Type clubs: A bonanza for pilots

May 14, 2011 by Craig Fuller

I have to confess that I really love my Bonanza. Like most aircraft owners, I’ve bonded with my plane over the course of hundreds of happy flight hours. When you spend enough time in a plane, you begin to see it as more than a machine. It becomes a friend of sorts, with its own personality and quirks.

American Bonanza Society

Whit Hickman (left), ABS executive director, and Tom Turner (right), the executive director of the ABS Air Safety Foundation, were exceptional hosts.

Feeling as I do about my plane, I really enjoyed spending some time with members of the American Bonanza Society in Tullahoma, Tennessee, this week. I was invited to participate as the keynote speaker on Friday night at the First Annual Spring Fly-In Dinner, and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more.

Nearly 100 Bonanzas—including mine—flew in to attend three days of events that included safety and maintenance seminars, tours of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, social events, and plenty of hangar flying.

A high percentage of Bonanza Society members are also AOPA members, and I was delighted to see how engaged and informed this audience was about the issues that affect our flying, including NextGen, FAA funding, avgas, and the need to grow the pilot population. They had some great questions to ask and some wonderful stories to share about their own flying experiences.

Spending time with pilots who care so much about general aviation and their airplanes was invigorating for me. If you own a plane, regardless of the make and model you choose, I encourage you to consider taking part in a type club. It’s a great way to get to know your airplane better, enhance your safety, and Rally GA! Not to mention that it’s a whole lot of fun, too.