News From HQ: Things Are Changing In The Flying Clubs Team; Sizing Up Your Club

It’s fall, so things change…

The big news this month is that Drew is leaving AOPA after four years of exemplary service as Manager of the Flying Clubs Initiative.  Drew has taken the job of Assistant Airport Manager at College Park airport, Maryland (KCGS).  As many of you may know, KCGS is where Drew’s club, the Free State Flying Club, is based, so he is no stranger to the airport and its surroundings.  This is a really great fit and opportunity for Drew and I’m sure you will all join me in wishing him all the very best in his new career in airport management. 

I’m going to miss him like crazy as we have become good mates as well as close colleagues—good luck my friend…onward and upward!

If you have been working with Drew on forming a club or other club matters, please feel free to send me (Steve) an email, and I’ll pick up from where Drew left off.

This Month’s Club Connector Theme:  Big Clubs

The number of members and aircraft in your flying club is determined by several factors.  Like many things in aviation, the size of your club is a balancing act.  Be sure to read our Question of the Month to learn about the pros and cons of clubs with lots of members, and Steve’s none-to-subtle opinions about big flying clubs.  In Club Spotlight, we visit with some bigger clubs to learn about their secrets to success.   Finally, be sure to read the October Safety Section to learn about the importance of respecting the Aviation Medical System.  As Steve says: “Gaming the system can only end in tears—whose will they be…yours or your loved ones?”.

Check Out Flying Clubs Radio!

Steve and Drew hit the studio again and recorded several new editions Flying Clubs Radio.

Drew talks about “Schedule Schemes” and the very contentious topic of “Flight Training in Flying Clubs” —then Steve goes well off the rails in “Insurance—Revisited”. Take a listen to Flying Clubs Radio!

Did You Have a Flight Training Experience This year?

The AOPA Flight Training Experience Survey is open! If you had any type of training from a CFI or flight school in the past year, we want to hear about it. You have until October 31st to make your voice matters! Learn more.

Scholarship Applications Are Open!

The AOPA Foundation Scholarship Program offers many types of aviation scholarships for those passionate about aviation. From earning a primary certificate to career advancement to gaining additional ratings, we have scholarships to support nearly all aviation aspirations.


A Sweet Deal on Some New Tech!

Get a jump start on your holiday shopping this year with the new GDL 52 Portable SiriusXM/ADS-B Receiver. For a limited time, you can get a $300 rebate when you order with an aviation weather subscription.


Treasurers—Please Read This:

Some of you may have heard about the new “FinCEN’s Beneficial Ownership Information Rule (BOI)”, that came into being in September 2022.  The rule essentially requires all corporations, LLCs and other legal entities to file a (new) report containing “Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI)” to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Agency (part of the department of the Treasury). 

So…all you club treasurers are now wondering…does this apply to my flying club?  Well, yes, it might.

I will provide a link to the Final Rule a bit later, but to save you the hassle of ploughing through 99-pages of shear reading pleasure, this is how we believe flying clubs may be impacted:

  1. Clubs formed as LLCs.  Reporting will be required.
  2. Clubs formed as corporations (non-profit or otherwise).  Reporting will be required.
  3. Clubs formed as non-profit corporations AND have received a letter of determination from the IRS granting tax exemption under 501(c)(7).  Reporting will not be required.

Given point number 3 above—that non-profit flying clubs holding formal 510(c)(7) exemption will not be required to provide the BOI report—then this is yet another reason why all flying clubs should form as non-profit entities and not as LLCs…and don’t let anyone try to tell you differently!

Note that we are talking about clubs that have filed IRS Form 1024 and have received a letter of determination approving the tax-exempt status.  Now, we have heard that some clubs are filing Form 990 (rather than Form 1120) to “self-declare” that they are operating under the rules of 501(c)(7), rather than formally applying using Form 1024, so avoiding paying the $600 one time filing fee.  Not only is this risky practice (always get approval letters from the IRS), but this now will not relieve such clubs from the new filing requirements.

To date, there are not many details about the actual reporting methods or forms, but there is a newwebsite, which treasurers should check every now and then, but especially at the end of the year.  We will let you know when we know more.  Please do not email the flying clubs team or AOPA legal about this.  We simply do not have any more details.

For some more background, seeIan Arendt’s original article here, that contains a link to the actual ruling.  Hot off the press—Ian’s latest article “Unanswered Questions” is in the November 2023 edition of AOPA Pilot magazine, page 24. 

Stephen Bateman
Contributor, You Can Fly Program
Steve retired from AOPA in April 2024, but continues to contribute to You Can Fly programs. Contact Steve at [email protected]

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