January 28, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
The Fox Flying Club, based at Illinois’ DuPage Airport, takes pride in representing “one of the best dollar for dollar values in aviation.” The club, founded in 1956, believes a key ingredient to its success is having a modern, well-maintained aircraft with advanced radio and navigation avionics available at reasonable rates.
The club currently has 55 members, said Vice President Rich Wellner. “We’ve been bigger in the past, but like many clubs, we were hurt at the beginning of the recession,” he said. “But we now have a board that has been creative in getting new members.”
One way is by partner with a nonrental flying school at the airport, said Wellner. “We then end up the first place their students look when they are looking for someplace local to fly.”
Fox Flying Club operates as a 501(c)(7) nonprofit organization, said Wellner. “Because we’re not member-owned in the traditional sense, there’s no equity stake required to get in,” he said. “The club owns the planes and members have no equity in the aircraft.”
The club owns a Cessna 172P a 172S, a Piper Archer III, and a Piper Arrow IV. Hourly flying rates, based on Tach time, range from $99 to $129.
The initiation fee is $450 and dues are $95 a month. “Our approach is to keep the fees low, rather than treat them as equity. So they are not refundable, but they are also only $450,” said Wellner.
The club encourages people to learn to fly; it gives a discount to CFIs so they can instruct using the fleet, said Wellner. “We have seven CFIs and our student numbers vary from five to 15 at any given time,” he said.
Wellner’s advice for those starting a flying club is summed up in one word: diversity. “Aviation is stagnant and I appreciate the work AOPA is doing to protect flying” and flying clubs.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
The Aircraft Spotlight feature looks at an airplane type and evaluates it across six areas of particular interest to flying clubs and their members: Operating Cost, Maintenance, Insurability, Training, Cross-Country, and Fun Factor.
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