DisclaimerThis FAQ is for general informational purposes only, and nothing within it should be construed as an express or implied warranty, contract or other agreement. Should anything in this FAQ conflict with the club’s bylaws, Shareholder’s Agreement, or scheduling policies, those documents shall prevail.
What’s the history and mission of the club?
The club was founded in 1981 with 10 members and a Cessna 152 — we have been in existence for 31 years, an excellent record. Our club’s purpose, then and now, is stated in our bylaws: “To provide for its members convenient means for flying at the most economical rates.”
In 1991, the club expanded to 20 members, sold the 152 and purchased N8165C, a 1976 Piper Warrior, and 31969, a 1978 Piper Archer II. In December 2003 the club expanded to 28 members and purchased N8035G, a 1971 Cessna Cardinal RG, a complex aircraft with retractable landing gear and a variable pitched prop.
We believe that as a fleet, our IFR-certified Warrior, Archer, and Cardinal RG offer a broad choice of aircraft for excellent mission suitability. The fleet accommodates low-cost training or currency flying, speed, range and payload for cross-countries, and appropriate aircraft for most of the commonly sought ratings and certificates.
What is the structure of the club?
Chandelle Flying Club Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation registered with the state of Texas. The club owns the aircraft and other assets, such as cash on hand and supplies. Each member has purchased a share in the corporation, and as such owns a proportional interest in the club’s assets. Thus, as a shareholder in the club, you are an aircraft owner!
The club’s operation is governed by its bylaws.
The business of the club is directed by a four-member board of directors, who are elected annually. Day-to-day operations are overseen by the officers, which include a president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and maintenance officers, who are all also elected annually.
How do I join
A new club member joins the club by purchasing a share from a departing member, at a price negotiated directly between buyer and seller. Every new member is required by our bylaws to be approved by our board of directors and to sign a Shareholder’s Agreement, after which you will be issued a stock certificate and become a full shareholder and member of the club. Contact club secretary Jennifer Whitley, who will put you in touch with any existing members seeking to sell there shares or place you on a confidential waiting list. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the best flying deal in Austin!
How is the value of a share determined?
The cost of a share is directly negotiated between the buyer and seller. But generally, a good starting point is to consider that a share represents a proportional interest in the club’s assets (aircraft, supplies, and cash on hand), and then take market conditions into account. As of August 2015, a share in the 28-member club is valued at over $10,000.
What are the costs of club flying?
The club operates at cost — the actual cost of flying our aircraft. All members pay monthly dues, which cover our fixed expenses such as insurance, annual inspection, and hangar rental, and hourly rates, which cover operating expenses such as fuel, oil, maintenance, and engine reserves.
As of September 2012, the club dues are $107 per month, and the wet rates , depending on where you buy fuel, are:
- Warrior – $80 – $101/hour
- Archer – $86 – $109/hour
- Cardinal RG. – $102 – $130/hour
Refueling at less expensive airports can save you up to $28/hour off of the Bergstrom-based fuel rates. See the Fuel Reimbursement Policy for more information. The board retains the authority and responsibility to adjust dues and hourly rates at any time to cover the club’s actual costs.
Hourly rates are wet (they include fuel and oil) and are based on Tach hours. Unlike some rental aircraft agreements, there is no minimum charge for overnight or extended trips — you pay only for your flying time.
It is possible for the club to assess members for unexpected expenses or significant upgrades to the aircraft (new paint, avionics, interiors, etc). Assessments are rare, but they can happen. In the past club members have been given a year to pay assessments without interest. With 28 members, even a large expense such as a $4000 new interior is much less painful when you only have to pay $142 over a year.
How do the costs of club flying compare with area rentals?
If you fly around four hours a month, you’ll come out ahead compared to renting. Your savings start to multiply the more you fly. And, as mentioned previously, you pay no minimum hourly time for overnight, extended, or cross-country trips. Compare your club costs to some of the rental rates available locally (these prices are current as of September 2012):
Pilot’s Choice at GTU rents Warriors for $125, Archers for $130, and 172RGs for $135.
Texas State Aviation at HYI rents Cessna 172s for $135/hour
Austin Academy of Aviation at AUS rents Cessna 172s for $148/hour
Many of our members, even if they can’t average four hours per month, find the increased availability compared to rental aircraft to be a significant advantage to club membership.
There is a gigantic difference in the quality of the General Aviation experience when you own the airplane compared to renting. The club is nothing like an FBO. When a member flies a club airplane, he or she owns it in every since of the word. There is no ‘check out at the desk’, there is no worry about returning keys, the club planes are available to be scheduled for flying or maintenance 24/7 every day of every year.
What’s the scheduling policy?
The club uses AircraftClubs.com for scheduling aircraft. Both phone and Web access are available and are quite user-friendly.
The scheduling policies that you can read on our web site have served us well for years, though as with any aspect of club operation they’re open to change. In general, it’s our experience that an airplane will be available at least 90% of the time you want it. Flexibility, consideration and common sense go a long way toward achieving this goal!
How available are the airplanes?
Due to rising gas prices and busy lives, the planes are very underutilized. We can provide you with a temporary login to see what the schedule has looked like recently — please contact club secretary Jennifer Whitley for details.
The Piper Archer is utilized the most as it is regarded as the most efficient airplane to fly and because of its upgraded avionics. The Piper Warrior is used second most, and Cessna 177 – Cardinal is utilized the least. Reasons for the low use of the Cardinal is due to insurance requirements (members must have logged 3 hours in the same make and model as the insured aircraft in the preceding 180 days) and the fact that the Cardinal is a complex aircraft. Typically, only about 1/4 of the members are current at any given time to fly the Cardinal.
Below are screenshots of the schedules of each plane for a typical month. click on the thumbnail to enlarge.
What are the checkout requirements for club flying?
The club establishes its checkout requirements to parallel those required by our insurance company. These requirements can change and those listed below should be considered as a rough guideline only; the club secretary will inform you of current requirements when you join the club. The club membership currently includes one CFI, though you may use any CFI you wish for both your checkout flights and any further training. Club members are happy to recommend CFIs who are familiar with our aircraft and we maintain a database of CFIs on our Yahoo Groups site.
Currently, our insurance carrier (Avemco) requires that, to be insured as a club pilot, you:
- Must have a current and effective medical certificate (unless a pre-solo student pilot);
- Must satisfy the FAA’s flight review requirements; and,
- Must have received a check-out from, and written approval of, a certificated flight instructor in the same make and model as each insured aircraft.
Note that while our insurance policy requires a checkout in the same make and model as each club aircraft, your checkout does not have to be in an actual club airplane if you already have a logged endorsement from a CFI in that make and model. However, it is always a good idea to get a thorough checkout in the actual club airplanes to familiarize yourself with each aircraft’s unique combination of avionics, instruments, and handling qualities. Consequently, we strongly encourage our members to initially fly with an instructor in each club plane. The club does not require pilots to use any particular instructor. Members can choose any CFI who is qualified and current for the type of instruction to be given.
Additionally, to be insured in the complex aircraft, you:
- Must have a private, commercial, or ATP certificate;
- Must have at least 100 hours of total logged flight time;
- Must have at least the following logged pilot time in the same make and model as the insured aircraft prior to acting as pilot in command:
- 10 hours if member has less than 50 hours of logged pilot time in retractable gear aircraft; or;
- 5 hours if member has 50 or more hours of logged flight time in retractable gear aircraft; or;
- 1 hour if member has 500 or more hours total logged flight time and 100 or more hours in retractable gear aircraft;
- Must have at least 3 hours logged pilot time in the same make and model as the insured aircraft in the preceding 180 days, or have taken and passed a currency checkout in the insured aircraft with a written approval from a CFI in the preceding 45 days.
- A member may receive dual flight instruction in the insurance aircraft from a CFI to meet these requirements.
How is maintenance handled?
The club has two maintenance officers per airplane, who are responsible for arranging recurring and unscheduled maintenance. Some of our members help hold down our costs by doing some of the allowed preventive maintenance (oil changes, etc.). Of course, as pilot in command, you’re responsible per FAR 91.7 and 91.403 for determining that the aircraft is airworthy prior to every flight.
Squawks are handled by noting the discrepancy in the Hobbs book (so as to give the next pilot a head’s up) and then by calling one of the maintenance officers. The club also runs an e-mail list and a note dropped to the list will often result in helpful suggestions from your fellow pilots.
The club does owner-assisted annuals and all members are encouraged to attend, as it’s a great way to help out and learn a lot about our airplanes.
We’re proud of our dedication to keeping our aircraft well-maintained.
What kind of flying do club pilots do?
Our “average” member is a private pilot. Our pilot is likely instrument-rated or is pursuing the rating, and is also interested in the complex endorsement or the additional certificates offered by our Cardinal RG. He or she flies for pleasure, training and currency, Texas-area cross-countries, and occasional longer trips. Naturally there is considerable variance; some of the ratings held by current and former members include helicopter, glider, seaplane, multiengine, and CFII.
What are the advantages of being in a flying club?
We’ll all tell you — it’s the cheapest way around to fly.
But there are a lot of other upsides too. Our members have been flying these planes for years and you’ll tap into their extensive knowledge of the aircraft. You’ll never be at a loss for a safety pilot, or a friend for that $100 hamburger. Since we do owner-assisted annuals, you’ll get great hands-on experience with maintaining our aircraft. There are opportunities to serve as a board member or officer and learn a lot about club operation and aircraft ownership. Our e-mail list is a great way to keep in touch with club pilots and get tips on anything related to aviation. Plus, we regularly get together for plane washes and club parties.
What are the advantages of being based at Bergstrom?
Operating out of busy, radar-controlled Class C airspace is excellent experience and offers an additional safety margin for those pilots who enjoy having a second set of eyes. Bergstrom offers four ILS approaches, and San Marcos, Lockhart, Georgetown, Taylor, Giddings, and Lakeway are a short flight away for training opportunities.
Club members also enjoy exceptional convenience due to the club’s hangar agreement with Signature Flight Support. You have the choice of parking your car near our hangars, preflighting at the hangar and using the flight-planning room there; or of calling Signature prior to your arrival at the airport, where they will tow the plane to the FBO, fuel it to your specifications, and put it away for you when you return. The FBO also offers a flight-planning room, pilot’s lounge, and wash rack, as well as a conference room that the club can use for its meetings.
The club leases three T-hangars at Bergstrom, one for each aircraft. Signature still provides the same tow-to-the-ramp service for that airplane. We have been very happy with Signature’s service — they’re great folks. Signature provides a significant fuel price discount to our members.
What happens if I decide to sell my share?
Should you decide to leave the club, you may sell your share to any individual who is approved by the board at a cost negotiated directly between you and the buyer. Often, the club has a waiting list of interested buyers, and you are encouraged to contact the club secretary for that information prior to your sale. Of course, we want you to stay. We have several 10-year and 5-year members and hope you’ll be one of them!
Where do I go for more information?
Our Web Site offers a lot of information, including our bylaws, scheduling policies, the Shareholder’s Agreement, and specs on our current fleet. Contact a member that is selling a share, or contact the club members for more information with any other questions you have!