"Is this a church or a cathedral?" That is a typical question asked by visitors when they catch a glimpse of this unique airplane hangar at the Gilmer-Upshur County Airport. The multi-use building not only houses an operations base FOTPAM Museum for Dean Lumber Company's business aircraft, but is also home to the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum. The museum provides local school groups an opportunity to learn more about the diverse roles of aviation in their daily lives. Dean received the Texas Forestry Association Award for Best Design in Wood Buildings for 1997.
From a distance, the 6,000 sq. ft. structure looks like just another airplane hangar, with metal siding and roofing. A closer look reveals a showcase of Southern Pine products. One look inside and visitors notice a rich interior featuring laminated arches, wood roof decking, hand rubbed paneling and decorative molding.
FOTPAM Museum's overhead, roof decking is Wolmanized No. 1 2x6 Southern Pine, KDAT and patterned with a center-matched V-groove. The result is a decorative ceiling inside, spanning between the massive wooden arches. Treated 6x8 columns provide support for the laminated arches. The wall paneling inside the main hangar is Dricon fire-retardant treated pattern 117 drop-siding.
FOTPAM Museum's 1600 sq. ft. interior is devoted to living quarters and a flight operations center; both richly appointed using a variety of Southern pine specialty products. Kwik Way of Mt. Pleasant, Texas used shop grade material to fabricate the interior doors. High-grade flitches were used for all joinery and millwork. Finishing touches include 1x4 beaded ceiling material overhead and pattern 116 for the crew quarters.
FOTPAM Museum Architect Brent Brevard incorporated the ideas of owners, Steve and Linda Kay Dean, to develop plans for Hangar One and its flight operations center. Unit Structures of Magnolia, Arkansas fabricated the 60-foot span laminated arches using No. 1 2x8 Southern Pine. Anthony Forest Products in El Dorado, Arkansas manufactured additional beams to support the 42-foot hangar door, a beam for the staircase leading to the crew quarters, and a beam for the bar top in the pub.
FOTPAM Museum's Steve and Linda Kay hope the aviation museum will provide area school children with a learning laboratory for aviation education. With various displays, they are making a special effort to recognize community leaders who have contributed to Gilmer's heritage through aviation.
In May 2011, Steve received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for more than 50 years of dedicated service, technical expertise, professionalism, and outstanding contributions which further the cause of aviation safety.