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Aircraft Hangar Door Secrets


Aircraft Hangar Information

When was the last time you opened or closed a hangar door? Sounds like a pretty simple operation... or how did it feel taking your life or someone else's life into your own hands? AFOSH Standard 91-100, paragraph 7.3.2., Hangar, Dock, and Shelter Door Design Guidance and Operations, established the minimum Air Force guidance on aircraft hangar door operations. Although the guidance is well established and well known, numerous personnel continue to place themselves at risk by not following the guidance established in the AFOSH Standard or the unit's own operating instructions.

I recall a situation several years ago when we lost one of our aircraft maintainers to a hangar door operation. Our airman was a seasoned aircraft maintainer, who was well versed on hangar door operations and was not rushed to close the doors. Yet, during a second of indecisiveness the individual stopped the operation just prior to completely closing the door and stuck his head in-between the leading edges of the doors. Lacking an understanding of the risk involved in this operation, the individual attempted to open the door (thus reversing the door operation) and shed the closed button instead of the open button is individual died due to his own operation of the hangar door. A tragic mishap occurred, but why? We will never know why this individual placed his head in between the doors, or why he attempted to open the doors.

What can we do to keep our personnel safe? Follow the requirements as indicated in AFOSH Standard 91-100, paragraph 7.2.3.:
    1. To prevent confusion, powered hangar door designs will incorporate alarm-sounding devices with a sound that is distinguishable from the facility fire, arm and audible above normal noise levels.

    2. The warning device will automatically signal east 5 seconds before any door section move and will sound continuously while the door is being operated and will reset in mediately after movement stops.

    3. Luminescent or reflective directional arrows will be placed adjacent to each control switch and horizontal sliding door to indicate the direction of door travel for each corresponding switch.

    4. For all center door switch operations, OPEN will be placed at the TOP position and the switches will be wired so the doors open when open is selected. hinged cover should be installed over the CLOSED switch to prevent inadvertent activation.

    5. Written operating procedures outlining all safety precautions to be followed will be published and posted next to the operating controls.

    6. Only QUALIFIED personnel, approved by the squadron commander or designated representative, will be authorized to operate the hangar door. Operators will be thoroughly familiar with operating instructions and precautions necessary for safe operation.

    7. Overhead hangar doors will be fully opened before aircraft are moved through the door entrance. Horizontal sliding doors will be opened to permit a minimum 10-foot clearance at each wing tip.

    8. Under normal conditions, powered hangar shelter doors will always be opened to a width of at least 10 feet. For special operations, such as during extreme weather conditions; the door be opened less than 10 feet only if the door control switch is locked out, and remains locked out until the door can be opened to 10 feet or more, or be closed.
Remember hangar door operations are not an inherently dangerous until the requirements indicated in AFOSH Standard 91-100 and the unit's operations listed are not followed. Some key deficiency items found during safety inspections: door labeling misleading, operating instructions are old and faded, untrained personnel operating the hangar door, authorized personnel listing is outdated and unreadable.

Do your hangar doors reflect the standards or non-compliance with standards? Personal risk management must always be in the forefront of our operations. Reduce your risk and follow the established rules.

COPYRIGHT 2002 U.S. Air Force, Safety Agency COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group


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