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 The IBM Flying Club

We are a non-commercial social group open to employees, retirees, and friends of IBM (UK) Ltd. The Club aims are based on promoting safety and experience for our members as well as introducing new and potential IBM pilots and friends to our Instructors and the world of aviation. The Club, formed in 1981, operates throughout the UK.  Despite having no physical base or building of its own, the Club is extremely active and was perhaps the first flying club to use E-mail links and a Google Group to bring its members together, as well as to disseminate newsletters and forthcoming Events.  Newsletters (and items of interest) are published as required which contain trip reports, news, safety tips, advice and proposed experience building trips. This relies heavily on input from Club members; however we welcome articles from all sources (but not commercial advertising). Articles for inclusion in the next Newsletter should be emailed to the Newsletter co-ordinator in MS Word format.  Items of interest should be sent to the Webmaster.

Skill levels range from "just interested", to ab-initio pilot, to CPL/IR.  Some club members own their own aircraft (outright or as a member of a syndicate) and many other rent from usual sources. The IBM Flying Club does not own any aircraft.


The opinions of the IBM Flying Club or its members which are expressed or recommended on this or any other linked pages are not necessarily those of the IBM Corporation and should not be construed as such.

Benefits to Members

The primary benefit of the Flying club is that it provides a forum for communication between members. The Google group which is available to members is an excellent communication vehicle that is widely used. Some members use it to publicise their weekend flights, looking for others to join them; some use it to ask for advice or guidance; some use it to advertise events; and so on. Since we implemented the Google Group it has certainly helped to improve the feeling of belonging regardless of the geographic spread of the members. Our members have a wide and varied experience including a number of members with IMC ratings, a number who regularly fly abroad, a number who own their own planes, and a number who rent on a regular basis. We have some folk who regularly fly from grass airstrips and those who fly from international airports; we also have a lot of members who used to fly, but who still enjoy talking about flying and joining the fly-ins (or as we call them "Zero Feet" events) where space and weight and balance permits.

The main feature of the Club is the emphasis on safety and shared flying experiences. One popular activity of the Club is teaming up inexperienced pilots with more experienced members of the club for experience building trips. Regular "Talking Baggage" flights take place, where for example, three club members may take an aircraft to two destinations in a day. The left hand seat pilot on any leg pays the bill for that leg, the right hand seat takes the radio work and navigation, whilst the back-seat pilot "rides shotgun" and is the "talking baggage", double checking on the actions of the two in front. This enables three pilots to get parallel experience whilst only paying a third of the cost, allowing trips to further destinations to be within budget.

Whatever the subject in aviation, the Club usually has someone with an interest in it. Some of our members are practising Instructors who can teach, examine, or provide checkout services to members and non-members alike.

Given the generally poor weather during the winter months we have usually arranged a number of Zero Feet events. These have included a chat about the Red Arrows; a talk from Eric Moody - the pilot of the 747 that lost all of its engines when it flew through a volcanic ash cloud over Java; a talk from NATS about airspace and a CAA Safety Evening. Other Zero Feet events included a trip to the AAIB, and also a trip to ATC at Lasham where they service 737s etc. We do not stand still.

We have negotiated a deal with Transair whereby we can obtain significant discounts on their wide range of products. Transair catalogues are widely available or you can have a look at their website on www.transair.co.uk  We have also arranged a discount on Pilot magazine, and will provide a loan chart (for a discounted fee) on an annual basis. We are always open to ideas. We also provide access to the Met Office subscription services for our members. Just remember that there is no membership cost - given the escalating prices associated with aviation, we cannot think of a better bargain!

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Last modified : 25-Apr-2013