At 50 feet by 60 feet, Hangar 50 fills 3,000 square feet of space on the edge of the south ramp of the airport. It is a sad, dilapidated structure that is well past its prime. Its steel facade, pasty brown with peeling, chipped paint, was erected many decades ago — long enough that the walls and support beams have become significantly eroded by the elements.
When the clouds dispense rain, the hangar’s roof offers little resistance, moistening the floor below. The drips are a mere annoyance, however. Stormwater flows freely into the hangar through gaps at the base of the walls, pooling up on the floor in quantities that can be measured by the inch.
More often than not, the floor is wet.
The floor itself is a miracle of patchwork. The back half of the hangar floor is concrete. Not level or flat, but relatively smooth. The front half of the building features a severely pitted asphalt floor. It undulates noticeably, causing rolling tool boxes and workbenches to shed loose items enroute due to the unavoidable shaking. Round wheels are no match for a surface that more closely replicates a cheese grater than an engineered floor.
In a nutshell, the hangar is a wreck. It could be considered an embarrassment by more discerning tenants. For the Aspiring Aviators Aero Club, however, it is home. A much appreciated and well-respected home, at that.
It is where the oddity of a high school flying club can gain a foothold and begin to prosper. This is where members gather twice a week to get their hands dirty restoring a donated 1945 Piper J-3 Cub, and to begin the construction of a Pietenpol Air Camper using plans and
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