Air Parks & Fly-In Communities

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sanman

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I don't know if this has ever been discussed on this forum -- but what are the opinions on Air Parks and Fly-In communities?

Anybody here live in one, or have had experience living in one? If so, which place(s) have you lived in, and what do you recommend about them? What are the pro's and cons?

I'm thinking it's got to be different living in a community where there are significantly more people with a knowledge and interest in personal aviation.

I bet it could make homebuilding an aircraft a much more social experience, if your neighbors even have knowledge on it.

Are Air Parks & Fly-In Communities on an uptrend? Are they the way of the future, as people decide to get farther away from the bigger cities?
 

BJC

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I don’t recall a thread on the topic, but there has been a fair amount of discussion on the topic.

I live at 97FL. Love it.

We have people here who sold their Spruce Creek (video above) house to live in an airpark.

In addition to all the benefits of owing your own hangar right beside, or attached to, your house, living in an airpark exposes one to many very interesting people who just happen to have a common interest.

I highly recommend it.


BJC
 

Rhino

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I live in one. There's been mixed results but it's hard to beat a hangar in your back yard. This is a pretty small airpark, and there's somewhat of an elitist attitude. If you aren't part of the old boy network, you aren't really included in stuff. Didn't help that we clashed with an overbearing HOA when we first got here. That has improved somewhat since, though we still don't get included in a lot of things. Truth be told, there really isn't a whole lot going on here to be included in. The airport we're attached to is a different story. Friendliest people you'll ever meet, and quite a few around, especially on the weekends. There's a very active parachuting activity here too. I imagine there'd be more stuff going on in a larger airpark, but being attached to the airport somewhat makes up for that. And don't get me wrong. There are some great people here. There just isn't that buddy buddy kind of atmosphere I was hoping for. All in all though, it's not bad. We had the option to go elsewhere, but decided not to (so far :)). I think airparks are like people. They all have their own personalities. Try to find one that matches what you're looking for, and then pray you can afford it.
 

BJC

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I have, or have had, lots of interesting neighbors. Among them:

An engineer, who got his degree at age 18, who made a very good living as an inventor. Boaters will recognize his first invention, the Rule automatic sump pump. He also owned the company that owned the patent for the Phillips screw. Brilliant intellect, and a perfect gentleman.

An attorney who also was an Unlimited Aerobatics competitor. Retired as managing partner of one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the South East. Homebuilder, too. His wife also competed at the Sportsman level.

A contractor / homebuilder (6 or 7, including Sun n Fun champions), restorer (multiple) national Intermediate aerobatic champion. I first met him as a competitor circa 1985. He built many of the houses and hangars here.

A navy enlisted man who parachuted into SE Asia jungles, not under the control of the US military, to rescue pilots who had to eject from sorties into North Vietnam. Later died of complications from being shot in the abdomen, but owned and operated a luxury hunting and fishing lodge in Alaska. Owned and operated a charter service there. In retirement, he rebuilt a Beaver each winter.

A man who dropped out of highschool to enlist in the Navy at age 17. His dad was a navy fighter pilot in WW II. Not qualified to become a pilot because of color blindness. Air-crewed on a Martin Marauder. Got out and built and tested race engines for Holman Moody. Re-enlisted, qualified in aircraft maintenance. Became an LDO. Served on all active aircraft carriers during his service. Retired after 35 years as a CAGMO. His name is on two plaques in the Sube Bay O Club at the NMNA in Pensacola. In retirement, he rebuilt multiple Swifts. Started an aircraft relocation business. First name basis with the director of every aviation museum with military aircraft in the nation. RIP.

Another A&P with IA who specialized in Swift restorations and modifications. Owned an STC or two for the Swift. RIP.

A homebuilder and restorer who also built Shelby Cobras with Shelby’s endorsement. Restored / modified many classic sports cars. Griffith expert. RIP.

A handful of professional pilots, male and female, active and retired. One flew an A 320 into AirVenture. Another flew airshows there. Homebuilders and restorers among them. Balloon pilot, too.

One started work in hid dad’s restoration shop at age 13, recovering fabric aircraft. Worked inside the FAA, but was employed by the DEA. Built multiple aerobatic aircraft. Had an aerobatic training school. Was one of only 27 people (as of 2010) who had every certification the FAA has. RIP.

A Navy Captain / MD, still on active duty overseas. Several homebuilts.

An engineer (specialty: GE and P&W jet engines). A professional restorer of Stearman. Now retired, but is building a WACO Taperwig kit for another naeghbor.

An A&P program college instructor.

A retired career USAF fighter pilot and Boeing AE who worked on the shuttle. His daughter is a high level NASA manager today.

A lady pilot and realtor who flies almost every day.

A lady who was a bush pilot in Africa. Recently sold her AirCam on amphibs. Bought a Pawnee to tow neighbors’ gliders aloft. Just bought her own glider. Rehabs raptors. Flies a C283 also. Comes from European aristocracy.

A retired professional snow sled racer, stock car (not NASCAR) racer, promoter and track owner turned motorcycle dealer. Owned four dealerships, two were H-D. Totally self-made man.

Former airshow pilot, designer, and builder, along with his former airshow pilot MD wife. Worked for the former King of Jordan. He is in the ICAS hall of fame as a designer / builder and as a performer. Working on his 26th homebuilt, a 0.6 scale P-47. Has one of his airplanes in the Smithsonian.

A former professional motorcycle racer who started his first business, an auto body shop, at age 13. Sold his auto dealership back to the manufacturer when he was in his 40’s and retired. Totally self made.

And more. It is really nice to live among such nice, accomplished people.

There are a couple of exceptions, but they don’t really affect the rest of us. One moved here from another airpark, because, according to him, all his neighbors there were jerks. After about 4 months, he decided that all of us are jerks, too. There is a lesson in there, somewhere.


BJC
 
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rv7charlie

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Funny; I would have considered Spruce Creek an air park. Sized fit to be God's Own Air Park, but still an air park.

I live on one, but we rarely dignify it with the descriptor, 'air *park*'.

Like homebuilts, not for everybody, but if if they're for you, there's no real alternative. They seem to range from 'gated community' with more restrictions than the Soviet Union on its worst day, to virtually none, like ours (no livestock on the members' property). Management can be anything from invasive and draconian to 'whatever; just try not to kill anyone'.

No environment is conflict-free, but for me, the upsides *far* outweigh any downside. Having a wife that would stay if I left is a strong advantage, too....

Charlie
Slobovia Outernational (MS71)

BTW, sanman, you're not a real estate agent representing property owners at SC, are you??

;-)
 

BJC

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Funny; I would have considered Spruce Creek an air park. Sized fit to be God's Own Air Park, but still an air park.
I think that most people do. I don’t, because they have commercial maintenance operations there as well as residents without airplanes who are there for the golf, etc.


BJC
 

Rhino

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...No environment is conflict-free, but for me, the upsides *far* outweigh any downside. Having a wife that would stay if I left is a strong advantage, too....
And you get to shop at the Flora Mall!
 

rv7charlie

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Well, I started to write what would have been a humorous (to me, anyway) response to that, but then I realized that somebody from this area might actually be reading this stuff.

Moving on from that, let's just say that a lot of us in the area do everything we can to *not* have anything resembling an actual Mall anywhere nearby. (NIMBY...)
 

Dillpickle

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Entitled neighbors....they exist. They fly expensive airplanes and pay someone else to do everything. Lol. Look, I've met the best and worst people living in airparks. I'd say, look HARD at the HOA agreement or runway agreement and see if you can live with someone militantly enforcing the literal letter of the law. I've never needed my neighbors approval to make me happy, but it would have made my life easier. Aholes with excess $ can sue over the smallest sleight. I enjoy restoring old and rare jeeps. I had a neighbor complaining that two of my running licensed, registered, and insured jeep trucks were junk cars. After a screaming match and multiple calls to the county officials, the county code enforcement officer came out and told me I had to get rid of them. I invited him to examine them, told him there was no law against driving an ugly truck, and then proceeded to park them on the street across from the nasty neighbor. He laughed, shook his head, and drove up the neighbors driveway to give him the bad news. The cars WERE parked in an area where you had to be nosey to see them. Point is, every airpark has someone like that...and like me. I'm the one lending tools and my tractor. But I ALWAYS have two or three half baked projects.
 

Rhino

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Well, I started to write what would have been a humorous (to me, anyway) response to that, but then I realized that somebody from this area might actually be reading this stuff.

Moving on from that, let's just say that a lot of us in the area do everything we can to *not* have anything resembling an actual Mall anywhere nearby. (NIMBY...)
Years ago when I lived in Leland we used to make jokes about the Tribbett Mall. Tribbett had a population of about 14.
 

Pilot-34

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Dill pickle when I first moved in some of my neighbors came around and explained to me that every neighborhood had that one special a hat. They invited me to look around.
I looked around and allowed as how I was pretty pleased with all my neighbors.
They just stood there and stared at me till I got the message
 

sanman

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BTW, sanman, you're not a real estate agent representing property owners at SC, are you??

;-)
Hell no - I'm not looking to sell or buy right now. But I was curious as to what this whole phenomenon is about. I'd only heard of air parks recently, and wanted to know if they're a growing trend. I know back country aviation has become an increasing trend, which is why more and more people are into bush planes.

But the idea of aviation becoming a new form of commuting - it kind of reminds me of how the advent of the automobile has led to suburban sprawl, and exodus from urban areas. Are air parks on the far edge of a broader migration outward?

It also represents a sort of societal niche. It's not just you doing something, but it's a bunch of people with distinct and similar needs winding up living together in a shared environment that caters to a very distinct lifestyle. Is this ever going to become part of the mainstream?

I wonder if tomorrow's version of "Leave It to Beaver" will one day feature aircraft casually taxiing down the street in the background.
 

rv7charlie

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I can't tell you whether it's a *growing* thing, but it's definitely not a small thing. Take a look at airpark living & pick a state to browse. There are over 75 listed in FL alone, and I doubt that's all of them. I know that not all of the ones in MS are listed. Mine isn't listed, nor is the 'high rent' two-runway airpark that's about 15 miles from us.

If you look at any sectional, at least in the less densely populated areas, quite a few of the circled 'R's you see are airparks.

edit: Whenever I talk to someone who's amazed by the concept of living on an airport and think that there's scheduled airline service all hours of the day & night, I just tell them to think about it like they do of their friends who live on golf courses.
 

Pilot-34

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But the idea of aviation becoming a new form of commuting - it kind of reminds me of how the advent of the automobile has led to suburban sprawl, and exodus from urban areas. Are air parks on the far edge of a broader migration outward?

It also represents a sort of societal niche. It's not just you doing something, but it's a bunch of people with distinct and similar needs winding up living together in a shared environment that caters to a very distinct lifestyle. Is this ever going to become part of the mainstream?

I wonder if tomorrow's version of "Leave It to Beaver" will one day feature aircraft casually taxiing down the street in the background.
I think you missed that trend and the advertising by about 75 years!!


I have a met two different men that lived almost to 200 miles from their office in New York City who claimed that when they purchased a home right after World War II they fully expect it to be able to fly to work in less than an hour in a few years.
I met the first man at his retirement party after 40 years of service and the second man should be retired by now.
 
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