As the days get longer and the temperatures become warmer, the eyes of aviators everywhere turn to the sky. The first days of spring bring thoughts of travel and fun, and just might lead you to ponder the idea of finding some other pilots and forming a flying club. If you’ve ever thought about organizing your own club—a venture that brings with it nearly boundless possibilities—then this is the edition for you. We’ll examine different elements involved in starting a new club, and how you can navigate them as you go about forming the ideal group for you and your friends.
This month, our Club Spotlight looks at two separate clubs in Florida that are in the formation stage: the FlySRQ club that is being formed in Sarasota, and a club being created by Northrop Grumman employees in Melbourne. Interviews with both groups show the different paths that clubs in formation can take as they go through their planning phases, and the challenges they might encounter on their way to becoming operational. Also, if you are in the process of forming a club yourself (or thinking about doing so), the Event Spotlight focuses on different ways that clubs—particularly those in their nascent stages—can attract new members both within the aviation community and within the general public.
One question that we are frequently asked within the flying clubs initiative by those thinking of starting a club is the following: how do flying clubs differ from other forms of co-ownership, and what are some of the advantages of a club? Our response to this question, and a discussion about various forms of not-for-profit aircraft ownership, can be found in this month’s Question of the Month. Finally, flying clubs director Steve Bateman uses the Safety article to address how newly forming clubs can build a robust safety program that will benefit them for years to come.
If you have ever thought about starting a flying club, or have wondered about different steps within the process, then we hope you will find this issue both informative and motivating. While starting from scratch is not always easy, there are few things in aviation as rewarding as creating a new club and knowing that its lifespan that could extend decades into the future.
Come See Us at Sun ‘N Fun!
Sun ‘N Fun is fast approaching. The annual international fly-in and expo at Lakeland, FL, will take place April 2-7, and will kick off AOPA’s season of fly-in events. If you’re in a flying club, there will be exciting opportunities to interact both with other clubs and with the aviation community at large.
If you’re planning to attend, be sure to mark your calendar for the flying club social event on Friday, April 5. The event, which will take place in the AOPA area, will begin at 5:30 pm. Also, the Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President Mark Baker will take place on April 3 at 1:00 pm, and will feature an exciting reveal: the 100th flying club that the Flying Clubs Initiative has helped to form.
Sun ‘N Fun is a great way to meet AOPA staff in person, and several ambassadors from different regions—as well as flying clubs initiative director Steve Bateman—will be on hand. If you would like to meet up at some point during the fly-in, just let us know; we are always willing to talk about flying clubs. Hope to see you in Florida!
Changes to AOPA Flying Club Finder Benefit Forming and Existing Clubs
If your club promotes itself on AOPA's Flying Club Finder, there have been recent changes to the platform that you'll want to know about—changes that will put more control in the hands of your club than ever before. For the first time, a club administrator can make changes to a club’s page without submitting a request to AOPA HQ. For more information on how you, as a flying club administrator, can make these edits, please watch this instructional video. We hope that these new features will make it more convenient for clubs to maintain their pages (for example, adding additional details about a club aircraft) than it has been previously. Please note, for an administrator to make edits, they must be logged in to the AOPA Web site prior to viewing their club’s page.
Not sure who your club’s administrator is? To find this information out, or to request to become an administrator yourself, e-mail the Flying Clubs Network at [email protected].
An additional aspect of the Flying Club Finder that we'd like to highlight is that it doesn't just benefit operational clubs, but also those that are currently in formation. If you are in the process of starting a club and are looking to recruit additional members, fill out an online form to put your club on the map (literally). Many clubs in formation have found the finder an invaluable tool for growth in their earliest stages.