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Westover Air Reserve Base getting new $43M hangar to service giant planes

In 2006, the base in Chicopee was selected as one of three bases that would conduct regular examinations and maintenance on the entire C-5 fleet. But the base never had a hangar that could fit the entire plane.

An Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy sits on the tarmac at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, MA on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. (Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe)

CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) — Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts is getting a new hangar where the massive C-5M Super Galaxy planes at the base can be serviced entirely indoors.

Westover officials are in the process of seeking bids from contractors to construct the new $43 million hangar and officials hope to break ground on the project in the spring, an aide for U.S. Rep. Richard Neal tells Masslive.com.

In 2006, the base in Chicopee was selected as one of three bases that would conduct regular examinations and maintenance on the entire C-5 fleet. But the base never had a hangar that could fit the entire plane.

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The military cargo jet is nearly as tall as a seven-story building and its wingspan measures almost 223 feet (68 meters) feet. At 247 feet (75 meters) long, the tail of the jet always stuck out the back, and even though Westover eventually added a hangar door that closes around the tail, it was never considered ideal.

Construction is expected to take about 18 months. When it is finished, the new hangar will offer state-of-the-art systems that will make it easier for the maintenance crews to do their jobs.

With about 5,500 military and civilian workers, Westover is the city’s largest employer.

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