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Nickathome

Well-Known Member
Join a club. I read somewhere that the average annual flight time for all private pilots averaged together is less than 24 hours (per year). That is 2 hours or less per month. Also I read somewhere that in a group of 8 co-owners or club members only like one or two pilots fly regularly. Scheduling is not a problem if you find the right group. And the maintenance burden is spread out across many wallets.
I'm already a member of a club through the company I work for. We have about 17 members, most of whom are students, and during good weather months its tough to schedule time unless you do so weeks in advance. And then its a gamble as you never know wha tthe weather will be like on the day you expect to fly, and or if the plane will go down for unscheduled maintenance, which is all to often the case. In any event perfect weather days go by and I can't fly because the plane is booked solid. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being in this club, and its cheaper than any other club around me that I inquired about, but its still not the same. I'm just to the point where I want to call the shots and be able to fly whenever and wherever I want, without having to worry about what time I get back because somebody else has the plane blocked off on the schedule. Can't tell you how many $100 hamburgr trips I've done or trips to the pilot shop up in Lancaster Pa and had to keep my eye on my watch so I wouldn't infringe on the next guy's time. Just don't want to be part of that anymore. Not to mention the$50 a month I'm basically throwing away just being in a club. Well that $50 will now go toward my tiedown fees. Rather have that money helping my cause than helping to keep a plane operating that's not even mine, so somebody else can fly it. Yes, I'm being a little selfish, I don't deny it. Last edited: Topaz Super Moderator Staff member Log Member I'm already a member of a club through the company I work for. We have about 17 members, most of whom are students, and during good weather months its tough to schedule time unless you do so weeks in advance. And then its a gamble as you never know wha tthe weather will be like on the day you expect to fly, and or if the plane will go down for unscheduled maintenance, which is all to often the case. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being in this club, and its cheaper than any other club around me that I inquired about, but its still not the same. I'm just to the point where I want to call the shots and be able to fly whenever and wherever I want, without having to worry about what time I get back because somebody else has the plane blocked off on the schedule. Can't tell you how many$100 hamburgr trips I've done or trips to the pilot shop up in Lancaster Pa and had to keep my eye on my watch so I wouldn't infringe on the next guy's time. Just don't want to be part of that anymore. Not to mention the $50 a month I'm basically throwing away just being in a club. Well that$50 will now go toward my tiedown fees. Rather have that money helping my cause than helping to keep a plane operating that's not even mine, spo somebody else can fly it.
Nick, I completely understand that feeling, and yes, it sounds like it's time for your own airplane.

At the risk of taking this thread a bit off-topic (seems like you've made your final decision), I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about your club. As an officer in a flying club (membership chair, to be specific), I'm very interested in what factors make a club attractive/unattractive to current and potential members. Obviously you've hit upon a few of the issues with a club in your post above.

What are some things that would make a flying club more attractive to you? It doesn't sound like your club does much in the way of social or full-club activities. Would that help? Club-wide flight days or trips? Things like spot-landing contests or flour-bomb drops? These are just some ideas I've seen tossed around.

What sorts of things would make a flying club more attractive to a pilot like yourself?

Nickathome

Well-Known Member
Nick, I completely understand that feeling, and yes, it sounds like it's time for your own airplane.

At the risk of taking this thread a bit off-topic (seems like you've made your final decision), I'd like to ask you a couple of questions about your club. As an officer in a flying club (membership chair, to be specific), I'm very interested in what factors make a club attractive/unattractive to current and potential members. Obviously you've hit upon a few of the issues with a club in your post above.

What are some things that would make a flying club more attractive to you? It doesn't sound like your club does much in the way of social or full-club activities. Would that help? Club-wide flight days or trips? Things like spot-landing contests or flour-bomb drops? These are just some ideas I've seen tossed around.

What sorts of things would make a flying club more attractive to a pilot like yourself?
Ah this is interesting. I'd love to answer this; My answer is probably going to lean more toward the unnatractive than attractive, so bear with me please.

My number one concern regarding a club is WELL MAINTAINED AIRCRAFT COSMETICALLY!!! To me there is no bigger turn off to a potential member, especially if that person is considering becoming a pilot, is to setup a demo ride only to be met on the ramp by an ugly airplane. Our club's planes, although mechanically sound and very reliable, are two of the ugliest planes I've ever flown. From their dingy paintjob to the older one's downright disgusting interior(mold on headliner, filthy carpets). Just a big turnoff. My wife really ripped the plane a new one whe she saw it for the first time. We had a picnic back in July and I was one of the pilots asked to take people up for the free airplane rides, and I had a few people take hard looks at the plane before they climbed aboard. Big turnoff if your plane looks haggard. I know paint and interiors cost money, but to not consider sprucing up the plane will cost membership for sure. Since our club is sponsored by our company and based at an airport that doesn't allow spot landing contests, flour bomb drops and the like, we can't partake in any of that but it would sure be fun.

I'd like to see a meet and greet once in a while to place faces with names, but our club doesn't seem too interested in that. I have met maybe 5 people in person total from the club, and two of them were club officers. At the picnic I had no idea who was who until I made it a point to ask for names of people I met. A meet and greet would be great. I'd also enjoy more interaction with potential pilots/ members. I'd love to take people on demo rides, but the club officials mostly do all of that, I guess for insurance reasons which again, I can understand.

Earlier notice of impending maintenance. Our club ops guy is good at disseminating information but, sometimes it comes the day the plane goes out of service. Understand this is sometimes necessary, but more than once this has happened.

Another gripe if you will is, I don't get why our club's two planes(one is leased) have to stay at this one airport. I think it would make a club more attractive if say members could choose to fly from closer to home than from just one home base. There was talk in our club once of a leased plane at the airport only 5 miles from my home(the airport where the plane I am looking at lives) but it never came to fruition. It would be nice to have choices in this manner.

Maybe also some plans to all meet at a local fly in or airshow or have a booth setup at same to drum up business, would be cool.

Topaz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Nick, thanks. I really appreciate that input. While my club is a soaring club, many of the same issues apply. I'm going to pull your response and present it to the rest of my board of directors. Our membership is currently way up, but I want to keep it that way. This sort of input is very helpful.

If anyone else has input they feel would be helpful, it's more than welcome. Perhaps I should start a thread on those lines, so as not to drive Nick's too far off-topic.