Flying clubs now have additional flexibility to compensate club members who are flight instructors and mechanics for their services under policy changes announced by the FAA in response to a request from AOPA.
The changes took effect in April, about one year after AOPA wrote to the FAA proposing revisions to the FAA policy regarding flying clubs. That policy is set out in Section 10.6 “Flying Clubs” of FAA Order 5190.6B.
Under the revised policy, flying clubs can allow flight instructors who are members of the flying club to give flight instruction to other members of the club and to be paid for their services or given credit toward club dues or flight time, but not both. In the past, clubs were only allowed to compensate club flight instructors teaching in club aircraft by offering credits for dues or flight time.
The policy changes also allow a qualified mechanic who is a member of a flying club and part owner of the aircraft owned/operated by the club to receive monetary payment or credit for maintenance performed on the club airplane.
To ensure that flying clubs don’t compete with local flight schools or maintenance shops, the policy adds language stating that flying clubs cannot market or present themselves to the public as a flight school, maintenance facility, FBO, or specialized aviation service provider. Additionally, the airport sponsor has the right to set limits on the amount of flight instruction and maintenance for compensation.
AOPA believes this new policy change strikes an important balance: it supports flying clubs’ need for maintenance and instruction services without infringing on airport businesses like flight schools.
Pilots who are looking for flight instruction within their clubs are usually maintaining proficiency and currency. Those who need a BFR or IPC prefer to receive this instruction from someone who is most familiar with their specific aircraft’s equipment and performance.
One major advantage of a flying club is the opportunity to own and operate high performance or specialty aircraft. Instructors who are in the club and who have spent the most time in the club's aircraft are uniquely qualified to provide safe, efficient, and type specific instruction. These policy changes give clubs additional flexibility to make this specialized instruction available to club members. These rule changes give clubs the ability to compensate their instructors based on the value they provide.
Flying clubs recognize the great resource that local schools offer to new and continuing students, especially the ability to provide concentrated training towards a new certificate or rating. Working together flying clubs and flight schools are a critical element in building a safe and vibrant airport community.
If you have questions about how this new policy might affect your club, please call or email AOPA’s Sr. Manager for Flying Clubs, Ron Rise (301-695-2147, [email protected]).
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