Air Parks & Fly-In Communities

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Rhino

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Airparks have been around for quite a while. They were probably most popular during the 90s and early 2000s, so I wouldn't really categorize them as a growing trend right now. In some ways they're a little like the real estate market trends in general. Many tried to get in on the action during the 'heydey' period, and many of those with too little or improper planning have dropped by the wayside. Most of what you see out there now is fairly stable. The biggest unique problem I've seen, at least in the southeast where we concentrated our search, is availability. Not many new airparks are being created, and many of those that are, are off the beaten path where demand is lower. Most of the existing airparks have very limited availability of property, if there's any at all. The other big problem is affordability, but that's nothing unique at all when it comes to real estate. Location drives prices of real estate everywhere, and location is far more critical when looking for airpark property because there's no room for compromise by opting for nearby neighborhoods.

You can sometimes be surprised by airpark prices though. If you're location flexible, many of those off the beaten path airparks can be very affordable. And there are still sometimes deals to be had in less rural airparks. We were very surprised at how little we paid for our property, and even more surprised by how low our HOA fee is (don't forget those), and our location isn't off the beaten path at all. The HOA fee has gone up since then, but it's still far below what we found elsewhere. Of course it took us three years of searching to find that surprise deal. The culture here wasn't all we'd hoped for, but despite my complaints, it's really not that bad. Had we checked into that culture more carefully things might have been different, but we just couldn't pass up the price. And we didn't want to spend more years looking. That's not really all that different from other real estate choices in life though, and we really do have some great neighbors here. I wish more of them were grass roots homebuilders though.

If I had to do it over again, I'd probably go for an airpark that's a bit more rural, with less stringent restrictions, assuming I could get the wife to go along (big assumption). I don't mind the current restrictions here, mind you. We probably have the biggest, most expensive house in the neighborhood. But stringent restrictions tend to go hand in hand with stringent mindsets, which can be somewhat draconian and/or elitist at times. No guarantees of course, but it's an indicator of possibilities. Maybe my property value wouldn't appreciate so much in an airpark with looser restrictions, but property value wasn't really a motivator for me to live in an airpark in the first place. As long as I don't end up in the red, I'd be content being somewhere with a more relaxed atmosphere. We'd probably be in a place like that if the wife hadn't insisted on being so close to a decent sized town. After our experience here, she'd probably sacrifice location for a better atmosphere too, as long as it's not too much sacrifice.

As I said before, having a hangar in your back yard can definitely be worth putting up with some moderately less than desirable neighborhood attributes. Plus, it's your hangar, built to your specifications. Anyone who's ever rented a hangar can probably tell you how great that concept can be. Every real estate choice is destined to be a compromise of sorts anyway, so I'm content. And I'm definitely still sold on the concept of airparks. We considered properties suitable for building our own runway, and even owned one such property for a while. But you don't get pilots as neighbors, and you don't get to watch planes fly all the time. That's more important than you might think, especially when motivation for a homebuilding project is needed.
 
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sanman

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I'm wondering if this phenomenon is only peculiar to the United States, or if other countries have their own version of Air Parks and Fly-in Communities?
The US does have a vast expanse of territory, but there are a number of other countries which aren't very small.
 

Pops

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Rented a hanger at a county airport for about 20 years and got tired if the restrictions ( and the 30 mile drive one way) and decided to find a farm with a grass strip or land to build the strip. After searching for a couple of years we found a 72 acre farm with a 1600' grass strip and a Tee hanger. We really didn't like the location but it was all we could find. Bought the farm and my youngest son wanted to do a housing development on 27 acres on one end of the land. Then a friend and I took a trip to an aircraft salvage yard and he started telling me about a group that I know was buying land and started an airpark. I flew in the next day and talked to everyone, flew my wife in the next day. The next day we bought 2 acres on the runway that was under construction and one acre off the runway but taxi rights to the runway and share of the runway. 14 of us spent 2 summers with dozers and road graders and ditch diggers making the runway and installing miles of drainage pipes, etc. Removed about a 100 of very large oak trees and removed all the stumps and hauled hundreds of truck loads of fill dirt in the dump truck that we all bought. With 2 runway extension projects and buying additional land , we have 3150' runway ( 7 and 25).
(Sold the 72 acre farm to another developer ).
 
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Rhino

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I'm wondering if this phenomenon is only peculiar to the United States, or if other countries have their own version of Air Parks and Fly-in Communities?
The US does have a vast expanse of territory, but there are a number of other countries which aren't very small.
I know Mexico has some, and I'd be willing to bet Canada does too, but I don't know any details on anything outside the US.
 

Rhino

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Something else I should have mentioned. There is a surprising number of airparks that have no advertising whatsoever, except possibly a local MLS listing, so you'll only know about them if you stumble across them by accident.
 

Pops

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Something else I should have mentioned. There is a surprising number of airparks that have no advertising whatsoever, except possibly a local MLS listing, so you'll only know about them if you stumble across them by accident.
We wasn't on the sectional for about 10 years, when people coming to our cookout weekends complained about it being hard to find, we had it put on.
 

Giffymon

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I have a house in an airport community. Great neighborhood. Great people. There is always going to be one or two trouble makers.
in my humble opinion, grass runways are the only acceptable choice.
 

C Michael Hoover

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I am fortunate enough to live on X05, Pilot Country, Brooksville / Spring Hill, Florida Just at the NNE edge of the Tampa Class B. We are a small community with about 60 lots, all 1.2 acre, all but 6 built and only 1 0r 2 available. We have been here since September 2005, and know all of the neighbors, and count the majority as friends, and many very close friends. We are fortunate that there is almost no friction among the neighbors, some don't particularly like some others, but everyone gets along. We are unique in that we are a public use airport that was purchased a couple of years ago be a wealthy retired entrepreneur.

The HOA owns and maintains the two streets/taxiways and the airport owner gets fuel sales and tie down fees. He has rebuilt a dozen shade hangers and is finishing a large box hanger and has plans for an FBO/pilot lounge. The community supports this. If the owner can recoup his costs of maintenance of the field it behooves the community. The HOA codicils are extremely minor and dues are so low as to be almost insignificant. The Board is strictly volunteer, if you express an interest in serving, you will be on the ballot and probably voted in the next year!

We have many successful retirees, and several very wealthy individuals, although I would not characterize any as elitist or dilettantes, all really "airplane" people. There are a couple of twins on the field, as well as a couple of Cirrus's (Cirrussi?), but also Cubs, a Stearman, two Staggerwings, two Extra aerobatic hot rods, two Helio Couriers on floats, a DG self launch glider, a serial homebuilder with a Rans and a Glastar, a couple of RVs, my Viking, and numerous Cessnas and Pipers. Quite the eclectic collection of aircraft to match the eclectic residents.
 

Cardmarc

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I love them and desperately want to live on one.
TX Airpark life.
Take it from me. An Airpark needs a STRONG HOA or it begins to look and feel like a industrial junkyard. I just wish our HOA had more teeth to enforce the already published regulations. After all, it’s a ‘residential neighborhood’ that just happens to have houses with hangars. Kids, horses, fishing, ponds, stables, roads that are also taxiways, etc, etc…….
 

ToddK

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TX Airpark life.
Take it from me. An Airpark needs a STRONG HOA or it begins to look and feel like a industrial junkyard. I just wish our HOA had more teeth to enforce the already published regulations. After all, it’s a ‘residential neighborhood’ that just happens to have houses with hangars. Kids, horses, fishing, ponds, stables, roads that are also taxiways, etc, etc…….
Yah, I am generally not a fan of HOAs. Kind of a necessary evil that like any seat of power can attract uptight nutts and ego maniacs.

The last place I want to live is a area obsessed with neatness and property values.

The question shouldn’t be can I leave a parts plane parked beside my hanger, it should be how many days/months I am not allowed to.
 
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Rhino

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Yah, I am generally not a fan of HOAs. Kind of a necessary evil that like any seat of power can attract uptight nutts and ego maniacs.

The last place I want to live is a area obsessed with neatness and property values...
Not all airparks are like that. Some don't resemble that at all.
 
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Dillpickle

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They're not all like that. Some don't resemble that at all.
HOAs resemble the board, the board resembles the whim of the voters, or about 51 percent of the people. That 51 percent AND the board changes, in some places, regularly. Can be a blessing or a nightmare. The two local hangers full of drying skunk weed were "ok" per the last board. Not so much by this one. Can't STAND the smell, myself.
 

BJC

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That 51 percent AND the board changes, in some places, regularly. Can be a blessing or a nightmare.
Check the covenants, and check your state law to see what it takes to make a change. Here, changes can not be imposed on existing properties.

A big issue, however, is that covenants must be continually enforced to be enforceable.

BJC
 

Pops

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Check the covenants, and check your state law to see what it takes to make a change. Here, changes can not be imposed on existing properties.

A big issue, however, is that covenants must be continually enforced to be enforceable.

BJC
And the biggie, selective enforcement and president and board members that thinks the covenants didn't apply to them. Being on the board for a long time, it was a continuous fight trying to make them understand they are not special. Most had NO understanding of the state laws for a Corporation
Never again will be a member of a HOA .
 

Vigilant1

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When it comes to getting along with other people, especially ones I can't choose, nothing I know of is as useful as distance. If getting a lot of distance is impractical or too expensive, then rules and their enforcement might work, but it ain't foolproof.
 

Pops

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This is why my daughter bought a farm out on a mountain ridge on her private road behind a locked gate. Cost of getting grid electric would be more than the cost of the farm. So solar panels and 3 different sizes of NG generators from the 2 NG wells with the free gas. Lots of electric. Road is in good shape but one place is steep and lose rock so it takes a 4 wheel drive to get up on the ridge.
Living out there is like no one else is in the world unless you see a jet trail going over.
 
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rivilee

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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.
I'm assuming Chandelle Airpark? I drove through it one afternoon looking at a lot for sale and had an unfriendly encounter with a resident. It's not a gated community and the street signs denote they are public streets so I was little confused by his agitation.
 

sanman

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Do Air Park residences advertise on AirBNB? (Gee, with 'Air' in the name, you'd think they'd be the first things to pop up)

If they do, then can one book a place to fly into and park your plane at as well?
 
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