What's new
Van's Air Force

Don't miss anything! Register now for full access to the definitive RV support community.

What to do about poor Airport Mgmnt

rvanstory

Well Known Member
I am terribly frustrated with our local airport management and was hoping someone out there has advice on what (if anything) I can do about it. First the backstory.....

When I started my build in Feb. 2017, I called the local airport to get on the T-hangar waitlist. From experience, I knew it would take a long time to get a T-hangar for the RV-10 I was building. When getting ready to attach the wings, I was told I was not yet eligible for a T-hangar. I was able to use a friends T-hangar to finish the build. During that time I met 2 pilots that had T-hangars at the airport that had waited MUCH less time than me to get one. One was on waitlist 6 months, the other 2 years (compared to my 3.5 years at the time).

Needless to say, I was FURIOUS! How did I get passed up when I so badly needed a hangar? How did these pilots get put in front of me for hangar space? When I confronted the airport manager his explanation was that the "list" was destroyed by an ex disgruntled employee. So, they really had no ideal who was on the list, or when. I found this to be a very suspicious excuse since I was never told I wasn't on the list, simply that it wasn't my turn yet. If the list got lost, why wouldn't this news of a destroyed list be shared with me during any of our previous communications???

However, the manager agreed that I was now, finally, "next on the list" and I would get the "next available hangar". Then, last week, I met another new pilot at the airport who just got his T-hanger after 3 years on the list (compared to my 4 years now). When I confronted the airport manager again, his excuse was some lie about this particular hangar space being wider than than the others and it was needed for the tenants wider wing-span. (I later measured the hangar, it was the same standard dimensions as all the other T-hangars, no wider at all.)

So, here's my question. Do I have any recourse or leverage? Other than more city staff, is there anyone that can help me? Does FAA have an avenue to hold airport management staff accountable for preferential treatment?

I'm caught between a rock and a hard spot. Raise h - - - with his boss (city manager), FAA, city council, etc... and possibly NEVER get a hangar. Or is there a way to hold airport staff accountable for their practice of giving hangars space to who they see fit?

Any help and/or advice would be appreciated!
 
Public Property

My First thoughts are: If its Public Property then the "waiting list" should be public too. My second thought is all Municipal Airports should have a written Public Policy on handling of waiting lists kind of like "Sunlight Laws". This may not help you now but it just my 2 cents. My favorite way of handling these waiting lists is to make the hangars available first to Pilots on a Tie Down. and if no takers then to the General Public. In my area people drive over an hour past several airports to get to one with enclosed Hangars but this precludes the local Pilots from having access to hangar while their own planes wilt in the Tie Down. Third thought: They should require a substantial deposit to be on waiting list, then have more financial accountability for that money. .. Again, Just my 2 cents, Ed
 
Randy

Sorry to hear about your problem. Almost sounds like one of those 'good ol' boy' things is going on. AirNav says that KBAZ is publicly-owned and the airport manager is Robert Lee. As a tax-paying citizen, you might ask to see the current list since the old one was 'destroyed'. I'd almost guess that a written list doesn't exist. A visit to the city manager's office might be in store; and be able to supply dates of who said what.
Situations like this are tricky when dealing with the city. But it does sound like you got screwed around.
 
Job 1 - Secure a hangar somewhere else, Maybe Huber is an option?

Then I would make my displeasure known with a letter to the City Manager, City Attorney, Copy the FAA, Copy TxDOT.
 
I would try and make all communication via email so you have a written record. You need to start with your representative on the city council. This might also make a interesting article for the local newspaper. A good old boy network might be in effect but I suspect money under the table might be driving who gets hangars.
 
Is it a municipal airport? You could talk to the city about it and possibly see about bringing it up at a meeting.
 
Airports are a funny business these days. I grew up living at the airports. My dad was an A&P I/A and ran flight schools, maintenance shops, FBOs - we just basically lived at one airport or another. All small municipals. There was never discussion of traffic or funding.

Now that I am back flying, 25 years later, I sat in our local airport board meeting last month. The board is concerned, not with revenue from hangars or maintenance operations, but with FUEL sold, (unexpected to me) NUMBER of TO/LANDINGS and IFR operations. They are incentivized to have busy planes that use the tower and buy fuel. That is ALL that matters to them.

Listening to some of the tales of woe on here, I would guess that airport managers probably pick the ones who they feel will accomplish those 3 tasks. Try convincing them the you will be flying IFR, using their tower, and buying lots of fuel. Don’t know if it would make a difference but I know I was surprised to hear those discussions by the board.
 
I'd suggest, as others have done above, making sure your communications are documented, preferably as e-mails. Follow up all calls/conversations with an e-mail. Call them frequently--once or twice a month. It's possible they don't really have a list and just listen to the squeaky wheels.

Start attending the board meetings--you don't have to say anything at first, just make sure the airport manager sees you there a few meetings in a row. Maybe try to get to know someone on the board, or strike up a conversation with board members before or after the meeting.

See if that speeds anything up. Keep taking good notes. If you get no satisfaction, and you can document other people getting hangars before you, then bring it up at the meeting. Some Boards require the public to inform them of questions for the agenda prior to the meetings--you may not have an opportunity to just stand up and ask a question, so make sure you follow their protocol.
 
I'm always surprised at how people don't know how stuff works in this country. The way you go about ensuring your interests at a public airport is to make a modest political donation to the elected official the airport manager works for, regardless of party. This usually means donating to both candidates in an election. I have friends at airports who do this every election cycle, so when it comes time to pull a string, there's a string available to get pulled.
 
FOIA

If the airport is publicly owned by the city or county, then the hangar waiting list should be a public document. Through the Freedom of Information Act, or a state equivalent law, you could probably fill out a form with the city/county clerk's office to request a copy of the document. The may charge a nominal fee for copying the document.
 
what he said

"The board is concerned, not with revenue from hangars or maintenance operations, but with FUEL sold, (unexpected to me) NUMBER of TO/LANDINGS and IFR operations. They are incentivized to have busy planes that use the tower and buy fuel. That is ALL that matters to them.

Listening to some of the tales of woe on here, I would guess that airport managers probably pick the ones who they feel will accomplish those 3 tasks. "

Those 3 items determine grant funding for non-private airports. Under most of the grant programs the government provides 90% of the cost of the improvements, so it is imperative for the airports to increase operations to be able to secure additional funding for future improvements. At our airport hangars are rented to those who will provide these 3 things the most or are local politicians whom can assist in securing airport funding. Our leases are year to year and if someone comes along that is more attractive to the airport based on these three items, then your lease is not renewed and the new person gets your hangar. We do have a waiting list but the city uses its discretion in selection of tenants based on the potential utilization. If you are a builder and there are no flyers or commercial operators waiting for a hangar then they will rent one to you.

Its not fair, but the FAA has backed them up on this in the past. The government provides grant money for airport improvements and wants to be sure that the money causes increased utilization as long as the airport does nothing to violate the grant assurances.
 
Randy
I'd almost guess that a written list doesn't exist.

Yeah, I'd say there never was, and isn't now, any sort of "list". "The list" seems to be the airport manager's equivalent to the old complaint department trick "I'll be sure to let the supervisor know" lie.

Just keep telling people their name is "on the list", and rent to whomever you want.
 
Here is my perspective as an airport "Manager": I have a private runway on my property. I have 3 hangers and rent out hanger and tie-down space. I usually have 5 to 6 tenants. I have very low turn-over, but lots of inquiries for hanger space. I used to keep a waiting list, but I found that after 3,4 or 5 years I am wasting my time to call all of the people on the list. Either they found something, or sold their plane, or they have moved. The worst is: "Let me get back to you" with no timely response.
95% of the time the guy leaving has already told a friend "hay, you can have this space when I sell my plane." I have found that to be my preferred method of filling the empty space. The transition is seamless and requires no effort on my part. It is so much better than the space sitting empty for two months waiting for the "Let me get back to you's" that never get back to me. My bet is that this is what your manager is doing too.
I think your best option is to be friendly with the manager and be a regular presence letting him know that you are ready to go. I know that is not how it should be at a public airport, but you are dealing with humans. The last thing I would do is complain to the township. Unless they are going to fire him over it, you are likely to have an enemy that will find ways to retaliate. It is better to have him as a friend.
 
Gonna be tough to get relevant advice on this...city and county governments are HIGHLY variable in their politics and their political hierarchies. Our local airport is owned by both city and county and is run by a separate airport commission. They tend to be interested in the broad strokes, but things like hangar rentals are pretty much the sole province of the airport manager. Going over his head to the Commission would not be likely to improve one’s chances of getting a hangar. The OP should be very sure of his political ground before taking this farther up the chain. Old Boy Politics is common.
 
A few things you can try:

1. Spend some time developing a relationship with the manager. Listen a lot. Talk about his problems. See if there is a way to help. Be someone that the manager wants around. This isn't sucking up, it's being a part of the airport community. It's during these conversations you'll find out so-and-so is retiring and selling his plane and that's a great time to discuss taking over his hanger.
2. Call every month and remind the manager (nicely) you are looking for a hanger. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Ask if so-and-so sold his plane yet.
3. Let EVERYONE on the airport know you NEED a hangar. (Again, nicely.) Sometimes the decision maker isn't the manager, or the manager just needs a push. I was on the list for my current hanger for months until I happened to talk to Bob one day. "Oh, Barb is a good manager but she just sits on these hangers for some reason. Let me make a call." 2 weeks later I had a hanger.
 
Some airports handle hangar waiting lists like a business, some handle them like a good 'ol boy's network. Figure out which yours is, and either play the game or work to change the way things are handled.
 
I strongly recommend you follow up on the recommendation that Ken suggested and join the airport board if you can. Airport managers ALWAYS pay attention to who their board members are and try to ensure they are taken care of. As the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
 
Airport commission

I was on an airport commission for two airports and yes we were concerned about fuel sales and operations. As some one mentioned when the incredibly small amount of money the FAA divides for small airport improvements is allocated, your ability to pay your 10% and the number of operations can drive your position on the FAAs list. Money generally flows to busy airports, not quiet airports.

Airport Managers are like everyone else, doing a job, some are great and some aren’t. How you deal with your airport manager is up to you. Become part of the airport community, volunteer if the airport uses them and let the manager know You want to be there. I’m not suggesting you kiss his backside, but he has his own issues to deal with.

You can complain to the Airport Division and the FAA might investigate, but probably not. Hangar waitlist is not a grant assurances issue.

Good luck, I hope you get a hangar soon.
 
Advise

You got some good advise already. I'm particularly fond of making friends of everyone.
After 30 years in government, it's the easiest way to get things done. Make sure everone owes you more favors than you owe them. Trust me, they keep track. It's amazing what you can do in government when the people at the top owe you favors.

If none of that works, the one thing every governmental official hates is an Open Records request. Submit an official request for the waiting list and associated hangar issue going back however many nunber of years you've been waiting. If it exists, you'll have an explanation. If not, and I suspect none exists, someone will be looking for a job. Lack of documentation is usually a big deal. Good old boy operations are even worse. Sometimes it means money is changing hands under the table and the media loves that stuff. Once again, someone at the top will get really nervous.
 
Update on Airport Management

Thought I'd circle back and share some progress and outcomes related to my frustrations.

I appreciate all the advice about "making friends" with airport manager and the advice in the spirit of "you get more with honey than with vinegar" and to play the game. However, I'm not a good "game player" and certainly don't engage in games with people I no longer trust. Plus, I felt playing games would simply make me a part of the problem, and I'd much rather be a part of the solution. So, I decided to go to airport managers superiors, and offer not just a complaint, but some possible solutions.

What I didn't mention in my 1st post is that I have a 30 year history in my community serving on city boards, commissions and even as a city council member. So, it's not like I don't have friends in the system. I contacted my city council member (of which I used to hold his office) and the mayor (whom I've known for 30 yrs) and requested help. They arranged a meeting with City Manager, Assistant City Manager, the Economic Development Director (direct supervisor of airport manager), the airport manager and me. In that meeting I shared the frustration of a poorly managed list that had no transparency. I also offered examples of how public assets should be managed more professionally by sharing waitlist policies from 5 other municipal airports.

Friday I was asked to participate in a zoom meeting with 5 other hangar tenants to discuss a proposed "Hangar Waitlist Policy" that clearly spells out how to get on the list, how to progress up the list, and how to be removed from the list. The draft was excellent and I was very excited to see that there will soon be written policies as well as a publicly accessible list! No longer will people have to ask "The Wizard" to see behind the curtain! Anyone on the list can see where they are at any given time.

Though I still don't have a hangar, I now have a written commitment (not verbal) that I'm #2 on the list, and the list will be seen by all. All in all, I'd say it was a win for me, the city and anyone else needing a t-hangar in the future!
 
Great job, Randy! Thanks for your continued service to your community. Fair and open is what we expect from our public servants and thanks to your efforts, we’ll have a little more of that at our airport. Now, if you can just get a hanger near me or Mac, we’ll have an all RV-10 row.
 
Update on Airport Management

Thought I'd circle back and share some progress and outcomes related to my frustrations.

I appreciate all the advice about "making friends" with airport manager and the advice in the spirit of "you get more with honey than with vinegar" and to play the game. However, I'm not a good "game player" and certainly don't engage in games with people I no longer trust. Plus, I felt playing games would simply make me a part of the problem, and I'd much rather be a part of the solution. So, I decided to go to airport managers superiors, and offer not just a complaint, but some possible solutions.

What I didn't mention in my 1st post is that I have a 30 year history in my community serving on city boards, commissions and even as a city council member. So, it's not like I don't have friends in the system. I contacted my city council member (of which I used to hold his office) and the mayor (whom I've known for 30 yrs) and requested help. They arranged a meeting with City Manager, Assistant City Manager, the Economic Development Director (direct supervisor of airport manager), the airport manager and me. In that meeting I shared the frustration of a poorly managed list that had no transparency. I also offered examples of how public assets should be managed more professionally by sharing waitlist policies from 5 other municipal airports.

Friday I was asked to participate in a zoom meeting with 5 other hangar tenants to discuss a proposed "Hangar Waitlist Policy" that clearly spells out how to get on the list, how to progress up the list, and how to be removed from the list. The draft was excellent and I was very excited to see that there will soon be written policies as well as a publicly accessible list! No longer will people have to ask "The Wizard" to see behind the curtain! Anyone on the list can see where they are at any given time.

Though I still don't have a hangar, I now have a written commitment (not verbal) that I'm #2 on the list, and the list will be seen by all. All in all, I'd say it was a win for me, the city and anyone else needing a t-hangar in the future!
You in that hangar yet?
 
Interesting story, I thought I’d share my recent experience. I just got on the wait list about 8 months and was “5th”. My airport only has 6 rental T hangars so I knew this was bleak news and figured at least a few years maybe longer. I resigned to the thought of tie down storage with the shagged-out forgotten half dead hulls while I waited. But in the mean time I decided to peer into the cracks and gaps to make sure that all these hangars were being used as “aeronautical uses”. I was easily able to see that some were empty, had cars and junk etc. so, I decided to escalate and call the city manager. I wanted to call as I didn’t yet want to put into writing my concerns. But he wouldn’t return my calls, so I did write an email. This prompted a call back, however it was clear that this was in fact a ”good ole boys” situation that I was going to get nowhere with. However the city manager did ask which hangars in specific were not being used properly. So I went down there to peer in again and get the numbers and the unfriendly airport manager saw me and got all pissed off about me snooping around. While I was trying to diffuse the situation he admitted the city manager had sent him my email outlining my concerns, exactly what I didn’t want the city manager to do, but whatever. So I retreated with the feeling that i was now going to be “forever 5th” on the list, and my only remaining recourse was to contact Faa hangar use enforcement. Well, a month or two went by and literally the same week I was going to write that email the airport manager called my phone and informed me that I had been moved up to next in line for the one hangar available ! I was very happy to hear this. Now, he said he called the other 4 and nobody wanted it, but after reading your story I can’t help but wonder if he instead just wanted to shut me up. In any case, the squeaky wheel was me, and now that I have a hangar for 175$ a month I’m very suddenly quiet as a clam.
 
This sort of thing is a problem in many (perhaps most) places.

At my airport, about half the runway and taxiway lights have been out of service for somewhere between 9 months and a year. I do fly my tailwheel RV at night, so this has been a concern of mine especially during the winter months. I tried to contact the airport manager via email, then phone -- never got any response. I contacted my hangar landlord, since they operate a large parcel of the airport as well as the fuel island, but they were no help. I called the city's airport office. Nothing. Then I tried the AOPA airport safety network contact. They got back to me and said they'd look into it, but I didn't hear back for quite a long time. I tried other tenants. I contacted the local EAA chapter. Nada.

Eventually I ran out of options. From my perspective, this was a safety hazard. Either the runway lights should work, or they should be NOTAM'd as out of service. I had to shake the bushes continually for months before I finally got an email from the airport manager saying that the runway lighting parts were on back order. I was surprised -- for a whole year? And why was it so hard to get in touch with the manager of a municipal airport?

Seems the more we pay, the less we get these days...

--Ron
 
The best airport management in my experience is Phoenix GA, on the north side of town. EVERYTHING is public including a live waiting list (as of 10 years ago). If you want to be on the list, you pay a non refundable first months rent. Perhaps suggest that they adopt a similar policy. In the process, you will be explaining the reason for your request and your issue will come to the surface. As mentioned above; all in writing. A phone call/letter to the Mayor is most effective as they are elected officials. Arm yourself with facts regarding your issues and keep emotions out of the conversations. Good luck.
 
Eventually I ran out of options. From my perspective, this was a safety hazard. Either the runway lights should work, or they should be NOTAM'd as out of service.
This is indeed a safety issue and could be a huge liability issue for the airport owner. Did you contact the FAA? It is easy and free for an airport to post a NOTAM so a complete lack of responsibility by the airport manager to not post.
 
Last edited:
the airport i am at has the greatest bunch of people at an airport that i have ever met. that said i have been around for a while and i have learned that i wouldn't make any moves against the current mgt. unless you have another place to go. you will probably be sorry.
 
After reading all the forum , I still think fuel sells should be considered in hangar list. If a known aviator, or small company do a lot of flying, and buying fuel they should be moved up on the list, or given first choice. Not someone that is building an aircraft and want be flying for a few years. It cost money to operate an airport. City, and county officials normally do not support giving money or matching funds to an airport no matter how much you try to show them the importance of an airport to a community. The fact that as they see it people with better means have a public outlet that is not used that much by John Q the public (their voters)other than the ones lucky enough own, and fly into and out of their community airport. Now if the airport makes money that gets their attention.
 
When I was on the waiting list for a hanger in a little town in Texas I would drop by and talk to the secretary who maintained the list about once a week.
 
After reading all the forum , I still think fuel sells should be considered in hangar list. If a known aviator, or small company do a lot of flying, and buying fuel they should be moved up on the list, or given first choice. Not someone that is building an aircraft and want be flying for a few years. It cost money to operate an airport. City, and county officials normally do not support giving money or matching funds to an airport no matter how much you try to show them the importance of an airport to a community. The fact that as they see it people with better means have a public outlet that is not used that much by John Q the public (their voters)other than the ones lucky enough own, and fly into and out of their community airport. Now if the airport makes money that gets their attention.

That is a slippery slope. What you are advocating is an available hangar going to someone who owns a twin and showed up last week and one of our guys with an RV who has been on the list for a few years is left tied down out on the ramp...........
 
I wonder if that manager has a pay-to-get-a-hangar scam going.....

Dave
KFFT, the airport in the Kentucky Capitol City of Frankfort, has this sort of scam going. Every time someone inquires about where they are on the list they are given some wild number that is different every time (sometimes lower than last and sometimes higher than last) but never in the top three positions. Been waiting for over three years and the most recent inquiry was "28." Odd since three months prior I was "24." When first getting on the list I was told that I am "34" so am I to believe that in three years only six hangars have turned over? Ask to see the list and the reply is "we cannot disclose the names of people on the list as this would be an "invasion of privacy." That is laughable as the FAA is happy to reveal all personal information on pilots; why would a local airport be concerned with privacy?
 
That is a slippery slope. What you are advocating is an available hangar going to someone who owns a twin and showed up last week and one of our guys with an RV who has been on the list for a few years is left tied down out on the ramp...........
Exactly. Tying a hangar wait list to potential fuel sales would be a really bad idea; I’ll venture a guess and say that most RV builders need at least 6 months, possibly up to a year or two in a hangar at an airport for final assembly. Using a fuel sale metric to assign hangar space off a wait list would ensure that no RV builder would EVER get a hangar. Don923, you appear to have bought your RV; of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but, if you were a builder, you’d rethink your idea of using fuel sales to assign hangars. And as Sam mentioned above, if you’re on a wait list with your fuel miserly RV-7 and some dude shows up with a thirsty Baron 58 and gets a hangar ahead of you, methinks you might get a wee bit irritated about it.

The thing about hangar shortages that drives me nuts are the hangars with no planes in ‘em, they’re just piled high with junk and used as a storage facility, or worse yet, some dude is running a non-aviation business there. There are still several hangars at my airport that fit this description. Grrr.
 
The thing about hangar shortages that drives me nuts are the hangars with no planes in ‘em, they’re just piled high with junk and used as a storage facility, or worse yet, some dude is running a non-aviation business there. There are still several hangars at my airport that fit this description. Grrr.
This is the case at KFFT that I mentioned in post #34. One hangar is being used as a race car garage (the tenant likes the security an airport offers for his extensive tool set and high dollar engine components), another is being used by a lawn care company to store snow plow blades and various lawn care accessories and one other is holding a Cessna 172 that has not been airworthy in almost 20 years yet the very aged owner will not part with his airplane until he dies. I've been told there are even more than these three that I know about but I do not have details on their status.
 
After reading all the forum , I still think fuel sells should be considered in hangar list. If a known aviator, or small company do a lot of flying, and buying fuel they should be moved up on the list, or given first choice. Not someone that is building an aircraft and want be flying for a few years. It cost money to operate an airport. City, and county officials normally do not support giving money or matching funds to an airport no matter how much you try to show them the importance of an airport to a community. The fact that as they see it people with better means have a public outlet that is not used that much by John Q the public (their voters)other than the ones lucky enough own, and fly into and out of their community airport. Now if the airport makes money that gets their attention.
Then airports need to add an unleaded option to their fuel offering.
 
I spent 5 years on the waiting list at KCLW. Each time I asked to see the list, I was assured I was on it but there was always some reason the list wasn't currently accessible. Come to find out the city didn't actually maintain that list, but the shady FBO operator who, best I can tell, just collected rent and fuel money every month and paid the city a small portion of it. I happened to meet him randomly one day in another setting (first time I found out we even had a third party running things) and when he found out I was a pilot he said to let him know if I ever needed anything. Half-joking, I said "yea, I need a hangar!". A week later I get a call that my name had come up on the list.

Come to find out lots of shady stuff was going on there, including his son stealing assault rifles that were being stored in one of the hangars... https://www.tbnweekly.com/clearwater_beacon/article_3c7568f0-c4f9-11e9-8c18-6ba7a99fbc27.html

All while raising my hangar rent to over $650/month by the time I left.

When I started my new hangar search in NC, I found every airport had a different process, but I much prefer the ones who maintain a public list and also take a deposit to ensure people are serious. In the end, I found a new hangar through the good ol boy system also, and am subletting from another pilot who found a new one closer to home. My recommendation to everybody now is to hit the social networks and airport bulletin boards, talk to every "airport bum" you meet, and you are more likely to find a home that way.

Chris
 
The thing about hangar shortages that drives me nuts are the hangars with no planes in ‘em, they’re just piled high with junk and used as a storage facility, or worse yet, some dude is running a non-aviation business there. There are still several hangars at my airport that fit this description. Grrr.
If that is happening on an airport that receives FAA grants the FAA needs to know about this hangar abuse. A few years ago the FAA made a real push to have non-aviation activity removed from hangars at airports they fund. A lot of collector car and boat owners had to find new storage for their toys (I have both but never at the hangar!).
 
I spent 5 years on the waiting list at KCLW. Each time I asked to see the list, I was assured I was on it but there was always some reason the list wasn't currently accessible. Come to find out the city didn't actually maintain that list, but the shady FBO operator who, best I can tell, just collected rent and fuel money every month and paid the city a small portion of it. I happened to meet him randomly one day in another setting (first time I found out we even had a third party running things) and when he found out I was a pilot he said to let him know if I ever needed anything. Half-joking, I said "yea, I need a hangar!". A week later I get a call that my name had come up on the list.

Come to find out lots of shady stuff was going on there, including his son stealing assault rifles that were being stored in one of the hangars... https://www.tbnweekly.com/clearwater_beacon/article_3c7568f0-c4f9-11e9-8c18-6ba7a99fbc27.html

All while raising my hangar rent to over $650/month by the time I left.

When I started my new hangar search in NC, I found every airport had a different process, but I much prefer the ones who maintain a public list and also take a deposit to ensure people are serious. In the end, I found a new hangar through the good ol boy system also, and am subletting from another pilot who found a new one closer to home. My recommendation to everybody now is to hit the social networks and airport bulletin boards, talk to every "airport bum" you meet, and you are more likely to find a home that way.

Chris
Hey Chris, I was just going to comment on my hangar list exercise at KCLW. I had been on that list for awhile & when I heard a row of 12 shade hangars were being torn down & replaced with T Hangars. Now was my chance, or what I thought. I called B at the FBO every few months & requested my number on "The List" & date TH would be completed. I documented every date & my list#. When the T hangars were coming available, all of a sudden my list# went way down on the list. I finally called her out on what I called "hangar list corruption" with all the dates of our conversations. A couple days later, I had a hangar. Go figure.
 
KBAZ is operated by the City which is subject to the Texas Open Meeting Act and the Texas Open Records Act. Though minutes are supposed to be promptly posted, the Airport Board there, which apparently meeting every 2 months, is months behind in posting minutes online as required. There are no minutes from the January or March meeting posted. https://newbraunfels.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx . But, I see that the March minutes are on the agenda for the May 15 meeting next week. I attached those minutes and the 5/15 agenda below.

Agendas are required to be posted 3 days in advance of the meeting, and you can sign up on the City website to have them emailed to you. The law there requires that the audio record be made available to the public even before minutes are adopted. Minutes are supposed to be posted "as soon as practicable" but I didn't find a specific deadline or number of day. (Note: The Texas laws are quite aggressive, with misdemeanors for failure to keep records or having unannounced or undocumented closed meetings. Minimum jail sentence of one month(!), fines, and the possible recovery of attorneys fees of the complainant.)

"Section 2051.202 of the Government Code requires a district to post on its website, among other things, the location and schedule of meetings, as well as meeting notices, minutes, and instructions for requesting certain meeting locations. See TEX. GOV’T CODE § 2051.202(d)(11), (13), (14)."

"Section 552.353(a) of the Government Code provides:An officer for public information, or the officer’s agent, commits an offense if, with criminal negligence, the officer or the officer’s agent fails or refuses to give access to, or to permit or provide copying of, public information to a requestor as provided by this chapter.Subsections (b) through (d) of section 552.353 set out various affirmative defenses to prosecution under subsection (a), including, for example, that a timely request for a decision from the attorney general is pending or that the officer for public information is pursuing judicial relief from compliance with a decision of the attorney general pursuant to section 552.324.262 A violation of section 552.352 or section 552.353 constitutes official misconduct 263 and is a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in a county jail for not more than six months, a fine not to exceed $1,000, or both confinement and the fine."

I would attend the airport board meeting (get agenda in advance) and make a polite public comment (item 5 on the agenda) about confusion on the hangar management and the illegal denial of the hangar waiting list. If their attorney (city attorney maybe) says there is a privacy thing to consider, then ask for a redacted list that shows, for example, just the last 3 digits of the waiting N-numbers -- something that will insure there is no juggling or jumping on the list. The only privacy concerns mentioned in that Open Meeting law pertains to education and unemployment benefits. So, if a privacy concerns about the airplane waiting list is raised, I would as if the City Attorney had directed that or if it was just their lay opinion. Tell them you will request a copy of the waiting list in writing.

Texas Open Meeting Law: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.go...divisions/open-government/openmeetings_hb.pdf
Texas's very long Open Records Act: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.go...s/divisions/open-government/publicinfo_hb.pdf

Sign up for NB Airport Board emailed agendas here: https://newbraunfels.gov/list.aspx?listid=365#

Obviously, this is a pretty complicated area of law if the city wants to contest you. If the AAB is not cooperative, go to the City Attorney. Maybe there is a Texas attorney also on the waiting list that would help you. And, always be polite.
 

Attachments

  • NBAAB_Minutes_2024 03 20.pdf
    200.7 KB · Views: 18
  • Agenda.pdf
    279.8 KB · Views: 13
Come to find out lots of shady stuff was going on there
It's a multifaceted problem. There's shady/illegal stuff, then there's legal but sketchy. Like, renting preferentially to non-aviation users who pay a higher rate. Or pretending there's a "list" when no such list ever existed (which is most of the time, as far as I can tell). There's also the government-owned vs. privately-owned axis. We have both at my airport, and both seem to be equally bad about having hangars full of cars, boats, business crap, general storage. The county seems, from what I've observed, to be more amenable to kicking out a non-aviation user, but you have to be pretty pushy about it. The private hangars seem to take escalation to FSDO or higher to get them to do so. On the county side, I think it's just laziness. For the private ones, I'm pretty sure it's greed.
 
Fascinating topic. Lots of great comments. I have been though the wringer with hangars. Some airports are fine with building and some do not allow it at all. Pricing has skyrocketed as well. I have a hangar in Sebring FL. I wanted one on the same field as Lockwood. I have a house in Lake Placid it is fairly close. I was added to the wait list about a year and a half ago. I got a call in December saying a hangar opened up for me. I filled out the Application. They wanted pics of the plane I would be parking there, a copy of the airworthiness certificate, registration and other stuff. I provided all to them. They approved me and sent a lease that I signed and sent back to them. The hangar rent at the time was around $235/mo. They then ghosted me. I could not reach anyone. I think they had a management change or something. I got a call in February saying the hangar rent will be going up and if I wanted to stay on the wait list. I told them I had already been called and they did not know anything about it. I stayed on the wait list. I needed a hangar... I get a call in March saying a hangar opened up for me. I had to go though the same application process again. Then I find out they weren't kidding about the rent going up. It jumped from $235 to $423.29/mo including tax. I still have the original lease I filled out with the lower price. I was hit with a $200/mo increase in 3 months! It sounds like all of the tenants got the same increase, which is probably why my hangar opened up.

Another challenge I had with Sebring is they will only allow airworthy aircraft with a current annual/condition inspection in the hangar. This is why they wanted the airworthiness certificate and registration. They will not allow anyone to build in the hangars. They actually charge a fee every month for the Fire Department to inspect the hangars to make sure no one is performing maintenance in them. I can only park certificated or completed builds, which is a bit ironic when Lockwood is based there. They are the largest Rotax dealer in the country. The airport is always full of experimental airplanes.

What I have seen is that it is incredibly difficult to find hangar space. These airports can charge whatever they want. They know they can rent them to someone else. They don't have to provide any service and there really isn't anything we can do about it. I just bend over and take it. I have found that arguing them just leads to being evicted or hassled about everything. Most hangars I have rented are month to month contracts. They can change the rent or ask someone to leave with little to no notice. This has happened to me in Chicago 4 times. They call me one day and said they are taking down my hangar. I had 30 days to move out. I had tools and all sorts of stuff with nowhere to go. It was a nightmare. The new one they built to replace the old one took 1.5 years to complete. When I moved into the new hangar I was paying around $250/month. I am now paying $600/month for the same hangar. Every time the rate has increased they have called me in November/December and said it was going up the following month. My options were to move out or pay. Some of my neighbors bailed the last time. They had those hangars filled within 45 days.
 
Wow, we really revived this thread. As a pilot needing a hangar and an airport manager working through a hangar wait list at a rural airport, I completely appreciate all the comments. Heres my 2 cents.

Governments are terrible at managing airports for many reasons. Usually it’s apathy or underfunding, but more times than not, its that governments are meant to provide services equitably to everyone. Airports must, by law, give priority to businesses that have the greatest economic impact. By contrast, the airport is required to charge everyone the same amount for equal space. Real Airport managers are bound by a lot more rules than you think. We must act as an enterprise fund and be separated from all other city funds( that makes the cities mad).
Every airport manager wants to build hangars right now. We know there is a shortage. We also know that there is a record number of pilots being trained that will want their own airplane and need a hangar in the next few years. Construction costs have increased so much that our breakeven point, with current rental rates, was 52 years. A 52 year losing streak is a very hard thing to sell when you are trying to find the 10% matching funding for a runway rehab. There are basicly no hangars available anywhere. Airports really struggle to keep the cost of general aviation as inexpensive as possible but there is only one solution to this.
All airport managers hate hangar wait lists for the exact same reason….because everyone needing a hangar is on 25 wait lists and it wastes a massive amount of our time. It’s not as easy as you think. Almost every current tenant has a request to be in a different building, so you have to make them the offer and wait 24 hours then move down the list calling and waiting for people who may not even have an airplane or a license. Then as soon as somebody moves, it seems like all the tenants try to figure out a way to be upset about it. I want everyone to have a hangar and I want to do it in a fair way. That’s why i have put 5 people in hangars while my own is tied down on the ramp while I wait for one.

All leases for land at airports in the grant program are required to be reversion leases. That means at the end of the term, the airport owns it. The FAA doesn’t want to spend millions on the runway then the airport sell the land around it. There is really only one solution, hangar rates have to go up to justify their construction.

A question for you guys….as an airport manager with an obligation to attempt to make a profit, do you allow an experimental with a rotax buying gas at the convenience store in the hangar or skip him for the Pawnee crop duster making a living and buying 10k gallons of fuel?

Or if a 48’ hangar came available and a rv12 was next on the list?



Under our current system, the hangar goes to the rotax.
 
There was an earlier comment about trying to manage a list and getting a whole lot of "I'll get back to you" responses.

In an airport I was on the waitlist for, they would email everyone every time there was something available. Something like:
"A t-hangar in section X became available. You are on the waitlist, though may not be first on the list. Please respond if you want it".

There were further instructions saying that you could ignore it, respond that you don't want it just yet, and you could do that twice before being removed from the list. In this way, the airport would know exactly who is available to take the hangar, and who wants to remain on the list. I imagine doing this with only the top 10 people on the list would work just as well.
 
Our city paid half a million dollars for the 10% matching funds ( so proud of the city council) for a new runway tripling the total of grass to be mowed. All while the airport board was under constant attack for “wasting all the taxpayer money” for the benefit of “a few rich people”. It’s always a fight on the local level to get anything done at an airport.To keep me from working 70 hours per week, we hired a new employee at 35k. fighting for a new runway and proper maintainence escalated our costs dramatically. The nominal hangar rent increases aren’t always paying more for your airport space but sometimes paying for the use of more airport features and benefits.
That updated AWOS with the newly required tipping bucket is 3k and comes with a $1500 annual maintenance contract. That hangar comes with lawn care, electricity, insurance, snow removal, maintenance, a security fence, access to bathrooms and a lounge with wifi, knowledgeable staff, and some of the best neighbors on the planet.
Avgas at your local airport is sold very close to cost with over $100,000 worth of equipment. The Fuelmaster pedestal that you have to strain to see the screen when you buy fuel….$30k. The control board in the PAPI cost 3k to repair this week. Runway lightbulbs that used to be a dollar are now $10.

I absolutely love being an airport manager. My job is to be the caretaker of an airfield and help pilots and tenants. There is nothing I would rather do. The reviews of my airport show how much I am willing to help. I am not making these posts to complain, just to let you know that there a lot of amazing airports with good local support that are doing everything they can within the rules to get more hangars. Tenants have to understand that they can’t have cheap gas, cheap hangars, improved airports and a low cost lease in almost unlimited demand. Those hangar rent increase are one of the few ways to fund new hangars.

And we require an email for all hangar requests. that way, the date and Request is documented and a list can be created. But the lists never look simple like you would think, almost every request has some type of stipulation which delays their progress in line and causes more delays for the process.
 
Under our current system, the hangar goes to the rotax.
That's how I've seen it at all airports I was in the waitlist for - purely a matter of who put their name down first.

Around here at least, a 48' hangar is going to be quite a bit more expensive than a 40' T-hangar so you probably won't have someone plant their RV in there unless it's shared with another plane. A basic T-hangar can be < 500, where a square hangar is easily over 1000 - that's a brand new paint job every couple of years.

What throws a hammer in the works is if someone got that 48' hangar, put their tiny plane in it but used the majority of the space for their boat and RV. Technically I think that satisfies the rules of the hangar being used for aviation (so long as the plane is airworthy and accessible), but I've seen too many boats being driven around the airport to believe people aren't abusing this privilege and wish there were limits on non-aviation related items.
 
If that is happening on an airport that receives FAA grants the FAA needs to know about this hangar abuse. A few years ago the FAA made a real push to have non-aviation activity removed from hangars at airports they fund. A lot of collector car and boat owners had to find new storage for their toys (I have both but never at the hangar!).
I remember when this happened as I was building at a private airport at the time. Initially building was not defined as an "aeronautical activity" for hangar use, but the policy was revised accordingly. Here is a link to some FAQ's of the current policy.

https://www.faa.gov/airports/airport_compliance/hangar_use
 
Our uncontrolled regional airport has about 60 or 70 T-hangars that rent for $170 - $210 per month depending on age. Price increases occur annually and are based on the CPI. The size differences are primarily door height...otherwise all will fit a Bonanza comfortably relative to footprint and most will fit a light twin.There is no waiting list...always a vacancy or two. Services like snow plowing and on-demand hangar repairs are very good, but they don't invest much in ongoing maintenance and the older hangars (50-70 years old) are bad news relative to grading and general condition. I recently switched to a newer one because I was getting flooding with snow melt. The airport is city and county-owned, run by a commission. I live about 10 miles away in a different town. The administration is friendly, honest, and available. They have rules, but aren't really sticklers. Living in Minnesota requires a lot of seasonal rolling stock. Most hangars, mine included, store a variety of other vehicles besides airplanes...boats, snowmobiles, cars, motorcycles, etc. The rules say that there has to be an airplane in there too, but nobody really checks and I know that there are at least a couple of hangars that haven't housed an airplane in years. The guy in the hangar next to me has a pickleball court taped out on the floor and it's popular at the various grilling parties that we host every so often.

General aviation is not a very lucrative aspect of the airport's business, nor is it a high priority. Their focus is on jets and corporate aircraft due to fuel sales and big hangar rental, and at the root, the airport lives or dies based on the twice-daily Delta commuter service and Sun Country Charters. Their high fuel prices (AvFuel) drive a lot of General Aviation fueling to one of the small local airports in a 30 mile radius where the gas is about $2.00/gallon cheaper. All-in-all...it's a nice environment and I feel fortunate to have an affordable place to put my plane where the airport is well-cared for and there is extensive maintenance and avionics support on the field. Could be better...but could be a LOT worse, and from what I read here, often is. Threads like this make me feel bad for my very occasional bitching to the airport manager.
 
Last edited:
Back
Top