Finding a Small World at a Florida Airpark

A pilot and his wife locate the small town feel and sense of community they're searching for at Massey Ranch Airpark in Edgewater, Florida.

Autumn and Nathan Adams have both embraced what they call the “small world in aviation.” Having grown up with fond memories of the same one-stoplight town, they longed to find a place where they could once again be close with their neighbors while enjoying the convenience of living alongside their aircraft. 

Their solution was to move to a residential airpark. After years of wanting to move to an aviation community, the couple finally had the opportunity at Massey Ranch Airpark (X50) in Edgewater, Florida. 

“I grew up in a town of about 130 people,” Autumn Adams said. “That small town feel is one of the things I have missed the most about Indiana. We were in Merritt Island, Florida, for almost 10 years, and we loved the area. But we only got to know a few neighbors the whole time we lived there. People mostly kept to themselves. We’ve only lived in Massey Ranch since June 2023, and we already know almost everyone and their dogs. It’s the sense of community that we enjoy the most.”

Nathan is a pilot and Autumn isn’t, although said she’s just as obsessed with aviation. It was a shared goal to one day live at a fly-in community.  

“Well, when Nathan and I got married, we were still living in Indiana,” she said. “But we always talked about moving to Florida. I remember when he was telling me about airparks. I had never seen one before, and I thought it sounded really cool. So, moving to an airpark was always in the back of our mind, even though we were nowhere near ready for that undertaking. It’s been our goal since 2007 and took longer than we initially expected.”

The couple moved to Florida in 2012, and their first home in the state was not in a fly-in community. They were still interested in one day moving to an airpark, and there was one neighborhood that they would visit more than others. The town of Edgewater had the small town feel they wanted. They also loved its close proximity to New Smyrna Beach. As an added bonus, Nathan had fond memories of Massey Ranch from his college days.

Autumn and Nathan Adams pose in front of their hangar at Massey Ranch Airpark (X50) in Edgewater, Florida. [Courtesy: Autumn and Nathan Adams]

“The idea of living in the airpark, especially for me, was from when I was down here at Embry-Riddle [Aeronautical University],” Nathan said. “I worked at Massey Ranch…for a mechanic just doing odds-and-ends jobs. I’m not a mechanic, but I was like a shop guy, carrying parts around, taking stuff apart and things like that. So, I had already seen Massey Ranch and just thought that was the coolest thing—that all these people live there all the time, and their planes were in their hangars. I thought, this is great!”

Nathan also had familiarity with other fly-in communities in the area. The couple recalled that once they were ready to move with their Van’s RV-8, the market was extremely competitive.

“Over the years we had looked at a few homes in Massey Ranch, and for one reason or another, they didn’t work out,” he said. “We knew how fast things had been selling recently. We had just missed out on a house due to a cash buyer. The reason we got the home we are in now was because of Autumn being the diligent, organized person she is. So, she actually went on Zillow several years ago and marked off every single address that had access to the airport and said notify me if there’s any change.

“The day that the listing for our house came available, we actually called the realtor within 20 minutes, and within an hour, we were meeting with him. We knew how fast things had been going and had just missed out on two houses we made offers on…[and] couldn’t get [them] because of cash buyers. We made an offer to buy [our] house the same day. It really was her diligence that absolutely caused this to become a reality in the end, after all of these years looking, searching, and trying.”

The fly-in community consists of a single 4,360-foot-by-60-foot asphalt runway with roughly 45 homes. Living steps from your aircraft can’t be beat, the couple says. But more than anything, they like the small town feel of Massey Ranch and the sense of community it provides. 

“What I love the most about Massey is there are tons of different types of backgrounds,” Autumn said. “We have neighbors that have been flying their whole lives, like me. We have neighbors that have recently learned to fly. There are even a few that hope to one day learn to fly but already embrace the airpark lifestyle.

“The excitement about aviation is real here. Almost every night, around sunset, people go flying. Around the same time, a little pile of golf carts starts showing up by the edge of the runway to watch the planes come and go. After landing most pilots eventually find their way back to the gathering of carts. Despite all the different personalities and backgrounds, it feels like we all grew up together. Our family has only been here for a short time, and yet we feel welcome with everyone.”


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