Hanscom Field

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Laurence G. Hanscom Field
Hanscom Field Logo.png
Hanscom Air Force Base - MA.jpg
Airport typePublic / military
OperatorMassachusetts Port Authority (Massport)
LocationBedford, Massachusetts
OpenedJune 26, 1941
(79 years ago)
Focus city forTailwind Air Service
Time zoneEST (UTC-05:00:00)
 • Summer (DST)EDT (UTC-04:00:00)
Elevation AMSL132 ft / 40 m
Coordinates42°28′12″N 071°17′20″W / 42.47000°N 71.28889°W / 42.47000; -71.28889Coordinates: 42°28′12″N 071°17′20″W / 42.47000°N 71.28889°W / 42.47000; -71.28889
FAA airport diagram as of January 2021
FAA airport diagram as of January 2021
BED is located in Massachusetts
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 (2017)
Aircraft operations128,598
Based aircraft262

Hanscom Field (IATA: BED, ICAO: KBED, FAA LID: BED) (Laurence G. Hanscom Field) is a public use airport operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority, located 14 mi (12 nmi; 23 km) outside Boston in Bedford, Massachusetts, United States.[1]

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. 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 10,956 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2017,[2] 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).[3]

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 (see Airport security repercussions due to the September 11 attacks). Hanscom Field saw changes implemented by Massport that included security fees, identification cards, and a requirement for propeller locks.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

2015 aerial view of Hanscom Field

Hanscom Field covers 1,125 acres (455 ha; 4.55 km2) at an elevation of 132 ft (40 m) above mean sea level.

It has two asphalt runways:

  • Runway 11/29 is 7,011 ft × 150 ft (2,137 m × 46 m)[1]
  • Runway 5/23 is 5,107 ft × 150 ft (1,557 m × 46 m)[1]

In 2017 the airport had 128,598 aircraft operations, average 352 per day: 82% general aviation, 17% air taxi, <1% military, and <1% scheduled commercial. 262 aircraft were then based at this airport: 141 single-engine, 25 multi-engine, 83 jet, and 13 helicopter.[1]

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 Field's traffic is primarily business jets and general aviation aircraft. The airport is served by a FAA control tower which operates between the hours of 7:00 am (-05:00) to 11:00 pm (-05:00). Massport assesses a nighttime field use fee for takeoffs or landings conducted outside of the tower operating hours.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Under Massport regulations adopted in 1980 (Part F of the General Rules and Regulations for Laurence G. Hanscom Field), scheduled commercial operations are limited to aircraft with up to 60 seats.[4]

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, New Hampshire, and Trenton–Mercer Airport in New Jersey.

In its final years, Clipper added flights from Hanscom to Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport in Central New York. Even with this new route, 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. That left Hanscom Field without scheduled airline service for the first time in a decade. In 2011, Trenton-based airline Streamline Air began its first public charter route to Hanscom using 30-seat Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia aircraft, beginning with two daily round trips on weekdays. Streamline ceased operations on September 15, 2012.[5]


AirNet Baltimore-Martin State, Buffalo, Cleveland–Cuyahoga, Cincinnati, St. Louis–Spirit [6]

Notable events at Hanscom Field[edit]

On 8 August 1962, a US Air Force KC-135, a modified former 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.

On 24 November 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.[7]

On 31 May 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.[8] Lewis Katz, co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com, was among the dead.[9][10]

Movies/scenes filmed at Hanscom Field[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e FAA Airport Form 5010 for BED PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. Effective March 31, 2019.
  2. ^ "Enplanements for CY 2017" (PDF, 1.0 MB). CY 2017 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. November 7, 2018.
  3. ^ "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
  4. ^ "The State of Hanscom, March 2017" (PDF). Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Ameriflight Routes". Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  7. ^ Fulham, Dana (November 25, 1988). "US Detains Man Sought by Greece in Scandal". The Boston Globe.
  8. ^ NTSB data published
  9. ^ Cavaliere, Victoria, Chris Michaud, Jon Herskovitz, and Dave Warner, "Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner among seven dead in Massachusetts plane crash," Reuters, June 1, 2014, 2:33pm EDT.
  10. ^ "Saturday 31 May 2014 Accident". Aviation Safety Network. June 1, 2014.
  11. ^ Tracked Down: - BostonHerald.com Archived 2011-06-13 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]