What’s your dream airport to play at?

Ow where, oh where, should Jeannie Batto go?

Jeannie Batto sent me this note and is hoping someone comes up with some really great suggestions for her. I’m throwing a few ideas into the mix and hope you do to. Please leave a comment if you know “just the place”!

“I’m soul searching what I want to do on my off time from work. I posted a question on Facebook but I think the blog has more viewers..”

“I am looking for aviation communities where cool old antique airplanes live. Where people work on them and fly them. I don’t want to overlook any place — and you just can’t always find the personality on the web. I was thinking of a museum with flying airplanes… I would like to hear about everything … Where is your favorite place to play — or your dream location?  I’m willing to relocate to live my aviation dream. Thanks and happy flying.

Jeannie Batto

Jeannie, ohhhh, the possibilities! Thanks for posing a couple great questions and giving me a chance to daydream a little about which airport I’d head to if I were wearing your shoes.

#1 So where do I head to play?  Answer: Grass strips where there’s interesting people and planes. My roots are at Skylane Airport, Evansville, Indiana and I still love going back for visits. It’s grass. It’s uncontrolled. It’s got a big tree dubbed “the tree of knowledge” where everybody hangs out and contemplates all things aviation, the meaning of life, and where to go for lunch!  There are Champs, Luscombes, Boyd’s old Cessna 140, Navions, and my old Porterfield based there. I look back on those years and thank heaven I learned to fly there and not some big, hard surface, impersonal airport.

Skylane Airport

#2 What’s my dream airport?  Answer:  There are 3 at the top of my list – Santa Paula, Flabob & Poplar Grove.  I’ve actually only been to one of them so who knows if they’d really be the perfect fit for me. But, if I could pick up and go anywhere I’d like, I’d at least take a serious look starting with Santa Paula Airport KSZP, Santa Paula, California.

You might still find this Ryan hangared at Santa Paula

Based on what I’ve heard this place oozes with activity, great taildraggers and lots of history.  Two interesting lady taildragger pilots are based there and I know you’ll find more if you look around a little. Check out pilot profiles for Rowena Mason and Judy Phelps for a hint of what you’ll find at Santa Paula. Want to live at the airport? This could be your next new home!

Santa Paula

Airport link:

Santa Paula Airport


Flabob Airport KRIR, Riverside California. Yep, this is in California too. Flabob is not only a home-building hot-spot but will give you a chance to step back in time. We’re talking southern California & aviation from the 1930s …. 1940s, where the people are laid back and history surrounds you.

The hangars are filled with aircraft from the golden years of aviation and ongoing restoration projects are always in the works. This could be just the place for you too Jeannie!

de Havilland DH.88 Comet based at Flabob

Link to more info

Flabob Airport

If the West coast isn’t your cup of tea then stay in the Midwest and check out Popular Grove Airport, Popular Grove, Illinois. This is the absolutely incredible airport owned and operated by lady taildragger pilot Tina Thomas and her husband Steve and another airport that’s a haven for incredible taildraggers.

What makes this airport so different than all the others? Its FUN, its friendly, and the people are there for the sheer love of aviation. They’ve got grass and hard surface runways, a world class aviation museum, lots of planned activities, homes on taxiways where you can ride your golf cart to visit your neighbors or you can rent a t-hangar if you live off the airport.

Cabin Waco flying at Poplar Grove

 Link to Poplar Grove Airport

Everyone, this is one lady taildragger pilot who’s anxious to hear from you. Please throw your ideas into the mix and leave a comment.

  • Matthew
    Posted at 05:45h, 12 July Reply

    http://sprucegoosecafe.com/ Port Townsend, Washington, Spruce Goose Cafe | Best Airport Cafe with a View in the Northwest.

  • Toni Anders
    Posted at 05:43h, 12 July Reply

    Cow pasture bank ( real name ) has a grass strip still in fair condition with a breakfast place across the street

  • Mary
    Posted at 13:09h, 11 July Reply


  • Gordon
    Posted at 13:08h, 11 July Reply

    If she finds herself in north Georgia, she should stop by 0GE5, Mountain Airpark.

  • Monty Groves
    Posted at 13:08h, 11 July Reply

    FrazierLake Airpark (1C9)

  • Annemarie
    Posted at 13:06h, 11 July Reply

    Bayport Aerodrome (23N) Home of some beautiful taildraggers…and Pilots Without Pants!

  • Hangar Cat
    Posted at 13:06h, 11 July Reply

    I like Santa Paula, also. They have a very rich aviation history. The folks in Hood River, Oregon are also great. It’s the home of the WAAAM Museum with one of the nicest collections of antique aircraft I have seen

  • Gordon Skerratt
    Posted at 13:05h, 11 July Reply

    Guelph, Ontario, Canada. A great small airport with lots of antique airplanes

  • Bob Parks
    Posted at 13:04h, 11 July Reply

    my picks right off would be Flabob, Chino, and Santa Paula all in my old stomping grounds of SoCal.

  • Bill Tracy
    Posted at 13:04h, 11 July Reply

    You can’t find any airplanes older or cooler than the ones at Old Rhinebeck.

  • Ryan
    Posted at 22:04h, 10 July Reply


  • Ryan
    Posted at 22:03h, 10 July Reply

    Brodhead, WI, especially the weekend after next….the Pietenpol fly-in!

  • Emilie
    Posted at 08:59h, 09 July Reply

    Hampton NH (7B3) is a nice grass strip with friendly people. I know they have a number of flying cubs and an old 1929 New Standard biplane. They are right near the beach, so it’s fun to go flying up and down the coast line.

  • Sharon Tinkler
    Posted at 08:22h, 09 July Reply

    My Field of Dreams is the Antique Airfield in Blakesburg, Iowa – 12 NM WSW of Ottumwa. If you go to their fly-in over Labor Day weekend (but arrive on the Tuesday before so that you don’t miss anything) you will have walk around access to a full database of solutions to your quandary. You will meet all the people that are active in antique and classic aircraft from all over the country. It’s a small Iowa farm strip that is suddenly populated by up to 340 aircraft. Al the Antiquer hotspots are represented.
    Caution: Once you attend once, you will never not go again 🙂 You will stand under wings and talk to people you might never have thought you’d meet. I explained the virtues of the Sedan’s HSI at some length before I realized I was talking to the guy who invented it. He had this implacable smile on his face as he listened to my answer to his question “What do you like best about the sedan?”. Answer: the HSI – it got me there from Maryland. I went on at some length and he just smiled. And smiled. So I asked him “Are you familiar with the HSI?” Seriously. The lady who recreated Amelia’s last flight in the Lockheed goes every year – Ann Pelegreno. The place is just full of folks that may or may not go to OSH, but go there for the antidote to OSH…. including Poberezny – lol. You will have your hands full interviewing all those folks 🙂

  • Jill
    Posted at 07:57h, 09 July Reply

    Great suggestions, Judy, you beat me to Poplar Grove and Santa Paula, those are awesome airports. I’ll mull this one and post if I have any good suggestions.

  • Martin
    Posted at 06:15h, 09 July Reply

    Only one choice, Old Rhinebeck. http://www.oldrhinebeck.org/

  • Oliva
    Posted at 06:12h, 09 July Reply

    Not grass but look at the Vintage Flying Museum, Fort Worth.

  • Paco
    Posted at 23:38h, 08 July Reply

    My vote is Orcas Island, ORS. It is beautiful, there are all sorts of interesting airplanes and people there, the weather is perfect in summer, lots of fun, close places to fly to, many of which are grass. Im heading there tomorrow!
    Oh yeah, and you can camp at the airport on the grass, hot showers, awesome coffee and restaurants short walk away.

  • Jeanne MacPherson
    Posted at 21:18h, 08 July Reply

    Jeannie…Montana the big sky state is the place for you!

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