Most people have a car or SUV parked in the garage. Scott Loftin has three airplanes.
The 50-year-old aviation enthusiast is a resident of Rosamond Skypark, a tidy subdivision on the edge of the Mojave Desert where single-family homes are adjacent to hangars, and airplane noise isn’t considered a nuisance.
Three days a week, Loftin, a biomedical engineer, revs up the engine of his Glasair RV-6 or Cessna 152 and rumbles down a nearby runway to begin his commute to San Jose or Los Angeles.
“There’s more to it than the time factor,” he says. “It’s the mystique of flying to work.”
There are some 560 skyparks across the United States, ranging from fancy to comparatively modest, with another 20 planned. The popularity of the communities is largely driven by aviation buffs like Loftin, who are looking to use their planes more than just on the weekends.
Actor John Travolta lives with his Gulfstream II jet and Boeing 707 at an exclusive airpark in Florida that includes a country club and inn and the nation’s longest private residential runway at about 2,300 metres, according to the community’s website.
Rosamond, on the other hand, consists mostly of empty nesters and retired couples who have saved over the years to afford the unusual lifestyle.
The neighbourhood includes colonial and ranch-style homes distinguished by sprawling backyards that lead to cavernous hangars housing anything from US$90,000 two-seater experimental planes to gliders.
Built in 1986 with 60 lots, the privately owned subdivision has three vacant spots left, starting at $195,000 US. Houses average about $400,000.
Obeying an honour system, residents and visitors typically avoid departures and arrivals early in the morning and late at night. Without an airport tower, pilots navigate backyard taxiways.