Are you a certified pilot and want to fly across and beyond Qatar? Or are you a flying enthusiast interested in becoming a certified pilot? Then the Qatar Flying Club is the place to go!
Located at Al Khor Airport, Qatar Flying Club (QFC) is a private flying company licensed by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCCA) to provide recreational flying to its members, and trains flying enthusiasts to become pilots as well as providing discovery flights over the country. ‘Qatar Flying Club was established in 2010 as a private initiative,’ said QFC Chairman, Khalid Al Khater. ‘The goal is to bring pilots together and bring awareness to private flying or aviation, to create local and international trips.’ According to Al Khater, there are light sports and general aviation. The difference is light sports require sport licenses with certain limitations whereas general aviation requires a bigger license that one can use to travel or fly with abroad.
At QFC, facilities are available for operating privately owned general aviation aircrafts such as gliders, ultralights, gyrocopters and microlights. QFC currently has over 150 members, the majority owning planes. ‘About 90-95% of the planes here are privately owned. We have our own planes for training or discovery flying. We oversee our members in terms of logistics, administration, hangers and planes,’ said Al Khater. Each pilot owns one or more private aircraft of different types including jet and prop aircraft, gyrocopters and ultralights. ‘Most of them are Qatari – maybe 90%. The others are Qatar residents, mostly from Europe,’ he added. It was Al Khater’s dream to bring Qataris together who share the same passion he had for flying the skies.
‘Since I was young, all my interests were in flying. Now, I’m grateful I’ve made my dream come true,’ said Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani, who has been a member of QFC since 2011. ‘Now I fly, I know the laws of flying and its rules and regulations…There is no other club but this club here, and it’s excellent. ‘
Nasser Mohamed Al Misnad joined QFC as a member in 2014. ‘I saw the others fly and I liked it. I rode with them and loved it up there. So I joined the club. I began by training and succeeded. I benefitted a lot. I learned how to fly and the fun of flying and now I fly,’ he said.
QFC welcomes residents of Qatar from all walks of life, both male and female. ‘Throughout the years, we’ve had more and more members. Some might be aircraft owners or come fly one of ours,’ Al Khater said, talking about the growth of QFC. According to Al Khater, QFC is unique in the region. ‘In this region, most of the countries don’t have such a thing,’ said Mohammed in regards to QFC. ‘Obviously, if you’re talking about America or Europe, then that’s different. There are a lot of general aviation activities going on there. I would easily say, compared to the other countries in the region, Qatar is doing very well in general aviation,’ he added.
Mohamed Humaid Al Mohannadi, a member of QFC since 2012, received his training abroad but when he returned to Qatar, he became a member to QFC to convert his license to a Qatari one. ‘I got to meet great pilots. It’s entertaining and we stay up to date with what’s new in the flying industry. It’s a hobby and a sport for me,’ he said.
Mubarak Naseeb Al Mohannadi joined QFC as a member in 2012. ‘I began in 2012 with training and in a few months, I got my license. Now I travel with other members as a hobby and flying enthusiast. In the summer, we fly less but during winter, we’re always flying. I have my own plane but there are planes in the club for training and for those who want to rent one. The club offers everything,’ he said.
‘It’s not as popular as other sports because it’s a unique sport,’ said Seyed Mohammed, Operation Manager at QFC, about flying in Qatar. ‘In the end, it’s a hobby. That is the first thing. After that, this hobby becomes more and more. Some start with a sports license. They try to do a certified license, which is for general aviation. This license will give him [access] to fly outside the country, take his family, and fly here and there. This is what we’re doing. We’re not just flying around and coming back. The local planes, yes we use it for some training. Some small aircraft are like motorbikes, they’re light and they fly them locally. But we have planes that are four or six seven, which we can fly to Europe,’ Al Khater added.
QFC is active in the local scene, taking part in a variety of events and exhibitions, as well as organising their own. QFC is behind the popular annual event, Al–Khor Fly-In, which introduces the general public to aviation. Established in 2008, the event takes place every year at Al–Khor Airport. Attracting over 2,000 people annually, the event motivates and promotes aviation as a sport and hobby to the youth and general aviation fans. It’s also considered a get-together of pilots to enjoy flying. Pilots from Qatar as well as from other GCC countries participate.
In addition, QFC participates in local holidays including Qatar National Day and National Sports Day as well as charity and voluntary initiatives. QFC also participates in international events especially air shows in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain. In addition, QFC organises gatherings abroad. ‘Before the blockade, we used to have them in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and more. Now, we travel to Kuwait or other countries in the GCC. We also have trips beyond the GCC like Europe usually in May or June, every year,’ explained Al Khater.
‘We don’t face many challenges but the weather can be a challenge sometimes for flight safety,’ said Al Khater. ‘We face wind, dust and high temperatures. They are the challenges that we face when we fly in Qatar. We can fly but we have to choose the correct time – maybe very early in the morning or very late afternoon. We have temperature limitation, that’s why. Anything above 38 is a no go,’ Mohammed explained. However, from October to April, QFC is in full force, flying up and beyond Qatar.
To become a member, QFC requires a passport copy and a police clearance certificate from the Ministry of Interior along with a membership form. In addition, for non-Qataris, a non-objection letter from your sponsor is required. Membership costs only QAR1,000 per year.
For more information on membership and fees, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/qatarflyingclub/ or call 4457 1491, 5566 5658 or 6695 0285. You may also visit their website at http://qatarflyingclub.net.
Author: Ola Diab
Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.