There are many airport communities in the United States. I have heard that Florida, Texas and California have the most of them. However I’ve heard of these places in most every state. I live at one myself and usually am met with wide-eye’d surprise when I mention the fact. Most people have similar questions so I though I’d answer a few of them here:
What are Airport Communities?
These are neighborhoods that own and use one or more runways. These runways are often owned and maintained by the community. They can be paved runways or just grass strips.
What are hangar homes?
Hangar homes are regular homes like you see anywhere in the United States with the exception that they have an airplane hangar either connected to or separately located on the property.
Are hangar homes different than other, regular homes?
No. These are regular old homes, large and small, every architectural style, every layout you can imagine, every color – some have garages for cars, some put their cars in the hangar. The main distinction is that these homes have hangars on their property, either attached to the home or not.
Do these homes follow the same Building Codes as the other ones?
You’ll find that the Codes for the homes are the same. The hangar are usually treated as over- sized garages. There are exceptions to this in some areas. In Florida, a hangar greater than 2000 square feet in area will need to adapt to several commercial code provisions.
How to the airplanes get to the runways?
Most communities either have the houses right up against the runway or they are on regular streets. When they want to drive (taxi) their airplane out to the runway they use the same streets that the cars do.
How do the cars and airplanes share the streets?
Everyone one gives the airplanes right of way. If you are driving down the street in your care and see an airplane coming, you just drive into a neighbor’s driveway or off the street and let the airplane go by. They are almost always your friend and there is lots of waving.
Is it noisy at Airport Communities?
Rarely is noise a problem. But like anything, there are exceptions. We have fly-ins sometimes where many airplanes will fly in for lunch or a meetings. Also, homes today are pretty tight and noise from outside does not easily get through. But, for sure, airplane pilots usually love the sound of airplanes. When my wife and I do hear them we always delight and wonder who it is flying in or out.
Do you store things in the hangar besides your airplane?
Of course. Like everyone else we tend to get carried away with various levels of “junk”. Gotta stay on top of it.
Are Hangar Homes Ugly?
They can be. But they can also be beautiful. My own home, if you were driving by the front, would not even be recognizable as a hangar home. The entry to the hangar is in the rear. From the front it looks like a regular home. The way I designed it architecturally softened the hangar portion of the home and you honestly can’t tell it is one. Drive around to the back and you’ll see the large hangar door.
Are Airport Communities Tower Controlled?
Very few are. In our community we have two grass strips. Each pilot announces when he or she is getting ready to use the runway. It is a smooth running and safe operation.
Are there only one kind of person that live at these airport communities?
Diversity is the common thread among owners of hangar homes. You will find diverse interests, backgrounds, skills, knowledge, professions and the like. The one thing we hold in common – we love and own airplanes.
How big are the homes and how big are the hangars?
I’ve seen sizes ranging form puny to huge. I’ve seen hangars from spaces a bit bigger than a car garage all the way to gigantic 4000 plus square foot structures.
Are airplanes always expensive to own and to fly?
Planes, like anything, can range widely in type, expense, etc. Some can be very expensive. Some are pretty reasonable to own and fly. Many folks choose to build their own airplane – right there at their homes. There are owners, like John Travolta, who have very expensive jet airplanes at their airport homes. But jets are rare at fly-in communities. Travolta’s runway is very long and wide and likely one of a kind in the United States.
Doesn’t John Travolta live in an Airport Community. Have you met him?
You’re right. He does. He actually lives a few miles from me. You can likely find pictures of his home on the internet. Yes, I have met him. Seemed to be a very personable guy. Sure loves aviation. He wondered how long our runways are here at my neighborhood. I had to think for a second – I had never really thought about it. Difference between flying big airplanes and small ones.
I’ve found that most pilots have heard of these places. Many have likely thought it pretty expensive. But you will find, if you research it, that it can be an amazingly affordable lifestyle. It is really a matter of researching what is out there and learning a bit about the types of homes you can buy or build. Once you have decided to do this, you will likely find many resources of help and advise. It is, indeed, a lifestyle like no other. You’ll make friends like never before.