August 29, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
The AOPA Headquarters Chapter has become the 72nd of the IMC Club, created to promote instrument flying, proficiency, and safety. The AOPA Chapter is organized by the IMC Club International, Inc. and is sponsored by AOPA.
AOPA met with the leadership of IMC Club earlier in the year and questioned why there was no chapter, said Adam Smith, senior vice president of the AOPA’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community and the AOPA/IMC chapter leader. “I was impressed by the progress they have made in a short period of time, and especially by their focus on community. Wherever we find strong communities in aviation, we also tend to find pilots that are more active and engaged,” he said. “And with IMC Clubs, there are important safety and proficiency element too. So overall, it feels like something that AOPA should support.”
Smith also noted how IMC Clubs are bringing a more accessible and fun type of branding to IFR flying. “On a personal note I spent many years as VFR-only pilot, and was very discouraged from pursuing the instrument rating. It seemed way too serious, something that the dull and boring pilots gravitated towards and then lectured me about in magazine articles,” he recalled. “When I finally got my instrument rating I realized I’d made a huge mistake, it was a wonderful, fun, world expanding thing. So for this reason too, I like the way that IMC Clubs are.”
The IMC Clubs concept is to bring together instrument-rated pilots who fly in real-world “actual IMC” and provide them an opportunity to share stories, network with the larger pilot community, and gain valuable insights and tips for their IFR flying. All stories and scenarios produced by the club for use during chapter meetings are real and based on submission by their members. IMC Club Meetings provide a forum for promoting participation and discussion of IFR flying.
More than 70 pilots on the AOPA staff were asked if they would be interested in attending IMC Club meetings, said Smith. “There was enough positive feedback for us to feel that it would be viable,” he said. “But it’s important to say this is not just limited to AOPA staff. All local area pilots are welcome to attend.”
The first meeting of the AOPA/IMC Club group will be held on Thursday, Sept. 5 at noon Eastern time at AOPA’s headquarters in Frederick, Md. The AOPA IMC Club Chapter is open to all current, non-current, and future instrument pilots. At the meeting, prospective members will be able to meet IMC Club founder and President Radek Wyrzykowski.
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