The Concord Minute Men seen against the sunrise. Photo by Ken McGagh for The Concord Bridge

Hanscom planes need to pipe down for 250th celebrations, officials say

By Erin

Concord officials say jets flying to and from Hanscom Airport will need to pipe down during next year’s American Revolution 250th celebrations

They said they want to ensure “the shot heard ‘round the world” doesn’t get drowned out by air traffic.

“Next April when we’re celebrating the 250th, can we tone down the noise somehow for that celebration?” Select Board member Terri Ackerman asked a Massport official during a Tuesday Hanscom Field Advisory Commission meeting.

Blasts of noise from passing aircraft interrupted last month’s Patriots Day festivities at the Old North Bridge, which sits about five miles from Hanscom Field.

Ackerman on Tuesday referenced “several reports” of noise disturbances from planes that she said disrupted the parade and speakers. 

Massport, which operates Hanscom Field, received no direct complaints, an official said.

“Given that this is the 250th anniversary of the founding of this country, is there any possibility that the FAA would agree to a no-fly zone over the Old North Bridge for this one single day?” Commission Chairman Christopher Eliot asked. 

The Concord Independent Battery on the grounds of The Old Manse in Minute Man National Historic Park on Patriots Day. Photo by Maia Kennedy Photography

Massport’s Amber Goodspeed told commissioners the request was on her “list of to-dos,” but declined to make any promises, as the decision rests at least partially with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Jennifer Mehigan, a Massport spokeswoman,later told The Concord Bridge the agency plans to make a formal request to the Federal Aviation Administration to use a “less impactful” runway configuration during 250th commemorative events. 

“Massport recognizes the historical significance of the 250th anniversary as an important event for the entire Commonwealth, and we will do our part to minimize noise,” she said in an email.

When it comes to noise from Hanscom Field, April was a busy month for Concord, data show. 

Noise complaints in general were up 42 percent last month with 252 disturbances compared to 177 in April 2023, according to a monthly noise report. 

Noise monitoring at ​Concord Wastewater on Bedford Street showed a 3.6-decibel spike in overall noise levels last month over the previous April.

Hanscom hangar
File photo

A just-published 576-page report details the environmental impact of the Bedford airfield, which also borders Concord, Lexington, and Lincoln.

It paints the picture of a transportation hub that has taken strides to cut noise pollution — but anticipates increasing levels alongside a proposed hangar expansion.

Developers have proposed a controversial 522,380-square-foot project that would primarily expand the airport’s capacity to house private jets. 

In a recent draft environmental impact report filed with the state Environmental Policy Act Office, proponents argued the project would not expand private jet traffic. 

Disputing that claim: HFAC Chairman Eliot, Ackerman, and activist groups including Stop Private Jet Expansion, the Conservation Law Foundation, and Save Our Heritage. 

A public comment period for the project’s draft environmental impact review continues through June 14.