When I needed (well, wanted) a step-up airplane 20 years ago, I decided it would be a twin. Ultimately, we sold our Mooney and purchased our current Cessna 340. But long before that purchase, I joined The Twin Cessna Flyers (TTCF) for education and research on these pressurized cabin-class twins. The magazine alone helped me make a well-informed choice, and we ended up with a superb example.
To this day, I belong to TTCF for the informative magazines and for the annual convention. I’ve discussed this before, but it’s worth revisiting. I’m a firm believer that type-club membership is valuable and worthwhile for any aircraft owner, and especially so for those who own more complex and capable aircraft.
Probably the most important benefit of type clubs is information exchange. If there’s a newsletter, it’s typically packed with useful tidbits on common problems and their solutions, as well as helpful guidance on all aspects of maintaining your unique ’craft.
In addition to any formal sources of information the type club might have, there are the other owners. Think back over the ownership of your aircraft. You’ve undoubtedly encountered an oddball problem or two that was difficult to diagnose and left you and your mechanic scratching your heads. Surely another owner, or the type-specializing maintenance shops you’ll find through the type club, has encountered that problem and can steer you in the right direction before you spend hours or days of fruitless troubleshooting.
Many type-clubs have regional or national events. Vendors important to that type are usually invited and will often set up demos or displays of interest, similar to what they do at major fly ins like OSH, SnF, etc. But at those events the line at the vendor booth can be long. At type-club gatherings it’s usually walk right up and chat. Or, the vendors often join the group for meals and you can sit at the same table and talk with them or even just hang out with them.
Few among us need an excuse to fly, but many of us need an interesting destination to avoid yet another hamburger run. Type-club gatherings often provide interesting destinations you’re not likely to otherwise go. Thus, these gatherings alone can provide a well-deserved getaway.
Finally, just meeting and chatting with other owners is beneficial. They share the same interests as you and have many of the same challenges. I guarantee you’ll find at least a few you begin to call “friend” and even rely on as another resource. Don’t forget your spouse. Not everyone’s spouse is interested in aviation, but if your spouse is at least willing to go along there are likely to be other spouses with the same frame of mind. Ultimately, your spouse might even become enthusiastic about joining you to get together with some new friends. With enough of these otherwise disinterested spouses along, the event planner might include separate activities just for them.
And, what could be better than all that?