If you spend long enough time in general aviation, especially in teaching environment, you are definitely going to hear these two terms above. And if you are thinking about learning how to fly, then you are probably wondering what is the diference between a flying club and a flight school anyways. Well, we will nail this issue here in this post once and for all!
Flying Club: A flying club, just like the name itself, is in fact a club. A flying club could be a private non-profit organization, a for-profit organization, a government or semi-government run organization, or many other unique setups. Typically, a flying club will have members consisting of the following:
- Aircraft owners
- Aircaft users/renters
- Pilots – student pilots, private pilots, commercial pilots, and above
- Flight Instructors
A flying club also has it’s management, i.e. general manager, president, mechanics, accounting people etc. The basics of a flying club setup is that aircraft owners lease their aircraft to the club, and then rent from the club itself whenever they need to use the aircraft. They can not only rent their own aircraft, but any other aircraft that is available to the members of the club. This increases their selection of the aircraft available to them. The cost of aircraft ownership/operation is subsidized by letting other nn-owner member pilots to rent and fly the club aircraft. The non-owner members pay for the aircraft rental, and most of the times, some sort of membership fee as well. The club aircraft get better rates for insurance, fuel etc as now they are a bulk customer and not individual aircraft. I hope you get the idea of this cost savings, not only for the aircraft owners but also for other renters as well.
Now, there are flight instructor members as well in the club. They make their services available to club members, of course for a fee. If a new member wants to join the club, he or she will definitely need some training. Whether it is training to get a pilot certificate, or just an insurance checkout, the flight instructors (CFI) do the job. And this is how they mak their living, or in most cases, get paid to enjoy and share the love of aviation.
Flight School: A flight school is a business involved in training people how to fly. This is what they do, and this is their expertise. They are usually owned by someone, has a chief flight instructor, and employed flight instructors and other professionals. The flight schools also rent aircraft (in most cases) to renters. Flight schools are usually designed and operated as any other school – i.e. imagine your high school. From the school principal all the way down to the housekeeping staff.