On the night of the 18th January, it was reported that an air dome near the Sõle sports center, where Estonian soccer clubs were holding their training sessions, fell down. The incident took place at night, meaning no one sustained any injuries. Unfortunately, the training sessions will have to be postponed until management can find a suitable replacement. While the official investigation is underway, we at Aviatech can’t help but speculate, to the best of our technical expertise, as to what the causes may be.
Toomas Ristlaan, director of the sports center, stated that there were technical issues with the construction and that the incident will be investigated further. In our eyes, the central issue lies in the general unreliability of compressed-air supported constructions such as the one discussed above, as opposed to more versatile inflatable hangars.
As a jumping point, we’ll refer to Mr. Ristlaan’s statement that two of the construction’s anchor fastenings were found to be broken down. This, in particular, highlights the stark contrast between the two types of hangar constructions.
Unlike compressed-air hangars, inflatable hangars do not require anchor fastenings of any kind. The construction keeps its balance thanks to special ballast compartments inside inflatable arches, which are filled with sand or rubble. As there is no risk of fastenings rupturing, inflatable hangars prove to be more stable and reliable.
But the rupture of anchor fastenings is only one potential hazard. How well do inflatable hangars fare in other high-risk situations?
The unique characteristics of inflatable hangars — including materials, structure, etc. — make them resistant to most natural hazards, most importantly fire and earthquakes. The range of operational temperature is also wider (-60 to +70C), allowing the hangars to withstand extreme weather conditions.
Furthermore, the maximum load capacity is 220 kg/sq. m, which is comparable to traditional clay-tiled roofs. When we are talking about Estonia in particular, which is characterized by its windy climate, inflatable hangars once again prove to be superior. They are designed to operate in wind speeds of up to 45-50 m/s — twice the limit of compressed-air constructions.
As the Sõle sports center management confirmed no further plans for reconstructing the broken hangar, they will have difficulties removing the construction altogether. Compressed-air hangars require a number of extra activities to be carried out before assembling or moving the construction: ground leveling, excavations, foundation base, hermetic sealing, and more.
By contrast, inflatable hangars can be assembled and disassembled in at least a third of a time, with a small-sized team using no specialized assembling equipment or machines. The main characteristic of inflatable hangars, apart from their stability, is their superior mobility.
Inflatable hangars are divided into separate independent sections, which means a damaged part can be disassembled individually. If that were the case for the Sõle sports center, it is doubtful that any such incident would make the headlines in the first place.
It is important to note that when we are discussing the differences between inflatable and compressed-air hangars, our intent is not to self-advertise but to share concrete, data-backed facts. We strongly believe in the betterment of society and other people’s lives, and one such way is through providing superior technological solutions.
As a testament and the ultimate proof of the superiority of inflatable hangars, let us point out their versatile applications: from parking places and automobile repair shops to mobile cinema halls and exhibitions. Whenever there is a need for a quick, reliable outdoors solution, we will be glad to share our expertise with those who need it.