Are you considering joining a flying club? Whether you’re an experienced pilot or just learning to fly, flying clubs offer an attractive and affordable way to take to the skies. Check out these five reasons to participate in a flying club:
Perhaps the most obvious reason to join a flying club is to ease the cost of owning and maintaining your own aircraft. Flying clubs are usually member-owned and operated, meaning that all costs associated with membership are used to benefit members instead of generating a profit. Most clubs charge a membership fee to join in addition to monthly dues and hourly flying rates. Dues are typically used to cover aircraft maintenance and repairs, fuel, insurance, tiedown/hangar use, and administrative costs.
Fly a variety of aircraft
Depending on the club you join, you may have opportunities to fly a variety of aircraft ranging from basic training aircraft to higher performance aircraft. Flying different types of airplanes is a great way to gain flying experience and improve your skills. If you’re planning on purchasing your own aircraft in the future, joining a flying club that offers multiple options can help you find the aircraft that’s right for you.
Another benefit of joining a flying club is that maintenance and upkeep are included in the cost of membership. Most flying clubs appoint members as officers to oversee the routine maintenance, record-keeping, repairs, and annual inspections of the aircraft in the club’s fleet. Sharing responsibilities helps to shave off some of the costs and effort of owning an aircraft and promotes safer flying.
Challenge your skills
The flying club environment encourages members to continue to pursue new ratings and refine their flying skills. Most flying clubs are open to pilots of all skill levels and provide opportunities for more experienced pilots to mentor new students. It’s also common for flying clubs to establish relationships with certified flying instructors who help provide training and instruction for members.
Connect with fellow pilots
Flying clubs help to create a sense of community among pilots, making flying a more social experience. Not only will joining a club will connect you to a network of people that share your interests and passion for flying, but many clubs also organize social events and activities outside of flying ranging from continuing education lectures to family-friendly barbeques.
The AOPA has plenty of helpful information available for those interested in starting a flying club or joining a club near them. Browse AOPA’s list of flying clubs by state or check out their resources for starting a new club.