Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By rikur_
#1597101
Building on the 'future of airfields' thread ... this got me thinking about what would be the economics of establishing a grass strip somewhere. E.g. imagine you ran a nice country hotel / spa / restaurant / golf course / conference centre and wanted to add an airfield to the site.

Assuming the neighbouring land is arable land, a bit of Googling suggests ball-park costs are £6k per acre to buy, or £150 per annum per acre to rent.

Assume that you'd want a 700m runway to get four seaters comfortably in/out with an overnight bag, a bit of room for parking and taxying .... perhaps 40 - 50 acres needed?
So perhaps £250k to buy, or £7.5k per annum to rent.

If you'd already got a golf course, you've probably already got the people/kit to maintain a grass runway - but if not perhaps £2k - £3k per annum to cut (based on what I pay to have playing fields cut!).
Depending on existing state of the ground, perhaps a one-off £3k to level/seed it?

There's probably some costs for insurance - no idea? Another £2k per annum??

Does anyone know if this is roughly in the right ball-park - seems to be suggesting that you could establish a good sized airstrip for a cost/opportunity cost of around £10k - £15k per annum?

You might get 100 - 150 visiting flights per season .... if you go with a £10 landing fee - you've covered 10% of your costs.
If 30 of the visiting flights stayed overnight - you might have £100 profit margin on an overnight package .... so another £3000 .... a few meals in the restaurant and a bit of coffee/cake might make another £1000.
Conference centres that can offer something a bit non-standard can command a premium for corporate away days / team building events - so perhaps a few extra £k there.

Not compelling, but not out of the question??
#1597157
flybymike wrote:Planning constraints make establishing a new airfield nigh on impossible these days.
28day use followed by an established use application after 10 years or so is the only likelihood.


How do airfields have to calculate the 28 days?

If the airfield is in use for 2 hours in total over a 24 hour period for various aircraft to land, taxi / taxi, takeoff does that constitute one day or just 2 hours of a day, still leaving another 22 hours of use before that day is 'used up'?

You could potentially have 672 hours of active usage a year!
#1597158
I believe a single aircraft movement counts as using the airfield that day. (Unannounced visitors therefore especially welcome …)
#1597162
rikur_ wrote:40 - 50 acres needed


Would you really need that much? I make a 700 × 25 m runway about 4.5 acres. Even throwing in parking, etc., 40–50 sounds generous.
#1597165
Really depends on where this is but in many cases it must be quite hard for someone to constantly monitor the useage over a year to check on the 28 day rule.
I think it could be overcome and/or difficult to prove.
Isnt lawful use after 7 years ?
#1597166
flybymike wrote:Planning constraints make establishing a new airfield nigh on impossible these days.
28day use followed by an established use application after 10 years or so is the only likelihood.

Do you have any insight as to what causes that?
Locally, we've had all sorts of developments 'imposed' upon us - anaerobic digester, quarry, waste sorting site, caravan park .... the local cynics view is that bright planners can get virtually anything through the system .... why does that logic not extend to aviation? Is there some specific criteria that is hard to meet? Or are we not employing the right planning consultants to work them through the system?
I know some 'country piles' that have a complete nightmare from local planners just to do the occasional wedding, whereas others are actively encouraged by the local authority as ever growing conference/leisure developments.
nallen wrote:Would you really need that much? I make a 700 × 25 m runway about 4.5 acres. Even throwing in parking, etc., 40–50 sounds generous.

Possibly is a bit generous, yes. My thinking was that plots of land don't usually turn-up on the market in a nice 700m x 25m rectangular blob, so you'd probably have to buy a bigger plot and work out how to get a runway into it - a 500m x 500m square with a diagonal runway.
Renting might be more flexible, as I can see it being more feasible to lease just the specific land needed, and still farm up to the runway/apron boundary.
#1597168
plus7g wrote:Really depends on where this is but in many cases it must be quite hard for someone to constantly monitor the useage over a year to check on the 28 day rule.
I think it could be overcome and/or difficult to prove.
Isnt lawful use after 7 years ?



You’d be surprised at the devotion of **** neighbours who want to cause trouble :?
#1597171
I would expect a little pressing of flesh with the proposed neighbours before you start might not be a bad idea.
Otherwise, once you upset a neighbour, it is so difficult to get back on good terms. I know I would be miffed if some nutter in a Yak started overflying my house at 250 feet on a regular basis for no reason.
#1597172
rikur_ wrote:
flybymike wrote:Planning constraints make establishing a new airfield nigh on impossible these days.
28day use followed by an established use application after 10 years or so is the only likelihood.

Do you have any insight as to what causes that?

No special insights. Just look at the problems encountered by Mr. Walker on here for no apparently justifiable reason and which is just about as innocuous an application as one could imagine. Also much advice previously given by “The Farmer” with considerable experience on the subject.
I think there is just a perception in the planning world that airfields are noisy polluting environmentally unfriendly places likely to cause them loads of hassle with the public if approved.