Our capacity as a small flying club to take on new pilots depends on a number of factors, but we're generally interested in growing our club. Students as well as rated pilots are welcome. This page is aimed at both new club members and students. For new members, it's an intoduction to our club. For students, it's intended as a resource to get you started.
New Members - Students
Fueling the planes and accounting for hours of use:
Currently the club operates on a "dry rate" for use of the aircraft. This means you pay a flat hourly rate to the club for use of the aircraft and you must purchase the fuel you use separately. Generally, this means when you use the plane, it'll be full of fuel when you pick it up and that you should return it full of fuel when you're done with it. ...but, we're somewhat casual about this. If you return the plane less-than-full, make a note for the next pilot and estimate how much fuel you owe them. If you find that the plane is not full when you check it out, measure or estimate how much fuel is missing. Keep a reciept if you fill it up prior to flight and submit it at the next club meeting so the last guy can reimburse you. Just remember that the club is not your nanny and doesn't want to mediate who owes who, how much, and for what.
There are several good reasons for not leaving the aircraft full of fuel when you put it away:
* Fuel can be purchased much less expensively elsewhere.
(Of course you burn a bit of fuel when you fly home.)
* You anticipate a future flight where a full fuel load exceeds W&B limits.
* You anticipate that you will be the next person to fly the aircraft.
More often than not, these excuses don't apply. Generally, it's best to fill then tanks when you return.
Dues and rates:
Dues (see: About us) are due every second Monday of each month by cash or check. Payment for hourly use of the aircraft is also due at this time. Each billing cycle begins on the first day of the month.
Gates and keys:
Access to the airport and the aircraft requires keys and codes and combinations. There are two vehicle gates with electronic key-cards, there is man-gate near our hangars, and each hangar has a padlock.
Scheduling and using the calendar:
The club schedules use of the aircraft by an online calendar.
The link to this calendar is on the menu above, intuitively labeled "calendar".
Clicking on the calendar link will open the calendar in a new browser window or tab.
This new window will prompt you for a password.
(Of course, we'll need to give you the password.)
The password is not case sensitive.
After entering the password, click the 'Login' button or press enter.
After logging in, you will be presented with the Reservation Calendar for the current month. Note: (Circled in blue.)
If the calendar looks different than this, change the dropdown box to show the "Block" view.
At the very top you can select another month or even another year.
The current day will be highlighted red on the calendar.
To make a reservation you must "schedule an event" by clicking on the number for the day of the month you wish to reserve. (If you select the wrong day or want to reserve multiple days, just continue by selecting any day - you can edit the dates later.)
Upon clicking the number for the day you wish to reserve, you will be presented with the "Add New Event" window. The top four boxes are:
Date reservation begins,
Time reservation begins,
Time reservation ends, and
Date reservation ends respectively.
In this window you can edit the form to select the beginning and ending dates...
...and the beginning and ending times for when you wish to schedule use of the aircraft.
The "Event Text" box is the only other box that requires information.
The conventional format for this is:
Pilot's phone number
Any other relevant information
Once this information is entered, further down is a green button labeled "Create Event".
Upon clicking the "Create Event" button, the window will refresh and the reservation 'event' you created will appear at the top under "Existing Events".
To edit or delete an event, click on the number for the day the event occurs just as you would to create a new event. The event will appear at the top of the window under "Existing Events" with a green "Edit" and "Delete" button on the right. Clicking the 'Delete' button immediately removes the event from the calendar.
Clicking the 'Edit' button will open the same form that was used to create the event originally, except instead of a "Create Event" button at the bottom, there will be a "Replace Event" button instead. This button might be more aptly named, "Update Event", as any changes made on this form will be saved, overwriting the old event.
Availability tends to be very good and many of us have flexible schedules so if there's a conflict, just call. There are currently no rules for how much notice you must give prior to scheduling a reservation nor for how long. Common courtesy applies; If scheduling for a lengthy period of time, more notice is preferred. We'd like to avoid the need for any rules or enforcing such nonsense.
The FAA has done a wonderful job of publishing some good information for student pilots. The Student Pilot Guide is a great jumping-off point if you've just begun exploring general aviation. This 27-page color PDF booklet will give you a good idea of what's out there in the aviation world and what to expect.
The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A) is something most student airplane pilots will want to study if they decide they'd like to pursue a pilot's license. Many private companies publish similar books, but this one is free and quite good. (Pick whichever source you find works best for your learning style.) This handbook is 471 pages of color pictures, diagrams, illustrations, and even some words about flying airplanes. If you read and understand everything in it, you're almost there! ...but it's written at a reasonably elementary level, so you'll need some further education and practice applying the information contained within. The handbook is available for download in bitesize chunks.
Also available is the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A), which is basically an abbreviated version of the handbook above. It's 281 pages and a good read, but it's lacking in detail. If you have little prior exposure to aviation and you're just getting started, this is a great introduction. You'll read a lot of the same material again when you plunge into the larger Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge as mentioned above. Don't mistake the two publications; they're very similar, but this version (FAA-H-8083-3A) is missing a lot of information.
Another important FAA publication is the AIM, or Aeronautical Information Manual. In addition to containing a lot of very important (and useful!) information, it's also required that a rated pilot be familiar with its contents and how to find relevant information it its pages. It's a rather dry read, and is largely a highly-condensed version of the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, but you'll need to become familiar with it, even if you only skim over it. (The handbooks above are basically an expanded versions of the AIM.) This publication is updated every two years, and is often published in book form along with the current FARs, or Federal Aviation Regulations:
Like many laws, the Federal Aviation Regulations are constantly being revised and updated. A number of companies publish an annual handbook called the FAR-AIM, which combines the relevant Federal Aviation Regulations and the Aeronautical Information Manual in a one-source-for-everything book of rules. You'll often find a tattered copy of the FAR-AIM sitting in the pilot's lounge of local airports. It's tedious to read the FARs online, so purchasing a copy of FAR-AIM is a darn good idea. These books will omit irrelevant chapters, highlight the important ones, and often contain an index in the front detailing which chapters you should study based upon the type of piloting you intend to do. The FARs contain incredibly dry legalese, but there are some nuggets of gold up in them thar hills. Skim through it, but do so carefully; you'll be tested on it later.
Online practice exams are a great resource for studying and a useful tool to help you get a feel for how far along you are. A simple Google search for "practice pilot exams" or "private pilot practice test" will yield a number of online tests featuring real test questions from the actual written exam. They're a fairly good way to benchmark your knowledge of the written material.
One of the more comprehensive and free online tools is Sporty's "Study Buddy". These online practice exams are not the best way to acquire practical knowledge, but they're useful to help you figure out what you need to study and what to expect on the written test.
Other things to know:
Learn how to read METAR and TAF weather reports and forecasts. You can learn a lot about these from Google or from books tailored for student pilots. Also, Aviation Weather Prognostic Charts and Area Forecasts are important to study. They're necessary for the test, and they're darn useful for flying!
You'll need to know how to read a sectional. Fortunately, just about everything you'll need to know about that is written on the sectional! The legend contains the majority of commonly needed information. A great way to peruse sectionals is SkyVector, which is also useful for flight planning. Unfortunately you'll still need a legend off a real, paper sectional to know how to interpret the charts. If you intend to fly, buy one; they're cheap and you'll need it anyway.
You can expect that all this information will be overwhelming at first. If you stick with it, you'll soon look back and wonder what the big deal was. Every pilot started out knowing nothing...