The Ideal Flying Club - your thoughts

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by TrueCourse, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I thought about asking individual specific questions, but instead I decided on a different approach. If you were creating or visualizing the ideal flying club, or if you are already a member of one, how would you describe it? Similar to how would you differentiate one business idea from another or one product from another. Or, another way to approach this is, if you can change one or several things about the club you are member of, what would it be?

    Obviously dues, rates, number of airplanes, scheduling, membership networking, corporate structure are all pieces of the puzzle. Location impacts some of these items. I'm reading through threads to get an idea of what issues are discussed.

    Here is an example of mine: My ideal flying club has an initiation fee or a buy-in that is reasonable, dues are much better than rental rates, airplanes are in better shape and better equipped then the local rental fleet, plane availability matches my needs, club issues get addressed quickly with minimal bureaucracy, flying proficiency and safety is more than just a slogan - it's enforced, and member contributions help keep the club running. Whats important in your world?

    So, perhaps this thread can be a brainstorming session of sorts. Maybe you are in a club that had issues with something and you made changes that solved the problems that would be worth noting here.
     
  2. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’ve been in a number of clubs.

    First Flight as $4 / hr wet

    Later $7/hr in MIL Club with new Cherokees.

    Some thoughts:

    On line schedule with back -ups

    Club Currency (not FAA) requirements possibly satisfied with non-CFI member?

    Commonality in a fleet of Archers or 172 types to reduce “Club Currency Requirements “.

    Also will help a lot with maintenance.


    Pilot Info File of procedures that you must be current with.

    Lock on Throttle and notification system for grounded aircraft.

    Written policies on cause and penalties for Hull Deductible.

    Strict Policies on:

    Post Flight refueling, clean-up & Write up of squawks

    Including notification of appropriate members.

    Have a good arrangement for maintenance.

    Club members involved with oil & tire changes and Inspection Prep.

    Some type of training program is needed for each task.

    This may possibly help with members pursuing an A & P as well of lower costs

    and higher utilization.

    “Crew Chief “ each aircraft to track ADs , oil changes , tire wear, parts ordering etc
     
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  3. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My ideal flying club already exists.

    It's called PlusOne Flyers in San Diego. Believe it is currently the largest flying club in the country (both number of members and airplanes).

    https://www.plusoneflyers.org

    No buy-in
    Dues ~$30/month
    Wet rental rates lower than most FBOs in the country
    75 airplanes in the fleet from Citabrias to Cirrus and some light twins.
    52 airplanes based at MYF alone.

    All club pilots are on the insurance policy. Airplanes are owned by club members who take care of all expenses and set the rental rate accordingly.

    Cross country minimum is 1 hour per day.

    Only thing that would make it better would be if they had some warbirds in the fleet.
     
  4. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member

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    Came to say this. I wonder why there are not more PlusOnes across the country.
     
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  5. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Seems to me that clubs are mostly for profit businesses. Or am I missing something? So not much differant than going to your local FBO that rents and renting there. I was an original member of what became a large "club" here. Again, just a for profit business. I guess there is a type of club that is more ownership oriented, as in a partnership. I have never done that.
    So i want to limit my liability from other owners. I want an ownership feel. I.E. people take an interest in the plane, help wash and wax it etc. I was in a club at one time that was that way. every couple months we had a maintenance Saturday to detail and do maintenance on the planes. It was always a fun day. We had a C-182 and 2 C-172's and 2 C-150's.
     
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  6. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Depends what you mean by "for profit business".

    If there is no "profit" how do they replenish the fleet, overhaul enginers, upgrade obsolete avionics, repaint, re-upholster as things wear out and maintain any infrastructure (such as any hangars if they own any)? Not-for-profit doesn't mean the club doesn't earn in excess of costs...it usually means the profits go back into serving the members and there aren't any dividends or distributions directly to members.
     
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  7. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Yeah I do a bit of flying with PlusOne, pretty close to perfect as far as renting planes is concerned
     
  8. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good info.

    "On line schedule with back-ups."
    I've seen this one and it works great.

    "Club Currency (not FAA) requirements possibly satisfied with non-CFI member?"
    Interesting concept since there is no logbook sign-off required. Not sure of the liability aspect of this regarding insurance tying into the club bylaws and currency requirements.

    "Lock on Throttle and notification system for grounded aircraft."
    I've seen things slipping through the cracks, good coms are vital.

    "Written policies on cause and penalties for Hull Deductible."
    Insurance education is one of those things you don't think about until you have to.

    "Club members involved with oil & tire changes and Inspection Prep."
    Does club culture or membership makeup dictate how successful this is? If you hear, "good luck trying to get members to do that", is that cause for alarm?
     
  9. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Impressively large selection of planes. One thing it has going for it is a very large metropolitan area with a lot of pilots, good weather most of the time, and I'm guessing many airplanes outside on tie-downs instead of hangars thus reducing ownership costs? Or, are tie-down costs like hangar costs in other parts of the country? Is the insurance of the club the only insurance each individual owner has on their plane? I can't remember the insurance world rules about multiple layers of coverage.
     
  10. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Already covered good by GRG55, but I'll say that if I don't notice much difference between renting at a local FBO and a club I'm considering than i wouldn't go with the club. There has to be a distinct, identifiable advantage.
     
  11. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Honestly, I don't mind a modest buy-in (like $3K-$5K) so that it isn't strictly a rental outfit and likely makes people take more of an "ownership" approach to the care and operation of the aircraft/facilities.

    I'd want a handful of aircraft choices: maybe a six-seat Lance/Toga or possibly a Light Twin (twins would likely not see high usage), maybe an SR22 or similar 4-seat XC bird., a aerobatic taildragger like a Citabria would be nice. Even something low/slow like a SeaRey.

    Definitely all aircraft hangared with member-assisted maintenance and such. Bi-monthly get togethers for cookouts and club business. Online scheduling.
     
  12. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Before pandemic PlusOne was doing a monthly get together and did several fly out adventures couple times a year with a few of them being longer overnight trips
     
  13. Pugs

    Pugs Line Up and Wait

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    Lots of little things but the most important thing is a club that has a compatible culture and priorities to you. Alas, you're likely not going to find that out until you're a member.

    I belong to two clubs and they could not be more different but they both have their plus sides and downsides. I joined the 2nd one because the first is so successful getting a plane for a whole weekend in the summer is a months ahead event. There also the longer term members that seem to think that they define what the club is and dismiss any ideas a newer member has.
     
  14. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, that can definitely be a problem and applies to many organizations where there is established, tenured members or leadership.
     
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  15. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The one where lots of folks pay dues but I am the only flying member..?? :lol: :thumbsup:
     
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  16. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    By "for profit" i mean somebody is paying their house payment, car payment and funding their retirement and feeding their kids from the profit of the business. the revenue need to fund all those things before any of it comes back to maintaining or improving the club. Just like any other business.
     
  17. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    You show me someone who can make their mortgage + car payment + feed their family + stash money away for retirement from running a GA airplane rental operation, and I'll show you someone using some of the planes to haul "international cargo" out of airstrips cut into sugar cane fields. Ain't no other way the math will ever work. :p
     
  18. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    that’s not sounding like a club in the context of what this thread is about
     
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  19. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    It’s the members that make a great non profit flying club:

    1. Desire to keep the aircraft clean with squawks repaired quickly well maintained.
    2. Hangared aircraft.
    3. Desire to upgrade prudently.
    4. Cooperative attitude for Scheduling with reasonable daily minimums for vacation use.
    5. Members who are willing to serve in leadership positions - a knowledge member to serve a maintenance officer.
    6. Proper budgeting.
    7. Bylaws that reflect a reasonable level of safety practices and disciplinary procedures
    8. Monthly club meeting or functions
    9. Active recruitment of new members to fill vacancies.
    10. Adequate hull and liability insurance.