Flying clubs have been around since the birth of aviation, making general aviation more accessible, affordable, and enjoyable for pilots of all skill levels. Today, there are hundreds of member-owned and operated flying clubs located throughout the United States, and many are looking for new members. If you’re not already part of a flying club, here are some of the top reasons to join:
The opportunity to share the costs related to owning, maintaining, storing, and operating an aircraft is perhaps the biggest advantage of joining a flying club. Most clubs charge a one-time membership fee along with monthly dues and hourly flying rates. The budget is used to cover expenses such as aircraft maintenance and repairs, fuel, insurance, tiedown/hangar use, and administrative costs. If you’re not quite ready to purchase an aircraft of your own, joining a flying club is a smart way to maximize your general aviation enjoyment while minimizing the expenses.
Another unique benefit of flying clubs is the chance to fly several types of aircraft. Depending on the club you join, you could gain access to a variety of aircraft ranging from basic trainers to higher performance airplanes and even experimental amateur-built aircraft. Some clubs are focused on a certain type of flying, such as aerobatics.
Whether you’re new to flying or a seasoned aviator, getting experience in different types of airplanes is a great learning opportunity that will help you continue refining your flying skills. Best of all, if you’re thinking about buying your own airplane in the future, the opportunity to fly multiple makes and models can help you narrow down the options and decide what you like best.
General aviation is more than a hobby or mode of transportation; it’s a vibrant, social community. Even if you already own an airplane, joining a local club is a great way to meet fellow pilots who share your interests. Many clubs foster a sense of community by hosting social events, continuing education programs, and fun get-togethers for members and their families.
Find a club near you by browsing this list of flying clubs by state. Some aviation companies, including Hartzell Propeller, even have employee flying clubs where employees can experience and share the passion for flight. If you’re thinking about forming a brand new flying club, be sure to check out AOPA’s helpful resources to get started.