Olds Forge Flyers, Inc. began upon issuance of a charter by the State of Michigan on January 25, 1945. The charter was the effort of 10 employees of the Oldsmobile Forge Plant who shared a common interest in flying. The club has flown out of Lansing Capital City Airport for the past 60 years.
The club’s first aircraft was an Aeronca L-3B which was purchased in spring of 1945 as army surplus for $751.50. Only later did the members discover the craft to be unairworthy until a wing was rebuilt.
In 1947, the club bought a 1946 Ercoupe for $1,992.84. The ‘50's were difficult years for the club but by the end of the decade, the membership approximated 40. Into the ‘60's, planes were traded and the club owned both a Piper Tri-pacer and a Piper Colt.
By the end of the ‘60's, membership numbered in the fifties and the club owned three aircraft. Costs were escalating at what seemed to be a rapid rate with avfuel doubling in cost and liability and damage insurance tripling. Adding a transponder cost nearly as much as the club’s first plane. Plane rates jumped from $3.50 to $18.00 per hour and the club was operating with a budget in the area of $30,000.
In 1975, the club had 62 member who flew three planes: a Piper Arrow and two 172's. Various optional forms of memberships were created to encourage trial memberships or reduced rates for family of existing members.
In 1983, the Arrow was sold and replaced by an Archer. In 1986, the Club bought Skyhawk 52267 which remains in today’s fleet. At that time, the club also owned a Cherokee 6 which was stolen from the hangar and crashed in Georgia. The repair job was poorly done and the plane fell into disuse. The Cherokee 6 was replaced with a Saratoga that had been flown in both Alaska and California. The Saratoga remained a cherished member of the club fleet until it was sold in 2005 due to the cost of maintaining it. The cost of insuring the Saratoga exceeded the combined cost for the Archer and the 172.
The Archer that was purchased in 1983 suffered a fire after landing in Traverse City on the first flight after a major overhaul. It was discovered that a float pin had been left out of the carburetor causing the engine to flood. The pilot, an MSU engineering professor suspected carburetor icing during the flight. After landing without incident, he was told to hold short of a crossing runway, which he did. After being cleared to the ramp, he added power and saw flames coming from the cowling. He and his passenger exited the plane and watched it burn. He immediately went shopping for a replacement and found N6917D in New York. It was love at first sight and the new Archer has been our most utilized plane over the years.
The club celebrated both its 55th and 60th anniversaries with dinner meetings in the airport terminal, and its 65th at the University Club. As the club has relocated from the "T" hangars to the AvFlight (formerly known as AeroGenesis) hangar gone are the days of the snow blower, and on to doing winter pre-flights indoors and not waiting for the fuel truck in the bitter cold of winter, the mosquito infested summer or any other time of year. As always, we not only look for safety but member convenience as we plan for the future of the Club.