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Home on the Runway
The pilots and mechanics typically stay on site for a few weeks at a time while they are on call, then head back to their respective homes all over the country. The loud noise of airplanes flying just 500 feet overhead makes the community a bizarre place to live, but many of the temporary residents have adapted.
"Lancaster's 2001 Tradewinds sits among 100 trailers and motor homes that form a colony of pilots, mechanics and other airline workers at LAX, the third-busiest airport in the nation. They are citizens of one of the most unusual communities in the United States.
Their turf, just east of the Proud Bird restaurant off Aviation Boulevard, is less than 3,500 feet from the south runway. It is a drab expanse of crumbling gray asphalt, approach lights, chain-link fencing and rows of beige and white RVs -- some battered, others grand. A splash of color comes from the red and white blooms of about a dozen rose bushes along the colony's northern edge."