submitted by John McNarry, CATP Museum President
The hangar that is the home building of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum is a “double wide land plane hangar” built for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) at the site of Service Flying Training School # 12. The construction took place over the winter of 1940/41. That site is now the Brandon Municipal Airport.
Hangar 1 is one of 701 such structures built for the BCATP.
The founders of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (CATPM) were given the use of the west half of Hangar 1 by the City of Brandon and it became the home of the CATPM.
A local aviation business, Maple Leaf Aviation, occupied the east half of the hangar from 1946 until the hangar was declared unsafe in the late 1990s.
In 1985 it was evident that the truss above the main doors on the north side of the hangar was failing as well as three of the truss rafters on the south side of the building.
Large structural supports were built to support the failing trusses. An “exoskeleton” truss, supported on piers, immediately adjacent to the originals was constructed on the north exterior to carry the failed truss that carried the hangar door rails.
When the hangar was declared unsafe in the late 1990s the CATPM board decided to do what they could to save the building. After negotiating with the City of Brandon and enlisting the help of the Province of Manitoba, a method to repair the failing sections was worked out with Collmeyer Architecture, Waldrop Engineering, and with help from work done on hangars owned by DND and the RCAF. The repair was accomplished and the three southern failed rafters were reinforced with steel.
Over the last decade, the 1985 Exoskeleton has been observed to be twisting due to the asymmetrical load it carries.
A recent engineering study of the problem has discovered two additional failed rafters. Until the integrity of the structure is determined the museum is closed to the public. The Memorial Wall is still available to the public, as well as the Canteen. Some volunteer work continues.
The CATPM enjoys a good relationship with the City of Brandon. The City of Brandon leases the land the Hangar and our other buildings are on to the CATPM and owns the Hangar. It is the hope of the CATPM Board of Directors that a suitable method of repair can be established. Funding for repairs is not yet determined. Support for the museum in any form is greatly appreciated.