It’s still going great guns — one of America’s most unusual airports. Complete with Western theme buildings, 28-room on-airport motel and airplane-shaped swimming pool, it’s the recreational center of its community. And this one-time “aeronautical dude ranch” lives on in…wait for it…New Jersey!
Noted for its concept and marketing, Flying W Ranch is now the Flying W Airport Resort.
I remember first seeing it in 1966 after landing a Navion on that old oh-so-short crosswind runway. Taxiing in, a red Piper Aztec under the big tree had “Bob Cummings” emblazoned on its nose. I was impressed. (Did the 1950s TV personality, long an aviation booster, have a financial interest in the place?)
Today, most of the glamour and dude ranch activity is gone. But the bones are there. More important, innovative marketing under owner John Cave keeps the place going — at least the resort.
A friend of Flying W recently noted, “We used to be an airport with a swimming pool. Now, we’re a swimming pool with an airport!” But the pool and resort are healthily busy.
Historical note: I cringed in 1985 when Cessna came out with overblown ad copy claiming “your airport is the local hot spot.” Not recently, guys, not recently! But Flying W is a center of recreation and social life in the farmland that’s suburbanizing fast east of Philadelphia. Folks pay seasonal pool memberships of $425 (single) to $600 (family of four) to enjoy the pool, outdoor pavilion, Tiki bar and Snack Shack.
By Drew Steketee – source: http://www.generalaviationnews.com/2013/07/still-a-mighty-interesting-way-to-run-an-airport/