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 Jet Journal
The Hangar Problem
by Kevin Ware
 There was a truly rare, freak-out weather event this past year at our airport. Strong gusty winds just blew the roof and doors off around 40 hangars built 30 years ago out of wood frames, wood truss roofs and metal siding. Oddly, aircraft tied out- side on the flight line 100 yards from these hangars escaped unscathed – as were airplanes stored in newer, all- steel hangars nearby. The sudden loss of this group of hangars with winter fast-approaching made our already- chronic hangar shortage suddenly immediate.
But, this isn’t just a local problem. I regularly f ly to different airports across the country, and at almost every one, local owners of general aviation
aircraft say there is a long waiting list for aircraft hangars if there are any available at all. It appears to be a na- tional phenomenon and something you would think a free market econo- my would have long ago fixed. Unfor- tunately, that has not happened. Our own hangar disaster made me start to wonder why this problem persists.
Ironically, part of the problem is caused by the presence and availability of the old hangars themselves. You can see these structures at different airports all over the country. They have long passed their design life, with some even left over from World War II. Others were built very cheaply by private sector investors who leased the land from the airport. With time, as the
leases ran out, the ownership reverted to the airport itself, which then rented them to local aircraft owners. The rent in our area for this type of hangar has been about $250 per month (often less than a commercial self-storage facil- ity of similar square footage). Local aircraft owners became accustomed to these relatively low rents and op- posed any change that might make them higher. Hence, the old structures continued to exist long past their de- sign life, and in the process made it difficult from an investment point of view for anyone to replace them.
Another reason for the hangar prob- lem is the relative shortage of suitable airport land for new construction, and that is due to several reasons. One
26 • TWIN & TURBINE / January 2020 Jet Journal

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