What is involved in starting a private airstrip?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by 4RNB, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. 4RNB

    4RNB Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I am waiting for a hanger at my local airport, will end up paying $250 a month if and when they get one for me. Waiting list was 12 last I checked, I have been number 11 since joining the list less than a year ago.

    When I peruse ads for private airstrips I dream very big. When I visit small little airports, I wish I could live nearby.

    What is involved with starting or running such airstrips? Any stories or experiences to share here? Is there an acceptable length? Are runways expensive to build? How about simple lighting systems? Is space rented or sold out? How does it all work?

    I visited a private airport where we visit once a year. The owner said she shut it down (with the FAA) but I could land and park there if it was allowed. Am I allowed? Is the FAA involved with every airport, public and private?

    Any resources I should be looking at?
    Thanks
     
  2. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Can't speak to the actual costs of building an airstrip, but I'd imagine that's highly dependent on what you are starting with for land and the type of runway (grass/asphalt/etc) in addition to runway size. As far as the FAA is concerned you can land anywhere you want. As long as you have the land owners permission to do so I say go for it. Running afoul of local laws may be a different issue, but that's not under the FAA's jurisdiction. You'd have to check local ordinances/zoning to see if there are any restrictions on aircraft operations.

    Here's a prior thread related to your off-airport questions: https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/com...f-airport-landings-in-a-non-emergency.110377/
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
  3. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Agreed. The county is going to be a bigger obstacle than the FAA. Make sure they're ok with the idea.

    Maintaining a turf runway can be a substantial obligation unless you're only going to land airplanes with tundra tires.
     
  4. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Depends on where the airport is to be located. You may need approvals from zoning and your state’s aviation dept.
     
  5. Randomskylane

    Randomskylane Pre-Flight

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    You could probably ballpark lighting, hangars, etc without much trouble. You could even determine asphalt x square footage =$

    The actual strip seems like a total guess though until you find it, survey it, check soil, wetlands/archaeology/Native American burial grounds/EPA/endangered species or plants/etc and then get permits to level it, etc. All that stuff depends on local jurisdiction
     
  6. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    $25,000-250,000 depending on options
     
  7. tawood

    tawood En-Route

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    Its been 23 years now, so my memory is a little foggy, but I built my own grass strip. FAA wasn't an issue at all, neither was my state. The BIG issue was the township. They had no ordinance against it when I started, but it was a race for them to write and pass an ordinance vs me getting a plane to land on my strip...I won, but that didn't stop them from trying to enforce the ordinance after the fact.
     
  8. MikeNY

    MikeNY Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    Might also check with insurance carriers, for the aircraft ...
    and if potential liability issues for the land owner?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
  9. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    About 10 years ago we created a new airstrip out of an old farm field in CT. Mostly for ultralights, but N-numbered planes that could deal with 1800' of grass with trees at both ends used it, too. Didn't take much, just mow it though we did do some rolling, and we hauled in an old horse trailer to use as a clubhouse but no permanent structures as the state owned the building rights under a conservation easement. Nothing in the town laws against it, but they sent us a cease and desist order anyway. We met with the town selectmen and explained what we were doing, and they OK'd the operation, with the warning that they'd revisit it if they got any complaints. Sadly, it faded away as people lost interest.

    My BIL built a strip on his property in central NY. Registered with the FAA but not charted. Same thing, the town tried to shut him down by illegally changing the zoning regulations, which had previously allowed aviation in agricultural zoned areas. He fought and won, and even the woman who said she was "terrorized" by low flying planes is now his friend once he educated her about small airplanes and how they operate. Next month I hope to go to the EAA fly-in he hosts every year.
     
  10. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Cleared for Takeoff

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    Post the details on that EAA fly-in, if they want more company showing up.
     
  11. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    Not mine to post, I think it's just a local thing.
     
  12. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Walmart will give you a lot of hangers for $250 a month
     
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  13. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    The biggest concern should be your neighbors. Nothing polarizes a neighborhood like airplane ops.
     
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  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    To get started you will need gloves, shovel, wheelbarrow and lots of beer if you want our help...:lol:
     
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  15. Hiflyr1

    Hiflyr1 Pre-Flight

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    I have a hangar on a air park 3100 ft lighted grass strip. Ours is FAA and State approved. As many have said neighbors, state, county and city cuty are the big players as to whatyou can do and it’s cost. For example in my state of Alabama you can have a private for your own use strip pretty easily if local ordinances do not prevent it. However if you want to have others come there it becomes a bigger issue.
     
  16. Hiflyr1

    Hiflyr1 Pre-Flight

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  17. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I have miles of runways . All East-West or North-South configuration, some paved.
    Not a lot of traffic in this area and most county roads work well. :)