Project Quick Facts

Building Client

Naval Facilities Engineering Command

General Contractor

Harper Construction Company Inc.

Software Used


Structural Components

Steel Truss

Year Completed


Project Background

The Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Complex is a 131,000 sq. ft. complex which houses all aviation mechanics responsible for the maintenance of Huey and Cobra helicopters stationed at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base as well as space for administrative and training activities. In addition to the main hangar, an administrative building and classroom building are also included within the design. The classroom building includes electronic classrooms, aviation training labs and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 250. Overall the entire project has achieved LEED Gold Certification.

"What I love about RISA-3D is its versatility. The ability to design members out of wood, light gauge metal stud, concrete and steel in one software is a huge benefit"

— Mehdi Rashti, SE

About the Structure

The design of the main hangar structure features a 10 ft wide by 16 ft deep space truss which weighs 250 tons and spans 320 ft, providing unobstructed entry for up to 9 helicopters. The depth of the truss was governed by the 29 ft clear height that was required for the operation and maintenance of the helicopters. Overall, the sheer size and clear span of truss posed a difficult design challenge. In addition, the main hangar includes two 5-ton bridge cranes that serve the entire area and are attached to the bottom chord of the trusses spanning in the direction opposite the hangar opening.

How Were RISA Products Utilized?

In order to achieve the project schedule and improve the quality of design, SMR-ISD Consulting Structural Engineers, utilized BIM models to work collaboratively with the architect. These models were then exchanged with RISA-3D using the RISA-Revit link. Once the models were available in RISA-3D the engineer could focus on the design challenges that existed. One such challenge was the previously mentioned transverse trusses which support the bridge cranes and required special design consideration due to the required L/600 deflection limit needed to proper operation of the cranes. RISA-3D was able to assist with the strengthening of these trusses in order to achieve the needed deflection restraints. Overall, the entire hanger structure was modeled, analyzed and designed in RISA-3D, allowing the engineer to utilize an iterative procedure in order to arrive at an optimal configuration that minimized overall steel tonnage.

Images 1-3: Pablo Mason