February 2, 2018 By Sue Woodcock
A Florida aviation company has spoken to Amazon officials about the potential need for seaplane access for its executives. While Boston Harbor was noted as a possible site the City of Revere also has a potential site of its own.
“The prospect of a seaplane port was not an aspect of the Amazon proposal, and any eventual reality of such a prospect is far down the road,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “Obviously it would entail extensive input from federal and state authorities. That said, the idea is not something we would dismiss offhandedly. It might even be one more advantageous attribute of the City of Revere.”
Behind Northgate Shopping Plaza off Squire Road there also lies another potential seaplane site.
Decades ago, before the strip mall was built, Northgate had a take-off and landing strip. At one point, when they were searching for a home for today’s Logan Airport officials considered the Northgate site. Today, Google Maps identifies the area as a “seaplane basin.” Behind the mall are ample waterways for seaplanes to use, and one local expert believes a portion of the Saugus River could also be utilized.
John Vitagliano, retired pilot and transportation expert from Winthrop, said seaplane access is easily accomplished in Revere, as shown on the map, behind Northgate and the Saugus River. The Northgate waterway gives a seaplane pilot 3,000 feet for take-off and landing. The Saugus River, just behind the Marina Restaurant, gives a pilot over 4,700 feet for take-off and landing.
Even back in the hey day of Revere Beach, seaplanes could be seen coming in to the pier.
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo said he used to go to the air strips that once were behind Northgate Shopping. He was there as a kid and remembers walking right up to the runways.
“I remember my parents driving by and asking if we wanted to see the airplanes and we’d stop along Squire Road to look,” he said.
“Naturally, the scope of any such project, and its impact on our residents, will always guide the decisions we make. A seaplane basin is an adventurous image, but, as has been noted, small aircraft traffic in that area is not unprecedented. I’d be open-minded to listen to the elements of any such idea,” Arrigo said.
The airport at Northgate closed in 1963 and Vitagliano said he flew out of it many times. He noted the seaplane basin was part of the original airport. Trans Ocean Air, out of the Florida, is one company expressing interesting in working on Amazon’s needs. One city that is known for commuters via seaplanes is Vancouver, Canada. There is an established flight pattern and there are floats for planes to tie up to when parked.
“After talking with Trans Ocean Air I’m totally convinced a Boston or Revere site for seaplanes if feasible,” Vitagliano said, adding that overseeing agencies would be the Federal Aviation Administration and the Coast Guard. “The take off space needed is minimal and less than 2,000 feet is needed for landing.
DeLeo admits he is a major supporter of Amazon, but he doesn’t know much about sea planes and the impact more air traffic could have on the area..
“I’m not sure if it’s necessary to have sea planes. I would be concerned about the district I represent in terms of increasing air traffic even more. My gut feeling is that Logan would be sufficient. I would want to make sure the people in the district would not be burdened,” DeLeo said.