Those of you who can’t bear to be too far from your airplane no longer have to endure that separation anxiety.
The first “fly-in” community to be developed in Costa Rica will allow owners to land on a private airstrip, just meters from their front door, and park their planes in private hangars attached to custom-built homes.
The founder of Airpark Costa Rica, Guido Scheidt, is a retired commercial pilot from Germany who relocated to Costa Rica 15 years ago. He and his wife, Anke, run the Flying Crocodile, a small lodge, restaurant and ultralight flying center near Sámara on the Pacific coast in the northwestern province of Guanacaste.
Scheidt was familiar with the residential airpark concept common in North America and saw an opportunity to create something similar here.
His partner, Pieter Monsma, of Holland, was less knowledgeable about aviation. “I didn’t have a clue about flying,” Monsma said. “I liked the area and thought it was a good idea to have an airstrip next to other projects.”
Great Idea, TV Fugitive!
Monsma said that it wasn’t until he saw a residential airpark on TV that he realized the benefits of having a plane in your house.
“I saw a show where the police were looking for this lady… and then they showed the woman taxiing outside of the house and flying away.”
Scheidt said that the main difference between Airpark Costa Rica and fly-in communities in other countries will be size.
“Airparks in the (United States) are much bigger,with 500 to 800 residences,” he said.“We all like Costa Rica for the nature part, so I don’t want to create a big one like those.We are planning to have a nice, natural environment.”
The 39-hectare development is just outside of Sámara and is bordered in part by the Buena Vista River. About 40 lots are being offered for pre-sale prices between $200,000 and 300,000 and seven have already been sold, with one residence built.
The project will include aircraft maintenance facilities, a fuel truck and a public hangar for people who don’t want to build their own. The existing grass runway of about 900 meters will be improved and a sprinkler system will be added.
Typical country-club amenities such as tennis courts, a swimming pool, restaurant and lounge are also part of the plans, but with the landing strip as the central feature.
Avid aviators will be able to sit in the pilots’ club with a view of aircraft taking off and landing.
Cleared for Takeoff
The National Technical Secretariat of the Environment Ministry (SETENA) and the Civil Aviation Authority have given the goahead to the development, which will include gardens and green space. Monsma said noise would be minimized because at most, only 50% of the residents are likely to be onsite at a time.
Scheidt also stressed that since it is a private runway, no commercial planes are allowed to land, only smaller aircraft. For people commuting from outside the country, planes would have to pass immigration at either of the international airports – Juan Santamaría outside San José and Daniel Oduber in Liberia in northern Guanacaste – before heading to the airpark.
The main advantage to living in an airpark in Costa Rica, other than easy air access to beaches and golf, Monsma said, is the place itself.
“All the other airparks (in the United States) are like cities. There are no trees.
They are like deserts. Here the airpark is heaven. It’s paradise.We have all these green elements, the river, the ocean next door and beautiful views of the mountains,” he said.
With the first phase of infrastructure for electricity and water now complete, Monsma said, the second phase will begin in February, with roads, sewers and eventually a wastewater treatment facility.