Thinking about building a hangar home, where to start?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by MarkH, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I, like many pilots, want to one day live on an airstrip. A lot has come available that suggests that this is an option. I have owned and renovated a home before, but I have never built one. I am trying to get a better understanding of the process and costs.

    The appeal of this lot, is there are no requirements for me to build a large home to build a hangar. I would like to build a large box hangar with a small apartment in it. But before I make any moves on this I want to ensure I understand the project that I am taking on.

    Does anyone have experience building something like this, or advice on where to start?
     
  2. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I own a home and hangar on an airport. I want a bigger hangar and a smaller house, so I think you’re starting in the right place.
     
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  3. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Pattern Altitude

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  4. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've been thinking about this move for more than a year, but so many airparks expect a 3000 sq ft house before you can build the hangar. I don't want to live in a house that is more that 1000sq ft.
     
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  5. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Our place doesn’t have a size restriction, but you can’t build a hangar without also building an attaché or separated house. Living quarters in the hangar wouldn’t pass muster.
     
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  6. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    I built a modest (<2,000sf) standalone home and an oversized hangar (40x60).

    I prefer having the two spaces separate. The hangar was too big until I decided to build a kit plane.


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  7. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Hire a local architect that is familiar with the local codes and restrictions.
     
  8. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    My wife has been designing airport homes ever since she got the inkling to fly. When we finally bought our property in 2004, she immediately set to designing a house for it. The floor plans are largely hers. To get buildable plans we paid an architect who is also a pilot (I joke that when I hired him he was flying a Bonanza but by the time he finished he'd gotten a Baron). There's a cardboard model of my house still sitting in his office reception area (I was kind of annoyed I didn't get to keep that). He's gone on to do one more POAer's house.

    Some neat features of our plans (other than looking like a Frank Lloyd Wright house on steroids) is that we wanted to see the runway. The reason we chose our lot is that the taxiway for the lots that don't have runway frontage goes down the side of our lot. This allows us to have our hangar facing that taxiway leaving the view out the living room, music room, and the "party deck" unfettered. We are one of only a few houses in the neighborhood where the hangar is integral to the house. I don't have to step outside to get to the plane. The other neat feature is since we're on a slope, we put the hangar further down the hill which keeps the same roof line with the garage. The row of clerestory windows in the hangar and the garage has been a real nice feature.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    Looks lovely.
     
  10. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

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    That's quite small; but our prior home had a 2,000 sq ft main floor with no bedrooms on that level. Holley Mountain Airpark, 2A2, has a 1,800 sq ft minimum for the home according to @Anymouse, who lives and built his home there. Holley Mountain looks really nice. It has a paved runway and instrument approaches.

    To your topic question, start by identifying where you would want to live. Then see what the requirements are for the airparks in that area. Maybe you'll find one that you like that will let you build a small home.

    Then find an architect that meets your needs.

    That large prior home we built. I designed the floorplan, but had an architect do the work needed for plans from that. It wasn't on an airpark though.
     
  11. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Location, location, location. Well drained. Good sun exposure. Protection from wind. A view if you can get it. Favorable covenants and restrictions. A strong airport financial position so you can believe it'll remain a viable airport. Figure all that out first.
     
  12. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Every situation is unique*, but if you read through this thread you’ll get just one example of what it took for us to make our dream a reality...

    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/com...-karens-excellent-pole-barn-adventure.107235/

    [​IMG]

    We’ve been in “Wingin’ It” for about 2 years now. About to start the Annual Condition Inspection on my Sky Arrow, and being able to just open the kitchen door and waddle out to the hangar is wonderful.

    For us, the key was finding the right General Contractor to get the job done. We fired two on the way to getting to the one we ended up with.

    Anyway, good luck. It’s sure to be an adventure!


    *And some are very unique!
     
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  13. Computerjim

    Computerjim Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You don't say where you are. The local codes and covenants may make some of your choices for you. I live in and Air Park in SW Florida, 94FL. Our covenants require at least an 1800 SQ FT house. A hangar is not required, but a space designated for a hanger must be identified on the lot plan. We have a few hangars that are attached to the house, but the local fire codes make it very hard and expensive to make this possible. I bought a 2000 SQ FT house with no hangar in 1998 and built a 50X60 hangar with an attached 25x30 garage. Since the location of the hangar covered the entry path to the existing attached garage I converted it to a large living area and office.
     
  14. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    Yes, all that. A couple of random notes.

    We found a well located Airpark close to where we both were going to work. The strip was a bit rundown, the subdivision only half built, and the head guy recently died. Only a dozen airstrip homes, the remaining 40 lots had no access. Coming to NC from NJ/CT a major concern where we were losing airports once a month in the early 90s, long term viability was a major concern. Research showed that all the surrounding land was protected state watershed land which blocked all further development. Also meant the strip would never be improved to hardtop. We took the leap. 25 years later, so far, so good.

    We built a metal hangar and a custom Deck (now Deck Acorn) home. Post and beam, glass wall. Had one major conflict with builder regarding siting. We walked and staked out the home site. I return 2 weeks later and tons of concrete foundation had been poured with the house 30 degrees askew. Our beautiful glass wall no longer aligned with the runway!! Took me several years to realize they did it on purpose! The window wall points due north, an absolute necessity for such a wall. No direct sun comes thru except during the winter on the southern exposure. That joker didn’t trust that I would fully understand and accept such a reason. Building was a battle of wills but that’s another story.


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  15. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    We agreed to build at least a 1,200 sq ft house within a year of purchasing our property. The whole "pole barn" fiasco got so expensive it became feasible to find 1,350' of living space over two stories adjacent to our hangar, which is what we did. It's called "Winging' It" for a reason.

    By code, what we have is an "attached garage", not a hangar, and so it had to be finished more extensively that if we had built a separate hangar.
     
  16. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    The only caveat I'd add to not wanting to build a home over 1K is that when it comes time to sell, it can be much more difficult to offload. Most people will want a minimum of 1,500sq ft, but probably closer to 1,800. It doesn't mean you have to add a bunch of useless bedrooms, but making the rooms larger is always a selling point.
     
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  17. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    For me? 1700' living is plenty for 2 of us. The key feature after 30+ years in a 3 story is between or two homes we don't have a passage door under 36" and we don't own a single stair. We're physically active and healthy but nothing lasts forever.

    Make the hangar bigger. Mine's adequate at 55x60 but 60x60 would be better, 70x60 better again, and so on. Make to door wider and taller than you think you need. You'll never be sorry.
     
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  18. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    That's a good point.

    When my meniscus flared up, the stairs did present a challenge.

    On the other hand, I've seen reports that people who live in two story homes live a tiny bit longer on average. So there's that!
     
  19. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    Indeed! I had 3 meniscus surgeries 10 years ago. Not sure whether 2nd story office or climbing up and down my almost complete RV10 was worse.

    I write this after my 1st 2nd story foray following knee replacement. Took 2 weeks to get here.

    Nothing lasts forever. 1st floor master bed/bath rules!



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  20. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Elevators solve these problems. :)
     
  21. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    We have four stories in our "ant farm" house. It sure does help keep us in shape... especially when I'm working on something on the fourth floor and the tools I need are in the basement...
     
  22. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Which one? I know a few folks over there at Bobby Cox and The Douchy.

    NC has an exemption for residential hangars that have less than 2000 sf of floor space in the actual hangar part. The code requirements aren't any rougher than for garages in most places. Mine's actually a 3000sf hangar with the back area walled off (non structurally) for storage. The local building and fire inspectors like me anyhow. Our house is the only in the county with a dedicated fire sprinkler system in it. The were so enthralled with it that the fire marshall insisted on testing it down to hearing the fire engines dispatched.

    Even without the residential exemption, you just need to make sure your systems are independent and put a suitable fire-rated wall between the living space and the hangar part.
     
  23. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Yep, protect the planes from a house fire!
     
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  24. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Around my airport the homeowners are quite social and active. Lots of walkers with and without dogs doing a 2 mile loop around the taxiways. There are lots of hiking and walking trails nearby. Living with airplanes is more fun if you enjoy the community and your neighbors.

    I don't need stairs to stay in shape. I have a dog for that!
     
  25. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Which airpark is this?


    Tom
     
  26. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    I’m at Lake Ridge. You are at Long Island as I recall. We met in person a few Oshkoshes ago. You were still building and hadn’t moved down yet. I had been commuting into Lake Norman AP for weekend lake time and had been watching Long Island develop.

    I’ve got 3.5 acres on the strip with the hangar on one end the house on the other. Code enforcement and such was a bit lax back in the day, so much so that I couldn’t convince the tax assessor that I had just built the hangar and home on my single lot. He explained to me that ‘obviously’ the hangar was part of the airport and should not be part of the assessment. Okay then, my 2400’ hangar was invisible as far as he was concerned (since remedied).

    I knew an RV10 builder at Cox and one at the Douchy. The Douchy has turned out quite nice.

    I take it that Long Island will remain a turf strip? Lights? Fuel?



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  27. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Good example , you got 2 houses for sale in your airpark, but they’re out of my price range. One prices out to $396/sqft and another has been for sale for 600 days. That’s the problem with small houses and large hangars, going to be tough for people to swallow paying more 3/4 million for a small home.
     
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  28. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    my parents built at an airpark in texas that was split in to two parts, one side of the runway was houses with hangers and the other side was hanger homes. they put up a 90 X 100 metal hangar. inside that on one end we built a two story, 3000sf living space. one thing that they did that I would do also is they put a garage in the house part with a garage door in it. a lot easier to park and get in the house without having to open a hangar door. the end with the house had a nice covered patio al around it.
     
  29. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    An observation: The house with the integral hangar (or the hangar with the integral house) is sort of fantasy playhouse for many of us. Living with one’s plane(s) sort of turns the suburban ideal of living with an attached 3 car garage on it’s ear. It’s a lifestyle statement, real cool.

    Well, having done this for 20+ years now I can say it is real cool. Having spent 5 years shuttling between my home office and my home hangar/workshop to build an RV10 was super cool. But my house and hangar are 2 separate structures and I think that was a good choice for a number of reasons including valuation, insurance, safety, flexibility, etc.

    But living with your plane in your backyard is the essence of a flying lifestyle for me. Not because of a trophy hangar space or owning a unique home or having lots of slick toys but because I can actually use the plane like a car for very casual travel. There have been several years where we never drove more than 100 miles at a time because we flew everywhere instead. I have to admit to going to some almost ridiculous lengths to fly rather than drive but it’s been fun doing it. Any trip that takes 2 hours to drive to is usually easier to fly to IF the plane is in the backyard, fueled, hangared and ready to go.

    A flying focused lifestyle is not exactly what I was after but it turns out to be what I got.


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  30. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    In my area it's more expensive to insure 2 buildings than 1. It's definitely more expensive to build 2. I wander into the hanger in my robe about 6 mornings out of 7. If I was a pro mechanic I'd want separation but as a private owner I prefer the hangar attached. But let's be honest, either one is better than none. I love the hangar home life.

    The view from the kitchen ain't bad. home.jpg
     
  31. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    X05
     
  32. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Thanks, looks like nothing for sale.
     
  33. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I don’t know of any at the moment. Probably one or two would sell if money is good enough, but nobody is looking to sell as far as I know.
     
  34. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My dream hangar home is a large, tall box hangar with an apartment suspended from the ceiling on one side. The living space having 2 heavily windowed walls, one overlooking the desert and the mountains, the other just windows into my hangar so I can choose to stare at the mountains or my planes as I cook breakfast.
     
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  35. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Also, a flat roof to ease solar install/maintenance and so I can have a roof deck.
     
  36. Jumpmaster

    Jumpmaster Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Financing. You are going to need to finance your project. You will need to settle on some basic concepts- how big of a house (consider CC&R’s and all of that other stuff that dictates how big, exterior finishes, landscaping, etc.), how big of a hanger, designer costs, site development costs (water, sewer, utilities, driveway/road), cost of the lot, and eventually come up with a project estimated cost. Then look at your resources and see if you can finance this project. Do that first - I’ve more than one dream shattered when the project cost went way over $1M (and say what you want, $1M isn’t that much anymore in a lot of places) and had to be abandoned because they simply could not obtain financing. And you don’t need a house design completed to come up with a ballpark estimate. There are some pretty good estimating tools on line that you can use or by simply talking to a few contractors you can get enough information that can get you in a reasonable range. Good luck. The fun part is all the planning and dreaming. The horrible part is the actual construction process but once you’re done, you will have accomplished something significant.
     
  37. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Got one. We've had few guests use it including a decrepit old dog. I mostly use it for freight, we've gotten big into carts that we have the elevator. Food/plates going in and out to the backyard grilling, wine to the wine cellar, my wife moving house plants around.
     
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  38. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Here's the money shot taken from a drone over my neighbor's hangar. My house, the runway, Lake Norman...
    [​IMG]
     
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  39. Pugs

    Pugs Line Up and Wait

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    Great pics and stunning place - well done. I've read so many horror shows about airport communities and their homeowner associations that I just can't see getting myself into that situation again having dealt with an HOA gone insane once (and that was enough).

    Are there any particular airport community potential pitfalls or warning signs that would indicate an unpleasant situation in the offing?
     
  40. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Well, I tried contacting one....no response...I took that as a warning sign.
    Another is how active is the community, I know of one that’s been around for 15 years, and has 15 houses built out of 150 home sites. To me that’s a problem.