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