GUMP Check: Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture & Propeller.
Aviation architecture is a fascinating world with precise requirements. It's built on multiple scales of aircraft and human movement. It is not unlike watching a carefully choreographed ballet. JC ROBBINS ARCHITECTURE wants to be your trusted resource for your aviation architecture requirements.
Air Traffic Control Towers
The air traffic control tower pictured above is located in Greenwood, Nova Scotia at 14 Wing. The tower includes air, ground, and radar control, as well as administrative and training functions. It's a nine storey tower with 7 floors of radar control, administration, training & service space, plus 2 floors dedicated to air and ground operations. The amazing thing about an air traffic control tower, is that its site isn't on the ground like a typical building, but at an elevation that provides visibility to both ground and air movements, but especially transition points on the runway.
The form of an ATCT comes from a combination of the control cab's height, and available space on the ground. This tower at 14 Wing includes occupied program space in the tower. The minimum spaced distance required for exits (9m) by the Building Code dictated the dimensions for the tower. Other towers may decide to put their adminstration within a larger footprint on the ground floor and opt for a structural tower with only stairs and an elevator in the core.
The form of the control cab comes from the operators request to keep the columns on the outside to reduce sightline obstructions. I collaborated with the structural engineer to make the roof as efficient as possible by using an inverted triangular truss. The requirement for exterior columns created an unusual condition that negated the efficiency of the triangle. Considering the exterior columns are larger due to their insulation requirements and lack of efficiency, their effect of reducing sightline obstructions is questionable. If I ever get a chance to design one again, I will work with the operators to move the columns to the interior where they'll be small and more efficient.
Hangars are large span open spaces with the primary purpose of storing aircraft. The great challenge of hangars is to find the balance between minimum storage requirements and a future proofing of the required program. Flightline access is an incredibly limited resource. Maintenance and training requirements need to be carefully balanced with available real estate and operational requirements. Does that activity need to happen on the flightline, or can it be moved elsewhere in the aerodrome campus?
Hangar and door sizes are readily determined through aircraft manufacturers' facility design guides for minimum wingtip, tail and fuselage clearances to obstructions. Preliminary designs for spans and openings are simple span/depth calculations. The larger the span, the deeper the beams & trusses. Hangar doors come in a variety of configurations including: horizontal rolling, tip-up, clamshell, and vertical lift fabric. Each one has their advantages and disadvantages. The best door for your hangar will depend on a combination of operational requirements and available heights and apron space.
Long view aerodrome planning is important. An aerodrome campus, whether civilian or military (or combined), all share similar requirements of primary runways, taxiways, apron parking, hangars, refueling, administration & training. Proximities to each other will greatly affect the efficiencies of the operational environment. Considering the cost of aviation facilities, it is wise to engage in an extremely controlled planning regimen to ensure all your vertical infrastructure supports the long term operations of your aerodrome.
Contact JC ROBBINS ARCHITECTURE email@example.com for more information about aviation architecture and aerodrome planning.