I’ve been working pretty consistently in recent days cleaning up our residential airpark directory, Living With Your Plane.
With about 600 airparks in the directory, it is a never-ending job to keep the information current. Since most residential airparks are managed by the residents in a homeowners association or something like that, officers and contact names, addresses, email and phone numbers change pretty regularly.
Like most of you, as I’m sitting down for dinner or watching a TV show, I detest getting a phone call trying to sell me something. Even worse are the times when I can barely understand the caller’s pitch because of the extremely accented English. So it was with extreme reluctance that we hired a firm to try to chase down the information that would bring the directory as up to date as humanly possible.
I guess most of you are like me and you either hang up on the caller or quickly brush the person off or just simply refuse to provide the information requested. That’s why the firm we contracted with made around 6,000 calls for updated information on those 600 airparks.
Of course, a lot of calls were simply trying to ascertain the correct name and number or email address for the airpark. Finally, when the right person was reached, an awful lot of them wouldn’t talk.
I’m hoping that if you are involved with a residential airpark you’ll go to our directory (LivingWithYourPlane.com), check the information and make any corrections or changes that are needed. If you prefer, send me an email with the changes (Dave@GeneralAviationNews.com) or you can even call me and leave the details on the answering machine (800-426-8538, ext. 108).
We’re hoping to get a directory into print around the end of the year. That’s one of the reasons we are trying so hard to get it as accurate as possible.
In working on the updates we’ve rediscovered a lot of things about residential airparks:
- First, there’s a lot of interest in them – from those interested in buying on an airpark to those considering developing a new facility.
- We’ve got 10 airparks listed in Canada and another 10 in a variety of other foreign countries.
- The runway surfaces are split pretty evenly between paved and unpaved. A total of 255 airparks report having paved runways.
- Most of the airparks are privately owned and list themselves as private use. Of all the airparks in the directory, 551 claim private ownership and 401 also report private use.
Interestingly, that means about 200 are open to the public. Unfortunately, I have some doubts about the accuracy of that statistic and I’ll continue trying to define that one.
A fellow called the other day asking if I thought having access to a residential airpark runway would increase the value of seven lots he was considering developing adjacent to an airpark. He said the price to gain runway access for his property would result in an increase of about $50,000 per lot, on top of the investment he already has in the land. He also was interested in determining if there was a lot of demand for airpark lots.
My answer to the second question was an unequivocal yes — except I wasn’t familiar enough with his locale to say whether that interest was apparent there, too. Not every community can boast interest in residential airparks, so the question becomes “if you build it, will they come?”
I had to tell him that lots are selling for pretty darn good prices in many places but I didn’t have any idea of the real estate values in his part of the world so I wasn’t in a position to give him a good answer.
The more interesting thing to me is that this fellow felt the property with runway access, in his mind, had a greater value than a subdivision without runway use. He wasn’t a pilot, either. Any property that has access to a runway, a golf course, an equestrian center or any special interest area should have an increased value, I think. How much increased value is another question altogether.
Our listing of residential airparks includes about 30 that are currently in planning or construction stages. Each year we add more airparks to the directory and we’ve yet to have one reported to us as having to be closed because of lack of interest or real estate sales.
In my mind, residential airparks are alive and well, thank you.
Dave Sclair was co-publisher of General Aviation News from 1970-2000, as well as co-founder of Living With Your Plane and a renowned expert on airparks.