Thursday, May 29, 2008
On A Heading For Home
Finding a residential airpark for you and your plane
| Leeward Air Ranch in Ocala, Fla., is a 500-acre gated airpark that attracts aficionados of warbirds and vintage aircraft.|
Aficionados of particular aircraft types can often find properties well suited to their interests. The Leeward Air Ranch in Ocala, Fla., has long been known as a warbird haven. Fans of the Golden Age of Aviation can settle at the Grass Roots Airpark in Mascotte, Fla., which is designed to resemble a 1930s-era aerodrome. And, in addition to its paved runway, the Fort Atkinson Plantation Airpark in Day, Fla., offers a seaplane lane and adjacent homes for seaplane pilots.
Florida is also home to the largest and probably best-known residential airpark, Spruce Creek Fly-In, near Daytona Beach. With a golf course, clubhouse and other amenities, Spruce Creek considers itself not so much a residential airpark as a residential country-club fly-in community. And after some 30 years, Spruce Creek has learned a thing or two about what makes a resident and an airpark a good fit.
| America’s largest residential airpark, Spruce Creek Fly-In, is near Daytona Beach, Fla. Along with the ability to live beside your airplane, the residential “country-club fly-in community” offers a golf course and other amenities.|
Several newer residential airparks are tapping into this upper end of the market. Perfect Landing AirPark, a waterfront development near Branson, Mo., offers residents deluxe homesites and ancillary services, including security packages and lifetime medical care programs. Access to facilities in the gated community will be controlled by biometric fingerprint scans.
“Personally, my dream is to get in my plane, fly to the airpark, get in a boat and be on the lake,” said Jim Canfield. The former Navy A-6 Intruder pilot now flies a Cessna Cutlass RG and is a partner in the development. Residents will have access to a paved 5,000-foot runway at the adjacent Someday Ranch resort. Complete equestrian facilities will also be available. The aviation/equestrian pairing appears to be gaining traction among upscale developers.
“The husband likes to fly, the wife has horses,” said Chris Donald of this population of potential buyers. Donald’s father is on the development team at one-year-old Big South Fork Airpark in Oneida, Tenn., adjacent to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. “We wanted to start an aviation-based community with equestrian facilities for the outdoor type who likes airplanes and horses,” explained Donald, who flies a King Air, a Velocity and an RV-8A.
While almost all these communities were built primarily to attract airplane lovers, sometimes nonflying residents become attracted to the airplanes. “We see a lot of people take up flying as a new interest when they come to a place like this,” said Randy Banks, president and CEO of Mountain Air Country Club, a well-established upscale community in Burnsville, N.C. “They’ll buy a fairly high-performance plane—a Cirrus or Diamond—and then learn how to fly.”
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Labels: Buyer's Guide, Features, Journeys, Learning Center, People and Places, Aviation Personalities