Hangar Doors...The Good, Bad, & Ugly

Hello Again,

Just trying to gather some information regarding bi-fold, hydraulic, and sliding doors. What are your favorite and least favorite attributes regarding your hangar door? Please be specific with your response. (Most of these types of questions garner the “least favorite” attributes. But if you really enjoy or appreciate a certain aspect of your hangar door, please share that as well.)

Thanks a bunch,

Lars Jensen

Sliding hangar doors often have bottom tracks that can be an issue. When the City of Santa Barbara built new T-hangars a few years ago they had rails that were about 1-1/8" high, which in the Cirrus we call “chocks!” Many of us had to build little “ramps” to get the airplane over these rails, and in my case it even necessitated buying a stronger tug to get up the ramps! Turns out the hangar contractor was trying out a new design. When we all went nuts, the City had the contractor remove the high rails and install the “normal” 1/2" rails.

Gordon -

           I have a Schweiss bi-fold door on my hangar, and it works great. It even has a remote control to open the door as you approach it on a miserable day. See  http://www.bifold.com/    They are not cheap, but are well built. Mine has been operating for about 5 years with no issues, even in our cold Maine winters.


I have an Erect-A-Tube electric bi-fold door on my hangar.


  • It’s electric - there’s no manual activity required to open the hangar.

  • It’s been trouble free for me. I’ve owned the hangar for 10 years (since new) with no door maintenance issues.

  • There are no rails at the hangar edge to push the plane over.

  • It doesn’t impinge on my neighbor’s hangar as an open sliding door does. I can leave it open all day when working in the hangar and not have to worry about the open door getting in my heighbor’s way. I had a neighbor in my previous sliding-door T-hangar who would go flying and leave his doors open. I then had to close his door in order to get my plane out. Very annoying.

  • It’s somewhat of a “rain canopy” when open.

  • It’s electric - if the power goes out, the door won’t open.

  • It has a motor, gears, cables, pulleys, and limit switches that can break or get out of adjustment. Mine haven’t so far, but a few of my neighbors have had mechanical issues with their doors in the last 10 years. I think most problems can be avoided by routine lubrication.

I have a Schweiss bi-fold door, which I really like. No rail to go over. I have manual latches on both sides, just because I’ve had so much trouble with automatic latches over the years with other hangars. I may eventually get automatic latching installed, just so I can have a remote door opener - but for now I’m happy not having that complexity.

I have a 60’ wide x 20’ tall HydroSwing door and love it.


  • It’s electric over hydraulic - fully automatic with remote control.

  • Compact Hydro-electric package that hangs on the wall for easy floor cleaning.

  • Trouble free for 6-years.

  • Does not impinge on neighboring hangars like sliding doors.

  • It’s a significant “rain canopy” when open.

  • It can be skinned both sides with insulation in-between for fairly good closed insulating properties.

  • Once hung, nothing that should go out of adjustment.

  • As far as I can tell they went out of business and the door is no longer available. (have seen 2 or 3 similar doors at Sun-n-Fun)

  • It has a motor, pump, hoses, and hydraulic fluid that will eventually need maintenance.


Thanks for the post and the image. Out of curiosity (and this goes for all of you), is your hangar door made of steel or aluminum?

As for Hydroswing, yes, they are no longer in business but several of their employees got together and started their own company called ICON Hygraulic Doors. They actually moved towns as well and are located in Minneota, Minnesota about 90 miles from Sioux Falls, SD. Their Sales Rep is Luke Gregoiry (pronounced “greg-wire.”) They also have offices and some fabrication (I think) in California. I’m not sure if the doors and accessories are of the original Hydroswing design. Perhaps I should go there for an editorial piece.

Lars, my door is steel frame and sheet steel skin. I should have also listed as a positive that it has a regular lockable hinged door built into it so you can enter the hangar without raising the bi-fold door if you want.

I have a 48x14 Hydroswing door. It is a terrific door - seals tight, opens/closes fast, no need for any adjustments. There were a couple of things I didn’t expect - first, opening the door creates a pretty significant vacuum inside as hydraulic rams push 700 square feet of door away from the building so I have to open a side man door to allow air into the building otherwise you risk imploding the other windows in the building. Second, we get sometimes get some significant frost heaves during the winter up here in Canada. The bottom steel bridge of the door only has two inches of clearance above the floor and my outside ramp sometimes heaves up about an inch which makes for a bit of a tight squeeze for the rubber gasket along the bottom. So far it hasn’t caused any real problems but I would say the door is probably better suited to warm climates where you don’t have to worry about frost heaves. Bifolds lift up rather than push out so there is no need to worry about clearance.

To help keep heat in the building we decided not to skin the inside of the door with steel since it that would turn it into a giant radiator. Instead we sprayed it with foam insulation (R32) and painted it white.


Nice hangar! Love the floor and all the white walls. I see so many hangars that are dark and dingy. This is a welcome site.

Yesterday, I was at a hangar very much like yours. It was completely finished on the inside with floors that would make anyone drool over. The entire hangar was like a surgical room. Not a spec of dust, dirt, or clutter anywhere. picture attached!


AeroDoor in Florida are now manufacturing the Higher Power Hydraulic Door, the very same door made in Michigan. Same great door, same great features, same great warranty.

HP doors and AeroDoor see this as a great way to deliver the HP door to customers in the south for less freight costs and potentially faster lead times.

I will shoot you a PR in the next couple of weeks.