History of the Club
The Club Connaught Aero Club is based at Ireland West Airport "Knock", located between Kilkelly and Charlestown, Co. Mayo. It was founded in August 1988 by two Flying Instructors and just three club members, who had raised three hundred pounds towards the lease on one aircraft. One year later, the Club was able to buy its own aeroplane, a four seater Piper Cherokee which continues to be in great demand and also in recent times the use of a Piper Warrior, both are equipped for IFR flight. Indeed, Connaught Aero Club has gone from strength to strength and now has a membership of some forty people.
The Club extends a warm welcome to everyone who has an interest in flying; both qualified pilots and those who would like to try their hand at studying for a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). At present we have five instructors, all of whom are in full-time occupation in addition to their commitment to flying, therefore most instruction takes place at weekends and in the evenings (weather permitting!). So Whether learning to fly is something you have always wanted to do, or you are interested but a bit uncertain as to whether it is really for you, Connaught Aero Club can help.
A Private Pilot’s Licence entitles the holder to fly a light aircraft as pilot in command While this must be for private use, that is money cannot be accepted by the pilot, the carriage of passengers is permitted. Once the PPL has been gained, many students are content with flying as a hobby, but others do go on to study night flying , poor weather flying, train to become instructors themselves, or even aim for a career as a Pilot with one of the Airlines.
The first step is to contact one of the Flight Instructors or club members as listed on Homepage He or she will then arrange for you to be taken on a familiarisation flight; a brief spin in the aircraft to help you decide whether you will enjoy flying. During this flight you will take control of the aeroplane with the help of the instructor. Then after that the lessons really begin.
Learning to fly is a gradual process involving both practice - from the start the trainee pilot is in the aircraft and takes to the skies - and theory. Meteorology, Air Law, Navigation, Human Performance and Theory of Flight are all studied. Connaught Aero Club, run a series of classes (called 'Ground School") beginning about this time each year, which run for six months and prepare students for a final examination. For more information on obtaining a "Private Pilot’s Licence" click here.
One of the major landmarks in learning to fly has to be the first solo flight, when the student is ready to fly the plane alone, and sets off without an instructor beside him or her. Next come the cross-country flights, involving visiting other airports and practising take-offs and landing in less familiar areas. Finally, passing the Aviation Authority's flight test makes the student a Private Pilot. At Knock to date, we have had 24 PPLs awarded, along with 3 Commercial Licences. Some students have gone on to work with Easyjet,Ryanair, Aer Lingus,Aer Arran and Loganair as either pilots or engineers.
Whatever your flying ambitions, Ireland West Airport boasts excellent facilities. There are about two miles of runway with Air Traffic Control, Instrument Landing Systems and advanced navigation equipment unparalleled in Ireland. We also have the advantage over other international airports in that long traffic delays are uncommon. At Connaught Aero Club, we excel in safety; training and club spirit and we benefit from the generous support of the Airport Board of Management. We have hosted several competitions, the most notable being the Fitzmaurice Air Rally, which we won in 1994. The inaugural launch of the Monsignor Horan International Fly-In to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the opening of the airport was held in 1996. This highly successful venture was supported by Irish, Northern Ireland and English clubs alike, a number of whom returned during their summer holidays. We are proud of our contribution to tourism in the West of Ireland