What is a flying club?
A flying club is a non-profit organization that provides aircraft rental for flight instructors, student pilots and rated pilots. The flying club consists of multiple airplanes and owners that rent their individual aircraft through the club. All pilots pay a membership fee and monthly dues and they are able to schedule the aircraft through an online schedule master. This helps disperse the cost of the airplane for the aircraft owner, and allows everyone to fly at an affordable rate. The membership dues go towards managing the club and club insurance.
What is a flight school?
A flight school is a for-profit business that employs instructors and owns or leases a fleet of aircraft. A flight school has to pay the same costs as a club, plus provide a return on the owner’s investment, plus pay more overhead.
What is the advantage of flying with the clubs?
You can receive the same quality of flight instruction or better in the same quality of airplanes for less money and with more personal attention. Also, once you earn your certificate, you will have access to scheduling a plane whenever you would like.
Who instructs in the clubs?
Any person who holds a flight instructor certificate can join a flying club, be “checked out” in the airplanes, and then begin instructing. Freelance instructors set their own rates and policies and choose their own syllabus and utilize the clubsí fleets of aircraft for flight instruction.
Because instructors and students are both club members, you maintain your own relationship with the club, becoming a member, scheduling the airplanes, maintaining currency, and paying dues and aircraft rentals. You hire the instructor separately, and pay him/her for his/her services. To schedule a flight, you coordinate with the instructorís and the clubís schedule.
What is the advantage of flying with a school?
The only advantage of flying with a school is if they are able to offer VA benefits. Only Flight Schools that are 141 certified can offer this. There are two categories of flight training set by the FAA, part 141 and part 61. They are exactly the same training requirements, but part 141 is more strict with regards to the syllabus used and the order in which each training flight is conducted.
How do I choose?
Go to all the flight schools. Visit the clubs. Ask questions. Realize that anyone can put up a website with a picture of someone in an airline uniform. A professional office with a secretary is impressive, but remember who pays for it. Anyone can claim to be the fast-track to a career in aviation. Not everyone is honest so trust your gut. Find somewhere or someone that will treat you well as a customer and that will deal with you honestly. No matter where you learn to fly, good training comes from a good instructor with a good syllabus.