This month’s edition of Club Connector is packed with lot’s of good news! We are so happy to announce our 150th new flying club-Bald Eagle Aviation Club. Check out the Club Spotlight to learn about how they got started. We also touched base with our 100th flying club, The Midway Flying Club. Read on to see how they are doing these days.
AOPA Announces Events Strategy for 2021
A big monkey wrench was thrown into 2020, altering almost every aspect of our lives. At AOPA, we especially felt the sting through the postponement of our popular fly-ins. Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe what we felt in not being able to meet thousands of our members at one of our true highlights of the year. Click Here to read the full article.
AOPA Foundation Announces Strong Donor Support During Pandemic
As the nation’s economy recovers from this devastating pandemic, our foundation’s donors understand the importance of continuing support for aviation. The Ray Foundation once agreed to match up to $2.5 million in donations in support of the AOPA Foundation and its initiatives during the 2020 You Can Fly Challenge. In response to this challenge, over 4,400 donors contributed $2.7 million to show their support for this important initiative. We in the Flying Club’s Team are so grateful for this outstanding support. Click Here to read more.
More Pilots are Knocking the Rust off with the Rusty Pilots Program
The Rusty Pilots Program has helped more that 8800 lapsed pilots make their way to the skies once again since its inception in 2014. These presentations are typically done in person, but program manager Donnie Mackay worked diligently to find a way to deliver the presentation remotely. It wasn’t easy at first, but after working some glitches out, the Rusty Pilots program continues to help pilots regain proficiency. Click Here to learn more about the program.
100th Club Going Strong
The Midway Flying Club is located it Midlothian, Texas. It also happens to be the 100th flying club that AOPA helped to form (see April 2019 Club Spotlight). Founded in 2018 by Thierry Saint Loup, Bryan Jakubik, and Allen Story, the club has grown to 10 members with a waiting list of others interested in joining. At present, they fly a beautiful IFR-certified, ADS-B compliant, Cessna 177B Cardinal.
AOPA’s Texas You-Can-Fly Ambassador Pat Brown recently talked with Thierry and Bryan and asked them what they’re doing to keep the club financially healthy and growing during these challenging times.
According to Bryan, they have experienced an uptick in interest and an increase in membership during the pandemic. He said that while some members have had to curtail their flying because they have been too busy at work, others have become even more active. He said one member who was recently laid off, decided, with the support of his wife, to accelerate his flying and earn the advanced ratings/certificates he’s going to need to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional pilot.
Bryan also said they’ve taken their monthly safety meetings on-line via WebEX, and have enjoyed enthusiastic membership participation. In fact, Bryan recently presented AOPA’s VFR Cross Country Challenge safety seminar. And, because the response was so favorable, he’ll be presenting the IFR version of that seminar in an upcoming online meeting. Clubs may click here if they’re interested in using AOPA safety materials. Those materials are free!
When asked how they promote the club, Thierry mentioned their web site, their Facebook page, and lots of flyers distributed to area airports. He also mentioned AOPA’s Flying Club Finder has been of help.
He noted that most of the clubs in the Dallas area are full, adding that pilots don’t mind the one-hour drive to Mid-Way Airport and availability is usually not an issue. Word of mouth has driven additional interest as well.
The club was founded as a 501(c)7 social organization and is tax exempt. As a part of their dues structure, members receive one ‘free’ hour of flying per month. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it policy. Thierry said that even though the club actively encourages members to take advantage of this, there are some that don’t. The result, of course, is essentially a $120 ‘donation’ to the club, which benefits their bottom line.
As for the future, both Thierry and Bryan see it as bright. Because of growing interest, they’re anticipating the need for a second airplane at some point soon. In addition, one of their members is the manager of the Mid-Way Airport. Together, he and club are looking for ways they can work together to build a more vibrant aviation community in the area. Both feel the opportunity is there and are enthusiastic about the possibilities.