April 3, 2014
By Julie Summers Walker
AOPA sees the formation and promotion of flying clubs as a key initiative to bring more people into the flying community. The association hosted a breakfast April 3 at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., to help spread the gospel.
“Flying clubs are how we can grow the flying community,” said AOPA President Mark Baker in his opening remarks. He introduced AOPA Vice President of Flight Operations Woody Cahall, who conducted a panel presentation to more than 75 assembled AOPA members enjoying a free breakfast.
On the panel were Cahall, Marc Epner of the Leading Edge Flying Club in Chicago, and Jan Squillace of the Wings of Carolina Flying Club in Sanford, N.C.
“Flying clubs can be the social glue that will hold GA together,” said Cahall. He noted that AOPA has prepared a Guide to Starting a Flying Club, and interested attendees received a free thumb drive with the starter kit.
Epner and Squillace described their flying clubs, both highlighting the friendship and camaraderie of a flying club network. “They’re all our friends,” Squillace said. “We’ll fix lunch for anyone who shows up.”
The panel fielded questions from the audience, which ranged from concerns about insurance and liability to questions about costs and community activities.
Epner said he calls it “Common Unity” and emphasized that a key component to organizing a flying club is making it “easy in and easy out.”
Learn more about AOPA’s Flying Club Network.
AOPA Director of Publications and Managing Editor for AOPA Pilot and Flight Training, Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.
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