Is “fly more” at the top of your 2023 resolution list? Whether you’re a student pilot, an active aviator, or a lapsed pilot ready to knock off the rust, joining a flying club is a smart way to do just that!
Here are our top three reasons to participate in a flying club this year:
By far, the most popular reason to join a flying club is the opportunity to make flying more affordable and accessible. With prices on the rise for just about everything nowadays (avgas included), many GA pilots are looking for a way to ease the costs of flying in 2023.
Flying clubs offer many of the benefits of aircraft ownership, without the hassles or responsibilities associated with maintenance and upkeep. You can usually expect to pay a membership fee, along with monthly dues and hourly flying rates to use the club’s airplane(s). Pooling money together with other members is a cost-efficient way to cover aircraft maintenance, fuel, insurance, hangar storage, and more. In addition to private flying clubs, many aviation companies have clubs for employees. For example, the Hartzell Flying Club was established to provide a unique opportunity for Hartzell Propeller employees to receive discounts on training for a pilot’s license.
Flying clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are smaller, with only one aircraft to share among members. Others focus on a specific model or category of aircraft. Larger clubs may have an entire fleet of different aircraft types ranging from basic trainers to backcountry tailwheel planes to high-performance aerobatic aircraft.
Gaining experience in a variety of aircraft types is invaluable, making pilots safer and more well-rounded. If your long-term goal is to buy your own airplane, joining a flying club with a diverse fleet can also help you narrow down all the options and find the right fit for your lifestyle, goals, and budget.
Last but not least, flying clubs foster a strong sense of community among pilots of all skill levels. It’s fun and rewarding to surround yourself with people who share your passion for aviation, which is why many clubs have a social aspect that may include family-friendly events, guest speakers, safety seminars, and group trips.
Flying clubs also provide a positive environment for seasoned aviators to mentor students or less-experienced pilots. And, depending on the club, members may even have access to certified flight instructors at a reduced rate. Whether you’re a beginner, a lapsed pilot, or simply interested in a new rating or certificate, you can benefit from the opportunity to grow your skills through personal flight instruction.
Make 2023 the year you join a flying club and take your skills to new heights. Use this flying club finder to learn more about clubs near you.
If you don’t have an established flying club nearby, consider starting one yourself! AOPA has a wealth of resources for flying clubs, including a step-by-step guide for starting a new club.