Question of the Month

Given the cost differences, what would your club choose a 172 or 182?

The Pittsburgh Flying Club in Pennsylvania is looking to get a new aircraft that will carry the club forward for at least 10 to 15 years. Frank Beresnyak asked for help on the AOPA Facebook Flying Club page. He wrote, “Our current club economics are as follows: $109/hr wet and $79 dues. If we moved to a newer 172: $109/hr wet and $130-$140 dues (got to pay the note) If we moved to a newer 182 : $140/wet and $140 $150 dues. If given the choice between the 172 and 182, which would you choose? Would an increase in dues cause you to go elsewhere to rent/fly?”

Kelby Ferwerda‪ Personally, I would ask what the primary goal of the club is. If you’re pursuing flight training, the 172 is a great platform. If you want to go somewhere, the 182 is the better bet!

‪Bob Buchner‪ Assuming this is a non-equity club, if dues are going to jump to buy a newer plane for the club, I do think many folks would look at and consider alternatives where they might get a better value, ie a club not burdened by such debt, or possibly checking into local FBO rental rates. You might consider having a few members lease a plane back to the club which would help change the financial dynamics, in that way those who are paying for the plane are gaining equity.

‪Marc Epner‪ I agree with Kelby. If the mission is to train primary students then go with the 172. If the mission is to go places and carry more people, the 182 makes a lot of sense. Regarding the members inclination to move to another club, it would depend on why they joined the club. If they still see value, they probably won't leave

Bob Pring‪ Frank, we faced some of the same questions you pose in our club. We surveyed the membership to understand what type of plane they might want and what they were willing to pay in dues and hourly rates. Once you have this data in hand, it's much easier to decide the best way forward.

‪Marc Epner‪ We used a survey very effectively. Only two questions need to be asked. One, what airplane would you like and two, how many hours will you fly it. You could ask a third, what would you pay for it. We found that you should divide the number of hours by 2 to get an accurate estimate.

‪Harvey Greenberg‪ The going-places question is key. The Penn Yan Flying Club, Inc. had several going-places airplanes over the years. In my tenure, we replaced a Piper Arrow with a Cirrus SR20. The problem was that while members went places years ago, you can count the number of cross-country trips these days on not very many hands. Maybe one.

Bob Diorio‪ if you accept members with a recreational license, you need the 172.

Lucas Schuster‪ We just purchased a different 172 and plan on selling the first. A loan has been acquired and financially things will be the same for members. Annual dues of $250 and $75/hr wet. Plus the fly in breakfast brings in a decent [amount]. With 19 members we are relying on selling to maintain current fee structure. I’m probably not answering your question very well but I hope sharing our experience helps.

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