The World War II–era Katama Airfield hangar was finally laid to rest Thursday afternoon.
A small group of onlookers watched as the hangar fell to a heap of scrap amid sounds of screeching metal and splintering wood.
The hangar was originally pieced together from remnants of two larger buildings that were destroyed in a 1944 hurricane.
The new hangar, which was delivered to the Island last week, is 6,200 square feet — increased from 4,500 square feet — and will house three aircraft, maintenance equipment, the airport manager’s office, a storage room, and an area for pilots and students to plan their flights.
“[The new building] will look like the old building,” airport manager Alyssa DaSilva said. “Just not as rusty, and slightly bigger.”
The Katama Airfield does generate some revenue. Planes are charged $15 per landing, $25 per night for parking, and $350 for seasonal parking. On average, the airfield has about 550 landings per year. The airfield also sells approximately 8,500 gallons of aviation fuel each year. The airfield also leases the restaurant space for $50,000 per season, and generates $7,500 from other airplane operators. In total, the airfield brings in close to $120,000 a year on a $95,000 operating budget. In addition, the airfield helps preserve the 190 acres of sandplains grassland where the planes land.
Plans to construct a new hangar began in 1995, according to the Katama Airfield Trust website. In 2019, Edgartown voters approved $950,000 to engineer, demolish, and build a new hangar. Then in January, Katama Airfield received a $190,000 gift to be used to pay for steel components and a hangar door.
The airfield will next pour a foundation and then erect the new building, which is expected to go up in the next two weeks.