New Hampshire’s Skyhaven Flying Club, based at Skyhaven Airport in Rochester, is unified by the goal of continuing to learn about aviation in a safe and fun manner, along with passing on knowledge to the next generation of pilots.
The club, with 44 members, was started in 1936, said President Steven Hyde. “Skyhaven Flying Club Inc., is a New Hampshire Voluntary Corporation, and a 501(c)(7), not-for-profit entity,” he said. “This entity structure is the best fit under the state’s statutes and flows from the fact that the club was originally a school club for the University of New Hampshire, located in nearby Durham.”
Skyhaven has two aircraft—a Cessna 172M and a 172P. Members pay dues of $55 a month. The 172M rents for $90 an hour wet, while the 172P goes for $97 an hour wet, using Hobbs time.
“Members are not charged for a minimum number of hours monthly, or annually,” said Hyde. “We do recognize social members, although we have a very small percentage of the club’s membership that enjoys this form of membership.”
While Skyhaven offers flight instruction, it is not in the business of providing primary flight training, said Hyde. “We have, over the course of the last several decades, had primary students. However we find that the instruction given by our incredibly talented CFIs tends to be more commonly recurrent training and IFR training,” he said. “Many of our members come to the club with a certificate and ratings and then advance their flight training by adding the IFR rating.”
Given that the club has a lower hourly rate than essentially all other aircraft rental outfits in the area with similar aircraft, Skyhaven is likely able to give a primary student the opportunity to obtain their certificate at a lower overall cost, said Hyde. “However, we are not in the business of doing so and act as a very good neighbor to the local operations providing primary flight training as their business focus,” he said.
Skyhaven hosts monthly “hangar meetings” that offer members a chance to swap stories, eat a good meal, and get in some free flying time, said Hyde. “These meetings are held at our hangars in Rochester and usually involve some sort of currency flight ops, or some presentation by one of our CFIs or other member or even a third party vendor on some educational aspect of flying,” he said. “These have included classroom-type presentations on the use of our avionics, pilotage and dead reckoning, navigation refreshers, aviation fire safety, short-field/soft-field ops, and so on.”
General aviation is for many, a want, or more appropriately in many cases a dream, rather than a need, said Hyde. “Clubs or people wishing to start one, would benefit from setting a plan in place that allows them to offer their members more than just the ability to fly, but offers them the ability to do so inexpensively at that, and offers them a social and educational element as well,” he said.