If you’ve ever wanted to live like George Jetson and fly in and park your aircraft at your front door, then you should consider moving to an airpark community or, as some call them, fly-in communities. While your craft probably isn’t as cool as George’s, what is really cool is you can live your passion for aviation and do it smack-dab in the middle of airport-like neighborhood.
Airparks are gated lifestyle communities where homes are built around flying. Many have a hanger attached to the house with a runway as the neighborhood’s main boulevard. Airparks come in all shapes and sizes but the one thing they have in common, of course, is flight. Read More...
You can pretty much guess what residents chat about over their back fences, and it's probably not about the dog that got loose down the block or the loud party the neighbor’s kids threw last week. No, they are talking about weather fronts, wind speed, travel advisories, new FAA regulations and everything to do with aviation.
It may seem strange, but if not for World War II airparks may have remained in the imagination of flying enthusiasts for decades. In the 1930’s there were no airparks and only 34,000 pilots in the U.S. But thanks to the war, by 1946, the number of pilots ballooned to 400,000.
Furthermore, at the war’s end, there remained many decommissioned military airfields and surplus aircraft just sitting around gathering dust. This sparked America’s love of private aviation and the development of airparks.
1946 was also when the first airpark came into being in Fresno, California, according to Flyingmag.com. It was called the Sierra Skypark. Today, there are 426 airparks in the U.S. and 630 around the world.
You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out that odds are at least one member of an airpark household is a pilot. According to a survey by livingwithyourplane.com, most airpark residents are between the ages of 45 – 65. Furthermore, over half of the properties at airparks are second homes.
Not surprisingly, these owners have incomes well above average because, as you can imagine, it isn’t cheap to own and maintain a private aircraft. There’s an old saying among the flying community, “Aviation can be hazardous to your wealth”. Importantly, if you have to ask how much it costs to live in an airpark, you probably can’t afford it.
However, there are some airparks, in Arkansas for example, that are relatively inexpensive. Some of these feature modest homes that abut public or private airfields. There’s nothing fancy about them at all.
On the high end, homes in airparks run into the millions. These airparks typically have state-of-the-art maintenance facilities and loads of amenities like golf courses, fitness centers, restaurants, and swimming pools. Many of the houses are mini-palaces featuring all the upscale accouterments you’d expect. And the planes parked out front range from twin-engine luxury aircraft to private jets.
Florida leads the country with 70 airparks, followed by Texas with 65. While Arizona may not have the most airparks – there are over 25 in the state - it has some of the best.
And Arizona is the perfect location for airparks because the weather allows for many sunny and storm free flying days, certainly more than you’d find in the Northeast or the wet and rainy Pacific Northwest.
That’s probably why so many of the best airparks are located here. And it's not just clear skies that make the state a great place for these fly-in lifestyle communities. Many airparks in the state offer amenities well beyond a runway and hanger. Some compare favorably to upscale gated communities or active adult communities.
Another thing that separates Arizona’ airparks are the size of the individual residential plots. According to the Living With Your Plane directory, Arizona is known for having more large airparks than almost any state in the country. 16 of the state’s 25 airparks have 50 or more lots and most are in the 100 to 175 lot range.
Tucked up in the northwestern part of Maricopa County is the Eagle Roost Airpark. Founded in 1972, Eagle Roost has 85 residences on 5-acre lots each with a hanger and private taxiway. There are over 50 aircraft at the airpark. One thing that really stands out about Eagle Roost, and something that could put pilots in harms way, are the magnificent Sonoran sunsets which are so mesmerizing they’ve been known to distract passengers and pilots alike with its stunning natural beauty.
Another Maricopa County airpark is Thunder Ridge. Originally, when it first opened in 1993, each plot was a whopping 35-acres. Today, however, they come in smaller 3 to 5-acre sizes. This is a small airpark compared to most with less than two dozen homes.
Arizona’s oldest airpark is Morton Ranch which was founded in the 1950’s. Currently, there are 4, 10 and 20-acre parcels for sale in this 340 acre development. It also features 3 runways. Morton Ranch is a few minutes north of Wichenburg. It shares the area with the Wichenburg Ranch Golf Course and the large Van Tyle development. If you get tired of flying but still don’t want your feet to touch the ground, there are plenty of equestrian activities in the area as well.
Nobody wants to jump in a plane with a rookie pilot who is still feeling his way through the plane’s flight control systems. It’s just too dangerous. You need someone who knows what they are doing and who knows the area well.
The same holds true for folks looking to buy a home in an Arizona airpark. You need a seasoned, aviation real estate expert to get you where you want to be. Just because a real estate agent is in finding fine retirement villages or suburban homes doesn’t mean they know anything about airparks, although many will claim they do. It’s critical to hook up with an expert. After all, this is an expensive purchase and a dramatic lifestyle change.
So, before you start looking for that dream home in an airpark, do it with a local real estate aviation professional. Happy flying.
Included below are hanger homes for sale throughout Arizona. If you would like more information on any of these Arizona Airpark homes for sale, just click the "Request More Information" button when viewing the details of that property. We can provide you with disclosures, past sales history, dates and prices of homes recently sold nearby, and more.
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