View Full Version : Costs of establishing an airstrip
28th Nov 2011, 20:38
Does anyone have experience of the costs of establishing an airstrip on someone else's current agricultural land? I'm thinking in terms of:
- rental/use payment
- small hangar (or poss new agricultural shed which can also house an aircraft)
- levelling of ground/re-seeding etc
- additional costs to farmer of livestock movements
plus in the particular case I'm looking at there would have to be undergrounding of a domestic power line and a telephone line which currently cross the potential airstrip site.
Any ballpark figures/guidance/advice much appreciated.
Ultra long hauler
29th Nov 2011, 00:44
Funny you should mention this now!
We are just halfway in establishing our own grass strip in a rural area.
We have a system where all of the club members bought their own plot, and the entrance road and runway are communal.
Alas, I can´t help you with your inquiries though………..you live in such a different country etc; but I will follow your thread with interest!
###Ultra Long Hauler###
29th Nov 2011, 10:13
I have heard of rental costs of say £2-300 per acre in the past. In the end, it is down to negotiation. Arable farm crop profits are relatively high at present, so farmers may need a higher premium to let land go out of production.
Other costs you did not list:
1. Planning permission, if you apply for it; check the local authority for their schedules. I seem to recall about £1500, 20 years ago, but have no idea of current figures.
2. Planning consultant and legal fees, if you need them (and if you don’t have planning permission, go ahead, and get served an enforcement notice, this is all too likely): I know of 2 cases where it cost over £40,000.
3. Believing people who tell you a barn can be used as a hangar and the strip needs no pp under the 28 day rule – see 2. above.
This advice is free, and may be worth what you paid for it, but is based on experience. Others may not make that caveat, but the principle still applies.
29th Nov 2011, 11:14
NS - We looked at two sites last year, one near Falkirk, other Strathblane gap. Biggest issue - willing farmer. All appear on their arse, (financially), like everyone else, therefore the one we spoke with had a totally unrealistic view of land rental/worth. We had an agent alongside. Second, and biggest issue, is planning. Nimbys create a huge problem, they buy a house in rural rustic setting, and along come boys with their toys (noisy ones at that), and then all sorts of challenges are thrown up.
A lot of landowners have sold corners of fields, to private developers, who put one/two houses up. I was amazed at how many have done this, therefore really squeezing available choice for a strip.
X Ray Alpha is the guy with the real numbers, he has done it, but I think they end up pretty eye watering:hmm:
PM me if you wish, I have lots of info on these projects.
29th Nov 2011, 11:49
Interesting stuff guys, thanks. This particular site is farmed by a cash-strapped and very hard-working tenant sheep farmer. Some cows but no arable. The landowner would clearly be the key person. Not sure what his attitude might be but I'm taking this very slowly, talking to other parties first.
No houses on the approach at either end for at least a mile and precious little under the circuit paths.
Planning? Well, we'll see. I intend to fully the explore the risks of 28-day rule use before making any commitments.
And I'm looking at 600-650m grass, no frills, one aeroplane.
29th Nov 2011, 12:09
NS, I sent you an email. CN
29th Nov 2011, 12:27
I suggest also that you obtain the publications re planning from:
GAAC » Planning (http://www.gaac.org.uk/content/?page_id=21)
To quote the GAAC (with whom I have worked for many years):
Planning information for Aerodromes
A major emphasis of the GAAC’s work is in the area of Town and Country Planning and how it affects airfields. There is a detailed document on this subject available for purchase from the GAAC. Also, some of this information has been distilled into a series of free factsheets which are on this site in HTML, MS Word and Acrobat format. Printed copies of the factsheets can be ordered from the GAAC.”
29th Nov 2011, 17:00
If one aircraft, little shed etc etc.
You will get planning from local council no prob - although if you go for 28 day rule and don't do circuits, then prob no prob either since no-one will be counting.
One aircraft, cute thing.
Several aircraft - or even worse, school doing circuits - it is a new Heathrow.
Make sure you have security of tenure. As many tales of farmers kicking people out as there are of flying schools taking money up front and going bust. Alan Marsh at Inverkip will tell you a few tales.
So don't spend lots if you are then going to be kicked out.
Then you have modern building regs. Small farm buildings do not need to comply. New hangars do. And for our latest hangar they want sprinklers - a UK first for micro and GA!!! - or a new fire hydrant. Aaaaargh!! (yes, and we have had a hangar fire, so know from expereince - which is more than the building reg folks can say - to just let it burn.
Anyway, if you want more, just give us a call - 0797 997 1301.
29th Nov 2011, 17:47
My strip has been established for 12 years now - take off then bugger off. No circuits, minimal visitors and NO aeros in the overhead. Most of my neighbours are cool about it but I do have two whingers
Almost every time I break one of those rules above, Mrs Mackenzie or Tweedledum/Tweedledee has a pop at me.
The local authority are aware that there is a strip here and I operate under the 28day rule - just don't rip the arse out of it and give nobody a reason to count! I don't operate a movements sheet.
My late friend designed the Mackenzie Join to suppress the possibility of her phone calls. Run in from the north or south 1500'agl, pull the power to idle and hope to be over the east/west strip at midpoint and at 100mph/1500'. Half-roll to inverted and pull to 5'g' - on the way down check the windsock, wings level at 700' and turn left or right to set up for a close downwind. Get it right and you don't need to touch the noise lever until you're on the ground!
My aeroplane lives closer to my bedroom than many people's cars. I am a lucky boy and I remind myself frequently.
Four complaints in 12 years from Mrs Mac and one from the Tweedles after a 4 minute formation aeros sesh on a v windy day. Not over their land and not below 300' (and not breaking Rule5).
Do it - enjoy it but guard it safely!
Sir George Cayley
29th Nov 2011, 17:48
All good advice so far, but I'd like to add some more info. I know many strips that operate under the 28 day rule. The common thread is only 1 or 2 residents, no circuits and preferred noise routes to avoid possible NIMBYs and no bragging about it in the local pub!
There's a strip near me that many neighbours don't realise is there, so a low profile can help.
A quirk in the planning laws allows helicopters to take off and land at a house without the 28 day rule. It comes down to curtilage. So if you can create a 3 acre ornamental garden with an grass avenue down the middle, you're laughing.:)
Another ruse is to use a bit of an old (RAF) aerodrome. They tend to be out of the way and may have had established use in the past. Peter Kember is someone worth talking to. (Other planning consultants may also be available)
Good luck, SGC
29th Nov 2011, 21:33
Then you have modern building regs. Small farm buildings do not need to comply. New hangars do. And for our latest hangar they want sprinklers
I have heard that, on advice from the local planning dept, a local gliding club are keeping the aircraft in "Aircraft Storage Sheds", instead of hangars.
Easter Airfield (Highland Council, Scotland) got planning permission within the last few years. Google it for the owner's contact details.
30th Nov 2011, 19:57
Sound advice from Stikanruda whose operation I am very familiar with.
The only extra I can add is that it may be worth employing the services of a local architect.
On the face of it this may sound a bit odd, but, if you can find one who supports clients all the way through the planning process, expecially one with local contact with the council planning department, it may save you a lot of grief and heartache.
They charge a lot less than solicitors and often have local knowledge in places you wouldn't have even thought of.
It may cost you up to a £grand or so, but it should mean that you get it right first time and will be a lot cheaper than fighting subsequent battles in the long run.