San Carlos, CA

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I get for watching?
1. Connection to a network of others in your situation, who understand your pain, and want to share great ideas
2. Access to the SPARK Google Drive for example materials and inclusion in the SPARK SubReddit

My flying club only has 10 members. Would I get anything out of watching SPARK?
Yes, SPARK is about sharing ways to bring energy to General Aviation.  Energy that will either increase the size of your flying club, or maybe just improve the member experience.  Either way, you win.

Why is San Carlos Flight Center hosting this event?
Mostly because no one else is.  Our club started because the club we were at had no energy.  They didn’t try new things, and didn’t seem to even enjoy being a club.  A year after we started our own club, we won Best Flight School in the US from AOPA, we began to look around to find others who were innovating.  We love seeing other schools and clubs have great ideas, and are happy to share what we’ve learned with others.

Is GA SPARK for flight schools?  Or for flying clubs?
Both.  Our mission is to build energy to general aviation, to share the thing we love with the world.  The ideas we share at SPARK can help your GA organization be better at serving your customers/members and building aviation in your part of the world. Sometimes people make a hard distinction between schools and clubs.  Schools are typically operated by an owner for profit. Clubs often have a not-for-profit status and are operated by governing boards.  Many flight schools, especially Part 141 schools, rely on customers coming from out of area and cater to who students leave the area when they finish.  Clubs pool the financial risk and can benefit from tax status, often giving them advantages over schools. There are differences between clubs and schools.  But if you are trying to create a fun, energetic environment that sustains over time, SPARK is for you.

I work at a Part 141 school. Is GA SPARK for me?
It depends on your goal.  Energy building is easiest when you have a client base that stays with you, as repeat business.  The type of energy we generate using the ideas from SPARK build client retention and local word-of-mouth referrals.  If that’s your goal, join us. If your school mostly contracts to bring in foreign students for bulk, condensed training, you probably have other goals.

Why would I share ideas with another school?  Aren’t we competitors, fighting for the same students?
Not in our eyes.  If you’re not at our airport, you’re not our competitor.  Most of general aviation is highly local. Few people will drive 30 miles past a perfectly good airport to go to the next one.  Our target customers and members are local to our airports, and we use energy to attract and retain those customers. You can too.

I think my school/club has a lot of great ideas of our own.  We would be happy to share them, and maybe even co-present one of the sessions. Who should I contact?
That’s great!  Some of the best ideas are ones we haven’t even heard yet.  Sharing ideas is at the core of this event. We are actively seeking hosts to partner with.  Email us at info@ga-spark.org and let’s get the conversation started.

My flight school is pretty small right now. Will the content be relevant to our situation?
Energy building is universal.  You should be able to find inspiration at SPARK for organizations of any size. These ideas can help grow a small flight school into a bigger one or allow an established school to improve the quality and community feel for their school.  It’s true that some ideas cost money to implement, but you can decide what the right next step for your organization.

What will attendees receive to help implement some of these ideas after the conference?
We will provide handouts at each session, as appropriate, with details of what we’ve found works and doesn’t work.  Attendees will also get access to the GA SPARK Google drive were they can trade ideas with colleagues all year, and get access to our SPARK blog for outreach and suggestions throughout the year.