Page 30 - Jan 20 TNT
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 Fierce,strong winds blew the roof and doors off around 40 hangars at my local airport.
 the company felt it could afford. But then a strange thing started to hap- pen. Really large, multi-billion dollar businesses became established in the area and gradually moved up to the likes of Boeing 757s. In the process, through simple purchasing power, they acquired most of the available hangar space for their very large air- craft, displacing the smaller Learjet or Cessna Citation owners. Like falling dominoes, they in turn began to bump owners of smaller, less expensive air- craft. In the process, the shortage caused the cost of any space to go up dramatically. On KBFI today, monthly hangar rent for a modest-sized busi- ness jet can easily be in the area of $20,000, if you can find it. This has caused those owners to seek space at outlying airports, which in turn has further constrained the space available to smaller aircraft.
Another thing that has increased demand for local airport use (and air- craft storage) is that since 9/11, there has been a mass migration by aircraft operated under FAR Part 91 away from airports operated under FAR Part 121 for airlines. This has mostly been due to the extra cost and hassle required to comply with TSA rules. In our area, two airports previously considered primarily devoted to Part 91 or general aviation use (KPAE and KBLI) now have airline operations. Part 91 pilots now need to have ID cards, which re- quire several time-consuming tests to obtain, to even access their air- craft. Passengers cannot access the aircraft at all unless accompanied by a crew member carrying an ID card. Drive-through gates are all locked and require all sorts of security codes in order to get through them. Land
previously available for Part 91 aircraft storage is now devoted to airline pas- senger use. Local car parking suddenly has become expensive and hard to find. All of these factors have indi- rectly increased the demand for land on airports not so affected, and in a larger sense, this is probably a good thing, but it has its cost.
Yet another cause of the hangar problem is the tendency of some air- craft owners to assume (and even ex- pect) the local government entity that owns the airport (and in the U.S., most airports are publically owned) to pro- vide hangar storage at a price they feel they can afford. But that assumption is based upon a false reality. Most com- munities are already subsidizing their local airport with taxpayer money. Unless they can clearly see some larger public benefit, those local taxpaying voters are extremely reluctant to in- crease those costs. In our area of the country, given the cost of new hangar construction by a public entity, a new hangar rent for say a Cessna 182 would be on the order of $800 to $1,000 per month. And even that large number would likely not produce a defensible return to the taxpaying owners...that is it would represent some form of subsidy. And that sort of subsidization for most communities is simply not politically viable.
So, what is the solution for this han- gar problem that exists all over the country to a certain extent?
First, owners of airplanes both big and small need to realize that for rea- sons mostly related to the success of aviation, keeping their aircraft in a hangar is going to cost more (a lot more in some situations) in the future than it
does now. But this is America, a coun- try with an economic system based upon capitalism – a system which tends to fix these kinds of problems on its own. So, the result is the negative of increased costs also has a positive side to it. That is when cheap, decrepit hangars gradually become non-useable and hangar rents increase (to extent land can be made available), the pri- vate sector will kick in and again start to build new hangars just as they did 30 or 40 years ago. Those hangars will be more expensive, but they will also be built to a much higher standard than those of the past, lasting longer. Ideally, they will provide a decent return on investment for those that built them, and that will encourage others to do so.
The hopeful result: we will pay more, but also our children will have a safe place to store their airplanes. Forty hangars suddenly getting blown down by a freak gust of wind just before winter will never happen again.
  Kevin Ware is an ATP who also holds CFI, MEII and helicopter ratings, has more than 11,000 hours and is typed in several different business jets. He has been flying for a living on and off since he was 20, and current- ly works as a contract pilot for various corporations in the Se- attle area. When not working as a pilot he is employed part time as an emergency and urgent care physician. He can be reached at
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