New Hangars Could House as Many as 55 Aircraft at Hanscom

March 25, 2024

The complex of hangars proposed for Hanscom Field near Hartwell Road will house between 40 and 55 airplanes, depending on size, according to a state-mandated draft environmental impact report.

The report, submitted by the developers on March 15, says that the hangars will accommodate everything from large business jets to propeller-powered aircraft, so the number housed depends on the size. An average of about 20 percent will be flying on a particular day, the report adds.

The draft, required under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act, took more than a year to prepare. It has been uploaded to the “Environmental Monitor,” and is accessible via

Although the MEPA office announced that comments about the report are due by April 22, the proponents have requested an extension to May 10. The developers presented plans and fielded questions at a public event earlier this month, and another session is expected late in April.

North Airfield Ventures and Runway Realty Ventures, limited liability companies formed to respond to a 2021 request for proposals from the Massachusetts Port Authority, filed the impact report, which was prepared by the consulting firm VHB of Watertown. Under MEPA, the state agency can require changes to be integrated into the final environmental impact report.

The hangar project was first announced as 27 new structures plus renovation of the adjacent 65-year-old Navy hangar, for a total of about 495,000 additional square feet of aircraft storage space. Several months ago, the developers announced that the new buildings would be revised to 17, though at the public meeting in March they acknowledged that the total area is about the same.

But according to the environmental impact report, the actual hangar space proposed is 100,000 fewer square feet – a total of 395,700. Also proposed is so called “aviation support space” totaling 126,680 square feet “in response to tenant requests.” This increases the total project by about 5 percent, to 522,380 square feet. The designated space is spread within many of the new hangars as well as in a separate building near the Navy hangar.

“Aviation support,” the report explains, encompasses “tenant amenities” that include locker rooms, crew break rooms, meeting space, lounge areas, food service, and office space. These are standard features in fixed-based operator facilities. More than half of the 87,000 square feet planned for the Navy hangar will be for support.

Also of particular local concern is a proposed underground storage area for 85,000 gallons of fuel, most of it jet aviation fuel. The site is at the northeast corner of the parcel. The tanks will be connected by piping to a nearby fueling station on the airport compound.

Trucks with 10,000-gallon tanks will deliver fuel to the storage area once or twice a day, the report details, although it is unclear whether the recommended truck route would access Hartwell Road from Concord Road or South Road

The planned delivery of an average of 15,000 gallons of aviation fuel every day does not directly translate to a net increase in air traffic, the report contends, because “a significant portion of current fueling operations on the south side of the airport will shift to the project on the north side.”

“A percentage of transient aircraft that currently fuels on the south side will shift to the north area and be tenants,” said a spokesman for the developer. “Once the project becomes operational, a significant portion of current fueling operations on the south side of the airport will shift to the project on the north side.”

“Having fuel readily available on site and proximate to tenant aircraft … is important for safety, operational efficiency, and customer service.”

The report also details “best practices” to guard against spills during deliveries: staff monitoring, including checking the vehicles for leaks, unreeling the hose, the actual delivery, and the return of the hose. Personnel will inspect the area of the delivery trucks for leaks or spills.

According to the report, the proponents will need to acquire from the Select Board a special permit for locating underground fuel storage in an aquifer protection district. 

Construction is proposed in five phases over three years beginning in the spring of 2025.

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Ted T. Martin
March 26, 2024 11:04 am

Cool, a great economy helps and I love the sound of planes, my first word was “bomber” my family always told me…as planes took off during WW II to protect us…

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