Brandon Breard is a 20-year-old student at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. He is also the founder and driving force creating the new Flying Hogs Aero-Club, based at Drake Field, which he said was inspired by the AOPA Flying Club Network.
Breard originally wanted to call it the Razorback Flying Club as an homage to the university’s mascot. “One of my professors suggested the Flying Pigs, but I put my own spin on it with Flying Hogs,” he said.
The idea for the club came in October, said Breard. “My original plan was to get together a group of pilots and get a discount rate at a local flight school in Fayetteville,” he said. “It didn’t work out, so someone suggested that I look at the AOPA Flying Club Network’s resources.”
Breard learned all about nonprofits that create flying clubs that control their aircraft and make flying affordable. He said he has already filed out the paperwork for the state to incorporate as a nonprofit. "I also have a board of directors, with a president a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer,” he said. “All the papers are prepared. We’re working on getting donations to raise money to file the forms.”
In forming the club, Breard praised the presidents of two existing clubs: Georgia Tech’s Yellow Jacket Flying Club and the Fort Smith Flying Club. “I contacted the president of the Yellow Jacket Flying Club, Shahin Mehrabanzad, last year. He was the one who gave me the idea about owning our own aircraft,” he said. “He also let me see all his incorporation documents and answered a ton of questions on how clubs are set up. He really helped me move along the process a lot faster.”
Breard also worked with Scott James, president of the Fort Smith Flying Club. “He gave me a lot of good advice on creating a timeframe to form the club and when to do filings. And AOPA’s guide on starting a flying club really helped me a lot,” he said.
The nonprofit status is a key part of forming the club, said Breard. “We don’t think we will be able to afford to buy a club plane, so we’ll need a donation. And with our nonprofit status, a donor can get nice tax write-off,” he said.
The club currently has six members, said Breard. “We haven’t advertised the club because we don’t have an aircraft yet. But as soon as our tax exempt forms are filed, we’ll start recruiting,” he said. “Next I’m hoping to get a list of alumni who own aircraft and cross reference them with the FAA database and do cold calls to see if anyone wants to donate their aircraft. We’re looking for a Cessna 172 or 152 to keep prices low for students.”
Breard couldn’t say what the membership fees would be until the club gets an aircraft. “I’d like to see a $250 buy-in, $60 a month in dues, and $60 an hour for flight time, wet,” he said.
Others in the process of starting a club should reach out to other clubs for advice, said Breard. “Every club wants to help. Everyone I’ve spoken with has been kind, helpful, and haven’t asked for anything in return,” he said. “They can help you get the ball rolling.”