The Candler Field Flying Club, based at Georgia’s Peach State Airport, is a relatively young club that formed in November 2009. That’s appropriate because it’s a club that was inspired by the Young Eagles and the need to train the next generation of general aviation pilots.
The club started offering Young Eagles flights early on, said President Glenn Marsh. “But it struck me to ask the question 'where do they go from here,’ and it was nowhere for these young people,” he said.
The desire to help young people learn to fly goes back a ways with Marsh. “I started flying in 1966, when I was 17,” he said. “I had that dream and needed help to do it. So now I have to give back and inspire young people to get into aviation.”
Marsh’s father, who was a World War II aviator and retired airline pilot, came up with the idea to form the club before he passed away. “So our family bought a Cessna 172 and donated it to the club,” he said. The club, which is affiliated with the Candler Field Museum, also had a Champ donated by a museum member.
The official name of the organization, which has 45 members, is the R.A. Marsh Flying Club, to honor Marsh’s father. “But we use the other name to associate with the museum,” he said.
The club currently operates as an LLC, but is considering changing its structure, said Marsh. “I listened to an AOPA seminar that discussed this, and it looks to us that we need to convert to 501 (c)(7). We started out of ignorance,” he said. “We’re not here to make money. We’re all volunteers and we’re a club, based on what was said during the seminar.”
The fleet has gone through some changes since the club was formed, said Marsh. “We replaced the Champ with a Citabria, and we now have three 172s,” he said. “We’re in the process of leasing a Cessna 182 and perhaps a Piper Apache.”
The one-time buy-in for the club is $500 for pilots and $200 for student pilots, said Marsh. “Dues are $70 a month unless a member flies at least two hours a month,” he said.
“We’re not trying to make money, but we have overhead costs. We want to get people flying rather than take their cash. It’s a win-win for everyone.” The club charges $90 an hour wet, using Hobbs time on all aircraft except the 182, which is $95 an hour, he added.
While the club does not employ flight instructors, it does have people it recommends, and some CFIs who are members, said Marsh. “We do encourage members to learn to fly using club aircraft,” he said.
For those starting their clubs, Marsh advised them to control overhead and maintenance costs. “We’re lucky that we have a great guy who’s on our board and gives us great rates,” he said. “Look at leasing aircraft, and look at clubs that are already set up and established and learn from them.”