I always loved flying somewhere for lunch. I recently got the time and money to start doing that again, so now my search begins again, and I think I found a good one this morning.

The Happy Hangar Cafe at North Tampa Aero Park(X39)

The Happy Hangar Cafe is at the approach end of RWY 32 at North Tampa Aero Park, ID X39. Features a great, simple menu with astonishingly reasonable prices.

I found out about this place from a Facebook post in the Orlando Pilots group. I decided I needed to check it out myself.

I rented a C-172 from my club (Orlando Aviators) and flew over this morning. I even filed IFR just to see what that was like again. It was scattered clouds so I got about .2 of actual instrument time. Wooooo

With the vectoring it extended the flight time a bit. It’s only 62 miles but it took me an hour. It was a nice flight over very flat terrain (Florida huh) but still scenic. It’s amazing how much of the state is still “the wilds” – basically uninhabited wilderness.

Took me a bit to find X39. Look for the hangars on the SW side, just across the highway (which I believe is I-75).

I landed on 32 and had to back taxi to the parking area. There are no parallel taxiways. The runway surface is old but still quite usable.

Parking is a little tricky. There is not a lot of ramp space so you might need to push it back on to the grass somewhere. No big deal.

As I walked up the steps, the waitress Erica actually came out and opened the door for me. I was greeted warmly by, well just about everybody. It is a very friendly place! I was quickly given a cup of coffee and a glass of water. I was never allowed to empty either as they kept getting filled up, once even by another customer (!), Dennis, who is there two or three mornings a week.

PIREP

The actual cost ended up being less than $300.

  • Aircraft Rental: 1.4 tach * $95 = $133
  • Fuel at Atlantic Aviation: $88.88
  • Restaurant bill: $20
  • ——-
  • Total: $241.88

I got to speak with the owner Lorie, who co-owns the building and the hangar next door with her husband Keith Carver, an A&P, who also gives rides in a beautiful Stearman he keeps parked in front of the hangar.

Lunch was surprisingly cheap. I think it was a little over $12. I rounded it off to $20 with the tip.

Here’s the cafe menu.

Taxiing out I had to wait for a C-177 Cardinal to back taxi but no big deal. Departed back the the NE to KORL and arrived with no incident. Great place to visit and I will be back!

Back at the Atlantic Aviation hangars. Had a great flight and a great lunch!