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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: Filemaker / Flying Club Administration
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a2capt
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« on: June 28, 2008, 05:54:02 PM »

Aviation related, just not CAP specific ..  but..

.. I assumed a flying club operation here about a year ago and now that I'm finally getting the hang of how the stuff works, I'd like to get off this archaic system of Excel spreadsheets and portable file cabinets for admin.

The predecessor did all the accounting by brute-force Excel. Thats nuts. Considering the guy had to call me everytime he needed to copy a file or burn a CD, but he could whip his way around Excel and ACT! like no tomorrow.. just can't get the file off the drive.

Anyone have any experience with stand alone packages, not the subscription based web stuff? I'd really like to just have something, and am considering Filemaker as it's easier to get reports/layouts going quickly.

Are there any Filemaker gurus that would be interested in participating, even?

I have some rough layouts done- mostly on paper, a database started ..

My goal is to have something that I can enter the flight logs into - have it tally the amount of hours by the month, and by revenue flight, owner flights, maintenance, member paid expenses, etc. Do it by each ops-log entry and base an end of month report on the lines entered for the month.

As well as track membership, pilot data, etc. So we know who's medical is up at the end of each month, who's dues is up, who gets what for the next fiscal year, etc.
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RiverAux
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2008, 06:57:01 PM »

Sounds like something I would use a Microsoft Access database for myself.  But, I'm sure there are cheaper database alternatives out there that would work just as well.

On the other hand, sometimes a spreadsheet is really all you need. 
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airdale
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2008, 11:38:14 AM »

Quote
Anyone have any experience with stand alone packages

I am Treasurer for a club that bills about $250,000 per year.  If you want to PM me I'll tell you how we do it.  Short version is that the tach logs are entered into an Excel spreadsheet to verify/correct members' lousy arithmetic, then we run the club with Quickbooks, including email statements, direct debit (ACH) for members who want to pay that way, etc.

Even for a small club I would not consider rolling my own system even though I have the technical ability to do it.  The small biz accounting systems are too good and too cheap.

I'll be happy to give you copies of whatever of our stuff you'd like to see.

But ... I would advise strongly against QuickBooks.  Intuit is a bunch of snakes, always screwing customers.  Peachtree would be my choice if we weren't in so deep with QB that the conversion would take huge amounts of time.

Quote
So we know who's medical is up at the end of each month

I suggest that you talk to an attorney about the concept of having an "assumed duty to protect."  You can get into dangerous territory if you tell people you are going to enforce rules, then something happens, and afterward it is found that you did not do what you promised.  We leave the rules to the FAA wherever possible.
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a2capt
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2008, 07:03:34 PM »

To me it's not an assumed duty to protect so much as it warns them 4 weeks out that this stuff is expiring and they will not be able to make reservations after such date, and this is why. Thats all it does. If they make reservations for after said date, before said date- it lets them. They just can't access my schedule after those expire. No reason for them to.

Now.. if thats assuming a duty to protect, since I'm not in the cockpit, not the one that turned the key, etc. The PIC is responsible for that flight. Not us. The PIC is responsible for the airworthiness of that aircraft. We do our part by keeping it within dates.

Hmmm... interesting deal though.

As for Access vs. Filemaker - I'm more partial to Filemaker as it's cross platform and my primary system of choice is not the one that runs Access ... ;-) But thinking along the same lines.  Stack the data in the records and pull it by reporting parameters.


There's Snakes on this Hard Drive!!

LOL- I love it. Yeah, I tend to agree with the general outlook on Intuit, but the thing is it seems that in the general circle there's a number of people that use Quickbooks that I can draw on, plus there's a Mac version too - though it's not as good (as if anything is good about it) the Windows one.

I'll PM 'ya.. thanks.

« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 07:07:44 PM by a2capt » Logged
airdale
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2008, 07:27:30 PM »

Quote
To me it's not an assumed duty to protect

Low probability, high impact event:

1) You say that a member will not be able to schedule an airplane if his medical has expired.
2) You forget or make a mistake
3) Guy flies with an expired medical, has a heart attack, crashes into a school bus full of quadriplegic orphans who happen to have a greedy PI attorney handy.  (strike "greedy" -- redundant)
4) You get sued because you promised to prevent the guy from scheduling the airplane.
5) Grounds for the suit are you assumed a duty voluntarily, then you failed to perform the duty.

I am no way an expert, but that is the way I understand the issue. YMMV
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RiverAux
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2008, 08:05:58 PM »

The flying club would probably get sued anyway no matter what they do.  The question is whether or not they would lose based on this factor.  Doubtful, in my book. 
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airdale
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2008, 09:04:43 PM »

a2capt:  I replied to your PM, but nothing is showing up in my "Outbox" -- so I don't know if the message got through or not.  If not, PM me again and I'll take it up with the mods.

RiverAux :  Are you a lawyer or a judge?  I don't necessarily disagree with you but I'm wondering if you have any specific knowledge of the subject.

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RiverAux
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2008, 12:41:23 AM »

You don't have to be a lawyer or judge to know that anyone involved in an accident such as was described is probably going to be sued by the victims if there is any plausible way that they could possibly be at fault. 
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DG
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2008, 12:29:23 PM »

The flying club would probably get sued anyway no matter what they do.  The question is whether or not they would lose based on this factor.  Doubtful, in my book. 

RiverAux, you are right when you say "The flying club would probably get sued anyway no matter what they do."  It will depend if there is any money to be had from the Club, the Directors and Officers (the reason for D and O insurance) or members in their individual capacities.

But it is a bigger concern than "The question is whether or not they would lose based on this factor.  Doubtful, in my book."

You can win the lawsuit, but lose in the end.  Because of the high cost of defending the lawsuit. 
 
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RiverAux
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2008, 12:33:54 PM »

I agree.
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