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APilotsGuidetoLandinginanAviation Community

Definition: Air park life is living in an aviatorsfocusedspecialpurposecommunity.Itislivingwith acommunityofpeopleinauniqueplace,allsharinganinterestinaviation.

Airparks: Communities with development features designed to accommodate airplanes


and aviators living with theirhome and aviation. This usually consists of real estate, runway(s), commonareas,taxiways,inadditiontothenormalresidentialrealestateconsiderations.

Disclaimer and disclosure: This forum is for informational purpose. I have


specific and financial interest in 2 air park properties and will make every consideration to be honest, unbiased, and impartial. I am a Florida licensed real estate sales associate. This document is advisory only, and should never be used as a substitute for proper professional counsel.

Part1Whychoosethisaviationlifestyle?
ThesingularNo.1reasontochooseairparklifeIhearoverandoveris: A passion forflying!It'sanintegralpartofapersonslife.Thislifestylebringsthispassionhome.I have experience. The joy and convenience and solid value retention were great results from owningandlivinginanairpark. Other reasons arealso important.Forexample:Lifewithpeopleof similarinterest.Convenience and access to aviation. Highest quality neighbors of any community (Pilots arethebest!).Quiet enjoyment of your home.Comfort of the security so inherent to aerofacilities. Economyoftotal lifestylecosts.Letslookatafewofthese. 1)A passion for flying as an integral part of an aviation persons life. Pilots by nature and necessity invest a lot inbeing pilots. Whethera"youngeagle"gettinga1stairplaneride,student pilot fresh from a 1st solo, to the retired ATP from years of international flights, it get's inyour blood, and provides a lasting joy. A almost done J3 Cub last flown decades ago lives in full harmony with air park life, with its owner, a London bound captain in a 787 Dreamliner. Today andeveryday,aviatorsareaviators.'Nufsaid.

2) Life with people of similar interest. Just think about it. Few opportunities exist to move into a community with instant synergy and common interest. Not even Golf communities or Marina neighborhoods seem to have as close a bondinginterest. Aviation peoplefrequentlyreflecttheir aviationpassioninotherarenasaswell. 3) Access to aviation. Justimagine, walktoyourplane,flyfromyourdriveway,park inyouryard! It's all partof the fun, andabusiness conveniencetoo.Aplacetobuildtheexperimental planeof your choice at home. Load up baggage without loading and unloading the car . That's a real wowfactor!

4) Highest qualityneighborsofanycommunity(Pilotsarethebest!)Realityisaviationpeopleare remarkable. Unusually smart, hard working people, and demographically lower crime risk than the general population. They frequently have very diverse experiences. They also necessarily have highly responsible lifestyle standards This is comforting at any stage oflife,andespecially valuable in protecting what and whom you value. This isn't to be taken for granted. No security systemevermadeisbetterthannocrimeinthefirstplace. 5. Quiet enjoymentof your home. This is a deedguaranteeinmoststatesthatgoesalltheway back to the feudal system of the old world England. Inthecurrentallodialtheoryofrealestate,a person may own land free of the overlord and with rights. A land owner may enjoy the possession and legal use of their property in peace and without thedisturbance ofotherclaims on the title by the seller or anyone else. This is a subtle advantage of an air park. Property owners of nonaviationcommunities do not necessarily share our viewon airplanes. That adds to theobviousphysicalquietofthearea.Airportstakeuproomthatreducespopulationdensities, automatically reducing disturbances. Tothebestof my knowledgenoairparkhasbeencloseby neighborscomplaints.Thetermfrequentlyheardisapersonshomeishiscastle 6. Security and comfort of the security so inherent to aerofacilities. Air parks are frequently patrolled, fenced and gated,locatedin lowcrimeareas,offthebeatentrackofhighvehicletraffic and low curb visibility.Again, no crime is still the best protection against crime. Air park people know their neighbors, and what appears usual and what doesn't. That's good for your peace of mind,knowingyourvaluables(andlovedones)aresafeandsecurewhenyouflyaway. 7. Economy of total lifestyle costs. Housing costissimplynotthesameaslifestyleexpenses. If you add up the cost of housing, time and vehicle cost to commute to the airport, tax advantages, hangar rental, and miscellaneous expensesofredundancy,theoverall lifestyle cost my be less than you think.Anairparkwillgiveyoumorefreetime,andprovideatrueeconomy

of life style. Just the savings of those little ownermaintenance itemsoeasilydoneinyourown hangaraddupyearafteryear.

Part 2 Location Where are the airparks with hangar homes?

(AirparkDatabaseLivingwithyourplane) Air parks are everywhere. I have visited or stayed at airparks from Peters Creek AK, British Columbia, Alberta, Iowa, NY, Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida. I have owned or leased in 3 different air park locations. Air parks are all over the USA and Canada. Every one unique, with theirownspecialcharm.TheyareespeciallycommonintheSEUSA,California,andTexas. To find an Airpark, simplyGooglesearchaviationcommunitiesorchecktherealestatesection ofTradeaPlane. Disclaimer and disclosure: This forum is not tospecifically find, locate, or guide individuals toa specific location.. Information is generic based. Specific names are not included to avoid any conflictofinterestandprovidethemosttruthfulinformationasIknowit.

The old truism of real estate is LOCATION,LOCATION,and,LOCATION.It'snotmuchdifferent inairparks.Solet'sstartwithlocation.

The major considerationis:Willthislocationfitmylifestyle?Selection forfulltime residencyofa working person may be very different from a retiree. Future residency can be a decision as important to get right as much as any. When is also part of where. Do I need room for a private Boeing 757 or a LSA. The NBAA and The Flying Farmers are not goingto necessarily sharethesamedecisionmaking. Is it a good locationfor my family,adesirabledestinationforgrandchildren.Isiturbanorrural.Is it a party town? A sports town? A college town? All are variables for yourconsideration.Lookat your neighbors home ,is it well kept, is it really airpark appropriate, does it meet the standards yourequire? Step 1As is theabove.Determinewhereyourpreferencesfit,whatdoesnotfit,whatareneeds, what aredesires,andwhereisabsolutelyunacceptable. Write itdown,reviewit,alteritasthings change.Justdonotignoreit.Thengotostep2. Step 2 Determine where is my value. Location cannot change. Look for valued locations. Examples of location values are proximity to employment, family, friends. How aboutclimate? Access to major airlines, recreation, shopping, health care, education, andentertainment.Good answers can make your choice a desirable destination and added value. Destination areas, climates,andeconomicsmakedestinationvaluedproperty. For aviation, Class B (big) airspace is a destination area indicator, but living in a Class B airspacecanbeverydifferentthannearClassBairspace.Thengotostep3.

Step 3 Determine affordability. Why is this step 3 you ask? Elementary. Real estate is a big commitment. If step 1 and 2 are not satisfactory, no financial consideration need or should be done. Look atthe wholepicture for cost of living It is all about a lifestyle,a passion, and along termchoice.Youcanbuild,fixanything,makenewfriends,butlocationsdonotmove. Step 4 When looking at affordability, be thorough. DO NOT look onlyat the asking price. Look also to any HOA's, property taxes, debt structure for common grounds, Community Development bond charges, special assessments, flood and property insurance, and services cost. Are gas and electric, drainage, water, sewers, phone lines, and cable available and/or accounted for. Allare important for cost,mostarecommontoanyrealestate.Don'tforgetthem just because it's an air park. I have found some pleasant surprises in some of these things. Some folks have had less favorable experiences. Do your home work BEFORE you close a deal.

Part3AviationCommunityFeatures&Functions

We looked at why and where, now in this section, we can look at what makes a good air park. Featuresanfunctionarethenextprogressionofthedecisionmaking. Lets examine the first things first. That is: What are you buying? Is it a building lot, a homeand hangar, or ahome andcommunityhangar,acooperative,acondominium,avacantlot,aprivate runway,orathruthefenceaccesstoamuniairport.Allaredistinctiveanddifferentrulesapply.

1)CooperativesIn this case, the traditional ownership is a corporation. The residential owners actually have a share in the cooperative, a right to a lease of their residence,andashare inthe common holdings. Different states have different corporate laws. Corporations have bylaws to follow. I would not recommend such without an attorney review. Caveat emptor. Be sure your rightsareprotectedbythecorporatebylawanddeed.

2)CondominiumsYou ownyour place in the development, and ashare in common grounds. ,A common expression I hear is you own everything inside the paint. Similar to the coops, rules and bylaws areimportant,but condominium owners are usually the deededowners.Flexibilityof floor plans, expansions, and additions become difficult. in this arrangement. Sharing common walls,roof,driveways,etc.,mustbeaccountedforinwriting.Youwantnosurprises. 3)Zero lot line CondominiumsYou have a mixture of Condominium with a a vacant lot or residence. You have everything inside the defined lot. It is likecondominium, and the rules are usuallynearlythesame.Youusuallyarefullyandindividuallyresponsibleformaintenance 4Lease/rental Lot or space rental is common in the camper andmotor home trade. A natural progression from thatwasthetemporary,seasonal,orfulltimeairpark.Thesemaybeeasyand price attractive. Be awareofpotentialvaluedepreciation withtimeoftenassociatedwiththistype of living space structure. Also be aware of the more transient, and therefor less stable communities may mitigate some of air park benefits. Some of these facilities have nice amenities, and a solid following. Some have adapted coopandcondominium business plans. Thediversityhererequiresdiligenceinlearningwhatisthecommunityvalue. Rental for a test flight forthe lifestyle canbe an excellent perpurchase idea. I have actually done that with out any intention of real estate sales. None the less, ended up with 2 families buying in my home area.They liked it sooo much. You may wishtocheckwiththedeveloperor sales people in an area you are interested in. You may find a seasonal or temporary rental arrangementcanbemade. 5)Residential Real Estate and lot salesThis is the most familiar type of ownership. You own it, you pay the taxes on it, you maintain it, it is your castle. There are usually Home Owner Association (HOAs) fees, rules, and restrictions. Common areas may be community owned, developer owned, municipal, or cooperative shared, and more Almost any airpark has this and /or some combination ofthese. This isfrequently the most preferredroute,andallowsthemost flexibilityandcustomhomedesign.

Part4:TheRunway

Now let uslookattheRunway.ThisisthebigAviationpartofthe equation.Iwillbejustplainbold here, only consider a runway of more than 2200 ft as adequate ( mile if obstructed on approach/departure) unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure that's what you want. Yes I know can handle1600 ft, My planeneeds 1000, but I cant do that. That's it. Your OK,butresale itcanget challenging, becauseyourmarketshrinksproportional totherunway.Myruleofthumbisaddup the takeoff distance and the landing distance, full loaded on a hot day, add 100 ft. That is my recommended minimums. Look at the the same numbers for the hottest ship reasonably expectedtolandthereandadd30%fortwins,everybodyelseshouldbeOKtoo. Paved and lighted isthe gold standard for private facilities. Sod is fine if it's high, dry, and firm. And yes therearelightedsodfields.Myrecommendationis milepavedwithcleanapproaches is a minimum for my Comanche.'Ya'allbecareful,it'sajungleoutthere.Againthinkoftheresale value.Longerisbetter!Aninstrumentapproachisawowfactor.

Runways into the prevailing wind is better than crosswind. This can be anice thingin NY, but absolutelyvitalinwestTexas.Crossingrunwaysarealuxury.Moreisbetter.

Thru the fence operations to public usefacilitiescanoffersomeoperatingcostadvantages.The AOPA and EAA successfully blocked Homeland Security attempt to eliminate these operations from Muni's, public use runways, and the like. I personally recommend you better like the

opportunitywithouttherunway.Sofarsogood.Againcaveatemptor. Taxi way and ramp space is alsoimportant.Cominglingpedestrian, automobiles,andairplanes canbeproblematic.Youcannotimaginethenumber ofvehiclesyourunintothatdonothaveany respect for aircraft rightofway. Yes the plane is wide. No it won't just backup into a driveway. Yes, your trash can is taller than my wings. Aviation people are not usually the problem. Nosy realtors, curious neighbors, service people, and pizza delivery are. A gated access is pretty standard today. Without ittraffic problems only getworse. A gatedcommunityofaviationpeople andseparatetrafficisthegoldstandardhere. Some public use runways were built using federal funding in part or in total. Money given from the airport trust fund usually has strings attached. Common stipulations, including keeping it open, public use, and for a long time period are common. This can be both a comfort and a restriction. The usual penalty for noncompliance is monetary (returning the money). Iffederal moneyisinvolved,knowwhat'sthecurrentstatusandfutureplan.

Part 5 House, Hangar Home, and Pilot Living: This is about the
actualphysicalpropertyandandalotmore.

Amenities are also a value added. Everything from golf to equestrian centers can be found. Be

sure if the amenities arethere,whopayswhatforthem.Moreisnot alwaysbetter.Lookforwhat YOU will use in amenities.It is your life, your dream, and your nickel after all. Airplane services are nice too. Fuel availability can be discounted with fuel clubs. A friendly mechanic, groundskeeper, transient (community) hangar, storage facilities, and CFI arealso really handy. An Aeroclub can be very enjoyable and economical too. Commercial operations on the field however,canbeamixedexperience. HOA's, love'em orhate 'em are participants in your decisions. Look at them and ask: Are they self serving, or do they serve me and my neighbors? A good HOA will enforce rules fairly and consistently. They protectmypropertyvaluesandthoseofmyneighbors.AreallygoodHOAisa value added. Balanced, impartial, and effective rules are your friend, especially when disputes come up. Also check for the financial history of the overall property, it's debt, bankruptcy, tax liens, specialassessments,etc.Itisn'tjustyourindividualdeed,itisthewholecommunityhealth andcondition. The house is where youwill spend most of your time. Make sure it fits yourlife.Thesmallestis the campertrailer community. They have a solid following, usually no hangar, usuallyseasonal housing.Theyofferaveryreasonablecostoptionandmayfityoujustfine.Takenote,theHOAis reallyimportant! A bachelor with 800 sq. ft. home and 4200 sq. ft. hangar has lots of room forhis toys, but little interest in resale appeal. A beautiful 8000 sq. ft. house in a trailer community can be the least expensive way to build, but least value. Just a few advise codicils. Your house should fit the neighborhood. I recommend 1600 + sq. ft. living area, 2 bedroom, 1 bath minimum for resale value. The hangar should be about the size of the houseor smaller. The typical 2000 to 3500 sq. ft. living, 3to4bedroom,2bath,2cargarage,1200to1500sq.ft.hangarwillfit almost any potential buyer's needs, and be neighbor friendly. Variations of as much as 20% are not too uncommon. Wisdom is be equally cautious of over improvement as under developed. Functional obsolescence is fixable in many cases. The biggestandbest for a location may be the best price for that home. Your money, Your life, Your choice! A down side of any real estate holding is liquidity. This can be mitigated to a degree by careful consideration to the home specificationandlocation. Hangar and hangar doors also are unique to the life style. A tie down will suffice, but not add

much value. Hangar protection foryourplaneisimportant.Protectionfromice/snowinthenorth, sun in the south, and extremes of weather anywhere is the name of the game. A decent minimum is 28 x40 hangar, with 38 x9clear open door. Bigger is better. Irecommend 42 x 30 with a 12 foot door should provide a usable 40+ x29+x9+ clear area. As suchan11footinside ceiling is an adequateone plane minimum. That can be T shapedif a loss of storage space is not important, and add living space to an attached house. Beware, it will probably not reduce buildingcost.Metalbuildingstructureisverypopularandcosteffective. They offer full utility, and if done correctly, be very sturdy. Unfortunately, they can have some negative issues. Plane (plain?) boxes can be unattractive, rust, and may not offer the added value you need for resale in the future. They are also subject to HOA restrictions in many residential areas. Newer designs with attractive stone or brick facade can really be quite attractive. I don't recommend Quonset corrugated metal type. Sturdy, cheap, durable and weather worthy, they just don't look right in a residential community. Theyare usually found on farmstrips,frequentlydoingdoubledutyasequipmentstorage. Doors are a whole subject alone. Sliding doors are low cost, and afavoriteoflargecommercial operations. Theyare also easily jammed with ice, snow,mud,andairplaneparts!Theyarealso equipped with trip hazards,pinchpointsandbroken bones(trustme,Idohavepainfulmemories of real experiences). Agricultural swing doors are a variation of sliders. Theyrequire no tracks, butneedahardsurfacetorollon. Wind loading is also an issue. The electric bifold is the accepted standard. Be aware of size. Door size is NOT the same as clear opening area. To get 38 ft by 8 ft clearopening you may need a 40 x 10 door. That is my recommended minimum. 45 x 14 clear opening can hangar mostofgeneralaviation.A GAIN, bigger is better. Common sense should prevail. For example, I wouldn'tbuild for a Lear on a mile sod strip. Manydoormanufactures makegood productsandarehappytohelpwithengineering.

Part6Conclusions,Cautions,andConsummatingThe Deal
Real estate has been and will always be a viable product and valued asset. It can also be a source of pleasure, security, and a value to life style beyond the basic utility. It can also be complicatedexperiencewithrisksandrewards.Letuslookatsomeofthosethings.

What is this stuff abouthomesteading?Manystates, notjustOklahoma,haveorhadsomeform of homesteading. This was aprocessofrelatedbutseparateconditionsthatareimplemented at the state level to encourage the realestateownershipinthatstate.Commonmisconceptionisit is to lower your taxes. It may in deed do that, but there is more to it. Ataxexemptiontothereal estate owner (of variable amounts), of limited size of property, and and statutory conditions to protect spouses and family descendants are part of homestead process. Knowing the homesteading law in your proposed state for purchase is very important. This should be discussed andplannedbeforeclosingtoassureyougetthefulladvantagesofthesystem. A real estatefamiliarcounselisagreatstart. Buying and selling to or from alien owners is also subjecttosomespecialrules.Thatisthereal

estatetransactionforrealestateintheUnitedStatestoorfromforeignentities. I will not comment on the laws ofalien ownership of property by anyothercountry.Ihavesome experience, but Iam no expert of any kind. There is someUnitedStatesrulesyoushouldknow, regardingpurchaseofrealestatefromaforeignsource. The IRS require 10%of the grosssale price be withheld and paid to the IRS. Thisis toprevent the foreign sellers from avoiding the taxes due from the sale of real estate.Please, if you are closing a purchasewithaforeignseller,consultwiththeIRSoranIRStaxspecialist.Againgood counselatclosingshouldbeabighelp. Domestic selling has some cautions too. Capital gain tax, tax exclusions, and the various formulas used todetermineeligibilityarecomplex. Abasicoverviewisthe sellerisallowedtobe exempt from capital gains up to a certain amount, depending on single or joint return status, every2years. This is to protect the sellers from an onerous tax burden when selling their residence, and provide the government adequate taxation on capital gains realized from quick flips and from other events that the government has the right to collect taxes. The usual occupancy rule for residence is 2 years of the last 5 years. Early professional tax counsel is wise.

So let's consummate the deal! Wilkomen, bienvenue, welcome! to the best real estate opportunitiesinanaviatorsheart. International buyers and sellers are finding the USA a very friendlymarket opportunity. Values aregoodandlowmortgageratescanstillbefound.Beware,timeflystoo. License requirements for our FAAare compatible with most of the industrialized world nations. The FAA .gov website and the AOPA have information, but the best way is try to findsomeone who has done it recently. English language is used internationally, and terminology is similar. I diditmanyyearsagointheUKandwasagoodexperience. So go ahead,dreamthedream,dothedo,livethiswonderfullifestyle.Ihavelivedandlovedthis lifestyle for decades.. My property values went up, costs acceptable, and joy terrific. The downsides are few. The key to success is: Know what your doing. You will have avery good experiencetoo.Useachecklistjustlikewhenyou'reflying,andyouwillhavehappylandings.

Airport Homes Q and A) There was a live Q&A at the forum, for further
informationpleaseemailGeorgeemailGGRATTON@GMAIL.COM GeorgeJGratton ggratton@gmail.com PilotandRealEstateSalesAssociatelicensedinFlorida allrightsreserved2014 Biographicalinformation: George is a retired engineer from Johnson and Johnson.Hehasbeen flying for nearly 50 years as an instrument and multiengine rated pilot. He currently has a Comanche 260andhasflowneverystateandmost provinces.HehasbeenlicensedintheUSA and the UK. George is a lifetimememberof the AOPA, as well as member of EAA, Hat in the Ring, andNAPP,andformermemberattheLutonFlyingClub.HisflightexperiencesrunfromJ3 to DC3. He loves flying, old cars, singing Gospel and barbershop harmony, and the air park lifestyle. He is currently working as a marketing consultant in Florida airparks. He and his wife Irenehave2childrenwholiveinupstateNY.Georgelovestohelpfolkslivethedream.