Saturday, January 24, 2009

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by taking my quick survey!

The KatyLiner
is in da' [new]
House!

Only the few family and friends that have flown with us since we picked up our Cherokee 235 knows how "vintage" our old hangar was. In October, 2007 when we bought "Katy", hangar space at EUG was at a premium, so I took anything I could get.

What I got was a spot in what might be the oldest row of hangars on the field. These hangars looked like they had been built before WW2, and had gigantic accordion-style doors that required three men and a boy to move...and they'd only move when the old, worn wheels decided to stay on the track. These doors, and this track, were designed by someone who obviously never, ever had to move an airplane in or out of these hangars:
The gargantuan doors rode on a steel track that ran the width of the hangar door. At about 1.5" high angle iron, it was a bit of a tug to yank roughly 2,000 lbs. of dead weight Cherokee out of the hangar. And when putting the plane away, you had better not hit the track at an angle, or one wheel gets stuck south of the track, and the other is stuck just north. What you then get is zero room to build momentum and roll over said track...so you have to be the Incredible Hulk and muscle the plane over the track. And this always happened at the end of a long cross country when you were tired and just wanted to put the bird away and get home.
But the evil doors were nothing compared to "Lake Eugene" which formed anytime it rained. And this being Oregon, that happens a lot:
The track mentioned earlier at some point in its service life was somehow fastened down to the large expanse of tarmac that ran the width of the hangar. But the water seal under the track disappeared long ago, letting an abundance of water flow in when it rained. Add to that a brisk north wind, and I usually had a small pond in about a third of the hangar from late fall to early spring. When nothing worked to keep the water out, I just laid three wooden pallets in the water to build a crude but effective bridge from the car to the plane.
The old hanger did keep Katy dry for the most part, except when it didn't, which was frequently. Here is what usually happened after the lake formed:
Imagine a big steel building with a large amount of water on the floor. Now add a little heat, and just the right amount of humidity, and the hangar lake would evaporate upwards and cling precariously to the ceiling. When enough indoor precipitation formed on the ceiling, it would all start dripping throughout the entire hangar, including all over the plane. I'd come in and find Katy looking like she'd been out in the rain...which sort of defeats the purpose of spending $170 a month for a hangar! This building would have made a seriously effective indoor rain forest.
Fed up, I called around and finally found the new hanger. It is a large group hangar, where maybe eight owners each share one long row without walls inside. But mine is the primo one of the bunch, right on the west end, closest to the ramp and with a grand view of the airport action. The construction of the row is great - insulated ceiling, and doors that roll easily with one hand. My new hangar also has a lockable office/storage area, which can be heated with one small ceramic heater to make a nice flight planning space that is warm and somewhat toasty when the rest of the hangar is cold.

Yes, I am stoked about Katy's new house. Oh, and did I mention it is $20 a month CHEAPER then the old rain forest hangar? Yep, I'm happy, Katy's happy, and the guy I rent from is happy to again have a plane in there generating a little scratch for him.

It's as if Katy is finally home. As I left today, I swear I saw our plane grinning...