Calling all pilots! This will be of interest to new pilots, long time aviators, and home buyers who’ve never heard of a “fly-in” community.
First to explain the fly-in community concept. Basically, a fly-in community is a neighborhood built with access to a runway. Some of the homes in the community may have direct access to the runway, others may have owners taxi their aircraft to the runway from their respective homes. Several fly-in communities offer common hangar areas where homeowners may be able to buy or lease a hangar to store their aircraft.
Fly-in Communities are a great way for a pilot/homeowner to enjoy their favorite hobby. For most pilots going for an afternoon flight around the pattern involves driving to the local airport, pre-flighting the aircraft, taxiing from a rental hangar out to the runway. All time-consuming activities that aren’t “flying.” The pilot/homeowner that lives in a fly-in community gets to skip the car drive to the airport because the airport is in his or her own community and quite possibly in their backyard or at least a very short “taxi” to the runway for takeoff.
If you are not a pilot you may have several misconceptions about what it means to have an “airport” in your neighborhood. First, some non-pilots may think that the runway in your community will be used for large, loud jets. Nothing could be further from reality. These fly-in community runways generally will only support small propeller drive aircraft. Most days you would not even realize you live in a fly-in community. The positive aspect of a fly-in community is that you generally have larger yards and therefore space to spread out a bit. Most of the yards in these communities have room to build large hangars to store airplanes. If you are not a pilot this may be an advantage if you need large enclosed storage for your RV, boat, or classic car collection. Also, these communities tend to be very tight-knit. Your neighbors will all have the same general interests and hobbies. This may also be a great possibility of fulfilling your lifelong dream of becoming a pilot and then living with your airplane!
We have several fly-in communities available in the Great State of Florida and 3 right in the Greater Tampa Bay Area. Florida is home to 131 public use airports and several more private ones.
If you have yet to taste flight consider the poem below by John Gillespie Magee Jr.
“Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”