There are any number of reasons why a pilot would join a flight club; and the perks abound. Many clubs provide flight training, flight planning facilities, pilot supplies and associated services, in addition to social functions, fly-ins and fly-outs to other airports, and more! There are about 300 nonprofit flight clubs that operate in the United States, according to flying-club.org, with the largest club including almost 1,000 members and more than 60 planes! It is important to realize, however, that not all flight clubs are created equally. They run the gamut from fabulous to mediocre, so it’s worth doing some research.
Below, you will find three benefits you can enjoy by joining a well-established flight club, especially if you haven’t, yet, made the commitment to purchase your own plane. But whether you currently own a plane, or not, the types of advantages associated with flight-club membership range from just plain having fun, to convenience to money-saving opportunities.
Joining a Flight Club Has Monetary Advantages
If you are still in the learning stage of how to expertly pilot a plane, many flight clubs offer lessons, via certified instructors who are, often, members of the club. Lessons obtained in a flight club verses a flight school are normally less costly; and rental prices for planes can run a hefty 25% less than flight-school rental fees.
By pooling financial resources, flight clubs have the distinct advantage of reducing the cost of flying for student pilots as well as seasoned pro’s. And, via a flight club, one can “own” a number of planes without the exorbitant expense of single-party ownership.
Flight Clubs Allow for Continual Access to Aircraft
Each flight club will vary with its amenities, but most clubs own and rent small, general-aviation aircraft at affordable rates. One can expect to see popular aircraft such as the Cessna 152, the Cessna 172 and the Piper Cherokee. Not only that, but some clubs go above and beyond by offering vintage or aerobatic planes, helicopters and gliders.
Depending on the club, members might have the option to reserve an airplane for as long as 2 weeks at a time, with simultaneous reservations being an option. To make the whole reservation process ultra-efficient and cater to members as much as possible, some flight clubs offer reservation schedules to be made online. One-time/up-front fees and affordable monthly membership dues provide access to the club’s fleet of aircraft, at all times.
Flight Clubs Offer a Sense of Camaraderie
Well-organized flight clubs will see to it that social activities are offered on a regular basis. With a built-in support network and social events such as dinners, club picnics, flying events and more, a sense of community and camaraderie are established between like-minded individuals. Some clubs provide monthly breakfasts where attendees can shoot the breeze about flying and connect, even more, on a friendship level as well as on a professional level. This type of cohesiveness creates a feeling of belonging to an intimate fraternity, of sorts.
Pilots have continual opportunities to fly with some great people and build life-long friendships. A well-run flying club is a community, in its own right; and since most flight clubs are non-profit, their main goal is to get pilots flying and keep them flying. Flight clubs make flying more social, which can be a lot more fun.
Flight clubs remain one of the best ways to save money while you fly, enjoy generous access to a variety of aircraft and spend quality time with friends and family!