By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 27, 2014
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 27, 2014) -- Hanchey Army Heliport on Fort Rucker opened a new state-of-the-art AH-64 Maintenance Hangar Feb. 20 during a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony to honor two fallen Soldiers.
The hangar, dedicated as the Yoakum-Defrenn Hangar, in honor of CW4 Keith Yoakum and CW2 Jason Defrenn, who lost their lives as their Apache crashed from damage sustained by enemy gunfire in Iraq in 2007, was designed and configured to allow maintenance to be performed on any aircraft assigned to the Army, according to Col. Michael C. Aid, Aviation Center Logistics Command commander.
"There are (hundreds) of airframes assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Exellence that include cargo, utility, attack, reconnaissance and training," said the ACLC commander. "Each mission design series has different space requirements and power requirements, and the Yoakum-Defrenn hangar has the capability to support all of those airframes -- a unique requirement included in the development of the hangar."
The hangar's high bay maintenance facility with support shops, including painting, sheet metal, blade repair, avionics and armament, cover more than 132,000 square feet, and has an airfield apron of more than 65,000 square yards with 10 parking pads.
The hangar also boasts 13 bays for operation and a wash platform that provides capability to clean aircraft prior to sustainment-level maintenance and return to flight line.
The inception for the hangar came about in 2000 when the Aviation Center conducted a study on maintenance facilities on the installation and identified a shortage of 692 thousand square feet, said Aid.
"The study identified shortfalls on Knox, Hanchey, Lowe, Cairns and Shell," he said, adding that the study also found that during severe weather, not all assigned aircraft could be hangared. "This facility ensures that all aircraft can be hangared, ensuring continuity of operations and protecting our valuable training assets."
Construction on the hangar began in October 2011 and was completed one month ahead of schedule in August.