A new club is looking to put rusty pilots back in the sky. The Texoma Aero Club officially has its own hangar at North Texas Regional Airport and began taking applications for new members on Jan. 1.
The club, which has been in the works for about a year, not only wants to bridge the gap between current pilots and former pilots but also to get future pilots into aircraft.
“About five members of the EAA had been talking with Pat Brown of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association who has been promoting flying clubs for rusty pilots,” club president Michael McLendon said. “The club is all about helping to get pilots back into the air at a lower cost to them since they do not have to buy their own planes.”
The local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association No. 323 took about 15 children into the sky in October for 20-minute flights that allowed them to view the Denison Dam and Lake Texoma aerially. And, in January, the group was given a tour of the hangar at NTRA that houses World War II-era planes, among others, being restored by representatives from the Addison-based Cavanaugh Flight Museum.
“We are at a great towered airport,” McLendon said. “We are centrally located. We have a lot of retirees in this area that may be looking for an aircraft to fly that they do not want to own.”
The closest flying clubs to Texoma, McLendon said, are in McKinney and Denton.
“In the fall, we collected documents and information so that we can become recognized by the state of Texas,” he said. “We also negotiated with the North Texas Regional Mobility Board, who accepted our proposal. As of very soon, we will be able to lease aircrafts out to people.”
The aero club has several different levels of membership. The students and rusty pilots membership is for individuals who want to learn or relearn how to fly.
“The corporate membership is for corporate entities and will allow employees of companies that have a membership to come in at a reduced rate,” McLendon said. “The family membership is for multiple family members to join us at a reduced rate.”
A full membership will allow anyone to have all-access at the club.
“The social membership is just $20 per month,” McLendon said. “People that just want to socialize can go to events like the cookout and other things that we plan to have at the hangar. We will also have a social officer over communications for the club.”
McLendon said one of the best things about joining the Texoma Aero Club now is that people get to be a part of a new group that is still establishing its rules and regulations.
“We are still determining what kids of aircrafts we are allowing,” McLendon said. “Texoma has a lot of open space and a lot of people want to just enjoy the scenery, so this is going to be nice for people.”
For more information, email TexomaAero@gmail.com.