Learning to fly

Joining the club

Aircraft and maintenance

Scheduling and trips

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are common questions that prospective members ask about the club, with links to more detail on other areas of the site. Feel free to stop by, email or call if you have additional questions. Directions for all three are on the home page.

How long does it take to learn to fly?
The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight training to earn a Private certificate. This number is rarely met by students not attending full-time flight schools, which we are not. The national average is about 72 flight hours, and our students average about 65. Additional ground training is also necessary to prepare for the required FAA written test. It usually takes at least three to six months to accumulate that flight time, depending on what time of year you start.
Return to topic list.

How much time commitment per week is it?
To make your investment count, you should try to fly at least once weekly during your training. Two or three times per week is even better if you can swing it. Skills tend to erode too much between sessions if you go less than once a week. Return to topic list.

How much does it cost?
Expenses for 65 hours of flight training in our Cessna 152s (part dual and part solo), ground instruction, books, supplies, medical exam fees, FAA written test and flight examiner fees, total about $4,500. The cost per hour compares favorably with many other activities, like private golf or tennis lessons, for example. Our Expenses page has more details. Return to topic list.

What is a Discovery flight? How do I schedule one?
A Discovery flight is a 25-35 minute introductory flight in one of our training aircraft. After a short briefing about the flight and a preflight inspection of the plane, you will sit in the pilot's seat and fly much of the time with only minimal help from the instructor. You can get an idea what flying your own plane will be like and get to know one of the instructors that could teach you to fly.

We can schedule a flight with any open instructor on the day of your choice, or you can stop by to meet some of the instructors and select one you feel comfortable with. The cost is $35. You should allow at least an hour or so to allow for the preflight activities and discussion of any questions you might have. Contact information for scheduling is on the home page.

Bear in mind that we do not do Discovery flights in bad weather (low clouds, high winds, poor visibility, turbulence, etc.). The instructor will usually call to cancel if weather looks bad, but if you're coming from very far, it would be wise to confirm the flight a few hours in advance if you haven't heard anything, particularly during late fall, winter, or early spring. Return to topic list.

How many instructors do you have?
We have four full-time and six part time instructors, although the size of the roster varies from time to time. We always try to bring in more instructors when demand becomes higher to ensure that students can schedule as often as they like. Return to topic list.

Who is the best/most experienced instructor?
Our chief flight instructor has the most experience, and will handle periodic progress checks throughout your training. Our other instructors undergo standardization training when they start with us to ensure that their knowledge and teaching methods are up to our standards, and that maneuvers and ground training are accomplished the same way by all instructors. It is more important to choose an instructor who you are comfortable with, and who has a compatible schedule. Return to topic list.

How do I join the club?
We have several classes of membership available for interested applicants. Student or licensed pilots who wish to fly club airplanes should join as Flying class members. There is a $125 initiation fee and $60 security deposit (which is refundable when you leave the club). Monthly Flying dues are $35. Flying members may vote in club meetings or elections, and serve on the Board of Directors.

If you do not want flying privileges, you may join as an Associate member, and will have access to club events, receive the newsletter, etc. Associate members may not fly club aircraft, vote in club meetings or elections, or serve on the Board of Directors. Associate dues are $25 per year.

A Family membership is open to legally married spouses of Flying members or their dependent children or wards under the age of 21. All Family members must pay the full Flying initiation fee. The original (primary) Flying member pays full flying dues; the others pay $15 per month. Family members have the same flying privileges as other Flying class members, but only the primary member has the right to vote or hold office in the club. Return to topic list.

Why should I join the club instead of going to an FBO?
Our rates for aircraft and instruction are comparable to others in the area. We also charge $35 month dues, which FBOs do not. Benefits paid for by those dues include social events, often with food supplied by the club, newsletters, free safety and training seminars, and loaner equipment such as books, instrument charts, headsets, etc. Our aircraft are maintained to the highest standards and equipped, both technically and cosmetically, much better than typical rental aircraft. Our cross-country reservation system allows for long flights without per-diem fees sometimes charged by FBOs; you pay only for flight time. Return to topic list.

What aircraft do you have? How are they equipped?

We have three Cessna 152s, two Cessna 172 Skyhawks, a Cessna 182 Skylane and Beechcraft Debonair. The 172s, 182 and Debonair are equipped and legal for flight under IFR.

Plane Dual VOR Glideslope DME ADF LORAN VFR GPS Autopilot
Cessna 172 Y Y Y Y Y* N Y*
Cessna 182 Y Y Y Y Y N Y
Debonair** Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

*In 777UM only. **Also has StrikeFinder

Our full-time director of maintenance maintains the aircraft to the highest standards. Two of the 152s and one Skyhawk were completely refurbished recently and sport new paint and interiors, with better-than-new comfort and lighting. One Skyhawk has long-range tanks; the other a 180hp engine for increased load-carrying capacity. Training for ratings requiring high-performance and complex aircraft time can be accomplished in the Skylane or Debonair. Return to topic list.

How are your planes maintained?
We have a full-time Director of Maintenance who is responsible for the upkeep of all our airplanes. Our in-house maintenance bay is equipped to handle almost all repairs, including engine changes. Since we are not legally a commercial operator, we are required to perform only the annual inspections mandated by the Federal Aviation Regulations for private aircraft owners. For extra safety, however, we do perform the equivalent of a commercial operator's 100-hour inspection (which is almost as comprehensive as an annual) two or three times a year on each plane. Return to topic list.

Is it hard to reserve aircraft?
For flights up to five hours away from Ann Arbor, members can schedule up to one week in advance. Usually the schedule for the peak periods fills up fairly quickly in the summer, so it is important not to delay your scheduling until the last minute. Other times of the year it is somewhat easier. We have a
cross-country reservation system for trips longer than five hours [see next question]. Return to topic list.

Can I take trips in Club aircraft?
The 172s, 182 and Debonair are available for long flights, up to 10 days in some cases. Reservations can be made up to two months in advance, and will be evaluated by our cross-country manager based on several criteria including distance, amount of flight time relative to total time away from base, other requests for the same aircraft, and recency of the member's last cross-country flight. If your flight time will not exceed two hours per day away from base, you may not get the airplane.

From time to time during the summer season, we have organized cross-country trips ranging from a few hours to overnight or weekends. See the Social page for details of upcoming trips. Return to topic list.

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