Tidewater Flying Club: Offering low-cost flying, ownership

May 14, 2013

Cessna 172MTidewater Flying Club, based out of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, was formed in 1967 to promote and encourage interest in airplane operation and ownership for the benefit of its members.

The club, with 38 members, operates as an equity ownership nonprofit 501(c)(7). Members pay a share value of $4,641.40, which gives them an equal say in all activities, said club President Terry Riley. “When you leave the club, your equity is refunded,” he said. “When I joined in 2008, it was a strong point for me to join, knowing I won’t have to resell my equity stake because I’m a terrible salesman.”

Monthly dues are based on fixed operating expenses, including hangar rent, tiedowns, phone, insurance, and taxes, along with the number of members currently in the club. As of April, dues are $62 a month.

The club has a Cessna 172M, a 172N, and a 182P, said Riley. Hourly rates, based on Tach time, are $86 for the 172 and $132.50 for the 182. “We have a very good club that’s well known in the area,” said Riley. “We’re able to keep our costs down.”

Members have access to three certificated flight instructors who offer their services for flight reviews, basic instruction, and advanced flight instruction. Members may also use their own outside instructor with prior board approval, said Riley.

“We are in [the] process of getting two new students, and another two recently got their certificate,” said Riley. “We don’t have a formal program. We match people and let them work at their own pace.”

Riley offered one tip to clubs looking to have the same longevity as Tidewater. “One of the key items is you need to be well structured, with appropriate documentation that spells out all requirements of the club, ranging from check-outs to maintenance,” he said.