wasn’t delivered by Schweiss, company CEO Mike Schweiss went the extra step toward customer satisfaction, according to Acheson.
“Nothing to do with Schweiss, but everything wasn’t rosy with respect to the door from the beginning,” he says. “What had happened was half the door got damaged in shipment. When it was on the truck, it was all bowed out. The top of it couldn’t even be repaired in the field. I was very impressed how Schweiss handled that negative. They recognized it wasn’t right and sent us a new half of the door. The point that I want to make is that Schweiss listened, the assessment was fair and the response was quick. What impressed me about Schweiss Doors, too, it is a family-run business – like ours.”
Family means a lot to Acheson, who runs his business with his wife, two daughters, and sons-in-law. Sarasota Homes and Sarasota Realty purchase undeveloped land to build and sell homes.
Even though his hangar is wood, Acheson chose to have a freestanding header for his Schweiss door because of the extra support it offers. The door also came with liner flashing to make installing the inside liner a breeze.
Acheson and his son-in-law chose to install the door and freestanding header themselves, taking their time over a period of a few cold December days. He says the process went smoothly from start to finish.
“Another thing that I think is important … there was nobody local that could install the door,” Acheson says. “So, what I ended up doing was reading the instructions. It took time, but on any other questions I had, I called Brent Kzmarzick at Schweiss Doors. The manuals were good and I’m really big on the after-sale support that Schweiss Doors offered. Brent was excellent. The key to the wood construction was using the freestanding header that Schweiss provided. Using that header made the whole system work extremely well.”
He notes there were a lot of good things on company’s website that helped in designing the hangar.
“The How To videos helped me understand what to do and how the door system would work on my building overall. That’s important to know how the doors tie into different types of construction.”
“I chose the bifold door over the hydraulic door because I thought it would have less lateral stress outward on the building,” he continues. “Obviously, snow is also an issue where we can open up the door right away and get the equipment out.”