Waukegan, Ill.-based Stick and Rudder Flying Club, formed in 1948, prides itself on offering members outstanding flight training and aircraft rentals at affordable rates. Members have the chance to fly in Class D airspace that’s not too busy, but busy enough to learn and be challenged.
The club, based at Waukegan Regional Airport, has 117 members, said Ken Serzynski, who serves as general manager and is an instrument flight instructor. “We are a nonprofit that was created in order to provide the means to learn to fly and to continue flying at the lowest possible cost while achieving the highest standards for maintenance, safety, and training in a club-friendly atmosphere,” he said.
Stick and Rudder offers full, month-to-month flying, and nonflying social memberships, said Serzynski. Full members pay a $200 fee to join, then monthly dues of $55 a month, which covers things including maintenance, insurance, and day-to-day club operations. Month-to-month and social members pay $55 and $25 a month, respectively.
The club owns a Cessna 152 and two Cessna 172s, said Serzynski. “The Cessna 152 cost[s] $86.00 an hour. The 172P is $100 an hour, and the 172S is $120.00 an hour,” he said. “Members can save 5 percent when they buy blocks of five hours or more.”
Members have access to flight instruction on the club’s three aircraft, and there are 20 student pilots currently in training, said Serzynski. Instructors cost $40 an hour. The club estimates it costs members about $7,595 to get their private pilot certificate, based on 60 hours of flying and 35 hours for an instructor.
Club events include a Christmas party, an annual safety day event every spring, and an annual club picnic with a spot landing contest and pig roast, said Serzynski.
When starting a club, reach out for experienced help from other clubs, said Serzynski. “Talk with an experienced A&P mechanic about aircraft maintenance,” he said. “And it’s very important to talk to a very experienced insurance agent. Also, someone needs to be in charge of running the club and handling maintenance. And finances need to be watched.”