Climate Protesters Close Mass. Airport


Twenty climate change protesters were arrested at Hanscom Field Airport in Bedford, Massachusetts, after they got on the ramp in front of FBO and generally disrupted operations. The airport was briefly closed while police were called to sort it all out, and the result was that most of the 25 or so protesters ended up arrested and facing disorderly conduct charges. All were released, either on a promise to appear in court or after posting a bond. A group called Extinction Rebellion confirmed it was behind the protest and told WCVB News they were there for a “peaceful, non-violent, non-destructive act of civil disobedience” over the airport’s bid to add 17 new business jet hangars at the field.

The group said protesters formed circles around the landing gear of aircraft and stood in front of them to prevent them moving on the ramp. They also blocked the doors of several FBOs to keep people from getting out to the ramp. The protest was aimed at Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, who they said ran on environmental protection ticket. “She has allowed this expansion to happen while she sits silently and passively, pretending to be on the side of climate,” Jamie McGonagill, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Boston, told the TV station. Healey’s office told the station the hangar proposal is under environmental review.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


      • OK, Tom, which is it? Here you say DEI screws up everything, later you comment that protesters are rich white kids with no jobs or brains.
        Are you throwing out “DEI” as some kind of a magic trigger flag word, as if it has anything to do with anything here, or do you clearly have no idea of what it means? Do you think anyone wants to get wrapped up in whatever delusion you have going on? Until you get the mental health help you need, I suggest you stay away from the keyboard.

    • Ha ha ha. Very good. Sometimes ya just gotta have a boogey man to blame.

      One thought, though: I remember eaves dropping on a conversation between a couple of these type protesters once, and guess what? They were both what I call “professional protesters.” They were sharing war stories about the actions in which they had each taken part—each one a different cause, no real personal issues, just protest. They live for it, and no, they weren’t trust fund babies, though there are probably a few of those in their ranks, like “Dead-Heads.”

      This has been going on for a very long time. “No new thing under the Sun.”

      • Ecclesiastes. One of my favorite books. Solomon’s wisdom had it’s ups and downs, this was definitely an up.

      • Yep, I went to a city hall meeting with a couple hundred others to convince the council and mayor to stop using red light cameras. There were protestors there for something else who saw we had way more people and they simply joined. We had no idea what they were originally there for. One of our organizers got on city council in the next election after the mayor caved.

    • Nah, just climate justice and social justice warriors. There’s a lot of overlap with DEI supporters, though. VP Kamala could probably make a Venn diagram to illustrate.

      • The environmental movement was started by a bunch of Marxists. If you look into it, I think you’ll find, as I did, they were simply looking to find a new niche movement whose real cause was attacking private property rights.

  1. Actions such as this just make it harder for everyone that’s concerned about climate change, and is trying to address it, while acknowledging the realities of the world we live in.

  2. Oh, Bu11Shit. Don’t know about little “tom my”, but I know Raf was around in the 60’s when this exact sort of thing was happening. That predates your little bogeyman “DEI” by sixty years. The adjectives you two are grasping for are “climate-aware”, “environmentally-concerned”, and (gasp!) “liberal”. Even those protesters, as pure as their concern for the looming threat, but as naive as such protestors usually are about the efficacy of such actions, would scoff at your profound mischaracterization of their motivation.

    It’s pretty obvious that the term both of you were grasping for was “environmental activism” which, had it (and the EPA it spawned) not survived since the 60’s, we would be living in a much less healthy country.

    Perhaps you should consider drinking a pint of soda before bed. I hear that helps people with “knee-jerk” syndrome.

    • Thank you, Aviatrexx (and Raf) for being “adults in the room.” I will never understand folks who think climate change is a hoax and that we are not all in this together. Ostrich heads and sand come to mind…

      • You seem unaware that the earth was much warmer when dinosaurs roamed during the Mesozoic Era – AND that the earth is still warming up following the last ice age. Google it and be a little less scared. The idea that mankind can stop climate change is truly arrogant.

        • Yep! And don’t forget that the co2 levels were far higher than they are now, too. That’s why animals and trees and everything were giant compared to today. The climate lunatics can worry; me … I’m gonna go drive my 460 Ford to the grocery store to make sure the trees are ‘eating’ today.

      • I totally understand it. I think it’s mostly a case of people over reacting to the sins of the other side while remaining partisan and willfully ignorant of their own side’s misbehavior. Also, we need to stay in our lanes more. Me included.

        We should all try to stop questioning everyone else’s motives, but it’s hard. If you can’t “steel man” the other side’s arguments, then it’s best to try to understand them more.

        I’m not a scientist, but I’m bright enough to have caught a lot of things coming out of academia that range from asking the wrong questions, to questionable data massaging, to virtue signaling and all the way to outright sensationalism for fame and fortune. Maybe you missed that stuff, but try this: Conservatives and practicing Christians in academia have become extremely rare outside of the hard sciences, engineering, and Christian institutions. There should be nothing political about biology and psychology, so why is that? How would you expect those groups to not be suspicious? Personally, I disregard most everything “scientific” that includes what boils down to ignorant policy recommendations. I’ve yet to meet the dual PhD holder in climatology and public policy, and when I do, I’ll not trust his science either unless he has a letter of reference from Thomas Sowell or someone similar. Not because I’m naturally suspicious of scientists, but because I’m suspicious of anyone doing science who isn’t sticking to it.

    • Yeah, I was around in the 60’s. Same bullshit different day. History does repeat itself. Different label same battle cry. “I want everything for nothing and I want it now.” Whoa is me…

  3. As I recall, in the 1980s I used to fly a piston Beech Baron into Hanscom delivering organ transplant donations. I don’t recall any NOTAMs for closure due to protesters. Just sayin.

    • If the airport was “briefly” closed, it wouldn’t show up in a NOTAM, the same way that an airport isn’t NOTAMed closed when a plane lands gear-up.

      • Uh, yes, an airport is NOTAM’d closed if a plane lands gear up on the only runway you have. Controlled or non-controlled, it doesn’t matter. It stays that way until the incident is clear and the runway is deemed safe and usable.

        • I have checked NOTAMs for an airport closed due to a gear-up landing. If it’s a short enough time period, it does not get NOTAMed closed – just an update on the ATIS.

          • Are you basing your argument with me on the fact that you’re a pilot and you once checked ATIS for a NOTAM? Just because you’ve checked for NOTAM’s during a gear-up landing and there wasn’t one DOES NOT mean one shouldn’t have been issued. Removing an aircraft from a runway or safety area that’s gone in “gear up” can take hours. (25 years in Airport Management experience has taught me that.)

    • I recall in 1961, when I was in the Navy and Hanscom Field was Hanscom AFB, I was getting a hop on an AF C47 to Bergstrom AFB, there were also no protests. I know this has nothing to do with the subject, but brought back memories. Those AF guys had a lot nicer quarters than we had on the USS Wasp!

    • I accidentally flagged your comment when I meant to hit the reply button. I don’t know how to delete it. Sorry.


  4. I barely missed the massive protests of the late 60s and early 70s, but I do recall the streaking craze (vividly…) and reminiscing with older students who participated in the mass marches. Based on those experiences, I lump these current protests in with such things and am probably guilty of generalization. However, my guess (and that’s all it can be) is that the most of the protesters are there as followers rather than activists and most do not understand anything about the underlying cause(s). If the protesters actually understood the causes, perhaps they might realize that what they are doing only makes people angry at them and it does nothing to help the issue they are protesting. Sigh… the more things change…

    And no, I didn’t streak and my Veteran’s Scholarship (proud son of a WWII Vet) did not allow my participation in protests. I was OK with that.

  5. Don’t circle around the nose wheel of a running Cessna……bad for the immediate climate.

  6. I’m in no way receptive or sympathetic with these protesters, or their chosen method of protest. That said, the calls for violence in response to non-violent protest is disturbing…

    • I’m not for violence, unless faced with same, but I also am not for just standing by. Of course, owners of the planes should sue the snot of them, for the thousands per hour it costs to run them.

    • I don’t think trying to mess with 100K airplane nuts would get them anywhere but an emergency room, the local jail, or both. Oshkosh pumps massive amounts of revenue into the local economy and has a large police presence. These crazies should think twice about pulling a stunt at Oshkosh. BTW, have you seen ‘Climate, the Movie’? I recommend it for anyone interested in listening to actual scientists.

  7. Seriously, this is a secure FAA site. Ban all of them from ever flying commercial for life. They think it should all stop anyway so it would be the ultimate gift for their cause.

  8. Such vitriol and self righteousness. The function of protest is to bring awareness to an issue that is not being dealt with sufficiently–in the minds of the protesters. On the other side of this coin are the pro-life protesters basing their concerns on their well meaning understanding of “life”. This group, unlike this climate group, has gone so far as to murder people. (Just to put this into a broader context of understanding peaceful versus not so peaceful protest).

    • See, this is the problem. You see your side as not including the violent nuts in climate protests, but then lump all the Pro Life side’s nuts in with their peaceful protestors.

      One of my favorite bits from Tom Clancy was when he wrote a fictional protest by the Palestinians (IIRC). He had them all sit down and sing ‘We shall overcome’. No rocks or rockets. Then, he showed the likely result where all the intel and military people went straight up to pucker factor 10, lol.
      I think he’s right. If you want your side to win, shut down your own side’s jerks.

  9. Apparently the protestors are unaware that the earth was much warmer when dinosaurs roamed during the Mesozoic Era – AND that the earth is still warming up following the last ice age. They should Google it and be a little less scared. Yes, we should always strive for a clean planet – but thinking mankind can stop climate change is true arrogance.

    • “They should Google it and be a little less scared.”
      Or more scared, depending on what sites they read. There’s a lot of garage sites on the internet.

  10. I believe in free speech 100%, but you cannot infringe on others rights because you want to force them to hear you.

    Public areas, public venues or private venues you rent to discuss your policy concern are fine, but this idea that you can disrupt workplaces, travel needs, private businesses and aggravate people caught in your protest is a bit ridiculous.

    You want to hold a sign on the public sidewalk as people fill gas to persuade them, that’s fine. But don’t block the gas station, airport etc.

  11. Take a look at a plot of average annual temperature by year over the past 100+ years. Global temperature has increased dramatically over the past 30 years. It is not the result of ultra-long term geothermal processes. The concern is anthropogenic climate change, usually just called “climate change.” The fact that the earth was warmer during the Mesozoic Era is unrelated to the current concern about greenhouse gasses produced by human activity.

    Meanwhile, commenters here (who seem to be looking for a sympathetic ear among other pilots) are calling for violence against this small group of non-violent protestors (water cannons, bear spray, “Joe Arpaio” tactics [Arpaio, by the way, is a convicted felon who was pardoned by President Trump and was voted out of office by the citizens of his own state]).

    Fortunately, extrajudicial punishment is still illegal in the US, despite the wishes of some commenters here.

    • Bear spray is non violent no matter how you virtue signalers love to play with language to fit your intellectually compromised narratives.

      If you think that minor skin irritation, hurt feels, some tears, shrieks of victimhood, and a possible deterrent of the child from being a d-bag in the future is violence, you should wear a helmet full time.

    • No need for violence. Since most GA business jets have high or tail mounted engines, just go ahead and fire up the APU’s and turbofans and see how long these protesters can stand the noise. Just make sure none of them are wearing hearing protection. See if they are dedicated enough to risk hearing loss. Another item, I wonder how these protesters got to the airport in the first place. If they did not walk there and rode on a vehicle, or even worse airlined into Boston, then it shows just much of a hypocrite they are.

  12. Why don’t these climate experts protest volcanic eruptions instead of disrupting the lives of people who are trying to earn a living? If they spent their time buying and planting trees, they would have a much stronger and positive effect on negating climate change issues.
    Of course, that’s not as glamorous as disrupting people’s lives; silly me.
    Photosynthesis does wonders for cleaning the air. I know, I know – it’s much more fun to call attention to oneself than to stay awake during your science class in high school.

  13. There was a time when simple words such as man, woman, or speech were understood to have simple meanings. In today’s society redefinition of word meanings as a tool of justification has become de rigueur. No one bats an eye anymore when you see describing a mob shutting down a freeway at rush hour as an exercise of “speech”.

    • I must have read a different article.

      “Speech”, with certain restrictions, is protected under the US Constitution. These protestors engaged in a “peaceful, non-violent, non-destructive act of civil disobedience” – even they didn’t call it “speech”. Not sure where the idea that this action was justified as mere “speech” comes from in this situation.

      • Mmmm, no. He’s not making it up. That’s a common argument, and he has a point whether or not it’s happened here. I applaud your calling it civil disobedience though.

        Do the crime, do the time, and no whining is an American thing. I think though, sitting in the offices of government and academic institutions is a bit different from blocking people engaged in lawful freedom of travel. I’d hope this trend stops before we have to create new laws and higher penalties. Certainly, there has been unnecessary bloodshed already, and there likely will be more.

        • Nonsense. Is any “common argument” OK for these comments or is some relationship to the article needed?

          Is a political diatribe OK in response to any article (provided someone somewhere thinks it’s a common argument) even if it is unrelated to the article? You seem to think the answer is yes.

          If so, then I have some “common arguments” about former President Trump to provide in response to every article published on AvWeb. They will have nothing to do with the article, but they will be common arguments, and I wont be making them up. I’m thinking that won’t fly around here (and it shouldn’t). Unless you want this site to become a cesspool like lots of other sites, commenters should stick to the article and not go off on personal diatribes.

          • His comment was related. I agree with your complaint that there has been too much of the practice you describe, but I doubt making it bipartisan wins you any points.
            I’m guilty myself constantly bringing up the way the FAA and other institutions have ruined piston GA. It hasn’t helped as far as I can see, but I’m easily triggered. It’s tough.

    • Funny thing, now even money is speech. I mean, the USSC rules on that so it must be so.

      Now if you feel we should go back to a more literal definition of speech, as in the spoken word, then please, petition if the Supreme Court to roll back Citizens United and I’ll consider your view that civil protest is not speech…though I bet they were speaking at that protest…oh…and the right to assemble is also protected.

      Now, with that out of the way, I also find that gatherings/protests like this do little to garner positive attention, even if the cause is just and those protesters would do better working to help elect officials sympathetic to their cause. Hold a rally in a park to bring attention, or try and change zoning laws. Protest, if it works happens when tens of hundreds of thousands stand up an say “No”.
      I think what is funny is how some here make fun of the “whiney rich white kids protesting” and miss that they protest against whiney rich old folk wanting more space for their expensive planes. See the irony, rich folds protesting rich folk…now that’s rich.

  14. Data may support the concept of anthropogenic climate change. Our problems is that we need a better solution. It is not practical to ask people to give up an important part of their lives for an abstract concept.

    A better solution would be to embrace better ways of producing energy. We now have available advanced nuclear fission which can be produced with much less risk than previously, and we are on the cusp of practical and safe nuclear fusion which will which revolutionize the production of energy.

    • Absolutely BUT … then the nuclear energy crazies would show up protesting that, too.

      In Kalyfornia, they were down to one nuclear plant and they were planning on shutting it down until they found out they then didn’t have enough energy available for the masses. And at the Harris Ranch near Coalinga (NAS Lemoore)(a popular fly in destination), if you pull in in your eV, you’ll be filling up with electrons generated by large diesel engines behind the gas station.

      • No, you won’t be filling up with onsite, diesel generated electrons at the Harris Ranch. There was a trailer mounted generator used briefly in 2015, which led to a click bait article that won’t stop. See:

        for details.

        TL; DR: “TezLab spokesperson Ben Perlman emailed SFGATE on Friday to clarify​ how Tesla’s energy is used at places like the Harris Ranch Supercharger. ​
        ​“All electricity is created and used instantly by the mix of sources that are attached to the grid,” he wrote.​
        ​“The energy being used at the Harris Ranch supercharger is the same energy being used anywhere within CalISO’s grid coverage.”​

    • Sorry, that damn Report is bigger then reply….

      Anyway, you are right that better ways of producing energy is what is needed and nuclear is a great way to product energy…but….
      How do you deal with the waste. Every person advocating nuclear will also shout NIMBY if the energy company wants to store spent rods in your backyard.
      How do you deal with the expense. Sandee Cooper was building a Nuclear plant in SC ands they ran so far over budget it was ridiculous. Regulations! you say, but those regs are known from the start. More like skimming and waste in construction
      Which brings us to time….it takes years to builds a Nuke plant. By the time it gets opened, given the cost, the impact on a region economically is massive as electric bills soar.

      Green energy is much cheaper, quicker to implement, and lese harmful on the environment and comes in many flavors to suit location. Yes, solar has issues with storage, windmills impact visually, and there can be faults in each type, but those problems can be solved. With fossil fuels, one of the greatest contributors to increased greenhouse gases, the only solution is to get of it before future generations run out of time….and planet.

      • Again – if fossil fuels are to blame then please explain why it was warmer when dinosaurs roamed (Mesozoic Era) than now? I wasn’t aware they used petroleum products. 🙂

        • It doesn’t matter how many times you write that silliness. It doesn’t change the effect of greenhouse gasses on global temperature, RIGHT NOW, and not during the Mesozoic Era. Do you really think that writing it over and over makes it a fact?

    • Unfortunately increasing efficiency of power production simply entices people to use more energy, rarely leading to net decrease of resource usage & pollution creation. The same dynamic is at play when freeway capacity is added; after a brief improvement, the improved capacity simply invites additional usage until the congestion is just as bad as it started.

      Making a difference for the climate is absolutely going to require people giving up important parts of their lives.

  15. Lived adjacent to Hanscom in the 1940s- 1970. Then, the Air Force turned over runways and taxiways to MassPort and Hanscom became a vital GA airport 12 miles west of Logan. The surrounding towns are populated by many Ivy League people. They tried to shut down Air Force operations there during the Viet Nam war using protest. Then same group did all they could to prevent commuter airline operations and succeeded. Recently, the same are going after GA. There are almost no Air Force operations – but the dirty truth is, the group wants the base and MassPort shut down.

  16. There’s a serious problem with how some commenters are reacting to the Hanscom Field climate protesters as if they were as bad as the January 6th Capitol rioters. The Hanscom protesters were peaceful, trying to raise awareness about environmental issues. They didn’t hurt anyone and were only charged with minor offenses because they didn’t act violently.

    Yet, it’s absurd to hear some people demanding extreme punishments like execution by quartering for these peaceful, climate-caring protesters. It’s even more ridiculous when these same people downplay the violent and deadly actions of the Capitol rioters as if those were just enthusiastic acts of democracy, while “hugging and kissing” police officers, despite the widespread violence and injuries that occurred.

    • Yep, Jan 6th was certainly deadly to the protestor who was shot in the head by cops for no apparant reason (i.e. she wasn’t a threat). While I agree that some of those Jan 6 protestors got way out-of-hand and deserved punishment, anyone who thinks it was an actual coup attempt has never seen or read about an actual coup attempt.

      • The protestor referred to in your statement is likely Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to climb through a broken window leading into the Speaker’s Lobby, adjacent to the House Chamber. Authorities and the officer asserted that Babbitt was shot while attempting to breach a barricaded door during a violent riot, posing a threat to the safety of Members of Congress and themselves. An investigation concluded that the officer’s actions were justified given the circumstances.

        • Yep but she hadn’t climbed through the window, she wasn’t armed and there were no members of Congress there. If that had happened anywhere else the cop would not have gotten off so easily.

      • More to grasp the moment. Ashli Babbitt was shot approximately two hours after the initial breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeline of events indicates that the Capitol was breached around 2:00 PM, and Babbitt was shot at approximately 2:44 PM. She was attempting to climb through a broken window leading into the Speaker’s Lobby, a hallway that connects to the House Chamber, when she was shot by a Capitol Police officer who was inside the lobby, securing the doors. This was during a critical moment when rioters were trying to breach one of the last barriers to the inner chambers where Members of Congress were being evacuated.

        • I don’t agree Raf. She was UNARMED … posed NO PHYSICAL THREAT to the officer but was shot why?? For climbing in a window. I think she shoulda been punished with jail, not execution.

    • All political protests that hurt and hinder others is W R O N G.
      Protest all you want as long as you don’t hurt others.
      The problem is that when these people believe that screwing with people is “ok” then it makes it “ok” to screw with them.

  17. Irony:
    The “environmentalists” will shut down the vast green space of the airport; so it can be replaced with business parks and apartments and a strip mall.

    • I think you MAY be on to something, Art. What if the climate protest was a ruse to get people turned against that noisy airport spewing bad stuff in the hood. Then, the developers swoop in and gobble it up.