KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence
The new KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence is coming to Kelowna! We are excited to be working with Meiklejohn Architects and Sawchuk Developments on a legacy project for one of Kelowna’s largest employers, KF Aerospace. Kelowna Flight Craft, owner of KF Aerospace, wishes to create a project which both pays tribute to the 50 years of the company’s history and educates visitors on the history of flight in the Okanagan and worldwide.
Shaped as an aircraft, a central 2-storey hub “fuselage” is flanked by two wing-shaped hangars which will house historical planes. The building showcases the latest in structural innovation and mass timber construction throughout the superstructure. From wing-shaped hangar roofs to a world-first doubly-curved CLT staircase, a creative approach to structural engineering is pivotal to the design of this project.
We joined the project team in the summer of 2020 as Structural Engineer of Record, and our team has been busy scheming efficient and elegant solutions for the different building components.
Stay tuned for project updates! Grand opening in 2022.
KF’s motif, “We’re all about the craft”, resonated immediately with our teams’ core values of innovation and craftmanship. This synergy between companies was seen early on, giving Barry Lapointe and the ownership team confidence to appoint us as both structural engineers and builders.
One of the project goals is to demonstrate BC’s local design expertise and materials, and as such the entire structure will be sourced and manufactured from within BC.
For the two aircraft hangar “wings”, our structural engineering team has been working hard on answering the question: How do we create one of most efficient “wing” building structures worldwide? Taking queue from the aerospace industry, we are using the latest in computational design techniques to optimize structural solutions for these unique roof structures.
The long spans of the hangar roofs present a particular structural challenge, with folding glass hangar doors creating a 115’ clear span to allow aircraft such as the Convair CV580 and DC10 to enter the hangars.
Our approach to this wing structure has drawn inspiration from aircraft wings of the past, including the Spitfire. Just like in an aircraft wing, we have designated the truss clear spanning the hangar door as the “spar truss”, while the trusses spanning the hangar in the other direction are the “rib trusses”.
The rib trusses set the shape of the aircraft “wings”, so we went back to aeronautical engineering basics and looked at the NACA airfoil equation. Studying the important parameters of this formula, we derived a parametric shape that could be passed into a structural analysis software. The solution space for our goal, to find the lightest wing while maintaining specific structural criteria, was explored using both evolutionary and more traditional hill-climbing optimization algorithms.
After conducting 2D studies to understand optimal wing profiles, we then implemented an optimization of the entire hangar roof structure, including the spar truss. This optimization investigated ideal positions of the rib trusses and spar truss web density.