August 7, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Arizona’s Phoenix Flyers, a non-profit, member-owned flying club founded in 1958, was created to provide excellent aircraft at reasonable rates. The club currently has 36 active and eight inactive members, said Secretary Ed Miller.
The club has three types of membership: flying, associate, and inactive, said Miller. “Flying members purchase a share of the company, have full access to the aircraft, and have voting rights,” he said. “Phoenix Flyers does accept student pilots as flying members, but student pilots are limited to the board approved club flight instructors. Flying members pay the monthly fixed fee.”
Associate members include spouses, domestic partners, and dependents 21 years of age or younger of flying members. “Associate members have full access to the aircraft; however, they have no voting privileges and their aircraft reservations count against the sponsoring flying member’s allowable reservations,” said Miller. Associate members do not pay the monthly fixed fee, he added.
Pilots may request inactive status for reasons including temporary loss of their medical, said Miller. Inactive members do not pay the monthly fixed fee, and may request reactivation at any time when a membership position is available,” he said. “If no position is available, inactive members are placed at the top of the waiting list.”
Since Phoenix Flyers is an equity club, each member purchases one share of stock for $4,250 and pays a non-refundable fee of $250 to join, while associate members pay a one-time membership fee of $150, said Miller. Members pay a monthly fixed fee of $125, which covers insurance, hangars, navigation data subscriptions, the administrative costs of operating the club, and other fixed costs, he said.
The Phoenix Flyers fleet is comprised of two Piper Archers, a Piper Comanche, and a Cessna Skylane. “Our club aircraft are based at Phoenix Deer Valley and Chandler Municipal airports,” said Miller. “We rotate the Comanche and Skylane between Deer Valley and Chandler every four months. We also have two Archers, one located at Deer Valley and the other located at Chandler.”
The club’s aircraft fees are $138 an hour for the Comanche, $132 an hour for the Skylane, and $101 per hour for the Archers. Fees are based on tach time, and they cover fuel, oil, and engine reserves. Aircraft fees are established by the board, said Miller.
Phoenix Flyers has four CFIs, including one CFII, said Miller. “Members who wish to contact one of the CFIs can do so through an email address provided in the member area of our website,” he said. “Additionally, we publish all members’ contact information including personal email and phone number in our club area on AircraftClubs.com, which we use as our online scheduling system.”
Three members are working on their instrument rating, but the club currently has no primary students. However, it does have members who completed their primary training through the club, said Miller.
The club holds monthly board meetings and an annual members’ breakfast meeting. “We try to hold a plane wash about three times per year. Occasionally we hold a fly-out event such as a breakfast run to a nearby location,” said Miller. “Several times a year we participate in local aviation events such as an airport open house or a fly-in. Many of our members also participate as a group in local charitable events such as SkyKidsAZ which provides airplane rides to disabled children.”
Miller advises clubs to create a solid core group of volunteers with aircraft ownership knowledge to keep things running smoothly. “Members who are adept at performing routine maintenance items on the aircraft will help keep costs down,” he said. “You might want to consider a monthly stipend for these individuals as they are very valuable and will save considerably on the costs associated with maintaining your aircraft.”
It is important that each member considers themselves an owner and not just a renter, as this will result in the members taking better care of the aircraft, said Miller. “This will result in lower overall maintenance costs. Do everything you can to foster this mentality.”
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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