America’s Next Great Flying Club Takes Flight

americas_nextThe Ground Effect Advisors are pleased to announce that the winner of the first ever Flying Club Scholarship has successfully launched the Cape Fear Flying Club in Wilmington, NC. On May 31st Zachary (Zach) Piech was notified that he beat out one hundred and twenty five other applicants to win the Scholarship which offered financial support, consulting and product and services to help him get a flying club off the ground at Wilmington International Airport.

The club has officially been open for businesses for three months and has grown to ten members, including two Certified Flight Instructors. The members have logged over 40 hours in the clubs DA40 and the club is anticipating adding an additional DA40 (2005 DA40-FP) this Spring.

Ground Effect Advisors are thrilled with the success their winner has had. GEA Partner Todd McClamroch stated “We are thrilled to see the success Zach is having growing Cape Fear Flyers, it proves to us that he was truly an exceptional candidate for the scholarship and just needed the mentorship that Ground Effect Advisors and our partners could provide to make his dream a reality.”

The Ground Effect Advisors are contemplating offering the scholarship again in 2014. Additionally, the GEA team plans to publish an eBook this year sharing some of the learnings from their experiences managing flying clubs and with knowledge gained helping Zach Piech get the Cape Fear Flyers off the ground.

The Scholarship winner Piech received $1,000 from Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, 20 hours of consultation from the Ground Effect Advisors, and various products and services from partners including David Clark, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, Signature Flight Support, Cirrus Aircraft, Schedule Master, PilotEdge SimpleFlight and The cash prize helped cover most of the legal and filing fees needed to get the club started. Piech commented on the support he received “The Cape Fear Flying Club exists today because of the support of the Flying Club Scholarship, Ground Effect Advisors, AOPA, Ray Speciale and sponsors Sportys, David Clark and Schedule Master. The most challenging step for us was the legal framework and club documentation, a hurdle we cleared successfully thanks to the tremendous support we received.”

Ground Effect Advisors is grateful to the partners that helped make this scholarship a reality.

Ways to Modernize Your Flying Club

This week’s question comes to us from Steve from Denver, CO. He mentions their club has a surplus budget and are looking for ideas for ways to modernize their Flying Club. Al, Louis, Marc and Todd share their thoughts in this week’s edition of Contact the Tower:

Ground Effect Advisors Hit the Airwaves with Simple Flight Radio

GEA_radio_smallThe Ground Effect Advisors were guests on Simple Flight Radio this past week. The team was joined by the winner of their flying club scholarship, Zachary Piech, who will be launching a flying club at the Wilmington International Airport (KILM). Also appearing on the show was Jay Hahn representing three candidates that were given a runner-up scholarship to start a club at Jefferson City Memorial Airport.

This summer the Ground Effect Advisors will be working closely with both the winner and the runner-ups to help them navigate the process of getting a flying club off the ground. Listen to the episode on

Simple Flight Radio is a weekly, live radio show focused on finding amazing people doing amazing things in aviation. Tune in Sunday’s at 8pm Central.

Winner of First Ever Flying Club Scholarship Announced

scholarshipwinner_2After four months of receiving and evaluating 126 applications for the first ever Flying Club scholarship, Ground Effect Advisors (GEA) has announced their winning applicant. Zachary (Zach) Piech, of Wilmington, North Carolina and his prospective flying club, Cape Fear Flyers, will receive over $3,500 worth of products, services, and support from recognizable partners, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), David Clark, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, Signature Flight Support, Cirrus Aircraft, Schedule Master, PilotEdge and, all of which is geared towards getting the next great Flying Club off the ground.

“This has been an inspirational process, throughout”, said Al Waterloo, a GEA partner. “We received so many incredible applications, and Zach’s really jumped off of the page at us. Upon performing further due diligence on our previously announced finalists, we found him to embody everything we were seeking: passion; vision; drive; and of course, potential for sustained success. Zach has been working towards this day for over a year with little progress. As with most prospective Flying Clubs, navigating the complex landscape is difficult, with many bumps along the way. We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Zach and the prospect of making a lasting impact on the general aviation community in the Wilmington area”.

In a surprise move, GEA also awarded a runner-up scholarship to Chip Gentry, Jay Hahn, and Jeffrey Naught, who collectively submitted an application for a prospective Flying Club in Jefferson City, Missouri. The team from Jefferson City will receive $1,000 from AOPA and additional support from GEA to augment their efforts to establish a Flying Club.

“The quality and potential value to general aviation we saw in a Jefferson City Flying Club forced us to pivot from our original objective of awarding a single scholarship”, stated Todd McClamroch, a GEA partner. “With incredible support from AOPA, we are quite excited to extend this program to another applicant with qualities too good to pass up.”

Beyond working with the applicants from Wilmington, North Carolina and Jefferson City, Missouri, GEA and AOPA will be jointly developing various tools intended to assist the remaining pool of scholarship applicants in launching a Flying Club. Additional details to follow.

By |May 30th, 2013|News|0 Comments

From Surviving To Thriving; A Guide to Effective Club Leadership Webinar

Starting and building a flying club into a successful operation requires effective leadership at its core. The tone and energy set at the top are two of the most critical elements in the foundation for near and long-term success. Through his experiences in charting the course for Leading Edge Flying Club, Ground Effect Advisor’s own Marc Epner has accumulated a wealth of knowledge regarding the essential management ingredients of a thriving organization. Please join him tonight, April 17, 2013, at 8:00 PM EDT as he partners with AOPA’s Center for the Advancement of the Pilot Community to host a live webinar: From Surviving to Thriving; A Guide to Effective Club Leadership. Registration and other details are available here.

Questions and comments will be fielded during the webinar.

By |April 17th, 2013|Webinars|0 Comments

Selecting the Right Aircraft for Flying Clubs

sunshinesThe flying club push being seen throughout the industry is going gangbusters! Or to be a complete avgeek, the flying club push is at “full throttle”. Ground Effect Advisors is an active part of that effort; as evidenced by the launch of our scholarship to help start the next great flying club this past week. The Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association is also a key player in the drive to build excitement among fellow aviators about the endless potential of flying in a community-based environment! The list of specific endeavors is too large to list here. All share the same passion and excitement as we come together to change the aviation world for the better.

Another piece of exciting news is that AOPA has asked Marc Epner of Ground Effect Advisors to lead the next AOPA flying club webinar. It only takes a few seconds of speaking with Marc to realize the amount of passion he has for aviation, flying clubs, and giving back! It’s contagious. Please join AOPA and Marc on February 13th, 2013 @ 8PM EST. Register to attend here: ‘Selecting the Right Aircraft’. Marc will be sharing some of his expert insight into the aircraft selection process and its
implications on a flying club’s fleet and membership. The content of the webinar is aimed not just at those starting a new flying club, but to aid in the growth and sustainability of existing clubs as well.

Marc will discuss:

  • Guidelines for establishing a club culture and its impact on the fleet make-up;
  • Fleet options and sources;
  • Ownership options; and
  • Identification of stakeholders, and understanding their value proposition.

With that as a backdrop, you will be poised to make something special happen at your local airport. If you feel your community could use a flying club, and you have the energy and passion to bring your vision to reality, please apply for the Ground Effect Advisors’ flying club scholarship. The scholarship will equip your club with the tools, advice, motivation and excitement to launch a successful flying club.

By |February 5th, 2013|News|0 Comments

Club Fly with Me

This is what you happens when you mix flying clubs and friendship! 44 pilots a lot of breakfast, and Frank Sinatra wannabe’s!!! Representing six Flying Clubs from three states met up this weekend at KJVL for friendship and flight. It was incredibly awesome. Don’t believe us? Just watch us serenade you.

By |January 27th, 2013|Fly Outs|0 Comments

Turning Away Flying Club Members?

This week’s question comes to us from Susan in New York. Susan is wondering if there is a politically correct way to turn away an applicant that does not fit the culture of the club they are trying to build. Al, Louis, Marc and Todd share their thoughts in this week’s edition of Contact the Tower:

By |January 21st, 2013|Contact the Tower|1 Comment

Not-For-Profit Flying Clubs Competing with For-Profit Providers

This week’s question comes to us from Steve from Southern California. Steve is looking to create a not-for-profit flying club and is interested in learning how to coexist and compete with for-profit providers at the same airport. Al, Louis, Marc and Todd share their thoughts in this week’s edition of Contact the Tower:

Creating a Flying Club Budget

This week’s question comes to us from Tom from Ohio. He asks what should be considered when creating a budget for a flying club. Al, Louis, Marc and Todd share their thoughts in this week’s edition of Contact the Tower: