by Mark R. Baker
President & CEO Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association
It’s never been easier, or more cost-effective, to start and operate a flying club, thanks to some great new benefits created just for flying clubs by AOPA.
As many of you may know by now, I’m an enthusiastic supporter of flying clubs and I’ve been a member myself. They give pilots a tight knit community, a place to learn and share their love of aviation, and access to the pleasure of aircraft ownership at a fraction of the cost. Many even offer activities to get your non-flying family members involved.
At AOPA, we want as many people as possible to have access to that experience. That’s one reason we created the AOPA Flying Club Network, and it’s why we’ve developed some great new benefits and tools for clubs.
AOPA Network flying clubs now have access to free scheduling software that allows them to schedule up to six “resources,” such as aircraft and flight instructors. The software from Multi Service Technology Solutions even gives clubs the ability to create invoices and accept credit card payments, making it easy to manage assets and member accounts.
We’re also making it easier for pilots to find the right club for them. We recently updated the AOPA Flying Club Finder with sophisticated new search filters that allow you to look for clubs not only by location, but also by the types of equipment and services they offer. So, if you want to find a club that operates tailwheels and offers flight instruction, you can. Anyone can use the Flying Club Finder, and there’s no charge to list your club.
If you can’t find a club that matches your interests, maybe you’d like to get together with some friends and start a club of your own. We’re making that easier, too. We’ve added a brand new resource library to our website that will walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to get your club off the ground. Start with our “checklist for starting a flying club,” then read through our collection of articles that will guide you through decisions about everything from what form your club should take, to purchasing your first aircraft. We’ve even posted sample bylaws, articles of incorporation, lease agreements and other documents to help you along the way. And of course our flying club experts are available to answer your questions and offer support along the way.
Whether you want to join a club, start a club, or just learn more about how a flying club can make flying easier, more fun, and more affordable, visit AOPA.org or call our Pilot Information Center.