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Winging It! With Dr. Paul

Terra Firma

Toni Wakes drawing

Farmer Joe doesn't know a thing about airports. But he sure knows a lot about land. We bought his West Pasture for an airport, a long, skinny parcel oriented into the prevailing wind. One hundred fifty five acres of level, well drained terrain with clear approaches at both ends. Joe priced it at top dollar, and because it was ideally suited to our needs, we were willing. Thirty five hundred an acre for pasture land. Farmer Joe did well.

But then, so did we. Within a year, we were starting to look like a real airport. One hundred members, a 2500' turf runway, full-length parallel taxiway, seven rows of hangars, lights, restrooms, irrigation, windsock, the works.

When Joe put up For Sale signs on the adjacent parcel, we began to think expansion. Trouble was, this was inferior land. Gently sloping and oddly shaped, crossed by gullies and streams, it would hardly do for a cross-wind runway. But with a little imagination we could see it subdivided into homesites, each with taxiway access to the airport. Visions of moving vans danced in our heads.

On completion of some preliminary surveying and several serious sketches, a few of us went to pay Joe a visit.

"Ten thousand an acre," he announced without batting an eye. We were incredulous. Rocky and rolling, this land couldn't even be farmed. "But you just sold us the other parcel," I stammered, "for thirty five hundred!"

"Yes, I know," was his sly reply. "That one wasn't next door to an airport."

Yes siree, Farmer Joe sure knows a lot about land.

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