For the first 18 years of my life — thanks to my parents — I lived the ultimate aviation lifestyle. Looking back, I don’t think I appreciated — enough — that fact.
I grew up on 3B8, also known as Shady Acres, a residential airpark in, when I was growing up, a fairly rural area of unincorporated Pierce County in Western Washington.
Today, the area surrounding 3B8 is far less rural.
So oblivious was I at a young age that I thought everyone had a hangar, with airplanes inside, attached to their homes. I recall spending the night at my friend Carey’s house (a mile or so from my home) and thinking it odd that I couldn’t find his family’s hangar and airplanes.
Anyway, back in the 1980s my Dad started gathering information about other residential airports around the nation. His intent was to create an association of airparks for the mutual benefit of all. That was the beginning of Living With Your Plane.
For many years, he produced a print directory of airparks and a quarterly newsletter for nearly 1,000 members. As time moved on, Mom and Dad moved off the airpark, other interests took hold, followed by retirement.
Living With Your Plane languished.
And yet, I’ve had numerous conversations with aspiring developers, current airpark homeowners, would be airpark homeowners, service providers, realtors, bankers, and more over the years. Interest in this ultimate aviation lifestyle remains high.
So, Living With Your Plane will languish no longer.
First things first. A residential airpark requires two or more residential homesites with legal access to a common runway. Those homesites must be adjoining the airport proper or be a short walk/taxi away. There are thousands of small “ranch strips” dotting the countryside. Those strips serve one resident (even if guests are allowed) but don’t count for our purposes.
Naturally, residential airparks come in all sizes and shapes and styles.
Over the last several weeks I have updated data on existing airparks, added previously unknown airparks, and removed airparks that no longer exist.
I mostly used the FAA’s Airport Data and Information Portal (ADIP) to update runway and airport specific information and Google Maps. Erik McCormack, a realtor and real estate developer from Arizona, created AirparkMap.com, which also proved helpful in adding to the Living With Your Plane dataset.
As of March 22, 2021, the Living With Your Plane airpark directory counts 674
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