Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Demolition of Hangar 3 at the Waterways Experiment Station


Hangar 3 was one of four aircraft-type hangars acquired by the Waterways Experiment Station (WES) sometime in the late-1940s or early-1950s. When complete, it covered 58,700 square feet. Recall that WES is the research and development laboratory operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, Misissippi. After World War II, a lot of surplus military equipment and infrastructure was available, and I assume WES acquired these hangars from the Army Air Force or equivalent for free or at low cost.

Two of the hangars were used as shelters to cover hydraulic models. Hangar 3 was transferred to the Coastal Engineering Research Center (CERC) in 1983. CERC has now been incorporated into the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL). As the years go by, fewer and fewer physical hydraulic models are used due to construction cost, water use, and time, and therefore, there is no need for some of the hangar space.

Not much is left in this interior photograph. But you can see why a hangar is a brilliant design: the strong arch allows a vast floor space to exist without the need for central pillars or supports. I assume originally these hangars could be lengthened as needed by simply adding more arch girders and roof panels.

The blue woven matting was used for wave dampening in hydraulic models.

The hangars were equipped with serious electrical supply (for pumps) and bright lights. During tests, paper confetti was thrown into the water and photographed with time-lapse photography. The cameras were mounted on walkways suspended way above the models.

It does not take long for a commercial demolition crew to tear down the metal panels with a cutting machine. So sad...

April 9, 2012 update: My wife informed me that the roof is totally down.

All photographs taken with a Fuji F31fd compact digital camera.
June 2015 update: Hangar 4 has also been demolished to make way for the new headquarters building.

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