Frequently Asked Questions

 Learning to Fly

  • What are the requirements to be a pilot?
    • According to FAA regulations, obtaining a private pilots’ license requires a minimum of 40 hours.  Timing on getting your private pilots’ license depends on several factors: budget, weather, instructor availability, plane availability and your own availability. A good rule of thumb is to allow a minimum of 6 months to obtain your license. This also allows the student to fly in different seasons which is invaluable for aviation experience.

  • What if I have health issues?
    • We recommend seeing an Aeromedical Examiner prior to pursuing a pilot certificate.  All pilots must pass an FAA physical before being able to solo or receive a pilot certificate.  It is wisest to ensure you can pass the physical before incurring flight costs and finding out later you are medically disqualified.

  • I don't have a pilot's license, can I still fly?
    • Our club has flight instructors that can take you all the way from zero hours to a flight instructor certificate. While we are not a primary flight training school, we do offer ground and flight instruction to our members only.

  • Can I use my own non-NFC instructor?
    • Yes.  Your instructor must complete a checkout with one of the NFC’s flight instructors and if they show appropriate knowledge and ability they will be granted rights to instruct NFC members in club aircraft.

  • What can I do with the airplanes in the club? Why get a pilots’ license?
    • Obtaining a private pilots’ license allows you to fly an airplane for personal use. You can fly cross-country to shorten a work commute or visit family. You can fly friends and family to lunch or enjoy a vacation while avoiding a long drive. Private flying saves time and allows you to avoid some headaches of commercial travelling. More frequently than not, there are a greater number of smaller airports which give many more possibilities of getting you closer to your destination instead of having to fly into a large airport and drive hours to your destination. The possibilities are endless as to where you go when you want to fly.

  • What aircraft does the NFC have and what are the rates?
    • Currently the club has 4 aircraft (Hourly rates current as of 6/1/2017)
      • 1981 PA32 6 seat Saratoga ($139/hr)
      • 1961 BE33 Debonair ($119/hr)
      • 1979 PA28 Archer ($91/hr)
      • 1974 C172M Skyhawk ($76/hr)
    • * Note – Rates include fuel and fluctuate based on cost of fuel. All rates include a built-in maintenance cost and engine reserve cost.

Membership

  • What types of memberships are there?
    • Full Member:
      • Is an equity member who has purchased a club share, is in good standing with their account and has not split their share with an associate member. They are financially liable for the monthly dues as well as any flight costs they use.
    • Associate Member:
      • This membership requires a full member to “split” their membership. This means that a full member decides to relinquish their flight privileges to an associate member. The associate member becomes responsible to maintain currency, pay the monthly club dues and becomes financially liable for any flight costs they use. The full member retains the equity portion of the membership until the associate member officially resigns at which point the full member becomes financially liable for the monthly dues and flight costs again. Currently there is a minimum of a 6 or 12 month commitment as an associate membership, which may be extended upon mutual agreement of the full and associate members.

  • What do monthly dues cover and why do the dues go up or down?
    • Monthly dues (currently $164/month) cover insurance for each member, tie down/hangar costs, online scheduling service, other fixed costs and a small portion is set aside for the “rainy day” fund and fleet upgrades. Dues are adjusted based on fixed costs. The monthly rate will decrease by ~$60-70 after our fleet improvement loan is paid off in December 2017.

  • Are there any requirements to fly the Debonair and Saratoga?
    • Yes. Both require 150 hours of PIC time and 10 hours in type. If you already have 10 hours in a Debonair or Saratoga, that time can be counted toward the 10 hour insurance requirement after a checkout with a club instructor.  See bottom of the "Other" FAQ questions for further detail as well as our by-laws.

  • Are there by-laws that I can look at before joining the club?
    • Yes.  By-laws are available here.  Our NFC policy manual is available here.

Other

  • Can I fly in the winter?
    • Absolutely. Our Saratoga and Debonair are in hangars and the Skyhawk and Archer are parked outside.  We usually hangar the Archer in winter.

  • At what rate are the aircraft billed?
    • Aircraft are billed only for the time the engine is running.  Aircraft are billed based on tach rate.
      • Tach time is the billing of the flight time based on the engine RPM. The lower your power setting the less “time” you’re getting billed for.
      • Hobbs time is the billing of the flight time based on actual time of the engine running. If the engine is started at 2pm and is shut off at 3pm, your flight time is 1 hour, regardless of engine RPM.

  • Is there a minimum fee charged to use the aircraft?
    • There is NO minimum daily fee.  If you use the airplane for 5 days and put 2 hours on the tach, you are billed 2 hours.

  • What type of aircraft scheduling system does the NFC use?
    • We use an online scheduling system: www.aircraftclubs.com.
    • A phone reservation system is also available through our provider.

  • Where are some members’ favorite places to fly to?
    • Members do a vast array of flying. From long cross-country flights over several days to training to lunch runs, there are many destinations. A few favorite food spots are: Janesville, WI; Madison, WI; Schaumburg, IL; Griffith, IN; Bloomington, IL; Rochelle, IL.

  • What type of instrument approach is available at Naper Aero?
    • A GPS/VOR 36 approach is available to club members. Minimums are 1320’ MSL (612' AGL).  Due to the private ownership status of the Naper Aero airport, the approach cannot be published.

  • Who performs the maintenance on the aircraft?
    • The Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) allow some maintenance items to be performed by an aircraft owner. For example: oil changes, tire replacement, etc. See FAR Part 43.  These maintenance items are generally performed by the members that wish to participate in maintenance.
    • Because the planes are owned by the members, a majority of the maintenance is performed by the maintenance officer and the members themselves.
    • Some owner-assisted maintenance items require oversight or inspection by an FAA certificated airframe and/or power-plant mechanic (A&P). Additionally, other items even require the mechanic to have Inspection Authorization (A&P-IA). For example: an annual inspection. A properly certificated mechanic is present while supervising or inspecting any of this work, as required.
    • Naturally, a number of maintenance items are beyond the capability of aircraft owners and even an A&P in the field. For example: some engine work, some structural work, some avionics, etc. For said repairs, we arrange for maintenance to take place at an FAA certificated Repair Station.
    • Generally, every Tuesday is maintenance day. Members can gather at the airport and learn the aircraft and help perform preventative maintenance as well as assist in annual inspections when they occur.

  • In addition to the Federal Aviation Regulations, the NFC bylaws & NFC policy manual have the following requirements in the interest of safety:
    • NFC requires an annual check-ride with an NFC instructor to fly any NFC aircraft.
    • Primary instruction is limited to the Skyhawk and Archer II. Advanced instruction may be done in any of the NFC planes.
    • For all planes, you must fly an NFC aircraft at least 1 hour in a 180 day period to maintain currency.
    • To fly the Debonair, 150 hours of total pilot in command flight time and
      • 50 hours of Pilot in Command time in Single Engine Land, and
      • 10 hours of dual instruction in a Debonair with at least 15 take offs and landings, and
      • a checkout with 2 club instructors in the club's Debonair.
    • To fly the Saratoga, 150 hours of total pilot in command flight time and 10 hours in a Piper Saratoga with a checkout from 2 club instructors.