April 12, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
As the AOPA Flying Club Network’s Facebook group celebrates its six-month anniversary, members offer why they joined the group and why it has become a vital resource for new and existing clubs. The group’s membership went from zero to 644 in the first week it started, and currently has 1,820 members.
One of the group’s most active members is Marc Epner, president of the Leading Edge Flying Club near Chicago. His club was the first of a series of weekly profiles on flying clubs, and he has shared his knowledge via the AOPA Flying Club Network’s free webinar on “Selecting the right flying club aircraft.”
Epner hosts another webinar on April 17, “From surviving to thriving: A guide to effective club leadership.” He said he joined the AOPA Flying Club Network because he’s heavily involved with a flying club and liked the idea of getting a perspective from other club's experiences.
“I've been pleasantly surprised to find the site serves as a great conduit for communications with other flying clubs. We have done several multi-club meetings because of the network,” Epner said. “The group has opened up the world I live in from a single, local flying club to being part of a much bigger family. It's the same feeling of community, but on a much bigger scale. That’s really neat!”
David Miller, a retired Air Force office and Iraq war vet, started the Flying Club at Lakeland in Florida in February. “The AOPA Flying Club Network’s [Facebook] group and webinars provided and continue to provide critical information necessary for a group like ours to establish a flying club,” he said. “It has also provided contact information from successful flying clubs, where ideas that are laid out can be further refined.”
Miller said his club’s profile on AOPA Online helped spawn articles by a local magazine and newspaper. “[They] helped us make contact with pilots and/or aircraft owners that we would not have contacted via our mailing campaign,” he said.
Bob Williams is trying to start his own club, Warriors to Wings, at Ohio’s Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. “I joined to learn more about flying clubs. The most valuable thing has been the webinars on flying clubs,” he said.
Frank Beresnyak is president of the Pittsburgh Flying Club, based at Pennsylvania’s Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. He said his reason to join the group was very simple: find like-minded individuals who love flying and are in flying clubs.
“Joining the group has given me a lot of insight of the plight and success of other flying clubs. I felt like we were on an island,” said Beresnyak. “What I am learning is that many of the clubs have the same issues that we have experienced.”
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