Damage from a microburst causes Chandler Aviation to replace the door with a Schweiss folding strap door
As thunderstorms ripped through the Arizona landscape, an incredible microburst slammed down from the sky in a burst of rain, hail and wind, causing extensive damage to the Chandler Aviation building. The damage necessitated a new folding hangar door and renovation of the building from the roof down. Microbursts, one of nature’s most dangerous windstorms, are small but powerful gusts of wind that rush downward following a thunderstorm. They can be wet or dry. When the microburst hits the ground, the destructive wind spreads in all directions. Once they hit the ground, microbursts have been known to produce gusts of wind up to 150 mph. “When these storms hit, they hit with tremendous force,” says Frank Setzler, owner of Chandler Aviation since its start in 1984. “One of these microbursts landed just south of my building. steel tether and blasted heavy planes around the lot like they were little Tonka toys. My building was in the middle. My neighbor who has a newer building lost sliding doors on the north and south side of his building I lost almost half of my roof and the door damage was nearly equal The standard rolling doors on the south side of our building were dislodged and fell off the track system causing damage to several planes locked inside the hangar during the microburst.The insurance company assumed winds were in the 90 mph range. The Chandler Aviation building in Chandler, Arizona now features a Schweiss Doors 48-foot-by-14-foot-10-inch folding lift strap door. The door is equipped with a manual locking system. Four translucent polycarbonate panels in the upper half of the door allow natural light to illuminate the interior of the building. “I specified the folding door from Schweiss,” Setzler says. “We have several Schweiss gates here at Chandler Municipal Airport on private hangars. I have been in and out of many different hangars over the past 30 years and I can see the quality of Schweiss. “Now that I see the differences in the construction and engineering of my new Schweiss door, compared to my previous electric folding door, I doubt there will be any failure of this door under the same conditions that hit us before. From the quality and professionalism of our construction contractors (Central Construction Co. and Dan Barnett Arizona Corporate Builders), we definitely have a superior installation and a superior product. Setzler says he felt more comfortable with a lift-strap folding door because it allows people to park closer to the building. He did not look to any other door manufacturer before choosing Schweiss. “I had an old bifold door from another company on my 9,000 square foot building,” Setzler says. “I knew what I had before and I know I had to change the cables maybe a few times. The door that was there I installed over 20 years ago. He replaced three sliding doors going north and three sliding doors going south, spanning the span of where our new folding is fitted in. These sliding doors were marginal at best and depending on the time of year I sometimes had to use my pick- up to open those old doors. It’s amazing to think that each strap on my Schweiss bifold door can lift 29,000 pounds. Arizona Corporate Builders in Tempe, Arizona ordered and installed the Schweiss Lift Strap Folding Door for Chandler Aviation. ACB and Central Construction Company were responsible for renovating Chandler’s building and the existing storm-damaged gate. Both companies have been involved in many airport buildings over the past 25 years. “We had two adjoining buildings,” says Dan Barnett, president emeritus of Arizona Corporate Builders. “One of them was a building built in the 1960s with a masonry wall and a wooden roof, where the new Schweiss door was installed. The other building was an 80-by-80-foot steel building from the early 1970s that had a rolling hangar door. Through the use of a parapet system, we were able to create the appearance of a single new building. » The building renovation gave Setzler additional outdoor storage space for hoists, jacks, oxygen and battery carts and other equipment not in daily use through the use of secure eight-foot privacy walls . “I’ve always loved aviation,” Setzler says. “My father also had a passion for it, but only as a hobby. I know his love of aviation rubbed off on me. He had actually gone all the way to solo, but couldn’t go much further after starting his life and a family. I pursued the mechanical and maintenance side of aviation after attending a community college in southern Arizona that majored in the aviation industry so I could learn to work in the field and didn’t have never looked back. I like to go to work every day. Setzler explained that performing mechanical and maintenance work requires an FAA license from the federal government called an A&P license, followed by an FAA Authorized Inspector certificate. After working in the field, Setzler earned his private pilot’s license about 30 years ago and now flies a 1965 Piper Comanche. “I get a lot of door use every day,” Setzler says. “We are a five-day-a-week business. We open it in the morning for traffic and again in the afternoon once the sun has passed through. Plus, of course, every time we tow an aircraft in or out of our hangar for service. We put insulation on it because with the old door, I could feel the heat coming through the door early in the morning. For the level of comfort it gives us, I’m very happy with the addition of the insulation. I like the gate because all we have to do is press the button and it goes up.