EAA has long believed that flying clubs are a great way to make aviation more accessible and affordable. The main purposes of a flying club are to reduce the cost of flying for all members and to increase and extend an individual’s flying activity. The club is one in which all members volunteer their time and services so that everyone in the club has more opportunities to fly at less cost than they can achieve through any other means. The FAA does not allow EAA Chapters to own a flying aircraft but does encourage working together with Flying Clubs.
Why join a Flying Club?
There’s a great social aspect to a flying club that provides camaraderie and learning experiences. A flying club provides the opportunity to fly with a variety of pilots into a variety of airports, which can be another mentoring experience.
Getting started in aviation can be challenging. It takes a commitment of time and resources, including money, to learn to fly and to continue flying. Frequently, the costs of learning to fly and owning an aircraft are cited as the reasons why someone chooses not to follow their aviation dreams. In reality, the true reason may be a combination of many factors. Joining a flying club can reduce those barriers and provide a community of support to help motivate one to achieve their dream.
In 2012, AOPA surveyed 800 random pilots; 56 percent of the responding pilots had been a member of a flying club at one time, with 22 percent still currently active in such a club. Ninety-six percent of those pilots rated a flying club membership as a valuable experience. That survey enumerated the following major reasons why a flying club is a good experience:
• Less expensive than owning an aircraft individually—56 percent
• Access to a variety of aircraft—29 percent
• Defrayed cost and shared responsibilities—21 percent
• Pilot camaraderie—21 percent
• Shared knowledge with other pilots/instructors—17 percent Thirty-eight percent of the pilots surveyed indicated that they were more likely to learn more and become a better pilot by being a part of a flying club. Recreational fliers had the highest club participation. Some benefits of a well-managed flying club include:
• High instructor standards;
• Good value for the membership fee;
• Ongoing safety education programs;
• Online scheduling; Quality aircraft management;
• Good governance and risk management.
• You know the level of maintenance of the aircraft. Unlike renting an aircraft from a fixed-base operator where you have no idea of the maintenance philosophy, as a member of a flying club you know the standards under which the aircraft is operated…and you know the other pilots who are flying the aircraft and know whether you can trust their judgment about reporting maintenance issues. • There can be strong mentoring relationships. Being a part of a flying club is a great way to learn about aircraft ownership for the first time. You can learn about preventive maintenance under the watchful eye of other pilots and mechanics.
See the Eagle Flights tab on our website for details