Aircraft hangar door safety should not be taken for granted.
May I share a personal experience that proved embarrassing and costly to a friend of mine?
Numerous years ago an assistant Chief Pilot of an aviation division at Sugarland airport had a bad habit of parking his car in the in the clear zone of the hangar doors.
My friend, the Chief Pilot, recently received a pay raise and felt his money would be well spent on a vehicle that would represent his new management status. The vehicle was a used Mercedes.
One day the doors were selected to the close position. Without following the best practice safety tips below, the doors sandwiched his Mercedes between the closing hangar doors. It can happen. It did happen and will most likely occur to some unlucky person again.
Reminder about hangar door safety. The following are some key tips that may prevent an unforeseen event:
- Comply with the door operating checklist. (If your flight department does not have a checklist, develop one.)
- Prior to moving bi-fold or track doors, perform a visual check of the clear zone for clearance of personnel, equipment, and materials; also ensure that door tracks are free from obstructions.
- Ensure personnel entry doors are closed.
- Verify that applicable hangar doors, tracks, warning buzzers, and switches are operational; ensure hangar door safety devices are not tampered with or compromised.
- Doors should be opened in a manner that has one individual opening only one door.
- Never open more than one door by yourself! Always get help opening the doors or completely move one door then go back and individually move the remaining doors.
- Personnel not involved with opening or closing hangar doors should remain clear while the doors are in transit.
- Do not attempt to enter or exit the door clear area while the door is moving.
- Do not walk between doors that are partially open.
- For additional safety consideration, leave the hangar doors in the open position to a minimum width of 10 feet.
- Aircraft security should be evaluated with SOP’s against company procedures.
These tips can apply to light aircraft pilots who own a T-hangar from Fallbrook Ca., North Las Vegas, or Rostraver airport to business aviation pilots based in Las Vegas (KLAS), Chicago Midway, Dallas Love, Carlsbad Ca. to Fargo ND.
By following these tips one may prevent a sad occurrence that could be damaging to your aircraft investment or career longevity.
Fly safe and be wise.