This 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. 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 2003 the club expanded to 28 members and purchased N8035G—a 1971 Cessna Cardinal RG and a complex aircraft with retractable landing gear and a constant-speed prop.
We believe that as a fleet, our IFR-certified Warrior and Archer offer a broad choice of aircraft for a variety of missions. 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 of the corporation, and owns a proportional interest in the club’s assets. Thus, as a shareholder in the club, you are an aircraft owner!
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?
One joins the club by purchasing a share from a departing member at a price negotiated directly between buyer and seller. Every new member must be approved by our board of directors and sign a Shareholder’s Agreement, after which you’ll be issued a stock certificate and become a full shareholder and member of the club.
The new member liaison can put you in touch with any existing members seeking to sell their shares, or if none are available, place you on a confidential waiting list. We look 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. A good start would be the proportional value of the club’s net assets (aircraft, supplies, and cash on hand).
What are the costs of club flying?
Monthly dues cover our fixed expenses such as insurance, annual inspection, and hangar rental. Our hourly rates cover operating expenses, such as fuel, oil, maintenance, and engine reserves.
Hourly rates are wet (fuel and oil included) and are based on tach hours. Unlike some rentals, there is no minimum charge for overnight or extended trips; you only pay for your flying time. See current rates for more information.
Refueling at less expensive airports can offer significant savings. 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.
While rare, the club can assess members for unexpected expenses or significant upgrades to the aircraft (new paint, avionics, interiors, etc). In the past, club members have been given a year to pay assessments without interest. This means large expenses such as a new interior or avionics upgrades are much less painful when they’re divided 28 ways.
How do the costs of club flying compare with area rentals?
If you fly around four hours per month, you’ll come out ahead compared to renting. For comparison, here are some local rates for similarly-equipped airplanes (as-of May 2019):
Pilot’s Choice at GTU rents Warriors for $130 and Archers for $135 per Hobbs hour.
Genesis Aero at GTU rents Cessna 172s for $160 per Hobbs hour.
Austin Academy of Aviation at AUS rents Cessna 172s for $158 per Hobbs 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.
Lastly, being a member is being an owner in every sense of the word. There is no ‘check out at the desk’, no worry about returning keys, and the club planes are available 24/7 every day of the 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 have served us well for years, though as with any aspect of club operation they’re subject 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?
We can provide you with a temporary login to see what the schedule has looked like recently; please use the Contact Us form to request access.
The Piper Warrior flies the most because of its modern avionics. The Piper Archer is flies almost as often, and the Cessna Cardinal the least. This is due to elevated insurance requirements and because it’s a complex aircraft. Typically, only about 1/4 of the members are current at any given time to fly the Cardinal.
What are the checkout requirements for club flying?
The club’s checkout requirements parallel those required by our insurance company. The requirements below should be considered a rough guideline only. The club secretary will inform you of current requirements when you join the club.
The club membership currently includes several CFIs, though you may use any CFI you wish for both your checkout flights and any further training. We’d be happy to recommend local CFIs who are familiar with our aircraft.
Currently, our insurance carrier 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.
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 a club airplane if you already have a logged endorsement in that make and model.
Nonetheless we strongly encourage our members to initially fly with an instructor in each club plane in order to familiarize yourself with each aircraft’s unique combination of avionics, instruments, and handling qualities. 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.
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 maintenance. Our members help hold down costs by performing allowed preventive maintenance. 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 AircraftClubs scheduler. The club also has an e-mail list and a note sent to this list often results in helpful suggestions from your fellow pilots.
We’re proud of our dedication in keeping our aircraft safe and well-maintained.
What kind of flying do club pilots do?
Our “average” member is a private pilot and is likely instrument-rated or is pursuing the rating, and is also interested in the complex endorsement. He/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 to fly.
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. There are opportunities to serve as a board member or officer and learn a lot about club operation and aircraft ownership.
What are the advantages of being based at Bergstrom?
Operating out of busy, radar-controlled Class C airspace offers an additional safety margin. Bergstrom offers four ILS approaches, and San Marcos, Lockhart, Georgetown, Taylor, Giddings, and Lakeway are all 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 at the hangar and preflighting in the shade there. You can also call Signature at least an hour prior to your arrival and they’ll valet the plane to the ramp, fuel it to your specifications, and put it away for you when you return. The FBO also offers snacks, a flight-planning room, pilot’s lounge, and wash rack, as well as a conference room that’s open to club members.
The club leases three T-hangars at Bergstrom—one for each aircraft. Valet service is available for all three airplanes. We’ve been very happy with Signature’s service; they also provides a significant fuel price discount to the club.
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’re encouraged to contact the club secretary for that information prior to your sale. We want you to stay of course. We have several five and 10-year members and hope you’ll be one of them!
Where do I go for more information?
Our website offers lots of information, including our bylaws, scheduling policies, the Shareholder’s Agreement, and specs on our current fleet.