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Old 03-29-2012, 05:08 PM #1
dub CRISP
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TL;DR: dude lives in a hangar on 400 acres in Utah with his own runway








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WHEN a man escapes from an Iron Curtain country in an aircraft he built himself, perhaps it should not be surprising, nearly three decades later, to find him making his home in an airplane hangar.

The three runways surrounding Ivo Zdarsky’s hangar are not pristine, despite his continual battle with the badgers that burrow underneath, threatening them with collapse. But at least he has managed to keep them clear of the cattle. Lucin International Airport is what Mr. Zdarsky calls this place, though the only plane that lands regularly in this ghost town a 180-mile drive northwest of Salt Lake City is his own. (If you go to Ogden, 160 miles away, to stock up on groceries, it is good to have your own plane.)

Do not think, however, that the home of Mr. Zdarsky, who makes his living manufacturing airplane propellers, is austere. His great room — essentially his only room — is dominated by such big-box treasures as a 90-inch flat-screen TV, with four-foot-tall speakers in the corners of the room. There is also a drum set, a desk and a computer, two mattresses in front of the TV and an upside-down inflatable hot tub covered with a sheet and repurposed as a settee.

You must be really close to the U.P.S. guy, the reporter says.

“Brent,” says Mr. Zdarsky, 51, who retains the accent of his native Czechoslovakia, and has a high-pitched voice and a dry but wicked sense of humor. “He lives in Ogden. He is my lifeline to civilization.”

And sitting on the bed and settee, as casually as you might toss a sweater, are two assault weapons.

“I use them on the badgers because they dig in my ground,” Mr. Zdarsky explains. “You cannot imagine the damage these badgers do.”

In fact, looking around, the reporter counts seven weapons in the room. Specifics, please.

“That’s a .308 sniper rifle,” Mr. Zdarsky says. “That’s a .223 sniper rifle. There is a shotgun if the badgers get too close. There is a Belgium FS2000.”

He gestures toward some ammunition on a homemade table nearby. “That’s what our guys are using in Afghanistan. It’s very effective against badgers. And probably terrorists too.”

There is also camouflage clothing. Why would Mr. Zdarsky, who may be the only resident of Lucin, need camouflage clothing?

“Because they don’t get dirty,” Mr. Zdarsky says. “Plus, the badgers don’t see it.”

THERE are ghost towns, and then there are towns that are so deserted they aren’t even the ghosts of ghost towns. Lucin, in Box Elder County, is the latter. In the late 1800s, steam engines stopped nearby to take on water. In the 1970s, a few retired railroad workers were still living here, but they are long gone.

More significant to Mr. Zdarsky is the area’s military history — which may be the reason he found a mysterious 500-foot-wide, 4,000-foot-long runway on his property. During World War II, Wendover, 80 miles south of here, was a bomber training base and firing range, where the Enola Gay was housed. And the Utah Test and Training Range is about 50 miles from Mr. Zdarsky’s house. Even now, the reporter notices the side door shaken by a sonic boom.

“Bomb,” Mr. Zdarsky says, grinning.

Mr. Zdarsky’s hangar and airstrip are surrounded by an electric fence, with a skull-and-crossbones flag at the gate. Once you get within a mile or two, you can spot a tall building on the property that houses a navigational beacon for the Federal Aviation Administration, for which the F.A.A. pays Mr. Zdarsky a rental fee of $2,500 a year.

His home is divided into two 50-by-50-foot areas: one is for his planes, the other is his living space (the bathroom is a separate room). “I notice most people have a house which is usually smaller than my room,” Mr. Zdarsky says. “And inside this house is a bunch of little rooms, called bedroom, living room, whatever. If they want to do something on a computer you have to go in one room, you go to eat in another room. I have just one room, and I can watch the TV here, watch the computer here, eat here, and it is not claustrophobic.”

He points at one of the motorized hinged hangar doors, which can lift 10 feet off the ground. “If I need a bigger window, I can lift this.”

Oh, right, the reporter has just noticed that this house has no windows. Why is that?
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it or not,” Mr. Zdarsky says, quickly dismissing the subject of windows to continue with the joys of single-room living. “And normal people do all this, they have to navigate between all these walls. If I want walls, I can put walls here, but I haven’t found a reason for walling myself in.”
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The reporter, always eager to work the psychological angle, offers a theory. Maybe this distaste for walls comes from being trapped in a Communist state? Though, come to think of it, many people lived under Communist rule, and you don’t see a lot of them out here.

“Right,” Mr. Zdarsky says, laughing at this theory. “You don’t see a lot of them out here.”

Speaking of Communist Czechoslovakia, what better time — now that Mr. Zdarsky is defrosting a hunk of antelope he shot to make the reporter lunch — to flash back to the summer of 1984, and the flight to freedom that made him briefly famous?

An aviation engineering student in Prague, Mr. Zdarsky was designing airplane propellers and was disgusted with a government that would not let him speak his mind or go into business for himself. Denied an exit visa, he built his own plane, a hang glider with an engine from a notoriously bad East German car called the Trabant. The plane, of course, required testing, and on one of these tests, Mr. Zdarsky says, he was arrested by the secret police. Luckily, he was flying east at the time and, as he says, not too many people try to escape to Russia. After he convinced the police his plane was a school project, they let him go, impounding the aircraft in a garage used by the local constabulary.

The local police, annoyed at having to park in the street, were amenable to a bribe, and at 3 a.m. on Aug. 4, Mr. Zdarsky says, he packed three compasses and took off in the Czech countryside, not far from the Austrian border, landing in Schwechat, at the Vienna International Airport, where he requested political asylum. There were headlines around the Western world. The reporter reads one aloud from The Sunday Express World Newsdesk, found in a box of old press clippings: “Bat man beats Reds in moon freedom dash — ”

“It was a moonless night, by the way,” Mr. Zdarsky adds. “I didn’t want to have a moon; a moon can show you.”

Isn’t that just like a newspaper? The reporter continues reading: “A young man fed up with life behind the Iron Curtain fitted a light motor and propeller to his flimsy homemade glider and flew off — ”

“Flimsy?” Mr. Zdarsky says, peeved. “It got me where I was going.”

After selling his plane to a West German museum devoted to escape vehicles and the Berlin Wall, the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, he moved to Los Angeles, where he started a company, Ivoprop, to produce a propeller he designed, which he still owns. He also began working on an experimental aircraft that could function as both helicopter and airplane. (His current design, a CGS Aviation two-seat ultralight plane he retrofitted with eight primitive piston engines, can be seen at youtube.com/watch?v=xa_dJsVVlPc.) But by 1997, he was tired of Los Angeles and began looking for property where he could develop his plane. That’s when he found 400 acres in the Utah desert for $99,000.

“Try doing that in New York,” he says. “It was a pretty good deal because nobody wanted to live here.”

He wanted his home to be as close to a runway as possible. Mr. Zdarsky estimates that it cost $500,000 to build, including $50,000 for the steel for the hangar and $100,000 to bring in water and electricity. (Fortunately for Mr. Zdarsky, a local telephone company hub and a well were already on the property.)

On the roof, which has functioned as a helicopter pad, there is now a plastic tub, about three feet high and three feet wide, filled with dirt. Mr. Zdarsky explains that if somebody starts shooting at him, he can run up here and take cover behind it. The reason for this, Mr. Zdarsky tells the reporter, is that there was “a crazy guy” out here shooting at people, and the walls downstairs in his hangar are very thin. If someone came out here and started shooting, the bullets would go right through the walls.

You could always call the police, he is told.

“Yeah, and it will take them three hours to get here; they will show up to take pictures of your dead body,” Mr. Zdarsky says. “If a bad guy is out there somewhere, the best place to go is behind that pile of dirt.”

“Ivo,” the reporter asks, “You sure you don’t have a survivalist thing going on here?”

“No, no,” Mr. Zdarsky says. “I don’t have one year of food.”

Still, one wonders whether he gets lonely.

“Everyone asks me that,” he says. “If I get lonely, I can turn on my big TV, or I get in my plane or go see people. Usually it is more the other way, I am in civilization and looking very much forward to escaping here.”


...click the link to read the rest
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/ga...ngar.html?_r=1
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Last edited by dub CRISP : 03-29-2012 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:15 PM #2
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I wan pics
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:17 PM #3
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Didn't read but I too am jelly.

-Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:19 PM #4
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yup im jelly
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:23 PM #5
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Pics don't work. I read in pictures.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:24 PM #6
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thats like a more badass version of Bob Lee Swagger in Shooter. only more badass cuz of the house
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:26 PM #7
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niiice
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:27 PM #8
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JK pics work. I'm super jelly. We should overtake that place and turn it into the ST shelter for the zombie apocalypse/2012.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:28 PM #9
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that guy really hates badgers

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Old 03-29-2012, 05:48 PM #10
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damn..
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:12 PM #11
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Noob tom angles.

Didn't read but he seems lonely as ****
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:14 PM #12
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Quote:
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JK pics work. I'm super jelly. We should overtake that place and turn it into the ST shelter for the zombie apocalypse/2012.
Great idea!
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:14 PM #13
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****in badgers
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:15 PM #14
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:46 PM #15
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thats like a more badass version of Bob Lee Swagger in Shooter. only more badass cuz of the house
NO.

Also, jelly as well. Good read.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:18 AM #16
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:30 AM #17
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lol out in the canyons of utah.
****s like desert, hot as ****.
id rather turn it into a indoor glow in the dark skatepark.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:56 AM #18
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id rather turn it into a indoor glow in the dark skatepark.
That's a stupid idea. Like, really stupid.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:58 AM #19
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sounds fun to me lol
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:00 AM #20
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I guess it would be fun for middle schoolers.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:03 AM #21
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can you imagine, like the ramps being neon yellow, with black lights hanging from the ceiling. Then the grinding rails being neon pink.

then glow in the dark wheels.. sounds awesome to me. reminds me of some movie back in the 90's. can't remember name though.
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