Todd McClamroch has written an interesting post for MyFlightBlog.com about the death of “hangar flying” or camaraderie around he airport in recent years. Todd began his post by noting that when he was first learning how to fly, the flight school he was at had a couch where you could sit and watch or listen to the activity at the airport. He noted that this was a great way to stay motivated through bonding as well as to learn from other pilots.
However, Todd then pointed out that:
Unfortunately, since moving home to Chicago in 2005, I have been unable to find true aviation camaraderie around the airport. I can find it online but it was missing at the airport. I belonged to a flight club that, despite a healthy membership roster, did nothing to foster social activities between members. I came to the airport to fly then left right after.
After becoming fed up with that experience, he found a new flying club (Leading Edge Flying Club) that focused on the social aspect of flying. This new club offers monthly fly-outs plus organized cook-outs on the tarmac. Most importantly, he noted that they offer a welcoming environment in the hangar clubhouse that encourages loitering after a flight. In fact, Todd now advises prospective student pilots that if their flight school does not have a couch, they should simply walk out.
Hence, we want to ask you our readers about your experiences around the airport and with Flying clubs lately and how it compares to what you may have experienced in the past. In other words, is there still plenty of camaraderie around the airports you fly in and out of a regular basis?
Michael Mayes says
Hmm, I don't know about that at least where I fly out of. My home base seems to have a fair number of older GA pilots hanging out in the airport lobby which has a pretty good view of the runways. I usually stand around and listen to them, rarely contributing due to no real experience but they are fun to hear talk about different aspects of airplane ownership, history, and trips they have taken.
My flight school has their office with a good view of the ramp, and tons of extra seats. I sit there fairly regularly and talk with the instructors when they are waiting around for someone soloing, or yet to show up for a lesson. They also have a lesson room with extra seating, including a couch, that I plan some flights in. I will as well, listen to some instructors get pre-flight briefings and ground school segments in there.
EAA has a huge chapter at my field, and they always seem do be doing stuff. They have a big group of RVs that go on trips together and formation fly around. They have Young Eagle flights, pancake breakfasts, small fly ins one Saturday a month. Their president also works the desk of the airport so it's fun to catch him and talk to him there.
I would like it if there were some of the younger (read my age) students that stuck around, as I would identify more with them than the real 'pros' that are around, but it seems like there is a decent enough hanger flying around here to keep me at the airport for a while when I have time.
And that is just at the home base. I have had chats with pilots in two different airports while taking a break during a cross country or visiting a fancy lobby at some airport. Given my low time, that's pretty neat that I can go somewhere unplanned for the most part and unannounced and start having a conversation with someone hanging out there.