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What’s the deal with Flying Clubs?

by Jason Schappert

A flying club or aero club is an organization that allows its members to pursue flying activities, usually by renting aircraft to them. Many clubs also provide flight training by licensed professionals, flight planning facilities, pilot supplies and associated services, as well as organizing social functions. While flying clubs are home to those who pursue flying as a hobby, many commercial pilots also get their start at flying clubs.
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Most flying clubs own and rent small general aviation aircraft. In North America and Europe the most popular such aircraft are the Cessna 152, the Cessna 172, and Piper Cherokee. However some clubs also exist to provide access to more specialized aircraft, such as vintage planes, aerobatic planes or helicopters. These clubs tend to be older and a little pricier to get involved in. They should also only be joined by people with previous flying experience. Novices should make sure to join flying clubs that provide instructors, usually for an additional fee of $25- $50 per hour. Another category of specialized flying clubs are Aircraft type clubs which are devoted to providing information and support to one type or family of aircraft.
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There are two types of flying clubs – equity flying clubs, and non-equity flying clubs. In an equity flying club, each member of the flying club “buys in” to the club and owns a share of all the club’s aircraft. The member then pays both monthly dues, which cover the fixed costs of ownership (hangar, insurance, annual maintenance, etc.), and an hourly rate for his use of the airplanes in the club. These clubs are only for the most avid flying enthusiasts, as they require the highest cost, liability, and dedication. In a non-equity flying club, the members do not own a share of the aircraft. Members still pay an initiation fee, often much smaller than an equity flying club, a monthly fee to help cover the fixed costs, and an hourly rate to use the aircraft. These hourly rates can be anywhere from $50 to $150, generally depending upon the type of aircraft as well as the size of the club. Larger clubs can defray some of the costs due to the bulk of people who are members.
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Getting into a flying club shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Many are open to the public and non-equity flying clubs seek to keep membership prices as low as possible. Many are non-profit, so the costs really are only meant to take care of the costs of insurance and maintenance. The best way to get in contact with a flight club is through the internet. Most large flight clubs have a website detailing the costs, and they usually have a downloadable application that can be sent in via mail or email. Simply stopping by a local airport and asking about local flight clubs can also get you in contact with the correct people. The most important thing to remember is to not be intimidated by the clubs from the beginning. They are intended above everything else to teach people about flight in a leisure setting. Even someone with no experience can make contacts through a flight club who will teach them how to fly a plane for a nominal fee. It’s necessary to be honest with yourself about your abilities and find a club that is appropriate to your level and knowledge.

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  • http://www.zelazny.azl.pl/ Tadeusz

    Hallo Jason,

    You are good, You are really very very good :-)) …. I approciate very much what You do for airmen. Best wishes from Poland!

  • http://www.zelazny.azl.pl/ Tadeusz

    Hallo Jason,

    You are good, You are really very very good :-)) …. I approciate very much what You do for airmen. Best wishes from Poland!

  • http://www.zelazny.azl.pl Tadeusz

    Hallo Jason,

    You are good, You are really very very good :-)) …. I approciate very much what You do for airmen. Best wishes from Poland!

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