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g38
Topic Author
Posts: 203
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:59 am

Starting A Flying Club

Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:49 am

I'm a commercial aviation student at the University of North Dakota. I think I'd have changed my major a long time ago had it not been for a small local operation in my home town. I want to share that with my fellow students.

What would it take to start a flying club?

Obviously you'd have to have a group of people for an initial buy-in. You'd probably need a CFI involved and perhaps an A&P (someone to handle servicing). Someone else would have to handle record keeping. What about an aircraft? That seems like the biggest initial cost. I think you should be able to get a Cherokee or a C150 for ~$20k, but thats a huge sum of money to a broke college kid... or even 6-7 of them.

Does anyone have experience starting a flying club? What kind of start up cost would be involved for say 6 people initially? Would it be something that could become self sufficient?

[Edited 2014-03-11 19:07:05]
 
EricR
Posts: 1226
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:15 pm

RE: Starting A Flying Club

Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:16 am

I am not clear on the objective of this mile high club. Can you elaborate on what this club is for?
 
9VSIO
Posts: 654
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:00 pm

RE: Starting A Flying Club

Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:21 am

Quoting EricR (Reply 1):

I am not clear on the objective of this mile high club. Can you elaborate on what this club is for?

Presumably for pilots to fly planes.

This q might be better asked in tech/ops. You might get more serious answers there too.

Group flying is not without its pitfalls though. It is worth it if you do a high number of hours per year, but otherwise, renting might still be more economical.
Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
 
g38
Topic Author
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RE: Starting A Flying Club

Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:52 am

I'm really just thinking out loud. What I had in mind would allow students/pilots to built hours at a minimal cost per hour as much as it would provide a feel for what its like to own operate your own aircraft (real world experience).

In addition, UND has a distinct lack of student organizations. Some of us don't have tons of free time to commit to the flying team, so this would provide an organization without a wooden schedule... a means of involvement/productive use of spare time.
 
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Moose135
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RE: Starting A Flying Club

Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:49 pm

You will probably want to talk to a lawyer and an accountant - you have a group of people wanting to buy and operate an airplane, you will need to spell out how expenses are shared, what happens if someone wants out, liability issues, and probably a hundred other things I'm not thinking about. You might check to see if there are any other jointly-owned aircraft at your local airport, and see if the owners will talk about how they set up their arrangements.


Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 2):
Group flying is not without its pitfalls though. It is worth it if you do a high number of hours per year, but otherwise, renting might still be more economical.

Well said - it may well be less expensive to rent when you want to fly. There are going to be certain fixed costs - aircraft purchase, tie-down space, insurance, etc. that you will need to cover regardless of how much flying you do, so it may work out better to rent from someone else, who has a larger pool of pilots flying to spread out those costs. Plus, you won't have any arguments when two of you each want to use the airplane on the same weekend.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
9VSIO
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RE: Starting A Flying Club

Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:49 am

Remember that flying club is also not the same as a flying group. A club generally will provide some level of instruction and support, have many members, as well as have several aircraft to pick from. Members can rent from a club (and pay into the club's account) and sales tax is added as appropriate.

I myself am a member of a club, and until my travel schedule changes to allow more GA flying, it remains more economical to rent from the club than join a group.

The caveat is that my experiences are UK based.
Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Starting A Flying Club

Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:57 am

Quoting g38 (Reply 3):
In addition, UND has a distinct lack of student organizations. Some of us don't have tons of free time to commit to the flying team, so this would provide an organization without a wooden schedule... a means of involvement/productive use of spare time.

Honestly you should go talk to Professor Foltz and Professor Schumacher. I know at one point in recent time they were talking about making a flying club. I think they kind of got it off the ground, but I'm not sure how far it got. Even if they didn't, show some interest. Foltz is a great dude (check out my signature), if you want someone on your side for something like this, he's your guy.
Pat
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
planenut767
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:45 pm

RE: Starting A Flying Club

Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:37 pm

Been a member of a flying club for a little over eight years. Don't know about starting one (the one I'm with has been around almost 50 years). There is a board structure to think of (president, financial officer, secretary, MX officer, etc) and you'll have to make up bylaws/operating rules. Lately AOPA has been on kick lately about promoting flying clubs, so there should be some info on there.
 
dw747400
Posts: 1100
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 8:24 am

RE: Starting A Flying Club

Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:31 pm

I'm currently involved with two. One is a government-associated flight activity formed decades ago that operates a fleet of 10 aircraft; the other is a single aircraft operation several friends and I formed in 2012 for personal use and limited commercial flight instruction.

There are a lot of things to consider, more than it is practical to type our here, but I'd suggest considering the following as a starting point:

1. Insurance
Depending on the number of owners, the use of the aircraft, and many other factors, insurance costs can vary widely.

2. Unplanned Maintenance
One of the biggest risks of owning an airplane is that something really expensive will break. Just because an airplane cost "only" 20k doesn't mean you might not find a $5000+ problem at an inspection. Some of this risk can be mitigated with a good prebuy, but even then things break. If the owners of the aircraft aren't willing an able to deal with a maintenance nightmare, you don't want a plane! I'm not saying it will happen, but it happens enough.

3. Self Sufficient
In the club where I have equity, we charge ourselves for aircraft use as well as a monthly fee to cover expenses. Rental to non-owners helps, but does not make us break even. I'd need to learn more about your plans to make any firm pronouncements, but in general clubs/partnerships/leasebacks/etc let you own an airplane and fly for less money, but won't actually be self-sustaining or make you money.

4. Equity/Financing
Getting financing, particularly with many owners on an old plane, can be challenging. It gets come complex if you want to do any type of rental or commercial operation. Research is needed if you intend to finance!
CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
copter808
Posts: 1384
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2000 1:14 pm

RE: Starting A Flying Club

Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:14 am

I would make my first call to AOPA for their information. Then use their information as a basis for further research.
 
chuchoteur
Posts: 610
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:17 pm

RE: Starting A Flying Club

Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:46 pm

Quoting copter808 (Reply 9):
I would make my first call to AOPA for their information. Then use their information as a basis for further research.

AOP have just published a guide on this topic:

http://www.aopa.org/Pilot-Resources/Flying-Clubs/Club-Resources.aspx
 
copter808
Posts: 1384
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2000 1:14 pm

RE: Starting A Flying Club

Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:31 am

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 10):
AOP have just published a guide on this topic:

I noticed that just after I posted my message!

Might also want to check with the school to see what concerns they may have. The school may have some liability if the club is run by students.

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