The $80 million hangars designed for the use of the Tennessee Air National Guard to house and maintain the C-5 Galaxy aircraft have recently been completed at the Memphis International Airport.
The C-5 Galaxy aircraft is one of the world’s largest aircraft measuring nearly 248-feet in length, over 65-feet in height and having a wingspan in excess of 222 feet. In other words, the plane is so large that the Wright Brothers’ first powered airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C. could have happened in the cargo bay of the C-5 with room to spare.
Designed by the architectural and engineering firm of Frankfurt-Short-Bruza (FSB), the hangars are the cornerstone project in the largest construction program in Air National Guard (ANG) history, which in essence is the construction of an entire air base. The new complex is one of the most technically and physically advanced Air National Guard Bases in the country. Creating a home for the C-5 Galaxy meant putting three hangars under two roofs. At 332,600 square feet, the hangars entail more than half the building area for the entire base.
“FSB feels privileged to be a part of this amazing collaboration between private and government entities. Everyone focused their energies into producing a solution that directly enhanced the capabilities of the Air National Guard’s 164th Airlift Wing to perform their mission, not only today but also with flexibility for the future,” stated FSB’s Project Manager, Art Austin.
“These C-5 hangars balance state- of-the-art systems and anti-terrorism/force protection measures with operational sustainability and energy efficiencies in a fiscally responsible manner that produced an aviation maintenance complex that rivals any in the commercial market.”
The physical size of the C-5 aircraft presented a number of challenges. For example, the high expansion foam fire protection systems are the largest ever tested and accepted by the Air National Guard.
Instrumental in the success of this project was the technical support of the Tennessee Air National Guard’s 164th Airlift Wing’s Base Civil Engineer, Lt. Colonel Tracy Ruger. The ANG Readiness Center’s Program Manager, Doug Rowand provided overall leadership in maintaining program goals and objectives and fiscal and program oversight was provided by the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority’s representative, Tom Sutton.
“The Memphis complex is certainly one of the most innovative facilities of its kind in the Air National Guard facility inventory. This is a project with solid thinking behind every aspect of the facility,” said Rowand. “Volatile market conditions following Hurricane Katrina presented a serious challenge to the design team. Even with this said, the hangars are the showcase maintenance facilities for the Air National Guard,” stated Ruger.
The general contractor on both hangars was Albertici Constructors, Inc.