Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By Rob P
TheFarmer wrote:Be careful you don’t sucked into a group where everything is just too over-procedural. It’ll sap your enthusiasm and you’ll end up being a part of ‘washing parties’ and ‘admin evenings’.

They’re generally run by retired types who have little else to do

Surely there are no groups like you describe Farmer?

Rob P :shifty:
For larger groups (10+), setting a group "ethos" and having a few trusted members able to make executive decisions regarding normal running works.

If you have lots of rules, people will do the bare minimum that the rules say. If you have lots of meetings, with every person about every screw, people will soon lose interest and you'll exclude members.
Its a fine balance.
Whether running a group or licencing use of an airstrip, experience has taught us that a few rules are important for the protection of both parties : Sadly they need to be written, not 'gentlemanly' ' or sooner or later someone will come along and sh it all over you.

Peter :roll:
PaulB, Rich V liked this
Chris Martyr wrote:JAFO , do you have any specific PtF type in mind ?

The LAA fleet consists of many , many types these days . From classic/trad. wood fabric types , to 200mph+ sex machines . The 'question bank' could be bloody enormous .
Gissa clue mate . :D

It's no 200mph sex machine, very much the former rather than the latter.

Thanks everyone for your ideas, some of the questions I'd already asked but a few I'd not thought of and they're really important.

Cheers all.
Flyin'Dutch' liked this
Rob P wrote:
TheFarmer wrote:Be careful you don’t sucked into a group where everything is just too over-procedural. It’ll sap your enthusiasm and you’ll end up being a part of ‘washing parties’ and ‘admin evenings’.

They’re generally run by retired types who have little else to do

Surely there are no groups like you describe Farmer?

Rob P :shifty:

I have been in and run several groups and can echo what many have said on here, it is the group really that you need to look for, the aeroplane is of secondary consideration.

There are some high performance aeroplanes run by people with serious financial stakes in them and they are (and should be) run like a business - but that has little to do with the vast majority of groups.

For all the groups we had an official agreement, modelled on what the LAA and AOPA had to offer. In addition we agreed some 'rules' at the outset; that is the time to agree these things as everyone is then still very much in love with each other, the aeroplane and the concept.

After that we all got on very well and I very much enjoyed the group ownership, not only did it mean I could enjoy aviation at a different level than hiring but it also brought cameraderie and good times.

IRRC we only once had to refer 'to the rules' when someone wanted to leave and there was some discussion about the value of the share - that was soon settled.
TheFarmer, David Wood liked this
Cloud Hound
Does the group ensure all members are licensed, rated, current and medically certificated?

Not sure that is the 'groups' responsibility ad infinitum. If you did that in a larger group you would need someone to do it and keep all the details.

On the initial familiarisation flight - or whatever you want to call it - the instructor would see all of that. After then we would expect them all to show a degree of responsibility. Will you check everyone is fit to fly before every flight - no cold, or other ailments that may effect them?

And when they get to their biennial, they will have to produce it all again.

Or is that what you meant :thumleft:
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By kanga
Obvious, but if you're seriously contemplating joining probably already checked and satisfied, and related to aircraft type rather than group ethos:

Can I get into and out of the aircraft easily ?
Is the same likely to be true of anyone I am expecting to take as passenger ?
Am I strong enough to pull/push it on the ground by myself as will normally be needed at its usual location ?
When in, can I get comfortable in the seat, see out, see and reach all the instruments and controls (with available adjustments eg cushions) ?
With me sitting in it, even in winter clothing, and possibly with similarly clothed passenger beside me if applicable, can the flight controls reach the full extent of their travel unobstructed ?
Also good to have diversity by profession/lifestyle among the group. If everyone is a Mon-Fri 9-5 salaryman guy, you have that rush on Sat/Sun.

Having some business owners/heads or don’t-really-need-to-work types (who make their own schedules) mixed in your group will help even out the bookings across the week.
PeteSpencer liked this
That may be the perceived wisdom but having been in groups of one, two, six and ten I have no great preference other than two being better than one.

Someone to share flights, tasks and expenses with (and the odd post-flight beer)

Rob P
plus7g, Rob L, Flyin'Dutch' and 1 others liked this
What is the group attitude to fixing things?
Will they fix everything that breaks with new or overhauled parts?
Are new parts still available? Are overhauled parts still available?
Does the group stock key parts that are hard to get?
Where will you go to get a part made if needed?

Will there be something the group decides is not essential and agree never to fix (can result in a tatty aircraft with items placarded u/s).

If it is an unusal aircraft type, how much downtime is there waiting for parts?
Does the aircraft need to go a significant distance from base for annual maintenance?

Has the group thought about when the next repaint will be and costed it in the finances?
Are the seats/interior worn out?
A tatty aircraft does not give nervous passengers much confidence it has been well maintained.

Does the group have an opening reporting culture without fear of being flamed?

If the aircraft has fancy avionics, what is the group attitude to keeping everything up to date with software and databases updates? Does the group have or know someone that can help familiarisation with fancy unfamiliar avionics?

If you like your tech, where/how are you going to mount it?

If the aircraft has a known service life, what is the latest prediction for when that might be?

If the aircraft suffers a repairable landing accident, that is going to be very expensive to repair, perhaps with a contribution from group members, will the group repair it or sell/scrap it as not economic and get another aircraft?
Does the group fold if there is no similar aircraft available to buy/lease?

If you have opportunity to meet group members, do you share their attitudes to risk?
Are there big egos in the group that like to brag about flying trips where they pushed the limits?

Are other members flying on a shoestring budget or is money no object? Makes a difference for the more costly maintenance items or nice to haves.

As others have said, it can be less hassle if you can afford to run with a group size of one!