World War II – Aviation Hangars

In the summer of 1943 the United States was in the midst of World War II. The Sunday World-Herald Magazine on July 4 of that year, in a special “Nebraska at War” edition, reported the state’s contribution to the war effort. The publication included descriptions of Nebraska-made products used by the armed forces, including canvas components of a type of mobile airplane hangar. According to the World-Herald Magazine:

“Huge canvas sections or bays for these combat area hangars are made in Omaha. They were originally designed by A. C. Scott and his plant superintendent, O. J. ‘Dick’ Epperson of the Scott Tent and Awning Company. Co-operating with the army engineers and the air forces, Scott developed a mobile, demountable hangar which not only can be transported by air, but erected in a matter of hours.

“The hangar has a steel frame, manufactured by the Butler company of Kansas City. When knocked down for shipment these steel pieces nest inside each other like tablespoons. Completely fabricated sections of fire-resistant canvas, made in Omaha, form the arched roof, walls and ends of the hangar. They are opaque to light and have waterproof. Relief ports or flaps are built in to provide for explosion emergencies.

“Canvas sections are erected and laced to the steel frame through a system of ropes hung from pulleys–something like circus tents. Experience has shown a complete hangar, 130 by 160 feet, with a center clearance of 39 feet, can be set up in a period of 12 to 18 hours. Packaging of canvas, in 17 cases, has been carefully worked out, numbered so that as the first few arrive, construction can be started, pending delivery of other components. . . . Now they are turning out a little better than four per week. Over a hundred have been shipped to combat areas, and more are on the way.

“Hangars can be used in all theaters of operation, and for other things than housing planes. They can be used to house troops, as emergency hospitals, repair bases or auditoriums. They can be set up in different sizes, varying from 48 x 130 feet, to 130 feet by any length, by the simple expedient of subtracting or adding more bays.”

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