Your connection with the sky

Joining a Flying Club

When you want to learn to fly, one of the options that you can look at is to join a flying club. Most aviators get a good headstart when they decide to join a flying club.

Now, what is a flying club? It is an organization that is dedicated to bringing aviation home to those that would might want to learn to fly or rent an aircraft but the cost of doing such are a bit out of reach. Specifically, it provides a source of aircraft ownership. It helps ease your concerns by simply providing a pool of aircraft that can be readily rented out and thus eliminating the need for you to search for aircraft that you could rent for your flying lessons. Some flying clubs can also be specialized and cater to aviators that are interested in restored or vintage aircraft.

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What Does It Take to Join a Flying Club?

To sign up for a club, you typically have to pay a monthly due. Now depending on the type of club, this monthly due answers different expenses related to the club. In most flying clubs also you must purchase a "share" of the aircraft. This again depends on the type of club mentioned below.

One type of club that you could join is the equity club. As its name suggests, your membership equals to you buying a equity in the club. That is, a part ownership of each aircraft in the inventory of the club. Equity clubs are generally more expensive because the dues that you will pay will be used to pay for expenses such as aircraft insurance, and maintenance. You also would have to rent the aircraft hourly when you want to use one of them.
A non-equity club, on the other hand, is a less expensive alternative to equity clubs, since members are not buying part-ownership of the aircraft. The fees or dues they charge monthly are generally lower than that of equity clubs, and are also used to help cover the fixed costs of the aircraft. Just like the equity club, you also have to pay an hourly rate for renting the aircraft for your flight lessons.

Choosing a Flying Club

Selection of a flying club would depend on your financial capability and your dedication to the hobby. If your hoping to own part of the airplane then an equity club is the route for you to go. Otherwise, it would be good to join a non-equity club as it is easier on one’s pockets.

You might also want to consider the size of the club when you are looking at your options. Irregardless of their being an equity or a non-equity club, the more members there is, the lower the fees as the number of members can help answer for the costs of the club’s aircraft. However to the flip side you have less aircraft availability.

9 Responses to “Joining a Flying Club”

  1. I would disagree that equity clubs are more expensive than non-equity clubs. Most equity clubs are actually owned by the members, so no one is trying to make a profit on the club operations.

    In fact, most non-equity clubs aren't flying clubs at all. They are either for-profit FBOs or flight training operations that call themselves flying clubs. They often pay employees to manage the club, while true equity clubs are managed by volunteer members.

    Granted, the up-front expense of joining an equity club is high. But you should expect much lower per-hour rates that will pay off for frequent fliers. For example, in my club we charge about $20-$30/hour (excluding fuel) for our single engine aircraft plus $180/month for dues.

    What equity clubs require is commitment. They don't pay unless you join, fly, and hang around. So choose wisely, just as you would choose an airplane partner.

    Another thing: we equity club members typically take great care of our airplanes. After all, they're ours, and will remain ours for years.

    If you don't fly much, perhaps an equity club is not for you. You're better off renting. But for those of us who fly 70-100 or more hours/year, equity clubs are the cheapest way to fly.

    Paul

  2. You can buy into our group for $10,000 (five partners) and get to fly a Cardinal w/a new 430W and Stec 20 autopilot, freshly repainted. In addition to the buy-in, it will cost you $100/month and $70/hr. wet, tach time. You can't beat that deal with a stick.

  3. There is an alternative to paying a rediculous amount just to "buy in", and that really is a non-equity club. The club is called the Westosha Flying Club in Wilmot Wisconsin. The board is made up of volunteers, but some of the members draw a salary to compensate them for the amount of time they spend working for the club. Last time I was a member it was 300 dollars to join, a monthly fee of less than 100 dollars, AND you could rent a 172sp for 78 an hour WET! They had 2 172sp, 2 172 p, 2 150. And while you didnt drop 10K just to say you owned them, you were part owner of the aircraft, if you left the club, you were not part owner anymore. Thus you were covered under their insurance as a named pilot, and didnt need to worry about renter insurance. It was a great group of guys, at a great lil airport, and I would still be a member now if I didnt move to florida. It is a great idea, that anyone can follow. Ownership without paying 10k upfront, not-for-profit while paying some of the members draw a modest salary for their work, Very cheap rental rates, and a great airport. http://www.directwfc.com check it out!

  4. I'm in a club in western Maryland and love it. $100 to join and $30 a month membership fees. We have two 172's at $65 and hour wet and archer $75 and hour wet. All the aircraft are hangared and the membership takes good care of the planes. As a low time pilot this is a great way for to me to fly and do it at a reasonable cost. Maybe one day I can talk the wife into getting our own plane.

  5. Would like to find a club to join, edition, nj area, now flying out of n51. It is a 50 min drive each way, and the few planes that they have are always taken by the school.

  6. Delaware Valley Aviation has been based at Northeast Philadelphia Aiport (KPNE) since 1954. We have two excellent planes: a Piper Archer III with a brand-new leather interior, and a Piper Lance (six seats, retractable gear). Both planes are hangared and have WAAS-enabled GPS, among many other fine features. Safe and inexpensive flying are our goals. Check us out at http://phillyflyingclub.com !

  7. Anyone know of a club I can join/inquire about in S. Florida Miami area?

  8. Robert Gaynor Says:
    July 30th, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I am looking to start a non-equity club in Boca Raton, FL. I will be buying a plane very soon (as soon as I find the right one). It will be a Piper Archer or Cherokee. I will be only taking on two possibly three members and will be very particular of who I accept since the plane will be mine. I won't be trying to turn a profit, just be able to afford a hanger instead of tie down and offset some of my costs. Still working through the details.

  9. Robert, did you ever end up starting the club in Boca? I would be interested in joining.

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