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Retirement / Pilot life in Florida?


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Howdy all.  I'm right on the edge of retirement and am planning on saying 'adios' to California.  Florida is interesting to me for the warm weather and lifestyle.  

I'd considered the panhandle area / Pensacola but the MOA's and restricted areas look like a lot of inconvenience and make it a challenge to fly along the coast line.  Anyone have recommendations?  Ideally not far from the coast as I like diving and live now <3 miles from the beach.  Budget is about $300k I guess, but the one caveat is I want/need a hangar for my J.  

Surfing the web I came across a site for Venice.  OTOH, when talking to my son, he described it as a dump based on the gouge from a fellow aviator.   That might also mean happy hour ended early :)

Anyone? 

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Check out 15FL Cannon Creek in Lake City. Paved & lit rwy 18/36, smooth grass 09/27. Very active EAA chapter. 100LL fuel on field for members of the "HOA" which is ~$700/yr for runway fees. There

Florida is a big place, with completely different demographics in different areas. Spend a few weeks, and visit the state, in the north, central and south to get a handle on things. Typically, the fur

Here is what I have to put up with most every evening.

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Florida is a big place, with completely different demographics in different areas. Spend a few weeks, and visit the state, in the north, central and south to get a handle on things. Typically, the further south you go, the more you spend. Might I suggest calling targeted area airports about hangar availability . That was the driving force of my decision to move to central FL vs Naples, I wasnt going to let my aluminum mistress sit out. If you like sunsets, the Gulf coast is fantastic. If you like sunrises, the east coast has it hands down.

One caveat, no mountains to ski close by. but that doesnt slow down a number of central FL Mooney owners who have 2nd homes in Utah and Colorado.

 

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How aviation oriented is your lifestyle?

There is a thread around here called hangar homes....

or hangar home communities....

Florida has many...

Each one has a different personality...

Need a hand selecting one?

:)

MS is a great place to try to spend OPM...

Best regards,

-a-

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1 minute ago, Tony Starke said:

Florida? Haven't you heard? Between the humidity and salt air your plane will be so corrosion laden that the wings will probably fall off within months, no weeks or even days. 


That’s what happened to that helpful guy...
 

then a Dynon showed up on the panel...

The sun came out...

Everything has been good ever since...

What should have more square feet... the hangar or the home?

Best regards,

-a-

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Tampa area, best place in Florida. 

Best Beaches in the US.  Seriously, not kidding BEST Beaches.

Traffic isn't (California)horrible, Hurricanes were manageable.   

Reasonable distance from all Florida has to offer and rarely cold.

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6 minutes ago, carusoam said:


That’s what happened to that helpful guy...
 

then a Dynon showed up on the panel...

The sun came out...

Everything has been good ever since...

What should have more square feet... the hangar or the home?

Best regards,

-a-

Easy, the HANGAR

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Thanks everyone for all the good feedback.  I’ve been to Florida once, a long time ago, courtesy of the Navy and will look forward to Airbnb’ing around to see what I may like. 

I  intend to spend alot of time with the airplane but do have other interests and a hangar home might be awesome if near ‘fun stuff to do,’ especially if it would fit my cars and bikes too.  If it was near a good whiskey bar...

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Mike,

a typical square box hangar attached to the home has enough space for two cars behind the wings...

T type hangars at the field typically miss this extra space...

The hangar and the three car garages are usually separate...

The cool part of retirement.... there are other people thinking the same way you do...

:)

Best regards,

-a-

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If you are going to look around you should stop by Spruce Creek near Daytona (7FL6). Huge fly-in community and one of the largest residential air parks in the United States. Really cool place with wide range of home prices.


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His budget is $300k. Given that, the pan handle is the best choice. Or one of the other gulf states. If no income tax is a requirement, Texas has lots of ocean front.

But I don’t think the Gulf has good diving. As mentioned you can look in central Florida and fly to your diving locations: Keys, Bahamas.

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Is finding a hangar in coastal Florida easy to do?

Depends, how much do you want to spend?

When I was looking back in 2013, KSUA is the only airport I found with available hangars...for only $650/month.
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Had I kids I think I'd wind up. wherever they are, or at least nearby.  No one stays hale and healthy forever, unless they die in an airplane crash.

That won’t work, they may end up moving for their jobs, and if you have 2 or more, most likely not in the same part of the country.
I’d recommend teaching them to fly and move to a central location so they can fly to you.
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1 hour ago, ArtVandelay said:


That won’t work, they may end up moving for their jobs, and if you have 2 or more, most likely not in the same part of the country.
I’d recommend teaching them to fly and move to a central location so they can fly to you.

I'd pick the one with the most stable situation and that's where I'd be.  Of course, I haven't any kids, so the sky's the limit.  I'd really like to chuck it all and be a bush pilot in Indonesia.

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14 hours ago, McMooney said:

Tampa area, best place in Florida. 

Best Beaches in the US.  Seriously, not kidding BEST Beaches.

Traffic isn't (California)horrible, Hurricanes were manageable.   

Reasonable distance from all Florida has to offer and rarely cold.

As a South Florida resident I can agree with this, but finding a nice place for $300k could be a challenge. I do take exception to the hurricane remark as they are manageable until they aren't. For many years I got through them - then whammy - Wilma came through, then Irma.. to be continued.

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Tampa, Lakeland, Naples/Ft. Myers, maybe Jacksonville.  South Florida gets expensive.  Maybe check out the Pilot Country airport.

I've never been a big fan of the Panhandle, but there are worse places.  It just doesn't feel like Florida until you get south of the panhandle.

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I lived a good portion of my life in the South Bay Area in California and then we moved to West Central Florida in 1984. There are some noticeable differences that stand out between the two places.

From a flying perspective, the scenery was more interesting and varied in California. I can remember departing from Torrance on days when the LA Basin was smoggy, flying up to the San Fernando Valley where it was crystal clear, seeing snow capped mountains in one direction, brown desert in another, then flying around the Palos Verdes Peninsula with the Pacific Ocean below and Catalina Island off in the distance while returning to Torrance. I could accomplish that with one hour in a Piper Tomahawk. You are just not going to replicate that experience here in Florida.

Another difference I noticed was that there were fewer airplanes at the airports and fewer airports within driving distance. From our homes in Santa Monica, Rolling Hills Estates and Torrance, we could easily drive (and did, while shopping for Dad’s Mooney)to the following airports: Van Nuys, Whiteman, Santa Monica, Hawthorne, Torrance, Compton, Long Beach, Meadowlark (now gone), El Monte, Fullerton, Orange County (now John Wayne), Cable, Brackett, Riverside, Chino, Corona, Burbank, etc. You get the picture. You’re not going to have that same opportunity in Florida.

Weather is another item. We have something in a Florida that you do not have in California, humidity. You enjoy a much more comfortable dry climate. While our temperatures this week have been in the low to mid 90s, our “feels like temperatures” have been around 106, thanks to the humidity. In some places you can experience the four seasons. In Florida, we have two; more Summer and less Summer. The discomfort caused by high humidity detracts from what could otherwise be a very nice living environment. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are days in the Fall and Winter months where the temperatures and humidity moderates. Those are fabulously wonderful days. Unfortunately, there are far too few of them to make up for the rest of the year, in my opinion. Some years, it seems, you can count those days using the fingers on one hand. Get used to staying indoors, enjoying the A/C or taking frequent showers to remain clean and dry.

As a general comment, there seems to be fewer things to do and experience in Florida, compared to California. 

Housing costs are lower in Florida. You will be able to acquire more home for less cost here, than you can in California. That is a benefit of living here but I believe that would also be true in many areas in the East and Mid-west.

Good luck and best wishes for your retirement. I’ve been retired a few years now and if I had known it would be this much fun, I would have done it forty years sooner!

 

 

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I lived a good portion of my life in the South Bay Area in California and then we moved to West Central Florida in 1984. There are some noticeable differences that stand out between the two places.
From a flying perspective, the scenery was more interesting and varied in California. I can remember departing from Torrance on days when the LA Basin was smoggy, flying up to the San Fernando Valley where it was crystal clear, seeing snow capped mountains in one direction, brown desert in another, then flying around the Palos Verdes Peninsula with the Pacific Ocean below and Catalina Island off in the distance while returning to Torrance. I could accomplish that with one hour in a Piper Tomahawk. You are just not going to replicate that experience here in Florida.
Another difference I noticed was that there were fewer airplanes at the airports and fewer airports within driving distance. From our homes in Santa Monica, Rolling Hills Estates and Torrance, we could easily drive (and did, while shopping for Dad’s Mooney)to the following airports: Van Nuys, Whiteman, Santa Monica, Hawthorne, Torrance, Compton, Long Beach, Meadowlark (now gone), El Monte, Fullerton, Orange County (now John Wayne), Cable, Brackett, Riverside, Chino, Corona, Burbank, etc. You get the picture. You’re not going to have that same opportunity in Florida.

Yes, LA has more airports, although distances may not be great, the LA traffic will make it seem like they are in another state. And California seems to be trying to close theirs.
And if you have make an off airport landing, you’ll have a much better chance of being successful, it’s flat, with lots of water or marsh instead if those scenic mountains or sprawling city landscape.

Personally I would check Nevada, tax friendly, good weather and a short plane ride back should you get homesick and want to see old friends.
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Being about 17 months away from retirement myself, let me chime in on this. We have a 4/3/2 in South Lakeland we built in 2018 in a nice gated community and got into it for under $400K. I have a hangar at KLAL for $375 a month (T-hangar) but am considering a move to KBOW for ease of getting to the airport (fewer traffic lights). I am truly located equidistant from each of them - within a minute or so, depending on traffic - and while spoiled by my current 5 minute drive to my plane in Alabama, I can suffer for the 15 it takes me to get to either one in Florida. I also happen to have my hangar about 200 yards from where the Mooney PPP in Lakeland is held and share a portion of the taxiway to my hangar with Gulf Coast Avionics. There are also several other shops on the field - avionics and mechanics - who seem to be Mooney-knowledgeable although not an MSC. We should also talk 100 LL prices: KLAL is expensive at $3.39 a gallon while KBOW is a more reasonable $3.34.

The Lakeland area is between Orlando and Tampa on I-4.Key West is about 90 Mooney minutes away. About 2:00 from Pensacola, depending on your comfort flying over water. Disney, for grand kids and other visitors, is a 45 minute drive east; Tampa is about the same drive to the west, depending on where you are heading (NY Yankee spring training game, football, basketball, etc.). Lakeland hosts the Detroit Tigers spring training and is also home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in one place. If you want some different types of flying, Winter Haven with Jack Brown's Seaplane School is about 25 minutes from my house. As for hurricanes, Lakeland is far enough away from the coast so you don't get hit with the worst of it, but close enough to get to one of the coasts (Gulf or Atlantic) in a reasonable amount of time.

Depending on the type of diving you like to do, Florida may have some options for you. I have done fresh water diving/cave diving in Florida, wreck diving, reef diving, and just plain old getting wet diving. I retired from being a PADI instructor last year after doing it for 40 years. The other nice diving related issue is the trip from KEYW to Cozumel and then anywhere in Central America is not a bad hop. I have been going to Belize for decades, and really want to do the trip in my J at some point.

Lots more I could say about Lakeland and Central Florida, but I think you get the picture I am looking forward to being there in a year or so. :)

 

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Regardless of what state you choose, it is just about impossible to beat a good fly-in community for retirement.  Having your plane right next door in your own hangar on your own runway makes aviation a part of your life.  Having a community of pilots, A&Ps, IAs, and folks with incredible collections of aviation tools and knowledge is worth a lot more than one might think.  Starting and ending trips without a drive to, or from the airport is...priceless.

Not all fly-in communities are equal.  Choose carefully.

 

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Check out 15FL Cannon Creek in Lake City. Paved & lit rwy 18/36, smooth grass 09/27. Very active EAA chapter. 100LL fuel on field for members of the "HOA" which is ~$700/yr for runway fees. There are empty lots available and several sprouting new houses for sale as well as older ones. My GF and I have looked at some lots and they are about your price range. I learned to fly here and there are several Mooneys based here. Smack dab in the middle of the "big bend" area, and minutes from downtown Lake City with a population of ~12,000. Its not a small town and its not a big city but it has a mall, plenty of food, and local hide-a-ways. Also plenty of grass strips and other small county airports within 100 miles with other active EAA chapters, its a round-robin of saturday morning breakfasts and sunday luncheons around the state. We're away from large ATC corridors like Jacksonville or Pensacola or Tampa. Perfect blend of quiet and active, if I may say so myself

Aerial-Cannon-Creek-Airpark-April-2015.jpg

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