Christophorus 14 rescue helicopter in front of new hangar door

© Kai Töpfer / Das kleine Fotostudio

Durable – even in the extreme mountain climates

A building shell should be as robust as possible. And this applies particularly to those located high in the mountains: A protective PLEXIGLAS® film has therefore been applied to hangar door elements of an emergency helicopter station in Austria.

Three minutes at the most – the crew of the Christophorus 14 rescue helicopter has just three minutes between an alarm sounding and beginning the rescue mission. Everything has to run smoothly in this tight time frame: The team is well-oiled, the helicopter ready for action – and the hangar door opens in seconds.

“The hangar doors at our stations are not just a random part of the facade,” explains Ralph Schüller, speaker for the ÖAMTC Air Emergency Service which operates the emergency rescue helicopter stations in Austria. “They are vital for the procedure and must be reliable and easy to operate, even in extreme weather conditions.” After all, any delays on a rescue mission can endanger lives. When the ÖAMTC Air Emergency Service restored the station in Ennstal, in the Styria region, they were on the lookout for a low-maintenance, durable and translucent hangar door. These conditions were necessary as the station for Christophorus 14 is located in the mountains: The external building components are therefore subjected to intense weather – from snowstorms to direct sunlight.

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Station as seen on TV

Station as seen on TV

The station of Christophorus 14 is located at the Niederöblarn airfield in Ennstal and can be seen on television, for example in the ZDF show “Die Bergretter” (mountain rescuers), with some scenes even filmed on site. The new hangar door has given the station a brand-new appearance.

© ÖAMTC / Schornsteiner

Weather resistant and energy-saving


PLEXIGLAS® films are made from polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and feature UV absorbers which provide different levels of absorption. They are produced in thicknesses of between 50 micrometers (µm) and 1,000 µm for both decorative and protective applications.

The hangar door is a stacking door produced by Butzbach GmbH Industrietore and has translucent fiberglass elements from the VARIOPLANplus range. A PLEXIGLAS® film is applied to these elements, thus making them particularly weather-resistant. Aggressive UV radiation can damage many plastics, including fiberglass. “Using a PLEXIGLAS® film as a surface finish guarantees consistent quality of the exterior application,” says Michel Enders, expert for construction applications at PLEXIGLAS®. “The UV protection inherent to PLEXIGLAS® means that neither the film, nor the material beneath it are subject to yellowing, meaning they remain translucent over a long period of time.” The surface also does not become brittle or cracked – and very little dirt remains on it, meaning the elements do not have to be cleaned as often.

Another advantage of the 12-meter x 1-meter hangar door elements is the positive impact they have on energy consumption. The transparent fiberglass panels allow plenty of light to enter the building. “We can therefore avoid artificial lighting during the day, thus saving energy,” says Ralph Schüller from the ÖAMTC. The new hangar door at the station of Christophorus 14 has therefore proven itself in many ways since its installation. The ÖAMTC has decided to install these new doors at other stations.

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