Has anyone created their own backyard airstrip (in the US)?  What is required from a Federal, State, Local regulations perspective?  How do you go about it?


Which Zenith model are you flying out of it and what dimensions would you consider to be a minimum for a safe Zenith runway?


Thanks in Advance.

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Very true, but  supposedly one reason that some elect to list their strip with the FAA and get it on the sectionals is that then it is "officially" an "airport". That makes it hard for an insurance company to then deny a claim for making an "intentional off-airport landing"! Don't know if that's true, but I would certainly check your insurance policy's coverage for "off-airport" landings!


That's an important consideration for many. It may depend on your circumstance, and I suspect there are a wide range of circumstances amongst homebuilders.

I've never carried anything but liability insurance to protect others. But then, I've always owned my airplanes outright, and would have repaired them myself if they were damaged. Assuming, of course, there was anything left to repair.

If I were using my own strip, it really would not matter to me if the insurance company disallowed the liability. The damage would be to my property.

When I put my own private airport on my ranch here in Wyoming , 2WY3... AirNav: 2WY3 - Haas Airport I went the complete legal avenue. I submitted a proposal to the county planning office, they scheduled three readings for my "conditional Use" permit in front of the planning commisioners, then I had three more hearings in front of the county commisioners.... On the last reading there was 5 other people in front of the board for various matters...... I was the last one on the docket... One by one the first four were heard and voted on... Then it was my turn and there were still several people in the room. My thoughts were ' oh my god' they are the "not in my backyard" posse.....They called my case, I spoke up about my 3000' strip and fact I was going to have it listed on the sectional so other pilots could find it in an emergency. Out here safe landing spots are few and far between... I sat down and the board discussed it among themselves and then opened the floor for public comments. 6 people stood up and believe it or not they ALL spoke in favor of it. The chairmen of the board slammed down his gavel and the rest is history... <G> Moral of my story... If you go the legal route stress the fact a private strip can and does save lives during a inflight emergency. Also throw out the fact that lifeflight is free to use the place during any medical events.... my bet is they will approve it.. IMHO.


Good advice.  I hadn't thought of the benefits to others but your point is well taken.  Thanks Ben.

I live on a private grass strip, Windsock Village Airpark, NH69, in West Ossipee, NH. Great community, 4000 foot lighted grass runway and a grass taxiway system. We plow, so the field is open all but two or three weeks of the year. (Can't operate during the spring thaw, plus there are one or two storms a year where conditions do not allow plowing until the ground is harder, etc).

I think it is much nicer to have a homeowner's association that underwrites the care and feeding of the runway. That would be a huge undertaking for a lone operator, both in effort and in money. Right now, we have a lot of homes available. There are always a few homes a year going on the market. In the past, they would sell reasonably promptly so there were always just a few available. Now, with the down economy, the supply of unsold homes is generous and there are bargains to be had as some owners get desperate. I expect this is the case at many Airparks across the country.

I live on the north side of Baltimore, MD.  I've looked at www.livingwithyourplane.com and www.airparks.com and haven't found any airparks in the area.  Thanks for the recommendation.  If anyone knows of an airpark in NE MD or SE PA, please let me know.

Hope this helps, I don't know or have anything to do with this ad but found it in Barnstormer. Trade-a-plane and Barnstormer both normally have 100 plus real estate ads each. Good luck.

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I built TN66 about 20 years ago ... 2100 x 100. I operated a 210 hp Isham conversion 172XP out of there for several years, and now a 206/Stationair. Very comfortable length for both these planes. I guess when I finish the 750, 2100' will make it feel like I have "unlimited runway length" HA!

The FAA does not pass any "approval" on your airstrip. The regulations state that they merely determine that your airstrip "is not a hazard to the US air transportation system." HOWEVER, if your strip IS a "hazard", then they can most certainly shut you down. State aviation departments vary, but in Tennessee, they had zero interest - just told me to notify the FAA.

I was fortunate to have 800 acres in which to locate my strip, so I could pretty much keep it away from the few neighbors I have, so no problems there. There were no county zoning issues, either. (Tennesse is a great place to live! LOL!) From talking to others, I would suggest if there are nearby neighbors, be proactive and tell them your intentions - most people envision a municipal airport when you say you're building an "airstrip" and have visions of dozens of planes constantly buzzing around. In reality, at most private airstrips, there aren't that many operations occuring and they are usually at decent hours and not disturbing the neighbor's sleep!

I allowed about a year to get mature turf on my strip. A great tip from a friend who had built a strip - the average grading contractor will try to build something perfectly flat and level. That will require the center to be crowned and require drainage ditches on the sides. DON'T do that unless you're on perfectly flat ground! If there is any slope side-to-side or up and down the strip, just leave a few degrees of the slope. That way, the strip will drain and it'll save thousands of $$ of dirt moving. You'll never notice a few degrees of slope in either direction when landing or taking off.

I did put it on the Sectional, and even better, after operating out of it a while, Atlanta Center asked me if they could put it on their radar map! I guess this was because I'm just 4 nm from the HCH VOR and they wanted to see exactly where I was going to when I came in from the west. The best part was I could then file IFR direct to my strip (had to be able to do a visual to land, of course).





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