Hanscom Field Advisory Commission ~ Operations, Fluorine-Free Foam, Taxiway Repaving ~ September, 2021

The manager of administration at Hanscom Field told the facility’s Advisory Commission at its virtual meeting Tuesday that airport operations in August increased by 9.5 percent over the same period a year earlier.

Her data also showed that the 12,176 takeoffs and landings were an increase of more than 500 percent over the 2,358 recorded in April 2020, the first full month of the effects of the global pandemic. That’s the month aircraft operations bottomed out.

Goodspeed reported significant one-year August increases in turboprop aircraft (812 from 556) and jets (2,867, compared to 1,840), as Hanscom operations continue to approach pre-pandemic levels. There was a slight decline in single-engine operations.

She told the commission that the annual noise report for 2020 is expected to be ready before the end of 2021.

The report Tuesday also included August noise complaints to Massport, which totaled 332 from 30 callers in nine towns. Almost 300 of the complaints emanated from eight people – one individual logged 100.

Bedford Select Board member Emily Mitchell inquired whether repeated, high-volume complaints trigger a particular response from Massport.

“We try to treat them all equally,” Goodspeed said of the callers. “It’s more likely if I hear from someone I’ve never heard from, as opposed to complaints about something that I am not able to control. It’s hard to generalize but a lot of people who make multiple complaints typically complain about the same thing.”

Commission chair Christopher Eliot said he hopes each complaint is addressed on individual merit.

Accidental Release of Fluorine-free Foam

Goodspeed also reported the recent accidental release of fluorine-free foam, a firefighting compound, during a training exercise at Hanscom’s East Ramp. The location is within the Shawsheen River watershed. Local and state officials were notified and “all appropriate action was taken,” she said Results are pending on testing from the river as well as a catch basin.

Bedford Select Board Emily Mitchell said the spill was about six gallons and “there was no concern” from municipal staff about an impact on water. Indeed, Bedford no longer has active wellfields; all of the town’s water emanates from the metropolitan supply. The river does provide water to other communities downstream.

Resurfacing Taxiway November

Goodspeed told the commission that the resurfacing of the taxiway known as November, accessed from Hartwell Road in Bedford, began on Aug. 30 and is expected to be “substantially completed” next week.

“We haven’t had any complaints,” Goodspeed said. “So far, all has been quiet.”

A resident on the haul route for trucks carrying asphalt to and from the site commented that the volume was noticeably higher Monday and Tuesday, and more sporadic on Wednesday.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763

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