PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Nestled within the confines of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station lies a haven for aviation enthusiasts – the Patuxent River Navy Flying Club (PRNFC). Celebrating its 59th anniversary this year, the PRNFC is one of the three Navy flying clubs still operating since its establishment in 1964.

At PRNFC, the skies open up to a diverse range of individuals, including active duty, reserve, and retired military personnel, Civil Air Patrol members, government employees, DoD contractors, and their immediate families. This flying club is not just about recreational flying; it also strives to provide educational opportunities for those eager to delve into the exciting world of aviation.

“We were established in 1964 and are one of only three Navy flying clubs still in operation,” said Amanda McHugh, PRNFC Club Manager, proudly reflecting on the club’s history and achievements.

The PRNFC offers a multitude of benefits to its members, catering to both seasoned pilots seeking to enhance their skills and novices eager to explore the art of flying. Its primary mission is to foster an understanding and appreciation for general aviation while also supporting naval aviators in maintaining their piloting capabilities during non-flying assignments.

Operating on the principles of cooperation and inclusion, the PRNFC welcomes a wide-ranging membership, effectively democratizing aviation experiences. Membership fees vary based on rank, starting at $33 monthly for E-6 or above and $15 monthly for E-5 or below. The club also offers a family plan at $39 monthly, ensuring that aviation remains accessible to all.

The key to PRNFC’s cost-effective approach lies in the dedication of its instructors and the support of current and former Navy maintainers, who generously volunteer their services. This altruistic spirit allows the club to maintain high standards while keeping costs affordable.

For those contemplating membership, regular meetings are held at the PRNFC Clubhouse on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. An alternative option for attendance is provided through Zoom Meetings, enabling aspiring members to participate remotely. Additionally, the club maintains an active presence on Facebook (, where engaging stories and discussions with current members are readily available.

McHugh emphasized the club’s commitment to safety and the community, stating, “We also meet socially monthly to discuss club business and present a safety briefing, usually about a relevant aviation topic, a service not offered with our competition.”

Aspiring pilots seeking to join PRNFC can reach out via email to arrange appointments and obtain further information about the club. McHugh warmly encourages pilots, whether currently flying at Pax River or retired but still in the area, to become part of the club. She also extends an invitation to anyone eager to learn, highlighting an aviation career’s excitement and lucrative prospects.

The PRNFC caters to various aviation enthusiasts, from licensed pilots to eager students ready to spread their wings. The club enables members to engage in flight activities without substantial economic challenges by providing access to light aircraft operations at a lower cost.

The club’s offering of instructor reservations allows members to receive personalized flying training aligned with their goals and proficiency levels. From experienced pilots seeking recurrent training to newcomers starting from scratch, PRNFC covers the full spectrum of flight training needs.

“We are able to offer all the standard flight training, from recurrence flights for experienced pilots, to introductory training for someone looking to learn from the ground up,” McHugh explained. “We also offer a ground school class in-person every Fall. For those who like to learn in a collaborative classroom setting, this beats the impersonal computer-based training hands down.”

The PRNFC is an attractive pathway for aspiring aviators in the face of a current pilot shortage. Beyond the allure of a rewarding career, flying remains an exhilarating hobby that opens doors to diverse experiences with each passing day.

The Patuxent River Navy Flying Club is a beacon of aviation within the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, embodying a spirit of inclusivity and passion for flight. As the club’s legacy continues to soar, it invites individuals from all walks of life to take flight and embrace the skies above.

For more information about the Patuxent River Navy Flying Club, visit or contact McHugh at

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply