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Thursday, June 20, 2024

New flying club forming at Leesburg International Airport

A flying club is being formed at the Leesburg International Airport.

The name of this flying club is Squadron Aeronautics Inc, and membership will be open to the general public. Part of the mission of the club will be to help young people in the greater Lake County area learn about the various aspects of operating and maintaining an aircraft. It will also provide an opportunity for licensed pilots to fly the club aircraft at nominal rates as members.

People interested in joining or learning more about this flying club are encouraged to contact one of the two club officers noted at the end of this announcement. 

Aviation enthusiasts, who want to help support this new organization will also be welcomed at a reduced rate.

Squadron Aeronautics, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that can accept financial or “in kind donations.”

The donated Cessna 150D minus its engine that was removed to be overhauled. The overhaul has now been completed creating a zero time engine that is about to be reinstalled.
The donated Cessna 150D minus its engine that was removed to be overhauled. The overhaul has now been completed creating a zero time engine that is about to be reinstalled.

The actual start of operations will be deferred to a date certain when they have a certified aircraft, but the club structure and officers have been determined.

This flying club is a spin off from the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 based at the Leesburg Airport. Two aircraft were recently donated to the chapter with the understanding that they would be used for a flying club, primarily to benefit their aviation youth program.  

One of the planes is a light sport Zenith CH 701 STOL aircraft, is a home-built kit which was completed around 17 years ago. It was flown into Leesburg but was in need of a number of repairs. The chapter’s Certified A & P aircraft mechanics went over the plane with a fine-tooth comb, and with the help of the aviation youth members and their adult mentors brought the plane back to flying condition. 

Knowing that EAA’s rules do not allow a chapter to operate an aircraft, the next step was to transfer the Zenith to the flying club. Unfortunately, affordable insurance could not be obtained for an experimental aircraft in a flying club.                     

Aviation insurance companies would, however, write a flying club policy for a manufactured and FAA certified aircraft, for example a Cessna 150. This is a well-known airplane used by many flying schools, and they seem to have a lot of confidence in them.

Well, the second aircraft that was donated to Chapter 534 is a Cessna 150D, registered, but not currently airworthy. 

When donated, this plane needed some cosmetic work, engine overhaul and new avionics. The engine has been overhauled, so it is now considered a zero-time engine. The chapter aircraft mechanics and chapter members have switched their attention to this plane and are working to get it airworthy.

How long will this take? They are not sure, but probably six months to a year. Then it will be turned over to the flying club and they should have no trouble getting the insurance they need. 

Despite the setback, Squadron Aeronautics will continue to work toward becoming an operational flying club. They will continue to recruit new members and will invite other tax-deductible financial donations. It will also be ready to accept the donation of any flyable certified aircraft.

Since the Zenith 701 cannot be used by the club, Chapter 534 has decided to sell it and use the proceeds from the sale to purchase equipment needed to finish the Cessna 150D.  

Again, this is a 501-C-3 tax-exempt organization. Even folks that may not consider joining are welcome to support this new aviation organization by making a tax-deductible donation to help them get the wheels off the ground.

If you wish to join Squadron Aeronautics you can secure your membership by sending a Check for $100 to the club’s treasurer, Gretchen Crecelius. This amount is reimbursable if you change your mind, or it will be applied to your entrance fee when the flying club becomes operational in the near future.

Since the club will be starting out with one aircraft, membership will initially be limited to 15 licensed pilots. As other planes are added to the club’s inventory membership will again be opened up.

Checks should be sent to Gretchen Crecelius, Squadron Aeronautics Treasurer, 8701 Airport Blvd, Suite 103, Leesburg, FL  34788.  The check should be made out to Squadron Aeronautics.

If you have further questions, contact: 

John Weber                                     


(352) 406-9726 

Frank McCutcheon


(603) 661-7035

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