Residential airpark living, for many pilots, is the ultimate dream. Airparks, like people, come in all shapes, sizes, and locations. But a tweak to the idea of living with your plane has popped up in the “heart of the Sequoia National Forest” in California, of all places.
Peppermint Sky Ranch is its name. But it isn’t exactly a residential airpark.
Seizing on the growing interest in backcountry flying, founders Anthony Longobardo and Michelle Sykes, who also happen to be engaged to each other, call Peppermint Sky Ranch a “backcountry basecamp for all your Sierra Nevada adventures.”
Fishing, hiking, climbing, kayaking, and rafting are all close by. Not to mention horses, cattle, and pack mules. While not a dude ranch, Peppermint Sky Ranch honors the history and legacy of cattleman, ranchers, and area outfitters, according to Longobardo.
“If you live in southern California, the Idaho backcountry is a long way off,” said Longobardo. “Peppermint Sky Ranch will allow aircraft owners and their guests to enjoy the backcountry experience much closer to home.”
A Different Ownership Structure
And here is where Peppermint Sky Ranch is a little bit different.
Longobardo and Sykes are selling 50 owner positions in the 320-acre Peppermint Sky Ranch. Owners will be members of Peppermint Sky Ranch LLC and entitled to ranch access. But there is is no year-round living or individually owned lots. Instead, there will be roughly 20 campsites and “four various-sized cabins” available to reserve. An extensive FAQ on their website answers many questions.
Peppermint Sky Ranch is limited to aviator-only owners and requires a buy-in fee and yearly dues.
When I spoke with Longobardo, the property was in escrow but had not yet closed. Buying in before escrow closes (planned for the end of March) will cost $12,750. After escrow closes, the buy-in price jumps to $15,000 through June 1, then $17,500 through the end of 2019. Yearly dues start at $3,000.
The strip will ultimately be 3,200’ x 60’ of turf runway. The helipad already exists.
Longobardo is a corporate pilot for Delta Airlines and a California state liaison for the Recreational Aviation Foundation. His bio is quite extensive and impressive. Sykes is a student pilot with degrees in aerospace engineering and bioengineering. She is currently practicing as a pediatric cardiologist with Valley Children’s Hospital.
This isn’t the first property development rodeo for Longobardo and Sykes. Carver’s Cut and Burnt Corral Meadows are two private, shared-ownership strips in the same general area as Peppermint Sky Ranch. Both are sold out. The Carver’s Cut website has a nice video of the Southern Sierra Spring fly-in held in June 2018.
“For many pilots, I believe they want to experience the backcountry, but not need a big-tired Super Cub to do so,” said Longobardo. “Peppermint Sky Ranch will fit small King Airs, Kodiak, Caravans, as well as Cessnas and Pipers and many other piston-powered aircraft.”
No off-airport operations here.
The ranch can also be accessed year-round via paved road. But what’s the fun in that?
If you have a desire for a week-end (or week-long) getaway in the beautiful Sierra Nevadas, with a place to land, Peppermint Sky Ranch might just be worth exploring.