Birchwood flying club?



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  • Birchwood flying club?

    I am looking at buying a share and joining the Birchwood (Knik flying) club. They have two Bellanca 7GCBC’s, with 150 hp Lycoming engines, and both are going to be newly rebuilt engines.

    The buy in price is between 3 and 4000 dollars, 70 a month and 25 an hour.

    Does anybody know about this club or give me an idea if this is a reasonable price?

    Thanks for the help.

  • #2
    Price is down

    Last year the membership price was $6,000, so someone wants out bad or the "investment" aspect is performing like my 401k. There are 20 shares total for the two airplanes. I was told that many of the members never fly. That never made sense to me. Dealing with just a few other partners can be a headache, so dealing with 20 was what changed my mind.
    Also last year one of the planes was ground looped by a novice member. That is probably why one of the planes has a rebuilt engine. It also put one plane out of commission for quite a while. I wonder how hard it was for 20 members to share one airplane while the other was being fixed?
    The $25 per hour does not include fuel, so that increases the hourly rate to close to $50 per hour. The other thing I could not figure out is that if each share pays $70 per month for tie downs and insurance, how could it cost $1400 per month for insurance and two tie downs (not even a hanger)? That is almost $17k per year for the fixed costs associated with the club.
    I did take a ride in one of the Citabrias. It seemed to be in good condition and performed very well. The members of the club I met seemed like good guys. If most of the members really don't fly it might be a good deal for the ones who do. Just be sure to ask all the right questions before you buy in.


    • #3
      Did you inquire just recently or when was your inquiry, if you don't mind.


      • #4

        I inquired about that club also and they told me that you could only book the plane for three hours at a time and could only take it over night once a year. Lot of money for flying touch and go's in the pattern.


        • #5
          Just food for thought, I hanger my pacer for six months a year-$1300.00, tie down six months 300.00, $850.00 for an annual, and I fly when I want. Also I don't play well with others when it comes to airplanes. Insurance is optional and I carry it $1200.00 yr and drop it in the winter. I burn 7 gals. /hr.. From here you can do you math as it pertains to you, but remember to subtract the amount of fun you will have.


          • #6
            Brichwood Flying Club!

            Well Iím a member (along with a few others here) so my opinion is different. It should be noted my share is not for sale. While addressed to knie0012, my comments pertain also to anyone interested in club information.

            Asking whether you will enjoy the club online is similar to asking if you should marry a particular gal online. As Algonquin said, do the numbers pertaining to your personal situation. If you can/ want to buy your own aircraft go for it. In my case fractional ownership made sense.

            Some inside observations:

            A willingness to ďplay well with othersĒ is mandatory in most social and all partnership situations. If you donít think you can, do us all a favor and pass.

            Several of the current club members have either gone on to buy a plane or have multiple shares so while the nominal value of one share is still $6,000, in the current economy the reality is the market rules.

            Quite a few of the shares do not fly. As noted, last summer we were down to one plane for a good while, but it was still probably underutilized.

            The $70 dues donít just cover insurance and tie down. It also goes to the maintence fun for both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. This helps us keep ahead on keeping the birds up.

            The club rules pertaining to where, when, and how much you can fly have changed several times. The version posted on this thread is inaccurate. PM me and I will try to shoot you an electronic copy. For that matter get a copy of all club documents to read before you consider joining. Once again shoot me a PM or e-mail if you would like my perspective.

            Get in touch the club president Jaime Anderson at this E-mail: here We have a meeting coming up in late March. If you are seriously considering joining, it would be worth your time to attend to get the feel of the club at large. All new members must be approved by existing members so that is another good reason to show up. This may not be the right answer for you. But at least discuss it with some folks who can look you in the eye and shake your hand.



            • #7

              Thanks for clearing things up. I might add a couple of points myself. My name is Jaime, and I am the current President of the KNIK Flying Club. I will try not to come across as defensive in this posting. The internet it truly amazing. Unfortunately that same ability to rapidly spread information has the same propensity to spread misinformation. I always urge people to disseminate factual and verifiable information when posting to internet forums.

              The club is a great group of people and only getting better. As Dave said, if you can't play nice, then please do all of the members a favor and don't even consider joining.

              Who has there own aircraft in this forum? Who has a tailwheel? Who has insured their tailwheel aircraft in Alaska? Now multiply that by 20. We pay $8000/aircraft in insurance annually I believe. I would have to ask the numbers guy for more accurate numbers. I just purchased a C170 and I am paying $3200/yr. Insurance is by far our greatest cost. A majority of the monthly dues goes towards insurance.

              A hanger for $1300 for 6 months? Please tell me where! We need to get in on that. Hangers in Anchorage sell for $180k and up. Thats the price of many houses! Most have monthly association dues of $300-$500. Tie-downs with electric averate $70/mo/plane.

              As you can see, $70/mo in dues is not to make this a profitable company. We barely break even. Our $25/hr dry fee to use the plane is a nearly industry wide standard of engine overhaul fund costs and general maintenance. Tires, brakes, oil, wear and tear. Flying is not cheap. If you expect to get away with less than $25/hr + fuel than I wouldn't get into this "sport." Try renting a plane! Yes you could fly a plane for nothing more than your fuel costs. Would that be responsible? Do you think that would eventually catch up with you? Being that this club is essentially a business we are doing our best to make sound business decisions in the best interest of this organization.

              Yes, a plane was groundlooped last June. A blessing in disguise. We learned through this process that we had a rebuilt plane that had been poorly rebuilt. We have an EXCELLENT mechanic that guided us through a process of getting 63E back into better shape than ever. Did I mention blessing in disguise? If this groundloop didn't occur we would still be flying a poorly rigged plane with a weak motor. Thank god for insurance! During this time I never ONCE had a problem scheduling the remaining plane for flying. There are about 5-7 total members that have flown either plane, and about 2-4 active pilots. Do the math, pretty good availability.

              You are allowed (by current rules) to book 3-four hour bookings. You get an overnight every 8 weeks. Remember these are the rules. We are a civilized group of people. If you need the plane for additional overnights just ask. I can't imagine being turned down. If you want to look at the physical log sheets of when the planes were flown, just ask. I think you would find this club being comparable to owning your own plane with only 1/20th of the expenses!

              I should know, I just purchased a C170 with one partner. In the first week we have written checks for $1500. I sure wish that was divided between 20 and not 2!

              Please ask me or any other club member to answer any questions. The internet is often filled with well intentioned information based on misguided facts. As Dave said, come to our March board meeting and meet the members. You can email me at or phone me at 907.301.2325. I would be happy to answer any questions.

              Jaime Andersen
              President, Knik Flying Club


              • #8
                Here is the text of a reply I received from a previous poster on this forum. I am posting this in an attempt to clear any confusion and misinformation. I have included the email that was sent to me as well.



                As I stated before, let's keep this conversation to factual informatio. I fail to see where I called you a "liar" in a public forum. Your information is focused apparently on Wasilla and Seldovia, not in the context of Birchwood where this flying club is located. Comparing summer tie-down without electric at Merrill to tie-down with electric (required if you fly in the winter) is also not an apples to apples comparison. We pay $70/mo in Birchwood. I pay $70/mo for tie-down with electric at Merrill, that is tail-in.

                Please review my post. I didn't call you a liar, I asked you to tell me where I could get in on a hanger for $1300/6 months. I want to get in on that. Can you move your aircraft in and out at your leisure? Limitations or restrictions? Who would I contact for this deal? We actually looked at Wasilla Airport hanger rates and didn't find anything appreciably cheaper than Birchwood. Remember this is a flying club. Reasonable to expect year round flying. I am not even going to touch the insurance issue. A single individual insuring a Pacer isn't a valid comparison to 20 people insuring two 150hp Citabria's. Again, apples-to-apples.

                There is cheaper "storage" hanger space available at Birchwood, about $400/mo. That is unheated and you are not allowed to move your aircraft in/out at will. It is for winter storage only. As I (we) mentioned, we fly our planes in the winter. An aircraft that I looked into partnering with last year at Merrill included a hanger. The hanger had recently been purchased for $200,000. Do the math. Then there was a $400/mo association with that. And you don't own the land, it was a long term lease.

                You were espousing misinformation injuring the reputation of a club you know nothing about. As a member of that club, yes, that makes me VERY ANGRY. If you can't provide accurate facts pertinent to the context of a discussion, then DO NOT state your facts at all. Others attempting to sell their membership shares are financially damaged by your libelous statements.

                I'm sorry you interpreted my comments as inflammatory towards you. As I stated in my posting, if I come off as a bit defensive I AM. I am bothered that anyone would attempt to slam an organization they obviously know so little about.



                From: <xxx>
                Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 5:21:59 PM
                Subject: hanger rent

                Hi Jaime, My plane is currently in a hanger in the Wasilla area and I pay $215.00 per month. I'd be happy to show you the receipts. I tie down in Seldovia in the summer and it is free. Last summer I rented a tie down @ Merrill Field for $55.00 a month for a few months also. Again receipts available.
                The hanger is unheated and I also made no mention of power at my tie down.
                It seems you don't play well with others as you called me a liar on a public forum. Tom Hines


                • #9
                  Questions Answered

                  Hopefully you have the information you need to make your decision. Some of the posts probably have more information than wanted... You should go to the meeting if you have more questions. First-hand info is always best. Let us know what you decide.
                  Good Luck!


                  • #10
                    you asked

                    ""Who has there own aircraft in this forum? Who has a tailwheel? Who has insured their tailwheel aircraft in Alaska? Now multiply that by 20. We pay $8000/aircraft in insurance annually I believe. I would have to ask the numbers guy for more accurate numbers. I just purchased a C170 and I am paying $3200/yr. Insurance is by far our greatest cost. A majority of the monthly dues goes towards insurance.""

                    I have one. Its a tailwheel. Its the third I've owned. Its insured. The others were too. I pay $1800 per year. $60k hull and 1mil per occur. This is the highest I've paid FYI. Again, you asked. I'm just replying to your questions. My bud pays $2000 for his 170B with hull coverage. I agree insurance is by far the greatest cost. Keep the dirty side down.


                    • #11

                      I have a 1973 7GCBC, with 325 hours, instr rating and 125 hours tailwheel, and in my 7GCBC, my insurance is now 2800 per year, down from 3200 the first year, One thing you all need to remember is insurance in Alaska cost alot more. If you do the math, the more hours you fly the better the deal, at 50 hours a year, your better off to rent. At 100 hours a year or more you save a good amount of cash. I have it all worked out at home, tonite I will include the numbers. Plane ownership is expensive any way about it. One thing you have to consider is what kind of flying you want to do. If you want to do off airport stuff, cost and maintenance doubles, and most clubs dont allow it.



                      • #12
                        Sharing and airplane is like sharing a woman ;-}
                        -Out-of-State for school, remembering why I love Alaska so much


                        • #13
                          Potentially possible,

                          All Iíve got to go on is sharing the plane. However, if my observations in the Navy are any guide, both are historically popular. Add boats to the list and I believe there is a classic saying about the economic desirability of rental vs. long term life cycle cost.
                          As always, JMHO.


                          • #14
                            The old adage is . .

                            . . "if you can fly it, float it, drive it, or f*** it, then rent it!"


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