Club members take flight

Matt Kuhns

For students who have always dreamed of flying but who could never get the funds to get their wings, the Iowa State Flight Club provides an alternative.

Paul Whipple, ISU Flight Club president and senior in transportation and logistics, said the group prides itself on providing students an opportunity to experience flying a plane.

“We really encourage people who aren’t pilots to join,” Whipple said.

The group travels to museums, training facilities and other flight-related sites.

“[Recreational flying] is by far what we do most,” Whipple said.

He said the club does most of its flying in a plane rented from the aerospace engineering department.

Whipple said the almost 30-member club typically attracts a lot of engineering majors, but this year it has drawn a wider variety of students.

About one-fourth of the club’s members are licensed pilots, although Whipple said that fraction is usually larger. He said non-licensed members cannot earn Federal Aviation Association-certified “log time” for their flying hours, but the flight club can still provide those members with valuable experience.

Non-licensed members can get a general idea of how planes work and some basic flight experience, Whipple said. To help improve their skills, the flight club also makes training tapes available to its members. He said this can reduce the cost of flying lessons if the member decides to pursue a license in the future, because he or she will not have to pay the instructor to learn basic knowledge.

The ISU Flight Club has two trips planned for this semester — to the air traffic control office at the Des Moines International Airport and to a large jet plane repair facility in Kansas City.

Whipple said he also hopes to take the group to the Strategic Air Command base in Omaha, Neb., later in the year.

Jared Granzow, the club’s certified flight instructor and senior in agricultural engineering, said the ISU Flight Club once took part in national competitions in past years, a tradition he hopes to see revived this year.

The flight club does not have a regular meeting schedule, but Whipple said meetings generally are held every other Thursday.

Any students interested in learning more about the ISU Flight Club can contact Whipple at 572-0100.