General Aviation hangar taking shape
IN THE CITY
Over the last several months, anyone driving by the Airport has seen significant activity just north of the current General Aviation terminal. The project that is now underway and scheduled to be completed in July is a new aircraft hangar and General Aviation terminal.
This building is replacing the current General Aviation terminal and hangar. The project was necessary to meet current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and fire safety standards. However for the local community there are some significant benefits beyond the safety improvements.
Most people are familiar with the Passenger Terminal that they go through to board one of the three daily flights to Boston. The General Aviation terminal is where those using private aircraft go to board. Users of the General Aviation terminal include business executives for some of the largest companies in the country, political VIPs and students learning to fly.
The hangar will be the new home for the fixed wing medical evacuation aircraft. This aircraft provides an important link to hospitals outside the area. Operated by Fresh Air, this aircraft is critical to getting patients in life and death situations to advanced medical care located throughout New England.
The new hangar will measure 84 feet by 80 feet. The hangar door will measure 60 feet wide and 18 feet high. The state of the art hangar door is actually made of a special fabric that seals to prevent air infiltration better than conventional hangar doors. These doors have been used with great success even in Alaska.
The hangar will also house two smaller private aircraft with local ownership. As the opportunity arises, the hangar may also be used to hangar small private jets that often visit our area to conduct business with area companies. In addition to the hangar space there will be a 21- by 80-foot area that will include a lobby, restrooms, pilots lounge and office space for the City of Presque Isle General Aviation operation. The project also includes a new access road, parking area and the reconstruction of a portion of the paved ramp located next to the new facility.
The current building was not constructed and located on the aircraft parking ramp to meet current safety standards. For several years these violations were allowed by the state fire marshal and the FAA. However once the ramp needed to be repaved we were required to bring it up to today’s standards. It is very common that once you make a major renovation to existing infrastructure, regulatory agencies will require current standards to be met.
The replacement of the old facility directly benefits the airport and the city of Presque Isle. The old building was nearing the point at which the roof was going to need to be replaced. The metal siding was also showing its age with rust showing in several places.
The two projects combined would have cost the airport over $100,000 to complete. There would have been no cost share for these items resulting in the full amount being borne by the local airport.
In addition, the old building is not nearly as energy efficient as the new building. The new building is constructed of metal panels with rigid insulation sandwiched in between. The walls are R-32 and the roof is R-40. This significantly exceeds current building insulation codes to maximize the energy savings.
The heating system in the old General Aviation terminal is relatively new and very efficient. It will be relocated to our snow removal equipment building. It is expected to reduce our fuel oil usage in the snow removal equipment building by as much as 3,000 gallons annually. Once the old hangar is removed, the efficiency of our snow removal process on this ramp will be greatly increased resulting in reduced overtime and equipment operational cost.
The removal of the building itself will be included in the bidding for Phase 2 of this project. Any remaining value of the building will be considered when the general contractors submit competitive bids for the remaining reconstruction of the ramp.
Last but not least, is the impression that the new facility will make on first time visitors to the area. Many VIPs see Presque Isle for the very first time through the doors of the General Aviation terminal. This new facility will make the right first impression.
Scott Wardwell is airport director for the city of Presque Isle’s Northern Maine Regional Airport. He can be reached at 764-2550 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.