The Flying M Ranch
When I first relocated to Oregon, one of the first things on my mind was to find a replacement for the many fun places I used to fly into for breakfast or lunch while I was in SoCal (i.e. Corona, Catalina, Big Bear, etc.). Flying in Oregon is much different than in SoCal. There just aren't as many active places to go. But I found one, and it topped the cake as being as good as any in SoCal; it is the "Flying M Ranch". It offers first of all a good challenge to both land and take off. This is not to imply that it is in any way risky for the accomplished aviator, but it is a challenge for the tyros who had better come in with an instructor. Located in the foothills of the coast range of Oregon, it is a one-way in and one-way out strip, and is published as that. Unfortunately, it has claimed the lives and property of many pilots, one just recently this year, 2005. This makes it sound like it is a trap, or something way out of the ordinary. This is not so. The fact is that so many pilots of today are just under-trained in flying into anything less than 5,000 feet long. Look at all of the over-runs we had at Meadowlark! And being made sometimes by Flight Instructors and higher time pilots. No, this is a completely safe airstrip. It is simply a one-way in and one-way out type, and you need to have the skill and equipment to handle it.
But once there it is beautiful. Mountains all around; scenic trails, beautiful stream; even a black powder shooting range; nothing quite like it in SoCal. To top it all off, the food is as good as you can get anywhere; my favorite is the huge fried onion rings. On holidays they have a Champagne brunch, and on most weekends they have a buffet breakfast that lasts all day. Actually breakfast, lunch and dinner are served all day long.
It is now for sale and I think it is quite a bargain. In the past I have had the opportunity to buy many properties at bargain prices, but as it is today, I am unable to afford this place, bargain as it is. I once could have bought El Monte airport for $50,000 in the middle 50's. The owner at the time would have sold it to anyone at that price rather than to let Wannamaker take it for $80,000. But $50,000 back then is like 50 million now to me. I could have bought a flying Curtiss P40 at Fullerton in 1955 for only $3,000, or a Grumman Wildcat at Chino for only $7,000 in the early 70's. There was even a 50 hour since new T28 at Brackett for $3,000 in the 60's. Also at that time Jack Hardwick had 3 P38's at Brackett one of which was offered for $5! (after landing gear up)! So now this place is for sale for a little under $4 million. But see what you get for that. Here is a copy of the listing:
Listing_Information: The Flying M Ranch is a well-known, popular NW destination resort offering rustic western/NW country atmosphere. Located in the coastal mountains of Yamhill, Oregon, over 107 acres is available with Recreational Commercial Zoning. It is not possible to acquire this zoning in such a pristine natural location anywhere in the Northwest. This is truly a unique opportunity for buyers! Property includes a private airstrip, 20,000sf log built lodge with restaurant, lounge w/dance floor, offices, conference rooms, & gift shop, 24 room motel, 7 private cabins, most on the river and sleep 6-8 people. Horse camps and over 100 campsites, mostly on the river or creeks. Opportunities for equestrian resort, youth camps, hunting lodge/resort, or the ultimate private residence for the very discriminating person who loves the outdoors and one-of-a-kind properties.
24 Room Motel in the woods? They have Western music dancing Friday and Saturday nights and the hardy ones can stay overnight without the need to drive home. Speaking about driving there. It is a tortuous drive in over gravel roads that were once the site of railroads piped in for the timber industry. Aside from the bumpy ride, it is beautiful, and I once saw several dozen Ford Model A's there for a breakfast run; it isn't like the drive can't be made. The 7 cabins are very nice as is everything else at the place. 107 acres and the airstrip for under $4 Million. I think it is a bargain.
Here are some pictures I have taken over the years. BTW, if a Tripacer can make it in and out, almost anything else can also. There used to be three very large 100+ foot fir trees on direct approach which meant a very steep descent over the trees ala Meadowlark, or a low level turn around them. Those trees have been removed which for me has taken the fun out of it, but safer for the tyros. Here are a few of the pictures I have taken during my visits.
When single family homes are selling here for $500,000 and on up, this seems to me to be a fantastic bargain. Spread the word. Thanks, Bob
(well, my plea's were for naught. Another airstrip gone)
(revised 1/21/05: new host)
(reposted again 7-28-2015 pix were scrambled)
(reposted 3-27-2017 new host)