Since 2014, Rubb has been providing NPAS with custom-designed fabric-tensioned aircraft hangars to house their helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. NPAS Bournemouth, NPAS Doncaster, and NPAS North Weald have all received one of Rubb’s top-flight hangars in 2014, 2017, and 2019 respectively.
These hangars contribute to NPAS’ 24/7/365 service, so having a secure, brightly lit area to store and maintain their aircraft is essential to meeting their mission of reaching 98% of England and Wales’ population within 20 minutes.
Providing around-the-clock coverage demands impeccable scheduling, and this extended to Rubb’s design, manufacturing, and installation of the hangars. Rubb UK’s Managing Director, Ian Hindmoor, explains: “Rubb was able to provide a very rapid response to these building requirements. We used our experience and knowledge from working on Urgent Operation Requirements for the UK military to quickly complete these hangars for NPAS.”
NPAS Bournemouth required a particularly tight turnaround. “We secured the order in March and the aircraft hangar was manufactured and delivered to site for construction to begin in May. The project was completed by the end of the month.
“We were delighted to deliver these projects and once again prove the benefits of a Rubb building in these circumstances,” Hindmoor concludes.
Though all the hangars largely serve the same storage and maintenance function, Rubb’s custom designs have allowed each of them to include bespoke features to perfectly suit their daily operations.
NPAS Doncaster, for example, required extra consideration to attach the hangar to additional modular buildings containing several offices and amenities. They needed to be fitted to the right and rear of the Rubb building, positioned to allow a clear viewing area and access to the hangar.
The Doncaster project also required a larger 40m span and a 30m x 5m sliding hangar door in order to accommodate its larger fleet of helicopters. In 2020, this increased capacity allowed Doncaster to be the home for NPAS’ fixed wing aircraft trial, housing four Vulcan 68R aircraft. Two years on, the trial’s success has allowed support for these aircraft to be extended to all of England and Wales from their Doncaster base.
That’s not to say each hangar is completely unique; there are clear through-lines thanks to Rubb’s DNA. All the hangars feature Rubb’s durable steel framework, which is hot dip galvanized to protect from corrosion. The frames are fully covered with a high-tenacity, flame-retardant PVC-coated polyester fabric, which has a life expectancy of up to 25 years. All of the hangars are clad with a deep Sargaso blue fabric on the walls, and completed with white roofing which floods their working areas with natural sunlight—essential for highly skilled maintenance. All of this was manufactured in Rubb’s Gateshead factory, which has been operating since 1977.
The facilities at the new hangar and base are excellent. It is an ideal location to operate from in order to service Dorset, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight.
NPAS Bournemouth Base Manager
Sergeant Neil Cartwright
With their considerable life expectancy, these Rubb buildings will continue to support NPAS operations for many years to come. Frequent updates about NPAS activities out of these hangars are posted on their highly active Twitter feeds, which can be found here: NPAS Bournemouth, NPAS Doncaster.