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Hanscom Field facts for kids

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Laurence G. Hanscom Field
Hanscom Field Logo.png
USGS 1995 orthophoto
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)
Location Bedford, Massachusetts
Elevation AMSL 132 ft / 40 m
Coordinates 42°28′12″N 071°17′20″W / 42.47°N 71.28889°W / 42.47; -71.28889Coordinates: 42°28′12″N 071°17′20″W / 42.47°N 71.28889°W / 42.47; -71.28889

Location of airport in Massachusetts

Direction Length Surface
ft m
5/23 5,107 1,557 Asphalt
11/29 7,011 2,137 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Aircraft operations 163,421
Based aircraft 282
Source: Federal Aviation Administration

Hanscom Field (IATA: BEDICAO: KBEDFAA LID: BED) (Laurence G. Hanscom Field) is a public use airport operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority in Bedford, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States.

Hanscom is mainly a general aviation airport, the largest in New England. Both runways can accommodate jets, and are used by Hanscom Air Force Base, a defense-research facility next to Hanscom Field. It is a popular training airport, with more than 40 rental aircraft on the field. The Civil Air Terminal building hosts two flight schools, East Coast Aero Club and Executive Flyers. East Coast Aero Club offers helicopter and airplane instruction and rental. Executive Flyers offers airplane and aerobatics instruction. Transient general aviation planes are served by three FBOs: Jet Aviation, Rectrix Aviation, and Signature Flight Support.

Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 8,385 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2008, 7,350 in 2009, and 7,952 in 2010. It is in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which called it as a non-primary commercial service airport (between 2,500 and 10,000 enplanements per year).

Hanscom is a critical part of the air transportation infrastructure for Massachusetts and the rest of New England. As T. F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire have become viable alternatives to Logan International Airport (the region's main commercial airport), Hanscom has emerged as one of the most important airports serving the region's business and general aviation needs.

The field serves aircraft from Piper Cubs to Gulfstream V jets. The events of September 11 caused a number of changes to general aviation in the US. Hanscom Field saw changes implemented by Massport that included large security fees, identification cards, and a requirement for propeller locks.

The Massachusetts Air and Space Museum is looking at Hanscom Field as a future location.

Facilities and aircraft

Hanscom Field covers 1,125 acres (455 ha) at an elevation of 132 feet (40 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt runways: 11/29 is 7,011 by 150 feet (2,137 x 46 m) and 5/23 is 5,107 by 150 feet (1,557 x 46 m).

In 2010 the airport had 163,421 aircraft operations, average 447 per day: 88% general aviation, 11% air taxi, 1% military, and <1% scheduled commercial. 282 aircraft were then based at this airport: 70% single-engine, 7% multi-engine, 20% jet, and 4% helicopter.

In 2008, and many years prior, Hanscom has handled the second most aircraft movements of any airport in New England (Boston-Logan is number one). On a nice weekend day the traffic pattern gets so busy the tower is known to close the traffic pattern and only allow full stop landings.

Hanscom's traffic is primarily business jets and general aviation aircraft.

Airlines and destinations

From 1999 until 2003, Shuttle America, a Connecticut-based regional airline, operated scheduled service from the airfield, carrying more than 10,000 passengers each month to airports in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania using De Havilland Dash 8 and Saab 340 aircraft. Soon after US Airways Express pulled out, Pan Am Clipper Connection began servicing the airport using Jetstream 31 aircraft. Clipper flights connected Hanscom Field with Pease Airport in Portsmouth, NH and Trenton-Mercer Airport in NJ.

In its final years, Clipper would add flights to Ithaca Airport in Western NY from Hanscom. Even with this new route, however, Clipper could never draw the numbers it needed to remain profitable. The Airline was forced to cease operation in 2008 by the FAA for lack of funding and management. This left Hanscom Field without scheduled airline service for the first time in a decade. While there is still some community opposition, Hanscom has shown its usefulness as a gateway for Boston-area travelers. This has since attracted the new Trenton-based airline Streamline Air to start its first public charter route to Hanscom using 30 seat Embraer 120 Brasília aircraft, beginning with two daily round trips on weekdays. Streamline ceased operations as of September 15, 2012.

Ground transportation

Hanscom can be reached by car by following Route 2A west from exit 30B on I-95/Route 128. It is serviced by the MBTA's Route 76 bus from Alewife Station in Cambridge.

Notable events at Hanscom Field

On August 8, 1962, a US Air Force KC-135 tanker crashed on approach to Hanscom Field's runway 11, destroying the aircraft and killing all three members of the flight crew.

In September 1964, The Beatles arrived at Hanscom Field aboard a chartered aircraft during one of their American concert tours. They were making an appearance at Boston Garden the following day. It was felt that the immense popularity of the British singing group would cause congestion at Boston-Logan International Airport, so this alternative airport was selected.

In April 1975, President Gerald Ford used Hanscom Field before and after making speeches in Lexington, Massachusetts and Concord, Massachusetts to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

On November 24, 1988, George Koskotas, who fled Greece after being indicted on five counts of forgery and embezzlement, was apprehended by the FBI at Hanscom Field after landing in a private jet with his family.

In February 2006, NBA player Sebastian Telfair was questioned after a handgun registered to his girlfriend was found in his pillowcase aboard the Portland Trail Blazers team plane. In December 2006, pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka held negotiations with the Boston Red Sox on board a private jet owned by John Henry. The plane was seen landing at Hanscom by news channels from all over Boston as well as some Japanese news outlets.

On August 29, 2009, the body of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy was flown from Hanscom Field to Andrews AFB for burial at Arlington Cemetery.

On May 31, 2014, a private Gulfstream IV business jet crashed and caught fire beyond the end of runway 11 following an aborted take off from Hanscom Field, killing all seven people on board. A preliminary NTSB report suggests that the flight controls were locked, preventing the aircraft from rotating to take off. Lewis Katz, co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and, was among the dead.

Movies/Scenes filmed at Hanscom Field

  • What's The Worst That Could Happen? (2001)
  • The Pink Panther 2 (2009)
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
  • Edge of Darkness (2010)
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