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Generating Interest In Your ClubWord of Mouth

Word of Mouth

Generating interest in your club is important, whether the club is brand new or has been around for decades. Successful clubs typically use a variety of methods.


Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to attract attention, but it takes some legwork. Many flying clubs form among friends who share an interest in flying. Hanging around your local airport and making connections to the people and businesses on the field is bound to generate interest. This requires an investment of personal time and is fairly limited in its reach. But if you can generate a buzz about your club at the airport, it will help attract new members. Make sure you’re prepared as you engage with the local community. It’s a good idea to have talking points at hand to ensure that you cover all the benefits of joining your club.

Airport Bulletin Board

Create an eye-catching flyer that includes basic information about the club and post it at your airport and surrounding airports. The cliché, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is true in this case. Make sure your flyer is visually engaging.

Business Cards

Create a club business card that each member can carry with them. You can also leave some in the club aircraft. When your members are flying and strike up a conversation with someone, they can give them a card with details on how to get more information. Make sure the card has the club’s phone number, email, and website. If your club is still in formation, business cards are a great way to share your idea and plant the seed for founding members.

Develop Relationships on the Field

Building relationships with businesses on the field can help create a stronger community at your airport and generate support for your club.

  • The maintenance shop interacts with many pilots and can be a great resource for finding potential members and aircraft, and building awareness of your club. Folks at the shop may know owners who are thinking about selling their aircraft or putting their aircraft into a club environment. And if the shop staff sees the potential to get business from the deal, they’ll be happy to help spread the word.

  • Airport operators, managers, or committees may consist of full time staff or volunteers. Either way they generally know what’s happening at the airport and are great resources when looking for new members. You might ask to make a presentation at a meeting or volunteer on a committee so your club becomes a known member of the airport community.

  • FBOs and flight schools can view flying clubs as competition for business, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Most successful flying clubs work to develop a relationship with the local school. A flight school can be a great formal training provider for a flying club encouraging safer pilots and keeping insurance premiums low. And having school instructors train club members in club aircraft can reduce the scheduling and maintenance burden on the flight school’s aircraft.

  • Some clubs choose to allow only certificated pilots to join. They might allow potential members to be trained at the flight school in preparation for joining the club once they earn a certificate. Club members can also be encouraged to participate in a flight school’s ground classes for recurrent training. If the flight school or FBO offers maintenance, fuel, or pilot supplies, the club could use these services. Another way to avoid competition is to have aircraft in the club that the FBO doesn’t offer, such as a taildragger, larger aircraft like a Cherokee Six or Saratoga, or higher end aircraft like a Cirrus. Maintaining a strong symbiotic relationship with your local flight school or FBO will always be beneficial in the long run.

Aviation Groups

There are many aviation-related organizations. Local chapters of groups like EAA, The Ninety-Nines, and Women in Aviation International are often looking for speakers, and a presentation to one of these groups might be an opportunity to present your ideas for starting a club or share what your existing club is all about. It helps to have an instructor from your club or local flight school on hand to speak with potential students or to give inactive pilots a gentle nudge to become current again.

As you work to spread awareness of your club, remember the power behind a good word-of-mouth following. When you excite the members of your local aviation community, the news can travel fast. Nothing provides more marketing power than a good honest recommendation from a friend or respected member of the aviation community.