Finding airport for ground/taxi testing

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

pfarber

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
902
Location
Dollywood
Another consideration would be emergency gear if needed. There are some pretty quiet Class D's that I would consider if I could get space there.

I know quite a few people that would let me do engine runs on their more remote properties, but they don't have anything remotely runway like.
 

dwalker

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
636
Location
Tennessee
Another consideration would be emergency gear if needed. There are some pretty quiet Class D's that I would consider if I could get space there.

I know quite a few people that would let me do engine runs on their more remote properties, but they don't have anything remotely runway like.
Are you near the Morristown airport? My friend Len has a hangar there and flies his Velocity and former Long-Ez out of that airport. Mightbe a reasonable place to do your testing and first flight. I "plan" on doing my testing and first flights out of either Tullahoma as Rhino suggests or maybe Shelbyville. SYI has a lot of places if an emergency landing is needed, they are the home of an experimental aircraft manufacturer and Jabiru engines, and so are pretty used to these sorts of things. They can get super busy though, so Rhinos suggestion of THA might be a better choice, its just a further drive from my house.
 

Rhino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
1,890
Location
KTHA
SYI is a lot busier, and it only has one runway/taxiway.

And I thought you were referring to THA when you said your local airport was busy. Sorry.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
16,135
Location
Memphis, TN
My opinion was from the standpoint of not being a tenant, arrive and taking the plane home after the test. If you are a tenant, even if short term, there is no problem. Call on the radio for the appropriate type airport, and do it. There will be best times for every airport and make sure if you plan to fly from it that the test flying is in line with the operating limitations if you need an official airport.
 

dwalker

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
636
Location
Tennessee
SYI is a lot busier, and it only has one runway/taxiway.

And I thought you were referring to THA when you said your local airport was busy. Sorry.
My local airport is MBT. I literally live on the approach to 18, and am maybe 5 minutes from my front door to the FBO
 

Rhino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
1,890
Location
KTHA
Well, you're welcome to stage out of my place here if you want. Just let me know.
 

Rhino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
1,890
Location
KTHA
Annotated KTHA diagram:

KTHA-airpark diagram.png
I can email a better copy. It loses resolution getting posted here.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
10,159
Location
USA.
I like the airports layout. Something for everyone and any wind.
 

speedracer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
249
When my first Long EZ was ready for flight I did the taxi testing on a 5,000' runway - KDLS. I had 120 hours TT as a pilot. EZ's have sensitive pitch but not roll. I would run it up to 60 MPH, close the throttle, pull the nose wheel off the pavement, and practice holding it up till it came down on its own. I did this dozens of times and had no problems with the first flights. The guy who bought that plane told me a story: He and a partner built a Varieze and flew it for 500 hours then sold it. The guy who bought it was a high time pilot with no EZ time but was totally confident that he wouldn't have any problems flying it. He took off, got into terrible pitch PIO's, crashed, and killed himself.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
16,135
Location
Memphis, TN
Tennessee has probably the best statewide airports of any state. Until ten years ago all tax for avgas went into an airport upkeep fund. There was like $60 million sitting in this account. No airport was without help. Then the legislature looking for money found this Easter egg but we’re barred from spending it, until they changed the law. Empty account now. The infrastructure was pretty strong so it will take a while before it degrades.
 

mikoman

Active Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2021
Messages
27
Location
Eastern Tennessee
When its getting close to fly, what are some of the things to look out for at airports?

Can an public airport forbid an E/AB from doing tests like taxi/run ups?

Any tips on what to ask about when trying to get a spot on an airport?
In most of the posts I might have missed do you already have an N#. I know your aircraft hasn't been inspected yet but If you look into it further possibly the EAA and also with less skin in the game AOPA would be most helpful. Can an airport taking public/FAA funding deny you access to the facility for your airplane? With no N number maybe don't know. We are not talking about taxi tests at JFK or O'Hare but most of the small airports that have no tower or barely qualify for one. I fly with Civil Air Patrol around Chattanooga to Knoxville region of Tennessee and most airports in the area are deader than a doorknob during the week. We are lucky if 2 aircraft are flying or turning propellers at any facility. Usually we are the only ones there. Tullahoma looks like an excellent place as Rhino stated.
 

dwalker

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Mar 6, 2021
Messages
636
Location
Tennessee
Tennessee has probably the best statewide airports of any state. Until ten years ago all tax for avgas went into an airport upkeep fund. There was like $60 million sitting in this account. No airport was without help. Then the legislature looking for money found this Easter egg but we’re barred from spending it, until they changed the law. Empty account now. The infrastructure was pretty strong so it will take a while before it degrades.
In most places in TN the local .gov generally operates at a budget surplus and so the airport authorities tend to have plenty of resources, with Memphis and Knoxville being two of the more visible exceptions. There are still some airports, like M54, that are not run by airport authorities but instead are at the mercy of the town/county commissions or boards, which can be suboptimal since those people are usually not pilots or own aircraft.

I do think the change in how the tax monies were used has had an impact, as many airports that previously were fairly lenient in thier hangar rules are now doing hangar inspections and noting tail numbers for a variety of things like how much fuel or other services the owners are spending money on that supports the airport. My observation is the airport authorities are no longer made up of pilots using that airport, with a large number of board members that do not fly, do not own airplanes, and if they do fly may not base at the airport they are on the board of. And some of those have a very NIMBY/Karen attitude.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
10,159
Location
USA.
Tennessee has probably the best statewide airports of any state. Until ten years ago all tax for avgas went into an airport upkeep fund. There was like $60 million sitting in this account. No airport was without help. Then the legislature looking for money found this Easter egg but we’re barred from spending it, until they changed the law. Empty account now. The infrastructure was pretty strong so it will take a while before it degrades.
Lots of nice airports in Tenn.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
16,135
Location
Memphis, TN
I’m from the Memphis side of the world. My old boss use to be apart of the TN aviation association. I finally put in his 50 year pilot award a couple of decent years ago at the hall of fame. He use to sell airplane parts. If it had a shop at the airport, he has flown into it to sell parts. He will tell you about the people there and how tight it is to land.

The locals may run the day to day, but my airport was supposed to have its runway extended and the sister airport was supposed to have the terminal rebuilt. They have been saying next year for at least ten. The upkeep is great, but they are not doing what the plan is. The terminal is not legal for handicapped for a government owned building.
 

pfarber

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
902
Location
Dollywood
Are you near the Morristown airport? My friend Len has a hangar there and flies his Velocity and former Long-Ez out of that airport. Mightbe a reasonable place to do your testing and first flight. I "plan" on doing my testing and first flights out of either Tullahoma as Rhino suggests or maybe Shelbyville. SYI has a lot of places if an emergency landing is needed, they are the home of an experimental aircraft manufacturer and Jabiru engines, and so are pretty used to these sorts of things. They can get super busy though, so Rhinos suggestion of THA might be a better choice, its just a further drive from my house.
I know Morristown (trying not to doxx myself) but that's also an hour from home. I do like that they have a fire station right at the end of the runway. So thats a bonus point.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
10,159
Location
USA.
For some reason I can't remember, I always liked Shelbyville airport. Maybe it was for the fuel prices ?
 

PTAirco

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2003
Messages
3,667
Location
Corona CA
If I ever get to finish any of my original designs, the plan is to take it a dry lake bed around here. either El Mirage or something similar. You can always go straight into the wind and have miles available.

However, if the airplane is known quantity, I'd not risk high speed taxi tests. This beautiful Travelair came to grief when the owner decided to take it up and down the runway a few times. It just came out of a long restoration. It never flew. He probably had close to half a million dollars in this. It wasn't terribly windy that day but it was 90 degrees to the runway, look at the windsock. Eagerness overcoming judgement/skill.

Travelair carsh2.jpgTravelair carsh1.jpg
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
16,135
Location
Memphis, TN
Since this is East Tennessee area for testing, whatever side of Knoxville you are on, stay on it. I would rather test at Magee Tyson than drive through Knoxville.
 
Top