March 5, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Madison, Wis.-based Capitol City Flyers flying club, formed Oct. 31, 1959, uses an equity shares-based structure to operate its flying club, which offers affordable aircraft.
The club is organized as a not-for-profit corporation, where members own equity shares, which is capped at 30 pilots. President Colin Maitland, who is also the AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer at the club’s home base at Dane County Regional-Truax Field, said the club currently has 27 members, with a 10-to-one ratio based on the aircraft fleet.
“When I joined, we had four aircraft and 40 members, but some of them wanted to get a more high-powered aircraft. Some of our members were aging and not flying,” Maitland recalled. “So we sold two aircraft, bought a Cessna 182 and bought back 10 memberships back in 2000, when the economy was better.” The club currently has a Piper Archer, a Cessna 182, and a Diamond DA40.
Members pay monthly dues that cover corporate fixed expenses and hourly usage fees. Dues are $180 per month, and members can also earn a $50 flying credit if they fly at least once a month. All members need to purchase a share of the corporation from an existing member or from the club when open shares exist, said Maitland. All hourly wet operational rates are based on Tach time, he added.
Maitland said his advice for clubs would depend completely on the type of club. “I have learned a lot about what type of clubs even exist out there since AOPA started the Flying Club Network,” he said. “My best advice would be to establish a good working relationship with your bank. You will need them often in the future. Finally, take your time when it comes to picking the right plane.”
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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