by Megan Stritchko
WisDOT Bureau of Aeronautics
Oftentimes, a hangar can feel like a second home with endless possibilities – a storage unit, an office, a side business, you name it. However, such use of your airport hangar and compliance with the terms of your hangar lease agreement can impact federal funding for your airport.
Federal funding of airport improvement projects (a new or reconstructed runway, lighting, terminal building, or other improvements) come with certain terms and conditions also known as “federal grant assurances.” Failure to adhere to these terms and conditions could jeopardize the airport’s eligibility for future funding.
An underlying tenet of federal grant assurances is that the public invests in the airport through federal funding and as such, the aeronautical interests of the airport should be protected.
As an airport user and tenant, you can help the airport remain eligible for federal funds by complying with the terms of your lease and ensuring that your hangar is used only for non-commercial aeronautical activities. While all of that big, open space in your hangar may be an enticing home for your boat, RV, snowmobile or the neighbor’s bicycles, it’s important to remember that hangars are intended for aeronautical purposes and not to serve as mini-storage units for non-aeronautical items.
Similarly, it’s important that unauthorized business is not being conducted out of your hangar. This includes non-aeronautical, as well as aeronautical business such as fueling, maintenance, repairs, etc. An aircraft owner or operator may adjust, repair, clean, and service their own aircraft in a hangar as long as they or their employees do the servicing. As the hangar tenant, you should not be providing service to other aircraft owners or operators unless your lease specifically allows it. However, that’s a different type of lease agreement and will be covered in a future article.
Maintaining eligibility for federal funding is in the best interest of airport owners, tenants, users, and the surrounding community. Be sure to understand and comply with the terms of your hangar lease and talk to your airport manager if any questions or concerns arise.