The NC86 flying club, formed in 1987 and based at North Carolina’s Lake Norman Airport, has a simple objective: to fly as cheaply as possible, said treasurer Bob Joyner. The club was named after a grass strip owned by one of its founders.
The club, created as a 501(c)(7), currently has 20 members and two Cessna 172 Skyhawks. “We’ve looked at other aircraft over the years, but we decided to be a 172 club. They are very forgiving aircraft and allow pilots to get up to speed quickly,” he said.
The objective for NC86 is to break even each year, said Joyner. “Our $65-a-month dues covers our fixed costs, insurance, tie downs, and property taxes,” he said. “Our hourly rate is $67 wet, including fuel.”
The club created a $6,000 buy-in fee in 2005 when it added the second Skyhawk, said Joyner. “The prospective member must then be voted into the club and checked out by a CFI in both planes before being authorized to schedule and reserve the planes,” he said. “The $6,000 price of a membership approximates the value of the club assets, the two planes, and engine reserve fund. We encourage members to maintain that price when selling, but the transaction is between the outgoing member and the prospective member.”
Members can keep the club’s aircraft overnight and on weekends, said Joyner. “We also allow members to take the aircraft on vacation,” he said. “We also have groups that try and go to Oshkosh and Sun ‘n Fun every year.”
The club does not offer flight training, but it does have a CFI as a member, said Joyner. “We encourage our members to use him. And when a new member joins, they are required to be checked out by our CFI,” he said.
Joyner said that new clubs should focus on compatibility during the formation process. “If there are squawks in the club, you need to address them immediately,” he said. “Having compatible members ensures that people are respectful when reserving planes. Finally, it’s important to keep your equipment well maintained.”