Living at sky park offers residents quick getaway
Bakersfield Californian January 8, 2001
By Debby Badillo
ROSAMOND – Flying on vacation? Easy as a trip to your own back yard.
Commuting to Los Angeles? Not a problem.
Not a problem, that is, if you live at the Rosamond Skypark and your private airplane is parked in your backyard hangar.
“We looked everywhere from the Oregon border to the Mexican border, and nothing is as nice as this,” skypark resident Teri Carlson said. “Here, you know everybody. It’s like family.”
In 1999 several residents gathered and flew 11 airplanes to Alaska. This year they’re planning a trip to the Bahamas.
Carlson, 66, and her husband Al, 65, moved to the skypark in 1986. They run an architecture comp[any from their home and use Mrs. Carlson’s plane for business trips and pleasure jaunts.
Mrs. Carlson calls the 1975 Cessna Cardinal her “yellow bird.
“Some people keep horses in their back yard, others keep boats. We have airplanes,” Mrs. Carlson said.
Altogether, the skypark includes 60 lots on about 100 acr3es on the west side of town. Most lots have been developed, but there are about 16 unsold properties available.
The skypark sits on the site of the original Rosamond Airport, which opened in 1947.
It’s a privately owned, public-use airport, meaning anyone can land there. At 3,600 feet, the lighted runway is long enough for small jets.
Property owners share ownership in the airport, and there’s a homeowners association to oversee the park’s administration.
Mrs. Carlson said the skypark’s layout was the deciding factor for moving to Rosamond. Unlike most other skyparks, the taxiways are separate from the roads, so cars and airplanes don’t share the same lanes.
Although they work from home, Mrs. Carlson is a church organist in Sunland/Tujunga, and every Sunday they fly the Cessna to Burbank Airport, and then drive to church.
It’s 18 minutes from the back door to the Burbank Airport, Mrs. Carlson said, compared to over an hour to drive the same distance. Some of her neighbors take advantage of that short flying time to commute to jobs “down below,” as the Los Angeles area is called by high desert dwellers.
Joyce Mills, secretary for the homeowners association, is one of them. She flies at 5 a.m. to her job as a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital, keeping a car at the Burbank Airport to take her the rest of the way.
Although she doesn’t have to fight the heavy car traffic, there are times when weather is a factor, Mills said.
“There’s a sense of camaraderie ther. There are lots of good flying days, but sometimes I have to make dexisions based on the weather,” Mills said.
She estimates it costs between $600 and $800 a month to fly her A-36 Bonanza to work.
But despite the convenience, and location close to Rosamond Boulevard, the town’s main thoroughfare, many residents don’t even know the airport exists, according to fixed base operator Alfred Fattouch. Fattouch said there are 700 private airplane owners in the Antelope Valley, and he tries to let them know what the airport has to offer.
“I send out fliers to let people know we’re here,” Fattouch said.
Fattouch owns A.V. Aviation, providing flight instruction and aircraft maintenance.
He said an average of 15 planes fly in on weekdays, while weekends attract up to 40 pilots a day. Some just need fuel, while others also stop to eat at the airport restaurant, the Golden Cantina.
The Sheriff’s Department, highway patrol and air ambulance services also make use of the airport.
“The goal as a community is to have people buy property and build as soon as possible,” said Al Carlson, a former association president. “We know the sound of everybody’s airplanes. We can tell who’s coming and going.”
Said Mrs. Carlson, “We don’t mean to be nosy, but we look out for each other. Where else can you live and know everybody in a four-block area?”