Sunday, September 21, 2014

What’s in your hangar? Ogden-Hinckley Airport (KOGD) hangars 'not storage sheds'

A sign posted at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport warns users not to bring certain items onto airport...

OGDEN — What’s in your hangar?

That’s the question the Federal Aviation Administration and Ogden City will apparently begin asking with more urgency as the FAA is in the midst of reexamining its policy on the use of airport hangars.

Under federal law, airport operators that have accepted federal grants, like those at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, may use airport property only for aviation-related purposes unless otherwise approved by the FAA.

But according to the FAA, staff compliance inspections and audits by the Government Accountability Office have revealed that many hangars across the nation that are intended for aircraft storage are frequently being used to store non-aeronautical items like vehicles and other large household items. The FAA says that in some cases, that type of storage interferes with, or entirely displaces, aeronautical use of the hangar.

The FAA also says that many airports have a waiting list for hangar space, and improper use of a hangar prevents aircraft owners from having access to hangar storage on an airport.

The administration is updating its hangar usage policy to clarify compliance requirements for airport sponsors, managers and tenants, as well as state aviation officials and FAA compliance staff. The updates are lengthy, but essentially disallow any usage of an airport hangar that isn’t directly related to aviation. The new rules even prohibit certain types of aircraft construction and repair.

The administration is accepting public comment on the policy updates until early October.

 Ogden-Hinckley Airport Manager Jon Greiner said improper use of aircraft hangars has been a problem at the Ogden airport for years. Greiner said the FAA’s updates are meant not only to provide clearer guidance on hangar usage, but also to reinforce regulations that have been on the books for years.

“(Improper hangar) usage has been a perpetual problem for the (Ogden) airport,” Greiner said. “The FAA has had a lot of these regulations in place for over 20 years and Ogden City has made ordinances about the same thing, but it’s been difficult to enforce.”

Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Jeremy "Bear" Taylor served as Ogden’s airport manager from 1994 to 2002 and agreed with Greiner.

“The rules have always been broken,” he said. “But during my time, they were almost impossible to enforce. But now I think with this latest news, the FAA is going to really start cracking down.”

Taylor said hangar users at the airport stored motor vehicles in hangars, furniture and many other items not remotely related to aviation.

“Sometimes you would have an airplane in there,” Taylor said. “But it would be so buried by other storage items it was basically useless.”

Ogden resident and pilot Dave Deis said he’s heard many similar stories.

“People will get rid of their aircraft and then rent out their hangar,” he said. “In a lot of cases it’s become cheap rental space, but people need to realize it’s an aircraft hangar, not a storage shed.”

As the FAA continues to accept public comment, some in the general aviation community have said the new policies and plans for increased enforcement is an example of government overreach.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a non-profit organization representing general aviation interests of pilots and aircraft owners across the nation, has told the FAA that its policies banning certain types of aircraft construction and repair has gone too far.

“Building an aircraft, next to actual flight, is possibly the quintessential aeronautical experience,” said James Coon, vice president of the AOPA’s Government Affairs and Advocacy division, in a letter to the FAA. “Many AOPA members displayed disbelief that the FAA takes the position that building an aircraft is not an aeronautical use.”

Russell Whetton has owned a hangar at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport for nearly 20 years. He said the new FAA rules are a hot topic around the airport and he’s not alone in thinking the new rules and enforcement of them is too much.

“It just seems like at the airport, we’re losing more and more rights every day,” he said. “That’s the feeling of a lot of people out there.”

Taylor said he empathizes with those like Whetton, but also sees a definite need to curb improper usage.

“You negotiate for as much freedom as you can get, but the (hangar) users are also going to have to bend with the wind a little bit,” he said.

To see the FAA’s hangar policy or submit comment, go to

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