Monday, July 23, 2007

Ft Lewis Flying Club is closing

I am posting this follow up to a previous post because I am troubled by the closing of the Ft. Lewis Flying club. This club has been operating for 47 years and now MWR feels that it needs to close.

The club has been loosing money but if allowed to make a few changes could operate at break even or maybe even a profit.

The changes required to sustain the club for at least a year are very simple and would allow the club to recruit more members aggressively amongst the soldiers and DOD civilians that work in the area, its my understanding that these options were never heard by the powers that be.

During a ground school lesson today I watched as 3 people were turned away from joining because they won't have enough time to complete their lessons before the club is closed.

Its my understanding that there has been more interest this summer than in previous years but they are being turned away still.

The club was loosing money partly due to a lack of members and partly due to other things that I don't have enough details to discuss currently.

I will continue to investigate this matter even if it does nothing to help save this wonderful club because I believe that the decision to close the club was made independent of the facts.

This could be a case of pure business or a lack of understanding about aviation and what it needs to survive. I just hope its not a case of my interest being more important than yours...if you know what I mean.

Soldiers want this club to survive, it can survive if allowed. If this club closes there will be hundreds of soldiers that might have become pilots that won't be able to afford it on the open market.

The training just costs too much for all but the Officers to afford off post and even those that could afford to pay as much as $40 more per hour someplace else would have a hard time traveling that far off post with our work load.

We have a wonderful resource on post now, help us keep it!


TheNewsBlogger said...

Good luck! The world needs more good flying clubs, IMO.

Unknown said...

American Soldier, What did you find out? I am very interested as to why the Club closed. I am deeply saddened to hear it closed. I just recently learned that the army even had some clubs left. I was told from the DOD Level that Ft Lewis still had one, then to learn this makes me wonder just exactly what is going on out there. I would like to hear what you discovered.

Red4Golf said...

All I know at this point is that the entire face of the air field is changng and with the current op-temp of most of the units there aren't enough soldiers around to take lessons or be club members.

With out higher profits, the club wasn't figured in to the changing face of grey army air field.

There is more to it than that but with out further information I would hate to post it here since I am a soldier, but I am looking in to this still.

I am also looking in to getting a club together under the AAFES banner and not MWR so that the funding doesn't come from the Army.

Paul VW said...

It's really too bad, but I visited in early 2007 and was discouraged from pursuing my Commercial Rating there by the chief instructor.

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling, I have tried to reinstate one that had fallen by the way side do to a accident and found nothing but resistance from the "powers that be" on the air field. I was advised to let it be if I valued my career! I had done all the research and talked to folks all over and the best advise I got was to go through the air force as they are more willing than MWR! As MWR is out for the PROFIT, as we can see by the "SURCHARGE" aka TAX at the commissary. I was told that MWR has been the down fall of the flight clubs. I get so aggravated with the PROFIT mentality of the Army and MWR, I thought that they existed for the "MORALE, WELFARE and RECREATION" of the soldiers!!! Instead they are focused on the Profit, it all started with the close of our service clubs. I wish you the best if I can find any of the contact info I had I will post it and maybe you will find some good news. I truly hope you can save the club as it is a great benefit. Some of my fondest childhood memories are at the Flight Club with my dad or flying with him and he was enlisted too!!