Airport Communities (homes with hangars and their own runways) are gaining even more popularity as more and more pilots are opting for the new Aviation Category called Light Sports Aircraft (LSA).
Besides being easier to become licensed to fly in (unless you are already a rated pilot in which case you are all set) these LSA aircraft have a few additional limitations. They are limited to 1320 lbs gross weight (fully loaded). IF a sea plane, they may weight a few pounds more. There are also speed limitations. They can’t go faster, in cruise, than 138 mph and most stall at a speed below 51 miles per hour. Stall speed is the speed where the wings can no longer fly. Seating is limited to 2 seats. They can only have a single engine and their wheels must always be down (no retractable allowed in LSA).
A big benefit is, and this is quite nice for the older pilots who are concerned about loosing their medical endorsements, there are no medical requirements. No one but a fool would fly if they are concerned about their health – and the LSA category allows folks to follow their own judgment.
A Tour of a Hangar Home
LSA flying is a wonderful way to tame that deeply rooted desire to soar with the birds. Many seasoned pilots come to a point where they are seeking only simplicity. LSA aircraft are much less expensive to fly – usually burning only fractions of the fuel as their larger kin. LSA offers a way to fly and to enjoy most every aspect of aviation as any other pilot.
These little airplanes are quite amazing – many of them. Many are made of composite materials (very modern compared to the standard aluminum and rivets of old) and have glass panels (computerized panels rather than the round “steam gauges” of the past). There are literally 100′s of manufacturers each trying to sell their own products. This is helps keep the prices down. And has the LSA fleet ages, we can expect prices to even fall more.
But where does one keep these little airplanes. This can be an issue for many, a real show stopper. Most of us like to have our most valued possessions at home and nearby. However, since these LSA aircraft l require runways to get off the ground they require being at an airport. For most, this means keeping them away from home. It means commuting to the airport, paying the tie down fees and generally a hassle every time one wants to fly.
Fortunately, airplanes can be stored near home. There are aviation communities out there (most every state in the United States has them) where the homes have hangar (small or large) and the communities share one or more runways. You will see, in these communities, airplanes, large and small, taxiing along the same streets as the cars, as they make their way to or from the runway. These unique communities are populated with the most interesting folks who share a common interest. Living in one of these communities, you can decide you want to be in the air and literally be flying within minutes. What freedom!
Building lots and even existing homes in such communities are being offered at surprisingly excellent prices these days as all segments of real estate remain in recovery mode.
Truly, if you have even flickered at the thought of taking up aviation, or continuing an aviation passion that you have had for a while, and have considered the idea of living with your airplane, right now could be an amazing time to take advantage of the situation and take action. The only way to be sure is to begin looking. There is likely one near you that you do not even know about.
One can but a hangar home that is already built or a lot to build upon. Right now purchasing a piece of land and having that “perfect” home and hangar designed can be an excellent enterprise because there are some excellent construction deals out there (mid-2011). There are many builders who are just looking for something to do. Why not take advantage?
Whether you are a seasoned pilot looking for a simpler aviation game, or a newbie looking for a bit easier way to get that flying ticket, LSA offers an amazing opportunity. And, as in most areas of life, the truth is that there is no other time than now to act and begin anything new.
Ken Risley, the Engineer Designer, is an award winning designer with emphasis in Hangar Home Design. He can help you turn your residential design dream into reality.