Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Live With Your Airplane


An overview of residential airparks and fly-in communities


There's nothing like being able to walk out your back door to your hangar and into your airplane," says Spruce Creek, Fla., resident Jack Hirn, summing up the number-one reason that the residential airpark lifestyle captivates pilots of every stripe. And the neighbors are often as much of an attraction as the aviating. "Not everybody in the world gets aviation," says Mike Ciochetti, developer of Heaven's Landing, an upscale airpark in northern Georgia, "but those who do tend to be fun-minded people. They live a full, action-packed life—they're not waiting for life to come to them. Those are the kind of people you see in a fly-in community."

We might also add there has never been a better time to make the move if you've ever dreamed of living with your airplane. No, we don't know whether the housing market has bottomed out or that the economy has stabilized. But we're sure none of us are getting any younger, and while prices of residential airpark lots and homes have rebounded off their lows, there are still great deals and a greater variety of airparks than ever.

The Living With Your Plane (LWYP) organization lists more than 625 residential airparks—defined as any place with two or more homesites with shared legal access to a runway—and Ben Sclair, publisher of LWYP, says the numbers have been growing by ones and twos every year. (LWYP provides airpark listings and basic information for free on www.livingwithyourplane.com, and has a members-only section—for a $20 annual subscription—with more in-depth information for serious tire kickers.)

A residential airpark also can make financial sense when you consider the money you're now spending on a hangar, and the cost and time of getting to and from the airport. Of course, as with any real estate transaction, do your homework. Carefully check the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) that define architectural guidelines, access and ownership of the runway, and other critical ownership factors.

Think about it: If you're not living with your airplane, are you really living? Here are some examples of the residential airpark communities you could be part of.



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