The Arkansas-based Texarkana Flying Club has been in operation for 32 years despite a drop in membership after the global recession that started in 2008. The club, with 30 members, is working hard to bring in new members, said Texarkana Flying Club President Kelly Kelmer.
The club, based at Texarkana Regional Airport, has three aircraft in its fleet: a 1946 Aeronca Champ, a 2008 Remos G-3/600, and a 1975 Cessna 182P. “We use the Champ as our primary trainer,” said Kelmer.
The rates for club aircraft are reasonable, said Kelmer. The Champ is $89 per Hobbs hour, the Remos is $109, and the Cessna 182 is $145, he said. All prices are based on a wet rate.
Full membership is $500, and a sport pilot membership is $250, said Kelmer. “We charge $130 a month dues for full members and $90 a month for sport pilot members,” he said. “Dues mainly address our fixed costs, like our aircraft, hangar, and maintenance.”
The club offers flight training, said Kelmer. “We currently have seven students and four instructors. We also have a chief CFI who oversees all instruction,” he said. “If you’re a really good student and follow your instructor closely, you can get a private pilot certificate for $6,500.” The club also offers sport and commercial pilot certificates, and the instrument rating, he added.
Event-wise, the club is focused on safety and membership meetings, said Kelmer. “But we also go out into the community, especially with local schools,” he said. “We go to classrooms and give away discovery flights for different events and fundraisers, all to promote general aviation.”
Texarkana Flying Club also has a yearly open house. “We want to explain what we do and show people they can afford to get a private pilot license and have access to reasonably [priced] aircraft. That’s the lifeblood of our club,” he said.