Liftstrap Conversion Stories
Safety was key factor for hangar
door owner to convert to liftstraps
Dave Frederikson's old cable lift bifold door took on a new improved look and safer method of lifting his 60' x 20' hangar door at the Chippewa Valley Airport in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He installed the system himself and said the directions were easy to follow.
If you were to put the justification in one word for why Dave Frederikson of Eau Claire, Wisconsin decided to retrofit his 60’ x 20’ cable lift hangar door to the Schweiss liftstraps and autolatch system, that word would be “safety.”
Your first thought might have been that he was having troubles with cables breaking, fraying or overwrapping on his 20-year-old bifold door, but in this case, unlike many others, that wasn’t the reason.
“I've always been impressed with the straps and always have been concerned about the safety of a cable versus a strap. I finally got the wherewithal to do it. Other than my cable system was 20 years old, I didn't like it and I didn't want to put in a new door to replace this other manufacturers door. Now that the door is up, I believe it has to be much safer because I have eight straps holding it up rather than six cables. I have to believe even if I have a failure of three or four straps that the door would still hold up, where if I lost one cable I think the door would come down. The straps are easy, they don't look ratty and the insulation isn't going to fall apart on the doors.”
- Dave Frederikson
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
“I’ve always been impressed with the straps and always have been concerned about the safety of a cable versus a strap. I finally got the wherewithal to do it,” said Frederikson. “Other than my cable system was 20 years old, I didn’t like it and I didn’t want to put in a new door to replace this other manufacturers door. Now that the door is up, I believe it has to be much safer because I have eight straps holding it up rather than six cables. I have to believe even if I have a failure of three or four straps that the door would still hold up, whereas if I lost one cable I think the door would come down. The straps are four times stronger than a cable.”
His introduction to the cable conversion system came via seeing Schweiss Doors displays at the Oshkosh, Wisconsin AirVenture Fly-In & Convention over several years. There was also a person he met there that got a new door from Schweiss. That, followed up with a visit to the Schweiss Doors website, convinced him to go with the conversion on his hangar door at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.
Frederikson said he had no problem following the easy-to-install very well done directions that came with the conversion kit. He used a local welder to put in additional bracing and to weld the gearboxes and bulk heads to the existing door. He said the whole process took about a week to cut the old stuff off and get it operational. He also said he very much appreciated the help he got from Schweiss Doors employees, Jeremy Rieke and Neal Brooks, in the ordering and parts departments.
“I think they are faster than a cable door, just looking at it, it seems more secure and safer. The physical appearance of it is well engineered. I know that by having put it on myself it is durable, it weighs a lot and mechanically it’s quieter. I have two gearboxes instead of one smaller unit from the original door. It certainly is smoother and I have a lot more trust in it. All-in-all it’s worked out well.”
Frederikson said his door already had an automatic latch system with locking arms on it. With a little modification he was able to keep using the same arms and said doing the conversion wasn’t difficult by any stretch To dress up the appearance of the interior of the door Frederikson put the new Schweiss interlocking insulation panels on the door.
“I’ve always appreciated the engineering of the straps. I think they are going to prove to be a welcome addition. The straps are easy, they don’t look ratty and the insulation isn’t going to fall apart on the doors,” added Frederikson.
This is how his bifold door, purchased from another manufacturer, looked prior to the conversion. In addition to the cable to liftstrap conversion, Frederikson removed his fiberglass insulation and replaced it with the new Schweiss interlocking insulation panels to give the door a new clean look.
Chippewa Valley Airport, Wisconsin
Chippewa Valley Regional Airport is a public use airport in Chippewa County, Wisconsin. The airport is owned by Eau Claire County and is located three nautical miles north of the central business district of the city of Eau Claire.
It is the largest airport in the 30-county northern Wisconsin area and serves primarily the Chippewa Valley region, operating on a budget approved by a commission equally representing the interests of Chippewa, Eau Claire and Dunn counties.
The airport is mainly used for general aviation and business travel; the Eau Claire-based Menards Corporation uses CVRA to base their fleet of aircraft to serve their stores throughout the Midwest. It is occasionally used as an alternative-landing site for flights bound for Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.
Chippewa Valley Regional Airport covers an area of 1,100 acres at an elevation of 913 feet above mean sea level. It has two runways: 4/22 is 8,101 by 150 feet with a concrete surface and 14/32 is 5,000 by 100 feet with an asphalt/concrete surface.
For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2015, the airport had 22,549 aircraft operations, an average of 62 per day: 87 percent general aviation, 12 percent air taxi, less than 1 percent military and less than 1 percent scheduled commercial. In October 2017, there were 87 aircraft based at this airport: 60 single-engine, 10 multi-engine, 15 jet and 2 helicopters.
Hangar 54 Grill offers a diverse menu with many locally-sourced, made-from-scratch items with a full service bar overlooking the runway. Private meeting room space is also available.
It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a non-hub primary commercial service facility.
Having the cables removed and the conversion completed, Frederikson has peace of mind knowing that the door is much safer than the day he had it put in.