AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 72

Waking to the
rising pitch of a
Continental engine
being pushed to
full throttle means the
day is starting
out perfect.

a smile, remembering. "They were all pilots, the board
members, and they were truly progressive," he said. "We
were able to get federal and state funds, and we were
careful to plan the runway so that it could be paved and
expanded when the need arose." During the land acquisition phase of the airport's development, space was left
between the airport and the road system for an imaginative developer, according to Plymate.
In the mid-1960s he moved on to airport management positions that took him south, to California. It was
more than 20 years before he returned to discover that,
during his absence, the public airport he'd designed and
built had developed a beautiful symbiotic relationship
with a purpose-built residential community of pilots
and aviation enthusiasts on its doorstep. "It was the
most incredible airpark I'd ever seen," he says. "There
were dedicated taxiways for airplanes and dedicated
roads for cars. When you drive in from the land side you
can't tell it is an airpark. It looks just like a subdivision
anywhere," he says.
In the past 20 years he's watched the airpark grow
from 40 to nearly 200 families. A dedicated aviation
community, the neighborhood benefits from the aviation businesses on the public side of the fence, which
include a restaurant and FBO with maintenance facilities and fuel for sale. The TTF operation has been
impacted by the new legislation, but not radically.
Homeowners pay a modest fee of about $180 per year
for the right to use the public airport.
MY STORY
AN AVIAT HUSKY is
at home at Alpine
Airpark (46U) near
Jackson Hole,
Wyoming
(above).

72 | AOPA PILOT January 2015

Like Vandervliet, Woodward, and Plymate,
I'm an airpark veteran and I've got no exit
strategy. I see no need.
I call my Florida neighborhood of Pine
Shadows an aviator's nirvana. For an airport

"junkie" such as I am, waking to the rising pitch of a
Continental engine being pushed to full throttle means
the day is starting out perfect. It's as pleasant as bird
songs in the morning, and serves to remind me that I've
got the option to fly my own little airplane, a Kitfox IV,
at my whim (and the weather's). It's right there, not 20
yards from my bedroom window, safe in the 60-foot
by 60-foot hangar we built for it in front of the house.
Day trips for work are a cinch. Roll out of bed
before sunrise, cued by the coffee machine burbling
in the kitchen. I can be airborne shortly, watching that
beautiful ball of fire ooze above the horizon, setting
the high cirrus aflame with bright pink and purple
morning light. Best of all, when the job is done, the
trip home puts me back on my own doorstep-most
of the time before supper.
Our 36-year-old community near Fort Myers,
Florida, is homes with hangars, and some homes with
architecturally integrated hangars, all on 70-odd oneto three-acre lots, ringed around two lakes. Because
of the preference for lakefront living our autos share
the taxiways with the aircraft, but aircraft have the
right of way. It is not a perfect system (we have had an
airplane-auto encounter); yet with proper care on the
part of pilots and drivers, it works fine.
We each own a share of the paved, lighted runway;
the fuel farm; the taxiway/roads; the gate. As a group we
fund it all through homeowner association dues and the
occasional assessment. Also, as a group we defend the
clearways for takeoff and landing from encroachment
by development (FAA rules protecting public airports
don't apply to our privately owned airport), which happens from time to time. Sometimes it is a cellphone
tower, other times it is a request from an adjacent landowner for building height variances. It helps that our
runway is bordered on two sides by a county preserve.



AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 4
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover4
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