a.k.a. Fort Kickass

On 9/25/12, after being online 12+ years, VansAirForce.net expanded from the digital world to the physical with its own hangar at 52F.  Months of crunching numbers and several conversations with the CPA convinced me this will end up being less expensive than 20 more years of renting.  I call it 'The Van Cave', and it is an attempt at making a portion of the RV hobby more of a micro experience (not macro).  With (2) renters it breaks even.  I don't make money...I don't loose money.  There is room for the occasional visitor and car repair.

Since most employees now are expected to be reachable around the clock, my business model is targeted at making the renter's time out here more pleasant.  It targets the RVator who wants to come out and fly or build for a bit (or not), maybe wash the plane or car in the shade, or get in a workout.  When done with that you can catch up on the world (or work) on your laptop while lounging on a comfortable couch (spring/fall) or air-conditioned office (summer) - surrounded by airplanes.  Take a shower if you need to go in to the office.  Maybe fix a bite to eat before you leave (microwave and a small fridge).


Name Plane
#1 Rob Reece RV-8QB (under construction)
#2 John/Liz Goodloe RV-8 (flying)

  If you would like to get on the waiting list, shoot me an email.   (contact)

theVanCave Amenities:

 The Biggies:
  • Potable city water
  • Epoxy-painted floor.
  • Remote-activated 'Ag Style' high lift Schweiss hangar door facing north (no part of hangar in direct sunlight)
  • 70'x20' shaded area to wash your plane and/or car.

 Food, Rest & Hygiene:

  • Refrigerator and microwave.
  • Shower, Toilet, Sink, Mirror
  • Sitting area in shade with view of runway.
  • Air-conditioned office with ceiling fan ...added June 2013.  Finishing out currently.

"V.A.Fitness"...exercise equipment
All these are basically 'stored here indefinitely' for ex-airline pilots on the field that didn't want them at their house anymore.  They are free to come over anytime and use all of it (including the shower).


  • 2-post asymmetrical car lift (9,000 lb capacity).  One of our cars needed $2000 worth of work.  The parts were $500, so I bought a $1500 lift and did the work myself.  Now I have lift to do brake jobs, bearing replacements, oil changes, tire rotations and more.  The renters use it too.
  • Air compressor, drill press, band saw, belt sander.
  • 4-plug electrical outlet every 20'.
  • No smoking environment.

Why I did this
A growing waistline, a father that died at 69 of heart disease, low interest rates and a few months crunching future value formulas and depreciation schedules convinced me to take a chance on expanding our family's small business a tiny bit.  With three renters and the brain of my CPA, this *should* end up costing me less than the two spots I am currently renting elsewhere on the field.  And it will provide my wife and kids with something for down the road.  Fingers crossed...

Last, a special thanks to Danny King of RV-8 Beautiful Doll fame for letting me rent a corner of his hangar for the last decade and change.  A renter could not ask for a better landlord.  And yes...Danny gets a key.

View from the office

Morning view from the couch...

Thanks for visiting theVanCave.


Q: How in the  &%$  can you afford a hangar?

A: Short answer….it's cheaper than renting space when you take into account tax deductions and renters.

Long answer…..I had some savings in an account that has earned about 1% since 2008.  I got a small loan at a low interest rate to get the rest needed…to be paid off in the next three months by selling some stuff.  Crunching the numbers, using the actual operating costs from the previous owner, showed that having two renters would just cover the expenses.  Worded another way, I free up the money I was spending before on renting space for my stuff.  I can also now write off the depreciation, water, electricity, Wi-Fi, insurance, runway fees and more to reduce my taxable income by a sizable amount.  I rent the spot for my RV-6 from myself, also.  CPA’s advice.

Doing all this lowered my VAF business expenses by about $4,700/yr.   This is huge, given that I spend $10K plus/yr hosting/patching/backing up and running the VAF web site!  And, at the end of the day my wife will end up with an asset that she can sell someday, or continue to rent out (her grandmother lived to 104 and her 86yr old mother is still going strong).  My dad passed at 69, so I’m not kidding myself, and am trying to plan accordingly for my family.  She can rent out all five spots and make $12K/yr indefinitely, after expenses, if she has to.

My RV has been flying since 2002, but I don’t spend much on operations.  I’ve never been to the east coast in it, or about 40 of the 50 states, or any of these fly-ins:  Sun’n’Fun, Arlington, Copperstate, SWERFI, Golden West, etc.  Never been.  I’ve gone to OSH a few times, but that is getting too expensive for this part of my life, so I’m cutting back on that too.  I enjoy the heck out of it…but I need the money for the college years.  I’m focused for the next several years or so on things that save or make our family money, not things that use it.

I have low operating expenses also (by choice).  I’ve cut my own hair for the past quarter century, we live in a small house with no pool in a part of the country with a very low cost of living, and I routinely wear $3 Target T-shirts that are 10 years old.  They’re comfortable.  I still use the first mower I ever bought (used) – on its third set of wheels.  I have one pair of blue jeans.   What I’m getting at is I don’t spend much money that I don’t absolutely have to, like flying cross country often.  So, that’s how I ended up with a hangar (and an RV for that matter)….because it crunched out to be cheaper than renting over the long haul.  It was the next, logical, cost-saving step for our family.

If for some reason we need to sell the hangar, it’s next to a public road that doesn’t require access to the airport property or taxiways.  Worst case scenario (airport closes) I could almost certainly sell it to someone needing it for industrial purposes for most, if not all of what I paid.  A relatively low risk (on paper) investment.  Fingers crossed…