Candler Field Flying Club
CANDLER FIELD FLYING CLUB
Located just 1 hour south of Atlanta, you will discover a vintage airport that was built in the mid 1960’s. The name of this airport is Peach State Airport. I am sure several of you have heard of it and probably visited the site. The airport is home to a museum, Candler Field Museum, and also home to a restaurant, Barnstormer’s Grill. In addition, there exists on the field a very active flying club called Candler Field Flying Club.
The origins of the Candler Field Flying Club began in the fall of 2009 when I, retired Delta Capt. Glen Marsh, was giving a Young Eagle Flight for the Experimental Aircraft Association. It occurred to me that while the flights generated enthusiasm, there was no follow on program for the young people to actually learn to fly. The country was in the midst of a recession, and flying costs were rising at a rapid pace. It was becoming harder for motivated young people who wanted to learn to fly to be able to attain their goal. I reasoned the solution to the problem might be a flying club. A flying club might allow a larger number of people to own a portion of an aircraft who might otherwise not be able to afford it.
My friend, retired Delta Capt. Ron Alexander, had recently bought Peach State Airport on which he was building a replica of the original Atlanta airport called Candler Field. It was a perfect spot for a flying club. With Ron’s encouragement, I began.
My father, Russell Marsh, a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps and a retired Eastern Airlines Captain had recently passed away. Dad had been the inspiration for me to become a pilot, and in his honor, the family bought the first aircraft and donated it to the club…a Cessna 172. The Club was in business! This inspired museum member Richard Epton to donate an Aeronca Champ to the cause. The two airplanes gave the Club a perfect mix to do private, instrument, and tail wheel training. Regular members could also get their tail wheel endorsement. Other museum members then volunteered to help the Club with mechanical, financial, and bookkeeping duties. The Club is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of Club members.
Currently, the Club has over 40 active members. Joining the Club consists of pay- ing an initiation fee of $200.00, if you are a student pilot, or $500 if you are a licensed pilot. The fee structure encourages young people to join who want to learn to fly. Hour- ly rates on the airplanes are $90.00 which includes fuel. Instructor fees are normally $25.00 per hour. This allows a student pilot to acquire a Private Pilot certificate at a total cost of nearly 50% less than they would pay at a commercial school. Members of the Flying Club are also required to be members of the Candler Field Museum. The two entities are very closely linked and work together to provide pilots of all ages the oppor- tunity to fly at an affordable rate. However, emphasis is placed upon encouraging young people to learn to fly.
Candler Field Museum, EAA Chapter 468, and the local Civil Air Patrol (Griffin Composite Squadron) are working together to establish a scholarship program for young people who want to learn to fly. The goal is to have the recipient of the funds become actively involved in assisting the Flying Club with maintenance, administrative duties, etc., so that they may “earn hours of instruction. A student would receive the first 10 hours of instruction in the Club’s Citabria so that they would become proficient in a tail- wheel airplane. After the initial 10 hours, it would be mandatory for the student to “earn” the remaining time required for a Private Pilot license. Hours will be earned by an offsetting number of volunteer hours on Club or Museum projects. In order to apply for the scholarship, the candidate would have to be 15 1/2 years of age, a prior Young Eagle, be able to pass a 3rd class medical, and have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point av- erage in school. With this program, a young person can actually “earn” a Private Pilot certificate. The Club hopes to have this in place within the next few months.