Industry News

Landing where you live

Airplanes are close to home at residential airparks

It was seven years ago that Denny and Terry Nolen bought one square mile of land in Sahuarita, Ariz., about 25 minutes from Tucson. The property, which formerly was part of a cattle ranch operation, will now serve a higher purpose – literally – as an airfield surrounded by a housing development. At residential airparks, also known as fly-in communities, home is where the runway is. These airparks allow aviators to take off and land very close to home and even park their planes on their own properties. The central amenity at Ruby Star Airpark, which takes its name from the area's cattle ranch, is a 4,300-foot-long airstrip that Denny says is probably big enough to land a Lear Jet. Ruby Star has 75 lots of at least eight acres apiece, and there are now five residents at the airpark. "Others are feverishly getting their plans together," said Nolen. "I'm over half sold out already." The Nolens are not alone. Residential airparks have been cropping up across the country, and no...