It’s Just Lunch

lunch2When was the last time you were invited out to lunch by an entire Approach Control facility over the radio? It probably hasn’t happened in a while if at all. Well the other day, the Leading Edge Flying Club got just that!

Ground Effect Advisor’s Louis Bowers turned what would normally be a simple and quick flight review into a 6 airplane fly out! Louis thought it would be awesome to take his flight review over the top and extend the learning and entertainment opportunity to the entire Leading Edge Flying Club. Putting Mr. Bowers’ thought into action, six flying club airplanes fired up on the morning of 4/13/13 and flew VFR into St. Louis Lambert International (STL). Don’t think it went unnoticed when a caravan of weekend warriors showed up asking for Class B clearance into one of the largest airports in the Midwest.

St. Louis Approach really thought something was up when a Piper Archer, Piper Dakota, Cessna 172, Cirrus SR20 and two Cirrus SR22’s all landed at once. Approach control asked one of the airplanes if something was going on at STL – Lambert International that day.
The pilot responded “Yeah! We are going to lunch!”

Jealousy presented itself quickly at the STL Tracon Center when they responded “Next time you come, fly into Spirit of St. Louis, and we’ll join you!”

lunchHow about that!? What was going to be a simple VFR Flight Review turned into a standing invitation and injection of fun for lunch between controllers and pilots! This is the true demonstration of what a flying club can do. As the club flies by, they turn heads. The level of fun is infectious and people want to join in.

Think about the learning opportunity for the pilots in the airplanes too! Flying VFR into a Class B airport isn’t something weekend warriors regularly do. It’s a pretty incredible learning opportunity and confidence booster. This one goes down in the books!

The real question is, who is going to have the honor of buying lunch next time? The pilots, or controllers of St. Louis Approach? A flip of a coin will have to decide that battle!

By |April 30th, 2013|Fly Outs|0 Comments

The Tank Ran Dry

Why do we always have to keep our tanks filled in aviation? Where in the rule book does it say we have to keep our tanks filled? Oh….It does say something in the rule book about filling your tanks up.

§ 91.151 Fuel requirements for flight in VFR conditions.

(a) No person may begin a flight in an airplane under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed—
(1) During the day, to fly after that for at least 30 minutes; or
(2) At night, to fly after that for at least 45 minutes.

But seriously……
Think about what you can put into a tank. Need help? Here is what I wrote down in this order:

1) Sharks
2) Fuel
3) Money
4) Soldiers
5) Rubber Super Balls
6) Nothing?

Okay, if we want to fly an airplane, we need to put something in our tanks. The first thing that comes to mind is fuel. Metaphorically, we are filling our tanks with money. Are fuel and money really essential in aviation? Yes, if you want to fly. No if you want to hang out at the airport.

Money is one of the biggest hurdles flying clubs run into. The money tank needs to have something in it so that the flying club’s members can have access to airplanes. I have heard that money is one of the biggest obstacles people face when starting a flying club. Unfortunately, clubs may be over thinking the problem. Why do you need money to start a flying club? The answer is you don’t.

All you need to have in order to start a flying club is a good aviation story to tell. That’s it! More members of flying clubs participate in social events than they do flying. Out of a roster of nearly 80 members, only 20 members actively fly. The rest tell stories, hang out at the airport and enjoy the company. As I write this I am going to add another item to my “What can you fill a tank with” list:

7) Stories

Think about how full the tanks can get with stories! If you have a logbook, you have stories to tell. If you have ever thought about aviation, you have stories to tell. If you have….okay, I’ll shut up. You get the point. Why not find a friend, go to the airport, tell a story and call yourself a Flying Club? You can make your wildest aviation dreams come true and not spend a dime. It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Your club could be the best flying club in the entire world with zero airplanes, zero money, and tons of stories. Heck, you can prove it by even registering:

Who cares if you have empty fuel tanks and piggybanks? It doesn’t mean you should be excluded from aviation.


By |December 7th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Are Flight Schools Dead?

Flight Schools Are Dead:

Yup, flight schools are dead. It’s a tired, worn out model of learning how to fly. The flight school is like a payphone. Payphones were once a roaring industry before the advent of cell phones; now you likely have no idea where the closest payphone is. It’s really unfortunate….actually it isn’t at all. Are you sad that payphones are gone? Do you feel bad that you carry an iPhone now instead of making collect calls? I didn’t think so.

When were you last proud of being a graduate of a particular flight school? If you are having trouble thinking of such a moment, I’m not surprised. Most flight schools are like the payphone industry, they haven’t changed from the day they started and they are dropping like flies. Just think about having to wrangle quarters to make a long distance call, YUCK! That is the same feeling of writing a big check to go learn how to fly at a flight school for which you aren’t even proud to be a student or alumni.

People still need to learn how to fly, but where do they go? Well, go to a flying club! That’s one option. It will be a wonderful experience. All of the flying club members will be genuinely excited and interested in your journey toward achieving your aviation dreams. The support network that you have will be as strong as the membership of your club. What kind of support network will you get at a flight school? You’ll definitely be paying for one, but odds are there will not be any.

A lot of the learning at flying clubs comes from social learning. It’s like a bunch of pilots sitting around a campfire telling war stories and reliving a career’s worth of “I Learned About Flying from That” magazine articles. There is so much value in these stories and words of encouragement. Everybody is on the same flying team and is committed to winning by the slaughter rule.

Everybody is an educator at flying clubs. Each club has its “designated” CFI’s but let’s be real here, you learn from everybody. Think about it, you have a club member base that basically consists of all of your teachers for your favorite subject, aviation. Each person in the club has their own talents and things they are really good at to bring from their own outside experiences. This enhances the club, learning experience and delight to a level that cannot be touched by any school.

You don’t even have to be a pilot to learn a ton. It’s okay to pique your curiosity, it won’t really cost anything and you’ll be so much safer. Go ahead, try it!

By |November 27th, 2012|News|0 Comments