HomeNewsArticle Display

Aero Club offers adventure, fun in the friendly skies

An Elmendorf Aero Club Cessna 172 float plane taxis in while a Cessna 185 takes off at Six-Mile Lake, Alaska. The Elmendorf Aero Club is the only Air Force Aero Club that offers float planes.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jack Sanders)

An Elmendorf Aero Club Cessna 172 float plane taxis in while a Cessna 185 takes off at Six-Mile Lake, Alaska. The Elmendorf Aero Club is the only Air Force Aero Club that offers float planes.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jack Sanders)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- Aero clubs have played a significant role in building and sustaining ready and resilient Airmen almost since the U.S. Air Force was founded in 1947.

Gen. Curtis LeMay, the first commander of Strategic Air Command and later the fifth chief of staff of the Air Force, was known for ‘management by wandering’ at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, said Eric Treland, the Air Force Aero Club program manager. One night on a walk, the general saw a light on in a hangar, where he found young Airmen restoring a light airplane.

“He was a man who always liked anything mechanical,” Treland said. “He looked at what they were doing, and he knew the importance of flight. He said, ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s do this right.’ In 1950, he sanctioned the first official Aero Club at Offutt AFB, which is now called the LeMay Aero Club.”

Almost 70 years later, Air Force aero clubs, under the direction of the Air Force Services Activity, are operating at 16 installations worldwide.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn and fly general aviation aircraft in a military environment, where the safety record exceeds the general aviation world,” said Maj. Derrick Hodges, the AFSVA’s aero operations and safety club director. “We have great facilities, great instructors, great people and most importantly, it’s a family environment. We truly do take care of each other in aero clubs to make sure everyone has a great time flying and learning about aviation.”

Aero clubs are open to active duty, reserve, guard and retired military members and their families; Defense Department civilians; and Civil Air Patrol members. Members must be 16 years old and have a medical certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly solo.

Members with no flight experience may earn a private pilot certificate in as few as six to seven months. Aero club costs vary by installation and could range between $5,000-$12,000, based on time commitment, type of aircraft and fuel costs, Treland said. Members will pilot light general aviation aircraft.

Training is divided into ground and flight school. Members can complete the ground school in the classroom or online. The private pilot flight school consists of a minimum of 35 hours of flight training 20 hours with an instructor and 15 hours solo.

“Members of the aero club are those who want to fly,” Treland added. “They’re passionate about aviation. It helps them understand the Air Force mission of Fly, Fight and Win in Air, Space and Cyberspace, and it helps many of them relate directly to their mission.”

Hodges saw the benefits of aero clubs firsthand when he was stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan. “It gave our young Airmen, who already were flyers in C-130s, but didn’t hold pilot positions, an opportunity to enjoy their love of aviation by flying in one of our Cessnas,” he said. “(The base has) really good airplanes and it is a really safe environment for enlisted crew members to learn to fly and gain a pilot’s perspective.”

“They also offered night flights over Tokyo for $99, and on a moonlit night, you could see Mount Fuji. I thought that was totally awesome,” he added.

Hodges also saw how the Yokota Aero Club strengthened the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness: physical, mental, social and spiritual. “The mental and spiritual portion really sticks out for me,” Hodges said. “It’s a chance for them to just release and get to do something that’s a stress reliever. We work extremely hard during the week, and just to go out and do something stress-free like fly an airplane reinforces the benefits of Comprehensive Airman Fitness. It’s a wonderful thing to get airborne and soar like a bird.”

Since aero clubs are non-appropriated fund activities, they generate revenue to support themselves. “Our patrons pay for it, and as long as the installations provide support for their aero clubs, they will take care of themselves,” Hodges said. “Every base should have an aero club because of what it brings to our Airmen and their families - the opportunity to fly in a safe environment for a good price.”

To find out if your installation offers an aero club, visit MyAirForceLife.com.

Engage

Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Wherever you’re safely celebrating #IndependenceDay, take time out to remember the fight, not for the individual liberty…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Happy #IndependenceDay, Airmen! Please take this weekend to reflect on what it means to be an Airman, and your contrib…
Twitter
On July 4, 1776, 56 men signed a document declaring their views and beliefs on how people should be governed. It wa… https://t.co/oIOjOZXtsk
Twitter
RT @EsperDoD: America remains a beacon of hope for freedom, democracy, prosperity, and peace. https://t.co/JI6WZLdspV
Twitter
RT @cmsaf18: Today is more than just fireworks & barbecues. Today we reaffirm... “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men ar…
Twitter
RT @EsperDoD: On #IndependenceDay, I’m grateful for our nation, its laws and liberties, and the devotion of the men and women who guard the…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Happy Independence Day! On our Nation’s birthday, thank you to all of the @USAirForce #Airmen and @SpaceForceDoD #Spac
Twitter
"God Bless the U.S.A." is one of America's most iconic songs, featuring @TheLeeGreenwood, @HomeFreeGuys, & the Sing… https://t.co/yhH2eClYNN
Twitter
#DYK The F-16 can fly more than 500 miles, deliver its weapons w/superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy air… https://t.co/l4xKvURpvn
Twitter
RT @DOD_Outreach: LIVE: #ThePresidentsOwn @marineband performs a Friday Evening Parade @MBWDC. https://t.co/UdcZeplGzr
Twitter
A B-2 Spirit assigned to @Whiteman_AFB receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to @RAFMildenhall. The mis… https://t.co/BWKVEUbhYR
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: There are only two days left of #ArmedForcesVotersWeek. Running until July 5, it’s the perfect time to request your abse…
Twitter
RT @USAFBand: Get all of the details on tomorrow's 4 p.m. concert here! via @nbcwashington #USAFBandJuly4 https://t.co/7qkITZmYfa
Twitter
RT @EsperDoD: Tomorrow freedom will ring with the thunder of flyovers across Mt. Rushmore at 8:15 p.m. MDT. Keep your head up, America. htt…
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: Grissom Airmen undergo Hazardous Materials training - https://t.co/LzeMdm6Fvf (Story by the @434ARW) #ReserveReady #ReadyA
Twitter
#DYK The @7thAF is the U.S. Air Force's oldest numbered air force. The Army Air Corps first activated 7 AF on 1 Nov… https://t.co/8tHKxTlP9l
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: When you see an Airman-in-Training with a teal rope, it means that Airman holds a different role than other ropes as the te…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The flyovers will be led by the @AFThunderbirds, followed by @USAirForce B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15 and F-22 fighte…
Twitter
RT @USAFBand: We're one day away from celebrating America's 244th birthday. The @AirmenofNote joined forces with the @marineband, @theusarm
Twitter
Register by August 1! Exercise your right to vote! https://t.co/oEfYYMYYRD
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,246,798
Follow Us