Join club or rent

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Etherscreen, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. Etherscreen

    Etherscreen Filing Flight Plan

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    I started taking flying lessons again and I am a few hours in. I’m currently renting from an airport very close to my house and a 172 runs for $168 an hour wet.

    There’s a flying club 20 minutes away at a different airport that charges $2000 to join and then it is $60 dry. I figure 7 gallons per hour so about $90 per hour wet. They also have several different airplanes in their club including a debonair, 182, and Archer.

    If my math is correct 25 hours is the break even point after joining the club compared to renting a 172. Being a rusty pilot I can see using up all of this 25 hours just in becoming current.

    I initially got my private pilots license by just renting but was curious if anyone had any good experiences from clubs and any of the pitfalls or downsides.
     
  2. smv

    smv Cleared for Takeoff

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    Is the $2000 returnable or can you sell your "share" when you leave the club or does it simply vanish into the abyss?
     
  3. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    In addition to the $2000 being recoverable,
    • Any monthly dues?
    • If you took the plane for a multi-day trip, is there any minimum daily charge (frequently stated as 1 or 2 hours?)
    • What are the insurance requirements you must meet?
    • How well maintained are the airplanes? How well is maintenance needs managed?
    • How available are the airplanes? Is there lots of competition for desirable times slots such as weekends, holidays, and major aviation events?
    • Who owns the airplanes? The club? Or are they dry leased from others?
    • How good are the clubs financials? Can they afford to replace an engine if that was needed tomorrow?
    Clubs and co-owner groups can be a good arrangement. Just do some reasonable due diligence before hitching your cart to their wagon train
     
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  4. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Figure 10 gallons per hour to be more realistic. Still, $168hr is steep for a 172. I’d gather some more info on the club and probably lean that direction.
     
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  5. Jim K

    Jim K Line Up and Wait

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    I have no experience renting; no rentals available at my local airport. I joined a club and did all my training in the club plane. The thing I didn't expect was that in addition to access to the airplanes, I also got a support group who helped me find a cfi, and answered questions along the way. I don't have any family or friends who fly, so having people to ask questions of has been valuable. I also sit in on all the meetings, and it has been educational with regards to airplane ownership.... what things cost and what kind of expenses pop up. It's been a wonderful experience, and I'm hoping that when I eventually buy an airplane, I can lease it to the club and remain a member.

    As @AggieMike88 said, I'm sure it depends on the club members and culture. Our club puts emphasis on encouraging more people to get into aviation and making training affordable, as well as encouraging people to fly regularly and take trips. Our planes are well maintained, but we also keep costs minimal by not spending lots of money on glass panels or new paint.

    Most clubs I've looked at have some scheme to refund your initial fee. Ours is pro rated over 5 years and 100% refundable after that. Another local club has a much higher buy in ($10,000), but it's like stock in that you can sell it to someone else at any time. If you can't find a buyer, they will buy you out at 75%
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  6. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    That's what the group I belong to does.

    It is extremely rare that there is a club owned share. So exiting members sell their equity share to the approved incoming. Price is negotiated between those two.
     
  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One advantage of clubs is that the members tend to treat the airplanes mor like they are their own than renters do. Not universal of course.
     
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  8. Etherscreen

    Etherscreen Filing Flight Plan

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    $2000 is non refundable. I’m not sure you can sell it.
     
  9. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Who was it that said, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"?
    Don't look it up, it was Groucho Marx.

    There is plenty of information about the different types of clubs and the pros and cons of each on this forum.

    Your deal could be perfect for you. Or not. So sayeth SGOTI.
     
  10. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Besides this money providing access to the aircraft, is there anything else it gets? Maybe some credit toward rental?

    For me, this amount and arrangement would give me pause. For comparison, I know a local non-equity flying club that charges a "admission fee" of $250, has several nice aircraft with reasonable dry rates, and a very affordable monthly dues amount.

    Does this club charge monthly dues? If so, how much?
     
  11. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    @Etherscreen .... Before joining any flying club, ask for and review any by-laws and other documents that describe how the club is organized and run.

    Make sure there aren't any items that later might attach you to another object by an incline plane wrapped helically around an axis.
     
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  12. Etherscreen

    Etherscreen Filing Flight Plan

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    The monthly dues are $95. I took a closer look at the airplanes that are offered and interestingly several of them are 1980 aircraft. Not sure what it was about that year or just coincidence . The Cessna 172 that I’m currently renting is a 2011 G 1000.
     
  13. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you join the club ,do you get any equity in the airplane? Clubs that are well run with agreeable members is usually the way to go.
     
  14. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    @Etherscreen .... Besides the $2000.00 providing access to the aircraft, is there anything else it gets? Maybe some credit toward rental?

    That's a lot of simoleans to never see again.
     
  15. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Sometimes getting everyone to agree is be the "fun" part.

    Can be like that old EDS Super Bowl Commercial

    "...holding together 10,000 wild shorthairs, that's another thing all together..."
     
  16. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm a big fan of flying clubs and I was a member of one for 14 years, and on the board of directors for all but a few months of that time, serving as every position except Secretary at one point or another.

    If done right, a flying club can be an excellent experience and can be the cheapest way to fly since nobody needs to make a profit and you're splitting fixed costs many ways. Of course, not all flying clubs are well run, but you should be able to get an idea of whether it's for you by asking the right questions.

    Subjects you want to cover:
    * How does scheduling work, and how available are the aircraft. Ask to see the actual schedule for the next month or two.
    * How do you get into the club, how do you leave the club, and what money changes hands at both points
    * How much are the monthly dues and what are they used for
    * How much are the hourly rates and what are they used for
    * Are there reserves for engine overhauls? Are there reserves for anything else?
    * If it's an equity club, what does the balance sheet look like?
    * What are the club's operational rules? Do they just expect you to obey the FARs, or do you have to meet additional requirements? Are there restrictions on how you can use the airplanes (ie no trips more than a certain number of days, no grass fields, etc)?
    * What are the minimum requirements and checkout requirements for each aircraft type? Can you use your own instructor, or must you use a club-specified instructor?
    * How is maintenance handled? Who do you send squawks to, who fixes the squawks, how do you find out the aircraft's current maintenance status and recently closed squawks?

    Any board member of a well-run club should have quick answers to all of the above, though they may not show you detailed financials right off the bat. You may be able to get them from the person you're buying your share from if it's an equity club. The details aren't necessarily important, you just want to be sure they have a good grasp on their current financial position and a good plan for major expenses, there's a process in place for dealing with scheduled maintenance and squawks, and that you're comfortable with the value they provide for the aircraft and service they provide.

    Being in a club made me a better pilot, period. It gave me the opportunity to fly some types that are hard to find for rent, it gave me the opportunity to get "out of the nest" and go on long trips and have lots of fun as well as excellent learning experiences, and it gave me the opportunity (via volunteering for the board) to learn about aircraft ownership without being subjected to the sometimes painful costs involved with it. I did eventually leave the club because now I own half an airplane, but I never would have made it to this point for the amount of money I spent on it without the club.
     
  17. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Some very sound advice here on clubs so I won't repeat but I will say there is an intangible. Every club has a personality. I'm a member of two.

    One very large (IMO) 70+ members and five planes. It's great, all volunteer run and the planes are maintained superbly (by an A&P shop) gripes do not linger and well equipped but pilots are not known for being shy to speak up about how things ought to be (asked to or not) . I'm on the board and it's a commitment that takes some recognizable time every month but most months about 10 hours. Lots of DC/VA/MD professionals and the personality types and oversight than comes with it.

    The other club is 12 guys and an Archer and it's a much more laid back and "blue collar" club. The officers are officers as they didn't get the "not it" out before anyone else but they do a great job. The plane is well maintained and equipped and we do a lot of the maintenance ourselves.

    I really enjoy both but they are different and both a FAR better than renting.
     
  18. GaryM

    GaryM Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There is already a lot of good advice in this thread, so I'll only expand on this point. Asking to see the schedule is a great idea (as is looking back over the last few months, or to last summer, if one is looking in winter in a climate where folks are flying less). Even better, ask if they have a guest login. My club has a read-only account on our scheduling software, and prospective members are given the login information so they can look over past and future scheduling at their leisure.
     
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  19. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    In summary. $168 C172? You won't fly much. That's waaay too much money.

    Your club option? May not be perfect, but you're gonna fly more! Guaranteed.
     
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  20. NHWannabe

    NHWannabe Line Up and Wait

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    Do the math and see if it works out cost wise to your advantage. I rent a non-G1000 172 here in NH for $169/hr wet. Pricing varies by region so when people are providing pricing in their area that may not reflect prices in your area.
    I'm looking at a non-equity club for an older model 172, buyin is $1K and the plane is $35/hr dry and $100 month dues. Plane is located at Class C airport and is in a hangar from Nov-April. I assumed $6/gal fuel cost (FBO is Signature) and 8.5 gal/hr. At 5 hours flying per month I save $315 per month.
     
  21. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    $35/dry.... I would be flying the wings off of that deal!
     
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  22. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-Flight

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    The club I want to get into is $1000 join fee, non refundable I believe. The hourly rates and monthly charges, although higher than I’d like, are easier to evaluate but that join fee is harder to swallow.

    One thing to consider is how often is the club upgrading the airplane avionics, etc? With new bells and whistles comes a higher costs. A value oriented club focused on low costs may have more basic panels which can work for many, but not everyone.
     
  23. 86Aviator

    86Aviator Pre-Flight

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    I'm was in a similar boat in that I analyzed whether to join a club, buy a plane or just rent through the flight school when starting my primary training a few months ago. As is probably obvious from my other posts on this board, I went with the latter.

    $35/hour dry seems like a good deal, and $168/hour for a 172 is right around what my flight school in Atlanta charges for a 70s-vintage 172 with a 6 pack ($175/hour). A couple of other considerations that may or may not be relevant to you:

    Does the club charge by Hobbs hour or Tach hour? The club I looked at charged by tach hour which is usually a little less than Hobbs (which is what flight schools go by in my experience). There are some passionate doctrinal debates on this forum about the exact ratio of Hobbs time to tach time, but 1 hour on the Hobbs could be, for example, .8 hour tach (or more or less - there are variables). At $35 an hour, maybe this is an academic exercise which doesn't move the needle for you.

    Second, you mentioned the club was at another airport. If the flight school happens to be at a towered airport and the club happens to be at a non-towered airport, your savings could be even greater. I'm training at a very busy towered GA airport and on a busy morning it can be nearly a half hour (by a wristwatch) from start up to departure roll, although it is usually less. The point being, you'll save more money if the club airport is quieter than the flight school airport because you're not spending as much time in the conga line waiting your turn to come or go.
     
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  24. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup, my club did the same thing. :thumbsup:
     
  25. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    I was a member of a non-profit (member-owned) club for quite a while and I'd recommend that option. The planes tend to be very well maintained and members get a say in how the maintenance is done (i.e. you can vote to find a new shop if you feel the existing shop is cutting too many corners or charging too much for subpar work). For-profit clubs tend to be just overblown FBO's with your typical beater grade rental equipment that's maintained by the lowest bidder.
     
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  26. GabriellePeake

    GabriellePeake Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I had an almost similar situation but it had ended not as well as yours
     
  27. GabriellePeake

    GabriellePeake Ejection Handle Pulled

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    WOOOOW
     
  28. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Line Up and Wait

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    Wow.
    I guess I'm blessed.
    $275 to join.
    $48 monthly dues.
    172vfr $80 hr. Wet
    172ifr $90 hr. Wet
    182ifr $110 hr. Wet
    170 vfr $90 hr. Wet

    About 110 active members. Private strip.

    Yeah, they're high time planes. Well maintained. Abused by some members...

    Someone "dropped" the 182 on landing... We await insurance determination (likely totalled ).

    We'll get another...

    Good club.

    fly to the scene of the incident, or be recovered at the scene of the tragedy
     
  29. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-Flight

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    Yes, you are blessed. If there are unexpected high cost items, say replacement cost above and beyond insurance coverage or high dollar upgrades, does the club have plenty of reserve or would there be a special assessment?
     
  30. Trogdor

    Trogdor Filing Flight Plan

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    The two clubs I looked at both had high entrance fees (3k and 6k respectively) but were *refundable* with six months notice or something to that effect. And they both charged Tach not Hobbs.
     
  31. smv

    smv Cleared for Takeoff

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    Looked at a club over the winter operating out of KXWA. Initial buy-in was $12,000 and $300 a month. That got you access to a single C-172 with five other members.
     
  32. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow, that's a down payment and a big chunk of fixed costs on a decent 172. If that were what was available I'd look at buying and finding a single partner.
     
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  33. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Stupid question: How does dry rent works? I currently rent using a wet tach rate, so if I fill up the tanks myself offsite I get reimbursed. But how does a dry rent works? If I fly for an hour and burn 10-12 gallons, do I just add that up to the plane instead of filling up?
     
  34. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think this is what "wet/tach" rental is. At least, that's how I do it with the club.
     
  35. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-Flight

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    Deleted because I wanted to rewrite, but you beat me to it. I’m thinking somewhere the club would be balancing things out, but I’ll defer to those in clubs that do it.
     
  36. NHWannabe

    NHWannabe Line Up and Wait

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    In a dry rent scenario the club usually sets a standard - upon return fill to tabs or fill to the max. You would then be responsible for the cost of the fuel no reimbursement. Check with the club for what the by-laws state.
     
  37. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    Wow. That must be one heck of a 172. Those are numbers I'd expect to see for a club in NY or LA, not off in North Dakota 100 miles from the nearest interstate.
     
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  38. NHWannabe

    NHWannabe Line Up and Wait

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    Would like to know the hourly rate.
     
  39. GaryM

    GaryM Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Maybe the club is sitting on some cash in an engine reserve fund. The buy in number works for six members IF you are buying into a true equity share, and the value of the aircraft and the cash reserves are $72,000. The dues seem high since many clubs base dues on a share of fixed costs (tie down or hangar, insurance, and an estimate for the year's annual), but I have heard of clubs including an hour or so of flight time in the monthly dues as an incentive to get members out using the aircraft, so you'd have to see what is actually included.
     
  40. Jim K

    Jim K Line Up and Wait

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    That's very cheap, but 110 members on 4 planes...wow. Im guessing scheduling is frustrating, or else you have a bunch of people not flying often, which might explain the bent firewall.

    10/airplane seems like a pretty common number, and about the point where scheduling starts to get harder if they're all active. One thing our club does is charge 2 hours flight time with the monthly maintenance. You can bank it up to twelve months, but then you start losing it. It encourages you to fly at least that minimum amount or leave the club, which I think encourages proficiency, although you could argue 24 hours/year still isn't enough.

    Fuel at my home base is over $5, so I delight in stopping for cheap gas. You guys with wet rates.... if you buy gas significantly cheaper or more expensive than your home base, do you get credit/ surcharged for that or do they just figure it averages out? What if you went to midway and filled up for $7.50/gal?
     
  41. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Once the "average" burn rate of fuel is known in gallons per hour, multiply that by a per gallon fuel price that is typical for your area. Add that to the dry rate.

    So say 100LL is commonly found in your region for $4.00/gallon. You figure your aircraft burns 10/gallons per hour.

    In fuel, you are spending $40.00 per hour. Add in the $35.00 "dry" part, and you're spending $75.00 to turn dinosaurs into noise and look down upon the lowly groundlings while doing so. That's your total cost per hour.

    Splitting it up:

    A common courtesy amongst clubs and co-owner groups is to return the airplane to the hangar or tie-down with full tanks. It's also a good practice to do this anyway to prevent water condensation from happening and contaminating the fuel.

    So for your question, when you're done with the flying, you would top off the tanks, replacing what you have used on your flight. You pay that cost to the fuel seller. The time you flew gets multiplied by the "dry rate" and paid to the operator of the aircraft.


    When it is a "wet rate", you take the total time you used the aircraft (either Hobbs time or Tach time), multiply by the wet rate, and pay that to the aircraft operator.

    Sometimes the operator has an arrangement with the fuel provider on the home field. So you just call the FBO for fuel, they send the truck to the hangar, fill, and then bill the operator.

    On times when you purchase fuel away from the home airport, you do so with your credit card and get the receipt when done. Then submit to the aircraft operator who then deducts that from the total charges. For example, if you flew enough to create a wet rate rental bill for $400, but purchased $80 in fuel, then per the agreement between you and the aircraft operator, you just owe $320.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
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