The Franconia Soaring Foundation (FSF) recently broke ground on a new Training and Operations Center facility located at the Franconia Airport. The modern facility replaces the aged flight shack that faithfully supported flight operations for nearly 50 years, and features the modern conveniences the spartan shack lacked.
The 6,100 square foot, two-level structure initially will provide a large training classroom, an operations center, and ground level storage for airfield maintenance equipment. Additional phases will provide four reconfigurable guest rooms, kitchen, laundry, and an expanded classroom. The structure is built to support a 46,000 kilowatt-hour per year solar array which will allow the building to exceed net-zero energy consumption, supplying excess energy to the grid.
Foundation President Tom Ganse adds, “This project is essential to accomplishing our mission of preserving Franconia Airport and educating the general public on the art and science of motorless flight.” Ganse continues, “A large part of that mission involves partnerships with surrounding schools and Career and Technical Centers. We are excited to have these partnerships in place already with the Hugh Gallen and the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Centers. We look forward to expanding opportunities to other schools and to hosting those students as they explore careers in the aviation industry.”
Ganse reports “This facility was made possible through a USDA/Northern Border Regional Commission grant, which encouraged many additional generous donations, substantially reducing the need for loans. We also benefit from the broad support of the Town, our neighbors, and nearby residents. Fundraising continues, to cover the loans and move into the final two phases that will allow the facility to support year-round availability for the North Country.”
Construction is expected to continue through the winter months, with a target ribbon-cutting sometime in May 2024. The Franconia Soaring Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit and New Hampshire Charitable Trust. Information on how you can support this workforce development initiative through your tax-deductible donations may be found at https://soarfranconia.org/donate.
Aged flight shack supported flight operations for nearly 50 years.
New facility being built to net-zero specifications.
Trusses arrive on site.
Foundation shows footprint of the new Training and Operations Center.