Charles E. Beatley Jr., the former five-term Democratic mayor of Alexandria, is doing a bit of flying and becoming a developer in his postpolitical days.

Beatley, 71, who was mayor of Alexandria from 1967 to 1976 and from 1979 to 1985, withdrew from the 1986 congressional race against Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) after his doctor discovered that he had heartbeat irregularities.

The heart problem was particularly vexing for Beatley, a retired United Air Lines pilot who flew DC8 jets for many years, because it prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to suspend the pilot's license he had held since 1938.

Now, Beatley says his health has so improved that the FAA has renewed his license. Beatley still runs a glider school in Warrenton, Va.

The former mayor still lives in Alexandria, in a house he built near Alexandria Hospital on Seminary Road, but he is increasingly spending time on his 300-acre farm in Warrenton.

It is on part of that farm that Beatley plans to build about 30 homes, complete with parks, man-made lakes and hangars for residents who want to land their private planes near their dwellings. The project is in the planning stages and will take at least two years, he said.

"I don't miss {politics} at all," Beatley said from his farm on New Year's Eve. "I've never been the kind to look back, anyway. I always find plenty to do."

Beatley said he will support no candidate in particular in May's Alexandria City Council elections, but he plans to be as involved as "any citizen." He did say that if Republican council member Carlyle C. Ring decided to challenge Mayor James P. Moran Jr., Ring would find his political career "dead" because of Moran's popularity.

Beatley said he harbors no ill feelings toward Moran, a Democrat who ran as an independent to defeated Beatley in a campaign that divided the party. "I see him . . . , sure, we talk."

In hindsight, Beatley said, he should have retired from politics long before his unsuccessful 1985 mayoral campaign. "Some of the people who recruited me and begged me to run were the ones who stabbed me in the back."