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Old May 17th 17, 11:35 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Flying Club Management Software

I found your post searching for possible collaborators to develop gliding club management software.

I’d be interested to know what progress you've made with your enquiries.

I’m currently looking to commence a project to develop software to do this.If someone else has done it already it may save me an awful lot of work.

Our Current Situation

I’m a member of Lake Keepit Soaring Club in Australia. We currently have around 150 members and we run a semi-commercial operation midweek, with an employed manager, and additional seasonal tuggie(s) and instructor(s)..

We operate a bit over 4000 flights per year, mostly aerotow with around 150 winch and 120 self launch. I commenced the development of software (Fltops) in 2005 for entering flightsheet data, calculating flight charges, and managing pilot flying accounts. A bookings system for reserving gliders is included. To this has been added membership management and charging for accommodation and other miscellaneous sales. Cash and payments are recorded and account balances maintained, and statements are produced and can be emailed on request, or monthly. The system allows preparation of a wide range of reports used for club management.

The system is written in Visual Foxpro, which is a database management language which evolved from the original dBase. Microsoft bought Visual Foxpro and after a few years ceased to support and maintain the language.

Having used this program for over 10 years, it is quite robust, free of bugs and a powerful aid to the management of the club.

Currently data we utilise the tug pilot to record the flight data, and this is manually entered into the club office computer at the end of the day (data can be entered progressively.) The data entryscreen is designed to facilitate rapid data entry by keystrokes, progressed by TAB or ENTER keys, with default values presented by the program wherever that makes logical sense..

We have toyed with GPS tracker recording of flight data and believe this is the next step (We even progressed quite a way along this track before the member who was the key driver of that project left the club.)

I have been asked on a few occasions whether our Fltops software could be made available to other clubs – regrettably, some of the coding is specific to our club, and the software is built around other special peculiarities of our club’s charging system. Making it into a generic program would involve a fair bit of work by me. Also, I would not be prepared to offer on-going support to other clubs.

The Future

I’m interested in working towards a web-based system, utilising the concepts I’ve developed in our Fltops program, which hopefully could be made customisable by any club for their use.

It will be required by our club eventually as
- I’ll die off one day or be run over by a bus;
- the language Visual Foxpro is still viable but is no longer supported and not getting any enhancements;
- people expect to be able to access their accounts on the web;
- system improvements will be required in the future

I’m looking to find other people prepared to work collaboratively to share to workload, importantly to have other people who understand the system so that future support will be available

I’m not a professional IT nerd, but have written software for my own business and the gliding club. I don’t have any web design experience, but have been doing some research and have some ideas. But will need a lot of advice and assistance to get started.

Interested? Or know of any others who might be?

Feel free to circulate this.


Dave Shorter
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