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Safe Operation of Hangar Doors

Avoid aircraft damage and prevent serious injury

Powerlift Sept18 01

Hangar doors around the world perform hundreds of thousands of open/close cycles every day without incident. Using a hangar door can become routine, involving little conscious thought on the part of the operator. Safe operation of your hangar door avoids damage to your aircraft and, more importantly, prevents potential serious injury to people using your hangar.

Three Components of Hangar Safety

There are three important components of hangar safety that need to be addressed. The first is initial door installation, the second is door maintenance and the third involves regular door inspection.

Door safety and longevity begins with proper initial installation. Hangar door installation issues are more easily resolved when there is single-source accountability, so it is best to opt for installation by the manufacturer rather than by a third party. If you decide to hire a contract installer, be sure the manufacturer’s installation instructions are followed exactly, and that your door is functioning properly before the installers leave.

Regular maintenance is a key component of door safety and longevity. Read your door owner’s manual carefully and make a note of each component that needs to be serviced and when it is due. A good approach is to put a reminder on a calendar or on your computer, so you remember each service item as it becomes due. Remember to be safe while working on your door. Hangar doors are tall, so you may be working 14 to 20 feet above the ground. When adjusting or servicing door components at the top, such as hinges that require greasing, don’t try to work from a ladder. Use a platform lift and safety harness so you don’t have a fall injury while working on your door.

Component Condition

Inspecting your aircraft before you get in the cockpit is part of flying. Every time you operate your hangar door take a general observation of door function and component condition. Unexplained noises often give early warning of component failure: immediately determine the source of any unexpected sound.

If you observe fraying in cables or straps, damaged door rollers, cracks in hinges or door members, repair the damage immediately. Even slight damage to a single component compromises door safety and performance. Never delay replacing components that are visibly worn or deteriorated. In addition to your own regular personal inspection it is a good idea to arrange annual or semi-annual inspections of your hangar door by the manufacturer.

The door manufacturer has a clear understanding of your door’s function and component performance. They will usually spot any potential maintenance issues before they become critical. A reliable and safe hangar door is part of an enjoyable flying experience so be sure to keep yours in excellent operating condition.

Scott Douglas is national director of sales at PowerLift Hydraulic Doors, Lake Benton, Minn. To learn more, call (605) 695-6853 or visit