September 4, 2013
By AOPA Communications staff
AOPA’s campaign to grow the number of flying clubs in the United States reached a new milestone recently when the 400th club joined AOPA’s Flying Club Network.
AOPA has also just launched a new version of the online Flying Club Finder, which allows individuals to find a club in their area. A map-based interface shows details of 415 clubs in the AOPA Flying Club Network, plus another 133 clubs currently in the process of formation.
“We are especially pleased to see so many new flying clubs getting started,” said Adam Smith, senior vice president of AOPA’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community. “Clubs are a great way to build a stronger community in which more people earn pilot certificates, pilots are more active, and the flying lifetime of pilots is extended.”
AOPA established the Flying Club Network to share information and best-practices among clubs, and to give a stronger collective voice to flying clubs. AOPA is also working on programs to assist flying clubs with marketing, insurance, financing, and legal support.
There is no charge to be a member of the Flying Club Network, which provides clubs a monthly newsletter, regular webinars, access to a dedicated helpdesk for flying club support, and recognition in the new AOPA Flying Club Finder with a specially designed symbol.
AOPA’s own research has shown that many new pilots abandon flying due to the cost or the absence of a local flying community.
Both the Flying Club Network and club finder are AOPA initiatives aimed at keeping more pilots flying by making it more approachable, affordable, and safer. Flying clubs allow members to share the costs of maintaining aircraft, significantly reducing the cost of flying. They also present new pilots with a strong community of fellow aviation enthusiasts.
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There is no shortage of pilots in eastern Washington, but there does seem to be a scarcity of clubs in that part of the country.
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