hangar locations

Hi - I’m a commercial real estate appraiser seeking the aviation community’s opinion re: a hangar’s micro-location within an airport (say, a General Aviation).

Is there a best/worst location? Or is it irrelevant, because of life’s trade-offs: closer to fuel pumps but farther from X; closer to the runway but more noise, et cetera.

If a hangar costs $1 million new, how much of a magnitude would the micro-location’s impact (rhetorically) a purchase/build decision: +/- $0; $1,000; $10,000; $100,000?

Other thoughts about hangars? Thanks from DEN.

Legal would be the first consideration that I would look at. Many airports are owned by municipalities; how much money do you want to invest in what is really a leasehold improvement on government land?

If you want to buy and rent for $$$ in your area, check 2V1.

One of only two housing markets that aren’t being really affected by the housing bubble bursting around the rest of the country.

In Denver, a hangar with an east facing door that gets lots of morning sun is a plus. Heating and Insulation are likely the most important value getters.

Any place where the hangar is likely to get blasted when left open is bad.

More social folks might like one where lots of folks can see they are in, but many plane builders like privacy.

Access for the plane is usually more important than the car. Close parking for the car is nice though.

Taxi way width is important, especially for larger planes that use larger hangars. Distance from runway, and tight turns are bad.

Ground slope is important for smaller hangars because the planes are usually pulled in and out by hand.

Business issues are important, too. If the hangar can only be seen from inside a secure area, it can be hard to rent out space. I got my spot for extra cheap because the owner had gotten almost no calls. He was desperate. I told the airport operator I was going to look for hangars and they gave me permission to go inside the gate, but apparently, no one asks.

As for percentages, your guess is as good as any. I doubt good data exists for sale prices. You might get info on rental from an airport where they have some price elasticity and they manage a lot of the hangars.

The relevance of my perspective may be a bit dated, so take it for whatever you feel it is worth.

Back in the day, I was hired to manage a growing flight department. We went from a couple of piston twins to a fleet of 9 mid-size jets before I left to go fly for the airlines. Part of our growth involved acquiring property and building a new hangar for our operation.

One of the main things you may wish to consider includes just what exactly you will be using the new facility for. Is it going to be “just a hangar?” If so, location and/or geographical orientation isn’t so important. Airplanes don’t really care which direction their house sits. On the other hand, if offices and/or a passenger lounge will be incorporated, then you will want to be concerned with the outside infrastructure as well.

Some things to consider:

Easily accessible from off the airport property (i.e. can the passengers get to the facility with relative ease?) while remaining a secure facility?

Proximity to fuel pumps is largely irrelevant. Unless you are flying something real small, most airports have fuel trucks that will pay you a visit and sell you some gas.

Room for future growth? Don’t think that the hangar you build today will be perfect for your operation tomorrow. Flight departments are either growing or downsizing. Rarely do they remain the same size in the long term. Can the new facility house the next larger size aircraft?

In terms of the micro-location of a facility, obviously, proximity to a taxiway is important, but at the same time, you want to be in a position such that each time you leave, it doesn’t involve 30 minutes of taxiing to get to the end of a runway. Nothing frustrates passengers more than an airplane that isn’t travelling fast through the air and the quicker you can get from closing the door to breaking ground, the happier the suits in the back will be.

I am familiar with the Denver airport and depending on where you are, you could easily face long taxi times if you are not in a good location. That might not seem like a huge deal, but consider that a 20 minute taxi burns at least 4 times as much fuel as a 5 minute taxi does and then multiply that excess burn over say a period of 10 years. That added fuel consumption will undoubtedly cost the flight department MILLIONS of dollars. Moral of this story is that the closer you are to the end of a runway, the happier the boss will be, the happier the bean counters will be, the happier you will be and the better off your flight department will be in the long run.

Another poster commented on the heat bill and orientation into the sun. All well and good, but the average flight department that can stroke the note on a $10M jet probably isn’t overly concerned about keeping the hangar at 65 degrees. I would be a lot more concerned about the juxtaposition of the hangar to the runway than I would having the front door oriented into the sun. A well insulated, quality constructed building should be relatively energy efficient. Considering that a hangar has an enormous door that, upon opening, immediately allows every last morstel of heat to escape, the energy efficiency of the building is what it is. The best you can shoot for would be energy efficient radiant heating units that do the best job possible and just face the reality that the hangar door will probably open and close several times a day, letting all the heat escape.

Regarding noise levels – it’s an airport. Airports are noisy, no matter where you are. The people that will be working in the flight department hangar love airplanes and are usually not bothered by airplane noise.