A private grass strip on
Virginia's Northern Neck - Home to Hangar 9 Aeroworks
Added 11/7/09. Updated 11/22/14. Click on images for a larger view.
Federhart-Ophelia STOLport is a
private grass strip in Ophelia, Virginia, USA, on land at the confluence of the
Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. The airstrip is 2200 feet long and
is bordered by tall trees on either end. It can be found on the
Washington Sectional chart and holds the designator
VA99. I took both photos above in
May 25, 2010. For
those unfamiliar with the term STOLport, it refers to an airport best suited for
aircraft with Short TakeOff and Landing capability
and a pilot proficient in STOL techniques. Here, Mike Roe slips in over
the wires at the north end of the runway in his Stinson 108-1. Mike claims
that if you zoom in on the photo you can see that he has his eyes closed.
October 25, 2008. On base leg for VA99,
landing to the north. I'm over the Little Wicomico River, with the
Chesapeake Bay on the horizon. When landing to the south, base leg is just inside the shoreline of the Bay.
Several homes and hangars
are located adjacent to the runway. One of the homes, the "Yellow Schoolhouse",
used to sit at the north end of the runway and actually served as a community
school many years ago. It was moved to the new location on the east side of the
runway and renovated to serve as a home. The first photo above, with
the green-roofed schoolhouse in the background, was taken on my first flight to
VA99 in 2006. At the north end of the runway sits our good
neighbor, the Afton United Methodist Church. Care must be taken to avoid
aircraft operations during church services. Photo courtesy of Mike Roe.
Did I mention that this is
a rural airport? Applejacks, shown to the left, is our neighbor, just a
hundred yards or so south of the airstrip. A short walk to the northeast
is the Ophelia Post Office. The Post Office has been spruced up with new paint and modern
signage since I took this photo, but I'm fond of the old look. Look close, and you'll see the
sign, "Hooray, it's jellie bean day."
In the 1970's, pilot John
Federhart passed through the Northern Neck area on business and fell in love
with the area. He decided to look for a piece of land on which to build an
airstrip, telling the real estate agent to look for a a piece of "long and
skinny" farmland. John still owns the airstrip and has owned many
planes over the years, including this Bonanza and Cub. John is a talented wildlife artist and
ardent environmentalist who divides his time between his home here and his place
Airstrip Lane runs past
the south end of the runway and provides access for homes on the southwest side
of the airstrip.
The Little Wicomico River
lies just off the airstrip to the south. A small cove juts north toward the west
side of the runway. A few of the airstrip residents have lots on the water
and a complementary hangar lot adjacent to the runway.
Over the years, John and
Peggy Federhart gradually sold a few lots to selected buyers. My wife and
I were able to purchase one of the last available lots in 2007. In the
latter part of that year, we began building a house on the lot. We began the hangar in
Residents of the airport
community share in the maintenance of the airstrip. Above, Mike Roe takes
a turn at cutting the grass. Mike has a beautiful Stinson in his
hangar now, and has owned several planes over the years.
That's my Chief parked temporarily in Mike's hangar. Hangars serve as gathering spots for airport residents. Left to
right in photo above: Don Johnson, Mike Roe, Rita Johnson.
September 30, 2006. Mike and Dee Roe depart in
their Cessna 170B.
On the right, VA99 resident John Haszard
departs in his Cessna 180. In addition to the Cessna, John has a number of
interesting projects in his hangar.
September 20, 2006.
After a flight, Mike puts the C-170 to bed for the night.
"You don't need a
weatherman to know which way the wind blows."
More flying activity at and around Federhart-Ophelia
STOLport can be found here.
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