If you think the exterior of Gary Acheson’s hangar looks slick and clean, wait until see the inside – it sparkles!
Acheson owns a custom home building business and in 2015 constructed his family’s 6,000 square foot wood hangar
at the Villeneuve Airport at St. Albert, Alberta, a community of 64,000 residents about 6.5 miles (10 kilometers) north of Edmonton.
The hangar is vas modern as they come, with an attached office, LED lighting throughout, in-floor heating,
high R-value blown-in insulation in the walls and attic, and a lounge to relax in.
Acheson’s hangar office and pilots’ lounge has comfortable seating and is something to behold. It has a Cirrus II flight simulator and other
electronic equipment most pilots would surely envy. He’s been a private pilot for nearly two decades while his two sons-in-law have 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 is for his four-passenger Mooney Acclaim and a Cessna 182T Skylane, but there's enough room left over to provide occasional space for
a friend's Cessna Citation. The hangar features a custom-made Schweiss Doors bifold liftstrap door equipped with autolatches, warning lights and horns as well as an emergency backup system. The door measures 55 feet by 19.6 feet.
The door was
delivered in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the independent shipping company that delivered it damaged the door 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.
“Nothing to do with Schweiss, but everything wasn’t rosy with respect to the door from the beginning,” Acheson 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-fun 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 on the development.
Even though his hangar is a new wood building hangar, 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. In respect to the freestanding header, it solved a lot of engineering problems.
“The liftstrap door idea is ingenious. The thought process and mechanical aptitude to create the autolatch and strap system was quite ingenious. I’m very happy with the door … good quality.”
Acheson did his online
homework before choosing Schweiss Doors.
“I took a long time looking at all different types of doors,” he says. “I found the Schweiss door to be reasonably priced and there were a lot of good things on the website that helped
me in designing the building itself. 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.
chose the bifold door over the hydraulic door because I thought it would have less lateral stress outward on the building. Obviously, snow is also an issue where we can open up the door right away and get the equipment out. I didn’t know it at the
time, but actually, I would say Schweiss is the predominant door at our airport. The Villeneuve Airport has been around for a long time, but just had a recent growth cycle with a lot of new hangar construction going on.
to say what one thing I like best about my Schweiss door,” Acheson adds. “I like the engineering, the quality of the door. I like the operation, the way it lifts up and down nicely and seals well and it was delivered on time. I don’t
underestimate the importance of after-sale support, that I think Schweiss did an excellent job on.”