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6 Important Things to Know Before Building an Aircraft Hangar

Building an aircraft hangar is a complicated process that is compounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and local zoning restrictions. Here are six critical factors that must be considered before starting aircraft hangar construction.

Analyze the Market
The fundamental starting point is researching and determining local market conditions. Be sure to research if there is a current demand for hangers and if the local airport has a wait list of aircraft owners. After determining the market needs, create a cost forecast that includes finance options, monthly utilities, construction costs, property taxes, maintenance needs and land lease terms and costs.

Owning vs. Leasing
Those who build an aircraft hangar may operate it for personal use or develop it for business use, such as servicing local airplane owners or airports. Some state-level Department of Transportation agencies offer grants or funding to offset the infrastructure and construction costs. Under certain conditions, the FAA will provide funding for hangar construction as long as it is connected to a federal airport.

Land Leases
The average land lease is between 20 to 30 years in length. Most land lease contracts include optional term extensions, but the actual terms are determined by land owners and influenced by local airport standards. When building an aircraft hangar on public property, most lease negotiations will be conducted with airport executives, but final approvals will most likely be granted through the municipality or county government that sponsors the airport. Lease rates are typically determined by square-foot measurements that may include the hangar footprint and additional land surrounding the building’s perimeter.

Airport Minimum Standards
The so-called Airport Minimum Standards (AMS) refers to the official set of rules and policies that have been established by the airport owner or government agency regarding basic standards that must be followed. This living document will include a section concerning hangars, which should be specifically referenced in the land lease. These standards may include the building use restrictions and building code specifications.

Airport Hangar Design
The building market for airport hangars is standardized because most are metal buildings with limited internal variations. It is very important to focus on the internal design differences. For instance, a post-and-beam design is the most popular design for T- and rectangular hangars because it provides an equal distribution of roof loads while maximizing design flexibility. To illustrate, the T-hangar design puts the airplane tail sections in the middle of the facility.

Choosing a Hangar Door Design
When designing a hangar, one must decide how the largest aircrafts will be stored. This will impact the size of the door opening. Next, carefully select the type of hangar door to be installed because this is the most important piece of equipment that ensures that airport hangar operations function properly. Popular options include bottom-rolling doors, which includes sliding doors, and electric bi-fold doors, which are the most economical door system.

To learn more, visit the FAA’s website, which is an excellent source of information.