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For Aviation Enthusiasts, Schweiss Doors Help Make Dreams A Reality

“A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” The words are those of former U.S. Army officer, statesman and Secretary of State Colin Powell, but they can be applied to so many people who have displayed sweat, determination and hard work to make their dreams a reality. Take for instance five pilots who took the extra step to fulfill what many had dreamed of for years. They are but a few of the many Schweiss Doors customers who have used the company's bifold and hydraulic doors on projects others could hardly imagine.

The Fagen Fighters World War II museum is filled with remarkable examples of aircraft and equipment that helped the Allies win WWII. In the background of the photo above is the 22,000 lb., 190 mph-rated Schweiss door that protects the priceless exhibits. Click image to enlarge.

Ron Fagen - Granite Falls, MN

If your heart is into aviation, and you have money, there is no end as to what you can accomplish, even if it’s to build a first-class aviation museum and fill it with some of the finest examples of World War II aircraft. That's what ethanol entrepreneur Ron Fagen did in his hometown of Granite Falls, MN.

In 1974, Fagen returned to his native Minnesota after a stint in Vietnam. He immediately started a construction business with a single pickup truck and a four-man crew. He went on to become an industrial legend during the construction boom days of the United States ethanol industry, building about 80 percent of all the new ethanol plants in the United States.

As a tribute to his late father, Raymond, who participated in the D-day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Fagen built an 18,000 square foot museum measuring 90' wide, 200' long, and 28' tall. The museum features a P-51 Mustang, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, P-40 Flying Tiger, and several army training aircraft and WWII artifacts.

The 18 x 70-foot Schweiss bifold lifstrap door on the museum is a showpiece in and of itself. Weighing 22,000 lbs. with special steel sheeting and inside insulation, the bifold door is powered by three 5 hp electric motors. Twenty Schweiss patented Lift Straps do the heavy lifting of the door, which is built to withstand 190 mph winds.

"The first hangar door I ever bought was a Schweiss door, and it will also be the last door I ever buy," said Fagen.

David Burrows sits in his 1942 Boeing-Stearman Navy N2S3. Behind the plane is the 44' x 14' Schweiss bifold door. Click image to enlarge.

David Burroughs - El Paso, IL

David Burroughs of El Paso, IL was born to fly. His new hangar with a Schweiss bifold door was just icing on the cake. He is retired, though his passion has become his new job: historical research, restoration and authentication consulting on aircraft and collectible automobiles.

One thing that immediately sets off the exterior of the Schweiss bifold hangar door is the window work. It was from the Golden Years of Aviation that Burroughs got the idea to copy the window configuration of hangars from that period. Eight 16-pane, 4' x4' windows add a touch of class to the door and allow a more than adequate amount of light into the hangar. The hangar itself is 52' x54' and capable of storing three aircraft. The Schweiss bifold liftstrap hangar door is 44' x 14'.

"When anybody asks for a bifold door, it's Schweiss who I call. It's an excellent dependable door," said Andersen.

Steve Riggins' 40' x 50' hangar is large enough for both his Cessna 185 floatplane and his boat. The hangar is outfitted with a 48' x 15.5' Schweiss hydraulic door. Click image to enlarge.

Steve Riggins - Dryden, Ontario, Canada

Originally from Newman, Illinois, where he still has a farm, Steve Riggins and his wife, Ellen, set their sights north to Dryden, Canada. With a love of fishing and hunting, his Cessna 185 floatplane and boat are at the ready, and now he has a new hangar with a Schweiss hydraulic door on it so he can wheel his floatplane and boat right in from the lake in no time at all.

Riggins' new hangar is 40' x 50' wide and big enough to store his plane and boat. The Schweiss hydraulic one-piece door on it is 48' wide x 15.5' high. Headroom was the main factor in his choosing a Schweiss hydraulic door. He had a hangar in Dryden with bifolds on each end that came with the building, but he wanted to try a one-piece hydraulic door.

"You've got a happy Schweiss door owner that's living his dream up here in Canada. We're going to retire here. That's why we are here so I can get out and hit all these remote lakes. That's my dream and I'm living it," noted Riggins.

Dreams-Helicopter-Carriage House
Sid Morris' property in Cornelius, NC is amazing. Helicopter access is provided via a helipad at the end of a 200'-long dock that leads straight to the Carriage House/helicopter hangar. At each end of the Carriage House are 10' x 12' Schweiss doors. The exteriors of the doors resemble French doors. The interiors of the doors are cedar lined. Click image to enlarge.

Sid Morris - Cornelius, NC

The 4-Star Carriage House on the lakeshore property near Cornelius, North Carolina is very likely the most unique in America. It doesn't house horses and horse buggies. It doesn't house antique autos. Instead it houses his R44 helicopters. Those choppers move into the Carriage House by first landing on a helio pad on the end of his 200' dock. A small electrically driven dolly then gently lifts the chopper with operator then guiding the chopper to its proper stall inside this remarkable 4-star carriage house.

Creative genius and caretaker of this incredible property is Sid Morris, CEO, Morris International, a 4AAAA advertising/marketing organization headquartered in Davidson, NC which does sports marketing for NASCAR, NHRA and other high-profile accounts.

Two Schweiss hydraulic doors, each 10' wide by 12' high, provide access to this remarkable structure. Both the Schweiss doors are designed with French doors on the exterior and cedar interior lining. He also has a mountain hangar fitted with a 40' x 18' Schweiss bifold.

"I see the Schweiss guys each year at Oshkosh for the big experimental air show. Plus I see their doors at hangars wherever I go. They make a very good product and we've been very happy with their service. It's the only door I would consider," said Morris.

Two Schweiss bifold doors are mounted on the exterior of the Aviation Experts SARL hangar in France. The larger door measures 70' x 22'. Click image to enlarge.

Thilo Eckardt - Nangis, France

Aviation Experts SARL is a 15-year-old French aviation maintenance business that also does aerial photo surveying and mapping, serving not only France and Europe, but also far-reaching overseas locations. Its hangar and base of operations is located in Nangis, a 7,500-population commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the ÃŽle-de-France north-central region of France, approximately an hour drive south of Paris.

Owner of the hangar and business is Thilo Eckardt, a former commercial airline pilot and mechanic of 30 years who also is qualified to fly helicopters.

The new hangar is used primarily for shop purposes; mostly for working on recreational aircraft up to small turbo-props for private and corporate-use planes. It is equipped with two Schweiss Bifold Liftstrap doors, one measuring 70' x 22' and the other 50' x 18.6'. The top half of the smaller door has a glass panel across it to allow for additional outside light to enter.

Eckhart is now in the process of building an upper office and apartment add-on with a hangar below it that will have a 30' x 10.5' one piece Schweiss hydraulic door on it, big enough to open for a smaller plane.

"I actually used to live in the states and saw bifold doors there for a long time. I wouldn't build anything with a sliding door again. I had cable doors in the states, but like the straps better. I had a French-built bifold with cables, but it never really worked right," noted Eckardt.

About Schweiss Doors

Schweiss-logoSchweiss Doors is the premier manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doors. Doors are custom made to any size for any type of new or existing building for architects and builders determined to do amazing things with their buildings, including the doors. Schweiss also offers a cable to liftstrap conversion package. To learn more, visit www.bifold.com or www.schweisshydraulicdoors.com.

And to learn about Schweiss' new Build Your Own Door Kit, which gives customers the plans and essential components to build their own Schweiss Doors, visit  www.bifold.com/build-your-own-door.php.

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