What’s a Type Club? Why Should I Join?
By Joe Dickey, Former Chairman, Vintage Type Club Corner
What is a Type Club?
Type Clubs exist as the result of a common interest among a group of people. The group may be of any size. The interest may be about any subject from Pietenpols to Pontiacs to politics. All that is required to form a club is leadership, funds, and people with an interest in an object, an idea, or a way of life. The Type Clubs we are concerned with here consist of people who are mutually interested in a particular type or brand of airplane.
What can a Type Club do for me?
A Type Club can save you money, keep you from making mistakes others have already made, show you how to restore, maintain and fly your airplane — in short, provide the equivalent of many years of hard won experience at a very low cost.
Information is a Type Club’s most important product, and is usually distributed through a periodic publication. The sort of information produced also varies widely. Some publications are highly technical, aimed at maintenance and restoration. Others are primarily social, historical, or events oriented. Most publications try to achieve a balance of subjects which they think will appeal to their readers.
Type Clubs may also offer parts, gimcracks and services for sale, classified advertising, technical assistance, contact with other members and the organization of fly-ins and fly-outs. When all else fails, a good Type Club will at least offer you sympathy and understanding.
What can I do for a Type Club?
People who operate Type Clubs cannot know all the answers, nor can they do all that needs to be done. You have specialized ideas, experience and expertise to share with others with machines similar to your particular airplane. Your Type Club’s publication needs you. Even newcomers have a valuable point of view to share. People new to any endeavor also have an embarrassing way of asking questions which stump the “experts” and initiate whole new areas of research.
You may have talents in marketing, business administration, accounting, computing, art, printing — any of the many skills your Type Club needs to function and thrive. Offer your assistance. Stronger Type Clubs benefit everyone.
How do Type Clubs operate?
The term “club” is often a misnomer. Though some Type Clubs do have elected officers and operate on a not-for-profit basis, most “clubs” are small businesses owned and operated by individuals. Many of these organizations also operate on a not-for-profit basis, but not intentionally.
Who operates Type Club?
Some Type Clubs are operated as an adjunct to an aviation business. Parts, STCs or repair services are offered for a particular type of airplane. The type club becomes a means to gather potential customers and to advertise one’s wares.
Learning is a good reason to start a Type Club. There is no better way to learn than to teach.
Some Type Clubs operate just for the fun of it. Operating a Type Club is a great way to meet some of the best and closest friends you will ever have.
Finally, some Type Club operators confess to being evangelists. We sincerely believe our airplanes and our way of flying to be the best/most fun/safest way to aviate.
Why more than one Type Club per type?
Type Clubs are highly individual and specialized. It is impossible to cover everyone’s special interests in a single publication. Of two or three clubs devoted to some brands of airplane, one will suit you best. You should try them all for a year or two to see which will best serve your needs.
There is no Type Club for my airplane. What should I do?
First, consider starting a Type Club. We would be happy to help with suggestions about what to do and not to do when getting started. We can put you in touch with other folks who are also full of advice and other materials. Don’t be discouraged if there are only a few of your kind of airplane in existence. Some of the best Type Clubs represent fewer than 40 airplanes.
Your next choice is to join a club representing airplanes similar to yours. For example, all the little tube and fabric taildraggers share many of the same ills. Tips for one brand serve well for other brands.
Where do I find the Type Club for me?
Go to the Type Club listing in the Type Club Corner. Select the club(s) of interest and contact them directly. Request information and a membership form.