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From bylaws to budgetsFrom bylaws to budgets

Tips to structure your startup flying clubTips to structure your startup flying club

When a flying club or other group with a formal structure encounters a question about such matters as the duties of its officers or how it should schedule membership meetings, the answers are usually found in the organization’s bylaws.
Flying Club 150 Giveaway

Every club should adopt a set of bylaws for the clarity of purpose and the definition of members’ responsibilities they provide—a key reason why having a set of bylaws is a requirement for a flying club in formation to be eligible to win a Reimagined Cessna 150.

Question 6 of the online application for the Flying Club 150 Giveaway requests that you upload a copy of your club’s draft bylaws.

What provisions should bylaws include?

This page of AOPA’s online resources for Flying Clubs explains that among the areas typically included in bylaws are the purpose of the club, officers and duties, membership types and requirements, meeting frequency, meeting notice, financial/accounting practices, election frequency, and dissolution.

Bylaws offer a comprehensive foundation for club governance. But they don’t set forth your club’s day-to-day operating rules. The operating rules are the policies created to address how club members may schedule and use club aircraft, the aircraft maintenance procedures, and more. Because everyday operating policies may need to be updated quickly, such decisions are more easily left to the club’s officers instead of being postponed until a vote by the full membership on a bylaws change can be scheduled.

Another item you will be asked to provide in draft form to complete your startup flying club’s application for the Flying Club 150 Giveaway is the flying club’s budget.

A dues structure is an integral part of the club’s budget, inasmuch as dues provide operating revenue for the flying club. Here again, AOPA’s online resources for flying clubs provide guidance by explaining key concepts of budgeting: “Revenue for the club will include the initiation fee or new member buy-in, monthly or annual membership dues, an hourly rate for aircraft rental, and possibly assessments for special events or major upgrades or acquisitions.

“Expenses are generally divided into two categories—fixed costs, such as insurance and hangar or tiedown fees, and variable costs, like fuel and oil. Most flying clubs use monthly dues to cover their fixed costs and revenue from hourly rates to cover variable costs. However, a club is free to choose how it wants to generate funds for specific purposes. To determine the monthly dues, clubs generally divide the fixed expenses by the number of members.”

Submit your budget and dues structure in draft form in the space provided on the online application form, or, if you prefer, attach a file as an Excel spreadsheet.

Topics: You Can Fly, Ownership, Pilot Training and Certification

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