How far would you drive to join a good flying club?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Fly-Fla, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Fly-Fla

    Fly-Fla Pre-Flight

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    A flying club I am interested in has an opening but it's over an hour drive from the house. I can rent for more money at my local airport 25 minutes away. So I'm trying decide if the drive is worth some savings. I thought I saw a thread on how far everyone drives to their plane but I can't find it. So does anyone drive over an hour each way?
     
  2. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Cleared for Takeoff

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    I do... it's not by choice though. i have 3 airports i can drive to... each is roughly an hour away, it's not so bad you get used to it. unless the planes are ridiculously expensive or dangerous i would take the shorter drive
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  3. MSPAviator

    MSPAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    30 minutes, one-way is about the limit for me. I hate driving.

    Whether or not an hour away is worth it for you depends on the nature of your flights. If you're going to be driving 2 hours roundtrip to log 1 hour of flight time, that is not worth it in my book unless the airplane is really cheap. If you're going to be in the club to have a plane to take out on multiday trips, then maybe it could be worth it, if you utilize the plane enough to justify paying the fixed costs associated with it. Maybe.
     
  4. Fly-Fla

    Fly-Fla Pre-Flight

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    I only have twenty hours towards my PPL so at this point it's all training. Long term the club has a 182 which I have my eyes on for cross country flights. It seems the planes in this club are not too busy and I could check them out for cross country flights much easier than the flight school planes.
     
  5. jhausch

    jhausch Cleared for Takeoff

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    Flyingcheesehead, please pick up the white courtesy phone.....




    (I think his commute to his club is about 80 min....)


    -Jim
     
  6. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If I was keeping a plane that only sees occasional traveling service so you can keep it at a base with your favorite mechanic, an hour or so would be ok. If you want to fly a lot and/or are learning, that will seriously diminish your going flying.
     
  7. livitup

    livitup Pre-takeoff checklist

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    PPL training is probably the worst time that you could be facing a 1 hour commute to the plane. You want it to be close so that you are motivated to go get an hour of practice in, whenever you have a spare hour. Especially if you're post-solo, you want to be able to jump in the plane and do anfew laps whenever the bug bites, And if your anything like me, it's a lot easier to find a spare hour, than a spare 3 hours.

    After you get your certificate, as others have mentioned, the longer commute might not be a problem, especially if the club is cool about taking the plane on overnight trips (this can get really expensive with school/FBO rentals).

    The elephant in the room, is if the opportunity to join the club might be gone by the time you finish your PPL. If you think there is a risk of that, then it might be worth joining the club now, and expecting not to use it until you finish training.
     
  8. ajstoner21

    ajstoner21 Cleared for Takeoff

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    When I was doing my private pilots license, I was training at an airport roughly 1 1/2 hours away. It took a significant amount of time for each lesson (3 hours driving, 1 hour ground stuff, 1 or 2 hours flight, 6 total ish?).

    I didn't mind it though.
     
  9. Mike5250

    Mike5250 Line Up and Wait

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    I would look around at the airport you train at for partnerships/clubs. I got checked out at an airport about an hour away and have only flown there 4 times in the past 18months... Too far of a drive to make it worth flying the plane I like more when there are other options.

    For training you will be driving atleast twice a week and that drive will add up quick. What are the savings/ advantages?
     
  10. gkaiser

    gkaiser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My drive is about 45 minutes each way but good prices. $55 mo dues, $70 for 152, $85 172p and $95 172sp. All wet. Also reimburse upto 5.50/gal
     
  11. MSPAviator

    MSPAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    It would cost you around $40 to just to drive out there, not to mention two hours of your time.

    So if you fly the 172P for three hours in a month, your effective rate is $103.33. + driving expenses....

    It wouldn't be worth it to me. The 172s are an OK deal, the 152 is a tad on the expensive side.
     
  12. marcoseddi

    marcoseddi Cleared for Takeoff

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    Will you have to switch CFI?
     
  13. flyingmoose

    flyingmoose Pattern Altitude

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    Depends on how bad I wanted to be apart of "That" club. What equipment they had, who the members were etc.....
     
  14. Fly-Fla

    Fly-Fla Pre-Flight

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    There is no club at my local airport and all the partnerships i've heard about are for either training planes which won't carry the family for cross country trips or are complex/high performance planes a little advanced for me at this point. This club does $175 month dues and $25 dry for the 172 and $50 dry for the 182. I pay $150 wet for the 172S I've flying so far. They only let in 15 people at a time so it is unknown when the next opening would occur if I miss this one. I would have to switch CFI's, the club has to approve the CFI's and then only up to two(which they already have). That might not be a loss though since my CFI has been going out on interviews lately and might not be around long.
     
  15. marcoseddi

    marcoseddi Cleared for Takeoff

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    Seems a lot for monthly dues
     
  16. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yeah I did it similarly, you get used to it and just hang out at the airport more when you are down there.

    Those are ridiculously high monthly dues! I pay 25/mo for similarly priced planes, actually cheaper planes... when I'm not flying the Citabria of course.
     
  17. Fly-Fla

    Fly-Fla Pre-Flight

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    Several have mentioned the monthly seems high. I've looked up as many clubs as I could find online and it does seem higher than most. Of course most of those have a much higher number of members which I imagine could affect availability. Has anyone found a good ratio of members per plane. This club has a 172 and a 182 shared between fifteen members.
     
  18. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    As others said, get your license close to home then consider the club if their XC policies work for you. 15 members and two airplanes seems fine, unless the stuff is always broken or they have some inane rules that keeps most everyone in the 172.
     
  19. Fly-Fla

    Fly-Fla Pre-Flight

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    The rule for the 182 is 5 hours in type if you have 100 total hours or more and 10 hours if you have less. The club pays to cover everyone with insurance and evidently this is a rule in place by their policy. I have no idea if that's a normal requirement or not.
     
  20. ClimbnSink

    ClimbnSink Ejection Handle Pulled

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    That is reasonable. See what the XC overnight rules are compared to renting, that is the next deal breaker.
     
  21. Fly-Fla

    Fly-Fla Pre-Flight

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    The By Laws says the club may charge a minimum of 2 hours per day for cross country flights. Insurance covers flights to the bahamas which is allowed with approval of the board. i guess the curent president goes to the Bahamas every year for a week. Since it says may, I'm not sure if the 2 hours per day is enforced or not. No other restrictions I know of except it must be scheduled on the club calendar.
     
  22. JB1842

    JB1842 En-Route

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    Aren't you at the club in Westosha? I looked into them, but too far of a drive from Milwaukee.
     
  23. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Problem in South East FL if that's where you are, the complete dearth of flying clubs and good planes for rent, especially if you want to go to the Bahamas. Used to be if someone broke down in the Bahamas you could send your mechanic with parts to fix it, a couple of years ago the Bahamians changed up the rules and now you have to use local talent and supplies which gets awfully expensive.
     
  24. jpower

    jpower Cleared for Takeoff

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    I drive a minimum of an hour and 15 minutes each way to my airport by choice. I started there for the light sport stuff, but I stay there because of the fantastic instructors, fun planes, lower rates, and amazing views. I fly out of Bay Bridge Airport on the Eastern Shore of MD, but I live in Northern VA. Crazy drive, and half of it is on the beltway. Blegh. DC drivers will know what I mean. But I keep doing it, so it must be worth it! :)
     
  25. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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    I am doing my helicopter add on at an airport 20 miles from home. I plan the trips around traffic loads so the ride takes me about 40 m. It is still about a 5 hour adventure for a lesson. After I get the add on, I will still rent from them as I prepare for a commercial.
    An hour isn't too bad depending on the drive.
    I am not sure I would fly more even if the plane was parked in my driveway.
     
  26. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This!

    My flying club is about an hour and a half away - I live just north of Milwaukee and the club is at KMSN. But, there are no local clubs as good as the one I'm in - Three airplanes (DA40, C182, PA28-181), limited to 30 members (currently at about 26 or 27).

    Most of my flying is longer trips, so the drive doesn't bother me. My parents live out that way too, so sometimes I'll go flying on the way out to visit them.

    I must admit, though, that having my uncle's plane in a hangar 15 minutes from home is much nicer!

    Really, you're the only one who can make the decision as to whether it's worthwhile. Do you have an extra two hours to carve out for driving on your lesson days? If not, do as others suggest and finish your training before joining the club.

    Also, I do not agree that $175/mo is too high for a club with two airplanes and 15 members. We pay $180/mo for three airplanes and 30 members (one of the airplanes, the DA40, is pretty new). But, the availability is phenomenal. What good is a $25/mo club with a gazillion members per plane when you don't get to fly whenever you want?

    That's *exactly* what the requirements are for our 182 as well.
     
  27. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan Pattern Altitude

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    I believe that this is a question that only YOU can answer. We all have varying values on the different variables in this equation. To one person, money might be the most important factor, while to someone else, time rules all.

    I drive 35 miles one way to the airport and I'm afraid I may be forced to move my plane to an airport 57 miles away. No one can make the decision except me.

    Best of luck with sorting all this out.

    BTW, I expect that the individuals involved in both of these organizations should be considered carefully.
     
  28. Frank

    Frank Pre-takeoff checklist

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    W29 is about a twelve minute drive for me, assuming no backup at the tolls. Do you know of a club there?
     
  29. jpower

    jpower Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't know of a club, but Chesapeake Sport Pilot has great rates on great planes. I have no affiliation (other than spending plenty of money there :)), but I highly suggest them. Of course, if you need more than two seats, you're out of luck with them.

    W29 is a great airport though. There's another flight school there, Trident, though CSP and Trident don't really like each other :). Seriously though, CSP is fantastic. If you don't (always) need more two seats, check them out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
  30. Frank

    Frank Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Helen will only let me fly if I lose about ten pounds. She is afraid I will break the seats. My girlfriend is taking lessons with CSP, though.

    I'll just fly out of Tipton.
     
  31. DebbieDriver

    DebbieDriver Filing Flight Plan

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    To the OP, and anyone else that might be in a similar situation, here is what I did...

    I started my training at KSNA (John Wayne/Santa Ana, CA), a busy Class C airport with two runways and lots of Boeings and Airbuses. It was 25 miles/35 minutes from my house, and 10 miles/15 minutes from work. I took about a 1/2 dozen lessons there and it just wasn't clicking with the instructor. I decided to change things.

    I took some time off (a couple of months) to reevaluate the situation and joined a club at KCRQ (Carlsbad, CA); Class D, single runway, 40 miles/ 50 minutes from home, 65 miles/80 minutes from work. I liked the instructor, the planes were 15 percent cheaper and usually more available. Less crowded airspace in the training area.

    I thought I was doing fine, but then at about 30 hours, I started having trouble. I hadn't soloed yet. More than just the usual "plateau" that most student pilots hit. My concentration was gone. I couldn't read back controller instructions. I was losing it. It came to a head when I was white-over-white for the umpteenth time on final. The instructor asked what I was going to do about it and I just froze. We ended up in an argument on short final when I said "your plane" and took my hands off the yoke. I was done. Frazzled. Fried. I didn't want to be in the cockpit. I didn't want to be at an airport.

    After a week to allow us both to cool off, my instructor called to check up on me. We reviewed what happened (apologies all around) and decided that after working a full day as a computer programmer, then jumping in a car and driving an hour and a half through Southern California traffic, I was too mentally drained to try to learn something as demanding as flying an airplane.

    It didn't happen all at once, like I said, I liked the instructor and LOVED flying. But the constant (3 times/week) trudge down Interstate 5... after a full day of work... was wearing on me, obviously.

    I took another few month break and rejoined the club at KSNA. I found a different instructor who made learning to fly fun again (thanks, Sheri!!). The higher price and limited availability were unnerving sometimes, but all in all, it was less stress than making my way down to Carlsbad 3 times each week.

    My advice is: Go learn where it is fun and convenient. The convenience factor cannot be underestimated, especially if it eliminates a stress point in your life (driving for extended periods in SoCal traffic, for instance). Plus, anything that makes it easier to get in the air is a good thing.:yes:

    After I got my PPL I rejoined the club at KCRQ because their availability was often better than locally at KSNA, but it was less stressful because I knew what it was going to take to get there, and it wasn't the 3rd time that week that I was making that drive. I was in both clubs, taking the best of both worlds.

    KSNA was closer, but was a pain to rent a plane for a weekend trip due to minimum hours (3hrs/day), but great for getting in an hour of practice to stay sharp and look at the world from a few thousand feet up :D

    KCRQ had a great policy for weekend trips (1 hr/day minimum) so that was where we went when we were headed out of town for a trip.:thumbsup:

    Weigh all your options and take an honest look at why you want to be in a particular club. You can always change your mind and try something different later.
     
  32. Michele

    Michele Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The airport closest to me turned out to have three problems I couldn't overcome. Too expensive, too many jets to wait behind at hold-short line and too dang noisy. I tried another airport about 45 minutes away, but their prices were high and the airport was in a geological bowl and could be difficult to get into and out of.

    I settled on a little quiet airport about 50 min from home. I now hanger there and love it. Also, it's a friendly place with a community atmosphere. The drive is a commitment, but the fuel is cheap, no commercial carriers, runways are nicely laid out. I like it. The only draw back is sometimes on arrival, I find the weather is completely different from what I thought and what's forecast. The other thing is that a two-hour round trip kind of prohibits those impromptu trips to just bop around the pattern that folks do who live 10 minutes away.

    But all in all, for me, it's about what I find at the airport more than the drive itself.
     
  33. masloki

    masloki Line Up and Wait

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    I agree that the $55 monthly is a tad high, but I haven't found any all in deals that are better. I figure I have to fly 2 hours to break even with the going rate at kpwk or kugn, and everything after that is savings comparatively. On top of that, the airplanes are well maintained, newer avionics, with clear N clean logbooks, and 100 hour inspections in an ownership club.
     
  34. Fly-Fla

    Fly-Fla Pre-Flight

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    Since we've revived this thread from January I thought I would give an update since I started this thread. I joined a club 70 miles from my house which takes me 1 hour each way to drive(mostly interstate travel). I had twenty-five hours or so at the time and had to switch instructors. My new instructor believed in training at least three days a week and I agreed. My previous twenty-five hours took me six months to get. My next thirty hours I did in six weeks and ended in my PPL. With the very low club rates I saved amost $3000 over what I was paying to rent for those hours. To be fair however the rental plane was newer with much better avionics, but it didn't fly as well as the club plane which was meticulously maintained. Just last week I finished my High Performance Endorsement and was checked-out to start flying our clubs 182. With this plane I can load the family up and fly cross countries quite easily, which was another big reason for the club. For me the drive hasn't slowed me down much, and the lower cost is helping me fly more hours each month and keep the wife from grumbling. I have now started my IFR training to just keep things going while it's all still fresh.
     
  35. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's great to hear! Keep it up! :)
     
  36. AdamZ

    AdamZ Administrator Management Council Member

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    You have to keep in mind however that you started out living much closer to this club didn't you? Its clearly a great club and I can understand why you would not want to leave it. But if you knew nothing of it and lived in Milwaukee would you seek it out? Also Keep in mind that I think that a 70 mile drive to folks who live in the mid and south west is a lot less of a big deal than to folks who live in the north east. I Know folks here in the North east and mid atlantic who will complain about a 25 minute drive to go shopping and friends who live in the midwest or west who thing a 3 hour drive to the mall is no big deal.

    Glad its working out for you. 70 miles for me would be a non starter. Almost makes owning or starting your own club look pretty good.
     
  37. jpower

    jpower Cleared for Takeoff

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    Isn't that how it is everywhere? :) Everywhere I've ever flown, at least.
     
  38. Giant81

    Giant81 Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm about an hour west of KMSN in Montfort, WI. I figured as I started to learn to fly I'd do it out of KMSN. I'm starting to think at $180/mo there is going to be no way I'm going to be able to afford to fly. That is about my entire budget for everything when I start taking lessons.

    Sadly i'm afraid flying is still a rich mans hobby. I may have to give up dreams of my PPL for a couple of years until I get some debt paid down and can shift around some money.
     
  39. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, maybe. We have other members from the Milwaukee area, and despite the relatively larger size of beer-town, we don't have any flying clubs that are anywhere near as nice. :(

    Good idea... You'll want to save up enough that you can fly at least twice a week. Also, the club dues are $180 if you don't fly, but $130 if you do, and the break-even point vs. renting is 3-4 hours per month. We also have nicer planes than you'll find on the rental line.