A Hangar Fit for a Bride

Greetings from our hangar! To test your fear of heights, I recommend climbing up two sets of scaffolding.

Since we live on an airpark, have a large hangar of our own and my fiancé works for an airplane-kit company, many friends have questioned why there isn’t an airplane or project in the hangar already. While we’d love to have one sooner than later, the truth is we’ve got other priorities right now, the big one being our wedding. You know how the saying goes—first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the 210 horse-powered three-wheeled carriage.

The wedding will take place at our house, which is really motivating Brian and me to get stuff done but has proven stressful at times. I’ve been told we should see ourselves as the “guests of honor” that day and not the “hosts,” but it’s going to take some elbow grease before we can truly relax and be merry. Or in our case, marry.

The dinner portion of the wedding will be in our hangar, which requires the most cleanup. We allowed ourselves to put off outside projects until January, but when the new year started so did our clock. I threw on the Carhartt jacket that magically appeared when I moved to the country and off we went, a whole 30 feet, to the hangar.

The previous tenants must’ve been big M*A*S*H fans. There were signs like this (left) over every doorway. There were also some posters (right), such as this classic Aeroshell cow one.

“Good grief, this place is a wreck,” I said, kicking what appeared to be rat scat from the cement floor to the yard—or at least that’s the PG version of what I said. Aside from questionable droppings, there was stuff everywhere. Outdoor furniture, Rob Hickman’s ski boat, our zero-turn mower. You see, without an airplane, our hangar became a sort of storage unit—an “I’ll deal with this later” haven. There was also a large junk pile we needed to dispose of so the first thing we did was make a trip to the dump. A friend kindly gifted us his old trailer, which has seen better days. Not only did we need to ratchet strap the tarp covering our load to the trailer, but fasten the walls together as well.

Upon our return we decided to see how many 60-inch round dining tables we could comfortably fit inside the hangar, emphasis on the “comfortably” part. How did we do this, you might ask? Well, what you’ll come to realize is that I have many good ideas but often need my engineer fiancé’s help executing them. In this case, I asked him to pretty please put our hangar plans in SolidWorks and draw a bunch of 60-inch circles for us to play around with. Each table seats eight so our hope was that at least 13 tables would fit since we invited 100 people. Brian pointed out there needs to be enough room for our guests to get in and out without bumping into each other, so he had me sit in a folding chair then he measured how far the chair moved when I stood up and pushed it back. Once he had our number he added buffer circles around the original circles. Genius. I should marry this man! Oh, wait.

The next thing I set out to accomplish was removing all the decorative signs the previous owners left on the walls. Brian offered me a wrench to which I replied, “Seriously? Hand me my impact driver!” That’s the PG version of what I said, anyway. There’s also an abandoned insulation project and a fuel nozzle and pump for our avgas tank that we want to tuck away, but overall the walls are in good shape. They’re unfinished, which is just fine—a project for a distant day. Lots of people get married in wooden barns so the vibe isn’t totally foreign. Plus, our guests know the building was made for an airplane, not a bunch of hungry, well-dressed witnesses.

Our current light situation.

Plumbing and Lighting

The previous owner was a lawyer, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at our hangar lighting and plumbing. It’s a bit…suspicious. Most notably, there’s a toilet in the back corner that we’re pretty sure drains directly into our yard. Will we be removing it before the big day? Yes. We’re planning on removing the bathroom entirely and redoing the plumbing since Brian doesn’t like how it’s routed or secured. A utility sink is all we really need since the house is so close.

The biggest impact is going to be the change in lighting. Brian and I find ourselves at Home Depot most weekends and always check the discount shelf for miscellaneous undesirables. Recently, however, we found something we could actually use—LED lights that look quite promising. They’re round high-bays, 12,000 lumens per unit, $25 each. A score. We bought all five and are still toying around with placement and height. The former occupant left fluorescent tube lights tied up with orange twine—another questionable DIY project turned eyestrain. There are also some halogens in the corners we aren’t attached to, nor are they attached properly.

These lights aren’t exactly what we had in mind, but it’s hard to pass up a good deal (left)! New (old) chandeliers! Nothing a little paint can’t fix (right). I can’t wait to see how these look with new clear glass and Edison bulbs.

I decided a chandelier would add some class to our dining area and found not one, but three for $35 from a local restoration shop. I’ll be painting them black and replacing the current shades with clear glass covers. I figure these combined with nice table decor, including white linens, candles and fresh flowers, will create the event hall environment we’re going for. Brian plans to wire the hangar lighting so that we have one switch for shop lights and another for party lights. I highly doubt we’ll leave the chandeliers up forever, but we could replace them with something less protrusive in the future.

As you can see, our hangar is a bit chaotic at the moment. We’re looking forward to re-siding the front of it and painting it.

The Exterior

Lastly, we hope to replace the siding on the front of the hangar, and what I mean by “we hope” is that Brian hopes to do it and I hope Brian does it. It’s rotting and there are four vertical windows on the front of the hangar above the door that don’t add much in the way of light or looks. We also plan to paint the entire house and hangar and pressure wash all pathways. It may seem like a lot, but we’ve already accomplished so much on the inside of our home in such a short amount of time. And the best part? After the wedding it’ll still be ours. Our efforts won’t be wasted and our hangar will be ready for an airplane project.

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Ariana Rayment
Ariana Rayment is an instrument-rated private pilot from Tacoma, Washington. She discovered her love of flying through her former purchasing role at Glasair Aviation. She loves the Reno Air Races, where she stands alongside Jeff LaVelle as his crew chief and pals around with her friends in Sport Class.



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