The Carrabelle-Thompson Airport now has a flying club.

Veteran pilot and airport manager Tim Sullivan, who has been flying since 1975, and his wife Cindy, a licensed aircraft mechanic, and Ernie Newberry, a highly rated aircraft mechanic and aircraft inspector serve as directors of the Carrabelle Flying Club Inc..

A Florida non-profit corporation, the club’s mission is “to promote aviation in the city of Carrabelle and surrounding areas by providing well-maintained and affordable aircraft, and to promote aviation safety by requiring members to maintain currency and to actively participate in safety programs.”

Sullivan said the days of pilots such as himself renting an airplane are winding down, with clubs are replacing them as a lower cost way for pilots who don’t own planes to take one for a ride.

“It is difficult to find a place that has an airplane (for rent),” he said. “Flying for enjoyment is going down quite a bit, there’s no profit margin.”

So how the club works is it is exclusively for members, who pay $500 to join, and then about $50 a month, for the privilege of using one of the club’s two airplanes. The hourly charge for the two-seater Cessna 150 is $88, and for the four-seater Cessna 172 $105.

Sullivan said membership fees and aircraft rates are based on the true cost of flying and maintaining the fleet. The costs are recalculated frequently to make sure they are reflecting current maintenance and insurance costs and trends.

In accordance with FAA regulations, Carrabelle Flying Club does not provide charter, leasing, renting, or any other commercial services. It is not a flying school, although we welcome student pilots.

The club uses the software program Pilot Partners to oversee the scheduling of the operation, and members have access to that.

One of the club’s two planes has a private owner, who leases it exclusively to the club, and the other is owned by a limited liability company. “The Carrabelle Flying Club has to have complete control of the airplane. The owner cannot come and fly it,” said Sullivan.

The club insures the planes, but the renter has to cover the deductible, in the event a claim is made.

“You should have your own renters insurance,” he said. “Most have renters insurance that covers for liability.”

Renters, who might take it for a spin for a $100 hamburger at a renowned regional eating spot, have to rent for at least two-and-one-half hours per day. The larger plane could go for an overnight stay elsewhere; the smaller one is likely to stay within the state.

Sullivan said the club, which so far has five members, decided it didn’t make as much sense to be an equity flying club, where you buy into an airplane, than it did to be a non-equity club, where the airplane is leased from an owner.

“It’s a lot more economical to do,” he said. “We choose to set it up for leasing, to keep the cost down.”

There are three types of members - flying members, student members, who pay $600 a year and $60 a month, which covers insurance, and non-flying members, such as “hangar rats” who love aviation, and who pay $50 annually to be a part.

“We’ll have regular meetings, and seminars, and lots of webinars,” Sullivan said. “Members have to do so many interactions with those.

“Any safety topic keeps safety on the top of your mind,” he said. “There are a lot items to cover, you never run out of stuff to talk about.”

For further information e-mail the Carrabelle Flying Club at cfcx13@gmail.com