By Kathy L. Collins

If you are a pilot or aircraft owner, you can get in on the foundation of a local Flying Club. David Miller, a Bloomingdale resident and retired Air Force Officer, and David Harbaugh of Valrico, along with several others, are seeking pilots and aircraft owners interested not only in sharing the expenses associated with flying, but also the camaraderie that comes with a well run Flying Club.

According to Miller, “We want to form the Flying Club to provide safe, affordable and accessible aircraft while cultivating aviator camaraderie, extolling the joy of flight and promoting safety through enlightenment and education.”

Miller added, “The Flying Club will focus on activities, special events and projects aimed at bringing club members together in an aeronautical setting while providing quality aircraft to its members at affordable rates.”

Miller and Harbaugh hope to establish this Flying Club in concert with a nationwide effort sponsored by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. The desired end result would be a network of flying clubs where members would have reciprocity and be able to use airplanes located across the country.

The Flying Club will be located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL) located at 3131 Flightline Dr. in Lakeland. The Flying Club will be financed by a one time initiation fee and reasonable monthly membership dues and aircraft user fees. The Flying Club will use an internet based scheduling system and member billing system.

Miller said, “The airport is very supporting of the idea. They will provide hangars for the planes, and the Sun N’ Fun wants to be involved as well.”

While the Flying Club will allow area pilots to do what they love, it will also help fill a great need in American aviation- the dwindling pool of experienced commercial pilots. The Flying Club will partner seasoned pilots with young people interested in aviation and help mentor them so that they will become the next generation of commercial pilots.

What’s missing? More pilots and aircraft owners who are interested are needed to get the Flying Club formed and running. If you have an interest, please contact Miller at 789-7574 or and get involved.



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