Survey results: problems at airparks

Recently we asked Living With Your Plane subscribers to tell us how much their airpark is affected by problems that have cropped up around the country. We received responses from 53 individuals representing 23 different states. Even better, none of the respondents came from the same fly-in community so that means we received a broad response.

Rather than burying everyone with the answers and comments I received for all of the questions at once, I’m going to break it down into a few questions at a time.

Violating airpark rules

I asked whether violating of airpark rules, such as no low passes, aerobatics, touch and go’s, was a problem.

Nearly 70 percent responded that this was not a problem at their airpark. Just fewer than 30 percent reported that there were occasional issues with rules violations and only one respondent claimed it was a
serious problem.

Here are a few of the comments relating to this problem:

  • “It has gotten better through enforcement” of our rules…
  • “Our airpark is part of a public use airport and we enjoy the touch and go traffic and miss some of the other activity.”…
  • “Transport category aircraft using airpark. Turbine and jet aircraft not paying landing or use fees.”
  • “Some pilots don’t know one damn thing about safety, and think they do not need to announce on the frequency when in the pattern, etc. This includes NAS Fallon helo pilots, who can be egregious violators. We nearly had a head-on a couple of weeks ago for this reason.”
  • “Dragging the runway prior to landing is tolerated if not encouraged. We have a pond and therefore a goose problem. Make noise and geese go away or skedaddle to the other side of the pond.”
  • “We welcome low passes, aerobatics, and touch and go’s as long as common sense is used.”
  • “Usually no one gets upset about flying issues until there is an unrelated association issue and this is their form of retaliation, to say the other guy is breaking the rules.”
  • “We RECOMMEND making one low CLEARING PASS down the runway before landing, to alert the myriad pedestrians, buzzards, deer, lawn tractors, and golf carts on the field to get out of the way.”

Animals loose on runway/taxiway

On another issue we asked about animals loose on the runway and/or taxiway. This was a frequent problem at 11.8 percent of the airparks from which we received a response and it was occasionally trouble at another 25.5 percent of the airparks. About two-thirds of the airparks said this was rarely a problem.

  • Deer seem to be the largest single troublemaker with dogs owned by airpark residents next. Go-arounds were the worst result of animals on the runway although one airpark reported a dog getting his tail clipped by a prop.
  • Migratory birds are another of the issues cited by those having problems.

Collecting assessments from property owners

Collecting assessments levied by the homeowners association seems to be a partial problem at half the airparks and not a problem at all at the other half. The actual numbers were 51% to 47% with the other 2 percent commenting that this was a situation all the time. But, that response came from only one respondent.

  • “Residents don’t seem to be a problem, however vacant lot owners seem to forget they have a responsibility to the airpark. Friendly reminders seem to work so far,” was the report from one of those completing the survey.
  • “Requires lots of effort by our treasurer. There always seem to be a few ‘problems’ but the majority of the homeowners are not.” Was another common comment.
  • “From what I hear about in the Association meetings, there are usually one or two people (the same people) who are either late or behind in their payments.”
  • “Non-pilots, mostly, are late paying their assessments. Liens are filed and the payment comes eventually,” was the report from another airpark.
  • “No assessments levied at the present time. Owners living on the runway all participate in the upkeep,” claims this respondent.

Bikes, motorcycles, etc., being ridden on runway

Finally, how about kids (or adults) riding bikes, motorcycles, horses, etc. on the runway? “We’ve got this problem all the time,” was the response from 3.9 percent of those completing the survey. Another 45% said it was a problem once in a while and more than half (51%) indicated this wasn’t a situation at all.

  • “Golf carts are our biggest problem.”
  • “With all the new home/hangar building which took place this past summer, there were sometimes incursions on the runway by building crews and first time visitors to the owners of new homes.”
  • “Seems to be the same ones that fail to exercise pet control. No respect for safety. One flies for a major airline, too. Sad!”
  • “We have specific times when walking on the runway is permitted. Mostly our problem is with non-residents.”
  • “We have very light air traffic here and a wide grass strip so folks riding a four-wheeler along the edge of the runway isn’t viewed as a problem.”
  • “We posted ‘federal offense’ airport signs around the field and that seems to have registered with the airport kids to cross the runway briskly and look both ways first,” was another comment with a solution.

I’ll provide more of the survey results shortly.