As 2018 draws to a close, the Club Connector staff would like to wish all of our readers happy holidays. In the spirit of the season, this issue will focus on giving—specifically, on how experienced aviators within a flying club can give back to their clubs and communities by passing their knowledge and enthusiasm on to a new generation of pilots.
The theme of mentorship can be found woven throughout this month’s articles, as we explore different forms that it can take within flying clubs. Mentorship plays an integral role in the Clearview Flying Club—a club where the passion exuded by its founder and president extends to affect all of its members. The club—which is detailed in our Club Spotlight—has developed in a few short years to become a positive force not only for its membership but the entire airport community. In a special guest article, Clearview Flying Club vice president Dave Berry provides an Event Spotlight that recounts an unanticipated event that occurred on a Thanksgiving trip and served to highlight the camaraderie that exists within his club.
Often times, the concept of mentorship seems simple—to the point where in many flying clubs it emerges organically as experienced pilots share insight informally with less experienced aviators. Some clubs, however, actively work to foster the kind of education that mentoring can provide by formalizing processes within their clubs, and encouraging their members to share knowledge with one another. The question sometimes arises: what can a club do to better inspire mentorship—both formally and informally? This question is addressed in our Question of the Month, as Flying Clubs Initiative Director Steve Bateman discusses some of ways that this camaraderie can be built.
Any flying club’s culture is the sum of its members’ actions—a concept that serves as the basis for our Safety article. This month, we address the individual behaviors that are important for all flying club members to adopt to ensure that they are fully invested in their club’s procedures—particularly those that are related to the safety of its members.
Whether you are in a flying club that already actively practices mentorship or are looking to stimulate more discussion and information sharing among your members, this is an issue for you!
Flying Clubs Workshop Goes On the Road
As you might recall reading in our August Event Spotlight, AOPA's Flying Clubs Initiative hosted a Flying Club Workshop over the summer at AOPA Headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. The event, which included open discussions among club members and sessions on flying club best practices in areas such as club management and community outreach, attracted 22 participants from nine different clubs in the Mid-Atlantic region. It was the first event of its type, and its success led the Flying Clubs Initiative to create a Flying Club Workshop model that could be taken on the road. On Saturday, December 1, Flying Clubs Initiative Director Steve Bateman and Manager Michael Hangartner worked with Texas Ambassador Pat Brown to present the first Workshop in this new format at Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport (CXO) in Houston, TX.
20 flying club members from a handful of Houston-area clubs attended the Flying Club Workshop, and discussions throughout the day addressed topics that included budgeting, club management tools, and social media tips. Michael Hangartner noted that there are several benefits to the workshops: "they allow us to talk to clubs about some of the things we've learned over time in the Flying Clubs Initiative, and also give us an opportunity to listen and better understand some of the issues that clubs are currently facing. Also, they provide a great forum for flying clubs to share their experiences with each other." Additional club workshops in other areas across the U.S. are currently being planned, so stay tuned for updates if you think that you or fellow members of your club might be interested in attending one!
A Gift to Aviation
As we enter the Christmas season, we in the Flying Clubs Initiative would like to highlight the importance of the AOPA Foundation—AOPA’s philanthropic arm—in everything we do. Like all You Can Fly and Air Safety Institute programs, the Flying Clubs Initiative is funded not by membership dues, but through the generosity of donors. It is donations that fuel our efforts to grow and promote general aviation, and by making a gift this season you could play a role in strengthening the community of pilots today and for generations to come.Thank you, and have a very happy holiday!