Flying Seminole Ranch in Oviedo

The Flying Seminole Ranch was opened east of Oviedo in 1965. Its original owners were Tom Tuck and Jerry Lindsey. It had a 4000-foot grass runway and a training center for aspiring pilots.

It was discussed as a possible more extensive airport operation to supplement Herndon Airport in Orlando before McCoy and Sanford’s airports became more prominent.

During the 1980s, it was purchased by glider enthusiasts Knut & Ingrid Kjenslie. However, when flight restrictions on those aircraft types were enacted because of the Orlando International Airport, the Kjenslies left town to build a new airstrip in Lake County.

Mike Jones bought it in 1986 and began to expand the facility. He built a new paved runway and extended it to accommodate larger planes. However, his plans were challenged due to Jones illegally expanding beyond his permit into environmentally sensitive Econ River wetlands. Jones closed the airport in 1989 and the development of the tract seemed imminent.

The area had been newly annexed into Oviedo in 1987 and the city began studying acquiring the 725-acre property in 1990. It could have been purchased for $4M. The city of Oviedo considered turning it into a public-owned airport and industrial complex, as they reportedly could have up to 90% of it reimbursed by the Federal Aviation Authority.

Two years later, the city council decided to pass on the idea. Citizens for years fought off multiple attempts to develop the property (and surrounding properties), as well as the water management district, in attempts to protect both against sprawl and the naturally sensitive habitat there.

However, in 2000 the developers finally won out and the land formerly occupied by the airport (as well as surrounding acreage) was cleared. The Sanctuary neighborhood opened in 2002. Lawton Chiles Middle School, which was opened in 2000 at the current Hagerty High location, moved to a new property at the former airport in 2005.

Aerial Photos

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