Aircraft Maintenance Technology

OCT 2018

The aircraft maintenance professional's source for technological advancements, maintenance alerts, news, articles, events, and careers

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Page 14 of 63 15 ing 40 feet, the BBJ is required by National Fire Protection Association regulations to be housed in a more expansive “Group I” hangar with a more expensive fire suppression system. The aircraft’s extra weight also requires thicker concrete in the hangar floor and apron area. While not as large as the BBJ, other business aircraft recently introduced to the market include the Gulfstream G650 — which spans approximately 100 feet wide, 100 feet long and over 25 feet high — and the Bombardier Global 8000 — which spans over 104 feet wide, 102 feet long and 27 feet high. Is there Room on the Ramp? The introduction of aircraft with larger wingspans offers global reach and ultimate range to private jet travelers. However, it also poses new challenges to general aviation airports that are dealing with aging infrastructures. Hangars that were constructed decades ago are too small, impacting the ability of aviation companies based at the airport to provide the necessary support facilities and services. New capital improvement projects will need to be designed for aviation facilities that can accommodate the new ultra-long-range jets. FBOs, private owners, and jet charter and management companies will be required to make significant investment to existing leaseholds and facilities. In addition, municipal zoning requirements that regulate building features such as hangar height may need to be revisited and revised – which could result in a lengthy and expensive process at airports. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that an increased hangar door height also increases the size requirements of the entire structure. To accommodate larger wingspans, the hangar will need a greater column-free area, requiring increased steel support that drives up the cost of construction. Who Will Pay the Rising Costs? Finally, airport sponsors must be concerned with meeting the Federal Aviation Administration’s design standards for runway and taxiway widths, as well as runway-to-taxiway and taxiway-to-taxiway separation requirements. In lieu of complete reconstruction, many airports are conducting renovation projects such as widening the taxiway just enough to meet minimum standards. Regardless of aircraft size, the modification and/or construction of new hangar facilities and ramp space represents a significant investment for airport businesses. Airport sponsors also face the challenges of having a limited amount of space for expansion and meeting current FAA design standards for larger and heavier aircraft. Who will pay for these improvements? While airports may receive federal Airport Improvement Funds, private equity and venture capital may be the solution for aviation companies seeking to meet operational needs. However, when funding comes from those who are more interested in turning a profit than are passionate about aviation, it may come with a cost that is ultimately borne by the user. Today, it is more important than ever for airport sponsors, users and operators to collaborate on innovative solutions to accommodate a changing aircraft fleet, while meeting operational needs, achieving cost-effectiveness and providing passengers a superior flight experience. The introduction of aircraft with larger wingspans poses new challenges to general aviation airports that are dealing with aging infrastructures. A NEW $7.5 million hangar complex by Aeroplex/Aerolease Group at Van Nuys Airport was completed in spring 2017. BOB BARESH CURT CASTAGNA is president and CEO of the Aerolease and Aeroplex, which include general aviation and business aircraft centers located at the Long Beach and Van Nuys Airports. Castagna is a current member of the board of directors for the National Air Transportation Association and a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives. For more information visit

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