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February 2013 Newsletter

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC


Free!  Everyone loves that word!  But usually there’s a trick.  Not this time.  As part of our continuing efforts to revamp the club, we have acquired brand new simulators.  It was well known that our old simulators were, well, let’s just be polite and say old.  We have a new Sim room at Palo Alto.  It houses two brand new PFC simulators, a G1000 unit and a 6-pack unit.  Both units run the same X-Plane 9 visuals.  I’ve flown both and can confidently say that the visuals are stunningly good.  I’ve had bird strikes, seen deer on the runway, and the weather can be absolutely evil!

So, here’s the really cool part.  The club (read you) owns the G1000 unit outright.  As such, we can pretty much do what we want with it.  So for starters, we’re offering every regular member a free hour per month.  That’s a $50 value which we hope a lot of members will take advantage of.   To keep things simple, we’re not going to let free hours accumulate from month to month, so it is pretty much use it or lose it on a monthly basis, so my suggestion would be to use it.  I’m hoping/expecting that the G1000 unit will be very busy, and that’s a good thing.  Here is a fantastic tool to do initial G1000 button/knobology training on.  It’s great for significant parts of an instrument rating.  It can also be used for an IPC, general proficiency, and on and on.

Like any simulator, there are a few quirks to the start-up, set-up, and shutdown so we’re requesting that any member interested, first get with their CFI and run through the use of the unit.  And please remember, most SIM time cannot be counted for ratings or currency unless a qualified CFI is at the session.  That’s not to say you cannot fly the SIM as much as you want, but just be sure you’re logging SIM time appropriately. 

After the free hour is used, each month, the SIM will cost $50 per hour.  This is still a good deal for such an advanced G1000 simulator that features Synthetic Vision, Terrain, Obstacles, WAAS GPS, GFC700 autopilot and much more.  Around mid-March we’ll be receiving an identical G1000 until for our SQL facility.  That unit will not be club owned, but the owner has offered 1 free hour (one-time) to any member and then $50 per hour for subsequent usage.

And don’t forget the new 6 pack simulator.  It features 26 different airplanes, including several multi-engine models.  It has a GNS430 GPS unit, a great autopilot, and the same awesome XPlane 9 visual display.  It rents for $35, also a great deal for such an advanced simulator.

So, it’s time to re-energize the WVFC simulator program and we trust you, the membership, will take full advantage of the offerings.

Fly safe!


Jesse Gamueda, Chief Pilot WVFC


Hello again!  Thank you in advance for clicking on my article, whether you make it to the end is another matter! 

So, in trying to continue in the interest of safety, I thought I would try to convince my readers of the importance of a solid preflight.  The best preflights begin way before you get to the airport.  They begin in the days leading up to your flight, regardless of the type of flying your trying to do.  This be whether you are ferrying one of the club a/c from Palo Alto to San Carlos, or taking a trip from PAO/SQL to Teterboro, New Jersey. 

So what do you need to consider when jumping into any a/c?  First, and this applies to all pilots, not just professional pilots, is 91.103 “All Available Information”.  So normally you can look at the typical things like; Charts, FARs, TFRs, whether your medical is current, etc.  These are the things that everyone looks into.  This article looks beyond the typical. It focuses on the pilot!!!

IMSAFE is an acronym used by the FAA. that stands for

1.) Illness

2.) Medication

3.) Stress

4.) Alcohol

5.) Fatigue

6.) Emotion

One of the most shocking things I learned at my Aviation Alma Mater was this.  Pilot error is attributed to more than 69% of accidents.   When you take a serious look at yourself and examine whether or not you are fit to fly, one must ask themselves these things at a minimum.

Illness: this can include anything from a simple head cold to whether or not you feel like flying.  When I was young I remember being told about a 6th sense that most of us have.  Race car drivers would call this “seat feel”. Most people, regardless of currency can climb into an aircraft and know when something just does not feel right?

Medication: a simple rule that I have when you’re on medication is this.  When you’re on any type of drug.  DO NOT FLY.  One of the greatest things I learned in college is that the “Presiding Judge” on any type of case has the ability to interpret the law the way he/she deems fit.  You may be on a drug that is FAA accepted, but maybe not in the context you’re flying with.   Typically speaking these medications are never flat out “approved” and are usually covered by the phrase “case by case basis”.  So when in doubt do not fly.

Stress: this may be the hardest one to figure out or come to terms with. When reading “accident causal factors” one typically finds that the pilot had “getthereitis” or was being rushed by an employer pushing the flight beyond its limits.  You may have children that have to make it back for a game.  Or a spouse that has that important function to attend.  Usually pilots fly by themselves, so other than our own personal/professional commitments, you really only need examine yourself.  A checklist might include asking yourself, “ Is this flight worth dying for?”  Because bottom line, more often than not, this is the outcome of an aircraft accident? 

Alcohol:  – Need I say more? Really?

Fatigue: Another silent killer.  Has anyone seen the movie “Flight” with Denzel Washington.  I have heard more stories from airline and corporate pilots where the Captain falls asleep once the aircraft is airborne. (How dare the copilot be allowed to sleep). More and more stories are told about pilots asleep at the yolk. This was one of the causal factors in the Buffalo investigation where the commuter went down.  The lack of sleep doesn’t allow us to be in top shape should an emergency occur.  Many times we take for granted the things that just don’t need to be done because we have an “autopilot”.  General aviation aircraft have become so technically advanced that you really don’t need to do much after takeoff.  The Cirrus, DA-40, DA-42, 182’s, and 172’s all make it way to easy to become complacent in the cockpit…these a/c being autopilot equipped, which results in being “asleep at the wheel”  I’ve witnessed it myself!

Emotion: Wow, did you think you were going to get your head examined while reading this article?  Anything involving A-type individuals means not getting emotional! RIGHT!!!!  Ego’s, far too often rule a pilot’s judgment!  But let’s be objective, if you are feeling any of the following emotions, think twice about flying: agitation, anger, concern, desire, despair, drive, ecstasy, elation, fervor, grief, melancholy, passion, pride, rage, sadness, shame, sorrow, zeal - Think twice about flying.  Remember emotions are one of the great reasons we fly – love, joy, excitement, and thrill!  And all too often dismissing any of those emotions may achieve unintended results.  To thine own self be true!

In closing, when you are issued a certificate or a rating you also get the responsibility of being called – Pilot in Command.  As such you have much greater responsibility - to yourself, your family/friends and community in general. This endeavor that we call flying can be made much safer by becoming airmen.  Being an airman is much more than being just a pilot.  It involves careful introspection every time you’re handed the keys to an aircraft.  Who better to examine whether you have any illness, stress, fatigue or emotion?  With medication and alcohol, there are plenty of investigators to examine this after an accident or incident!

Regardless, I feel that the WVFC culture is one of pleasure and enjoyment for our membership and this introspective look should come very easy!  Once again, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this article! 

Lloyd Stephens, Aircraft Owner WVFC  

On Personal Minimums and Risk Management

Frequently in the winter months, when we get clear sunny days and perfect flying weather in the Bay Area, California’s central valley will be covered in low clouds and fog.  Generally the tops of this layer are at or below 2000 feet and the air is perfectly clear above, while on the surface visibilities start out being about 1/4 mile in fog, vertical visibility 100 to 200 feet, and it may improve only to 1 mile with a 400 to 500 foot ceiling by late morning or early afternoon, and never improve to better than that. On those days flight service advises “VFR not recommended” over the valley.  It is beautiful to fly over the central valley on these days--it looks like you are flying over a giant snow field--and the airports on the other side (Jackson, Columbia, etc.) are in the clear.  But should you do this and, if your answer is yes, under what conditions? 

This issue came up recently in a discussion about “personal minimums.”  I am not a flight instructor.  I am a commercial/instrument rated pilot, but I have more than 3000 hours of experience flying in all kinds of weather.  It always raises eyebrows when I say that I don’t really believe in personal minimums. That is not to say that I think a newly minted private pilot should be flying the same as I do, or that a new instrument pilot should load his friends in a plane and set off for Reno at night in a storm.  (When I learned to fly we were prohibited from landing on any runway that was less than 3000 feet long.)  But it’s not that I don’t have personal minimums, it’s that they are flexible, so, as I like to say, “it depends.” 

What I think is that what you do and what your minimums should be, depends on the conditions, and your ability.  It’s about managing the risk and maintaining your options.  It is one thing to make an instrument approach to 200 feet and 1/2 mile visibility when the tops are 800 feet and it is clear above with a good VFR alternate nearby, and quite another to attempt such an approach when it is raining with tops layered to 25,000, your alternate is right at minimums, and VFR is a long way away.  I remember sitting on the ground for a couple of hours at North Bend, OR, when the airport was below IFR minimums, because the nearest airport that was not below minimums was 1 1/2 hours flying time away.  This despite the fact that the tops were only a few hundred feet up and it was clear above.  Other planes were departing, but I didn’t.  I just didn’t like the fact that my options were so limited if I had a problem after departure.

If you talk to instructors, they will tell you that one of the most difficult things to teach to new pilots is judgment.  One of my friends who is not a pilot was discussing aircraft accidents with me recently.  He and I agreed that the majority of aircraft accidents happen because of bad decision making.  His theory is that man loves to gamble, and that many pilots gamble on making it safely to their destination despite the fact that the odds are not in their favor.  He said, if you want to gamble with your life, that’s one thing, but leave your family and friends behind.  If you are a gambler, setting inviolate personal minimums could save your life.  But if you compromise on those minimums, you’re not any better off than if you didn’t set them in the first place.

Life is not without risk, and that is particularly true of flying in small planes.  But my approach is one of risk management to minimize the risk factors and to, as far as possible, maximize your options.  We are fortunate in that for most of us, unlike airline and cargo pilots, flying is something we can choose to do, or not do.  If you choose to fly only on clear, calm days, and not go far from the airport, you have few decisions to make and you’re not likely to get in much trouble.  Those of us who use the airplane as a transportation device, however, may have a lot of decisions to make.   I am an advocate for taking small steps at first, but gradually pushing your comfort envelope by taking larger steps--going to new airports, getting more training (such as a commercial license and/or an instrument rating, and getting some experience flying in different conditions--before you try a long cross-country with friends or relatives when you “have to” get there, especially in questionable weather. (After I got my instrument rating I used to seek out cloud layers between about 4000-8000 feet, and clear below, just to practice my instrument skills.)

Flying out of the Eastern Sierra (Bishop and Mammoth) has taught me a lot about making those decisions.  You can almost always fly somewhere out of Palo Alto or San Carlos, even if you have to wait for the fog to burn off.  But that’s not the case out of the Eastern Sierra airports.  Winds that blow the big semi trucks over on the highway, mountain waves with associated rotor clouds, and clouds obscuring the Sierra combined with low freezing levels and rain or snow, can keep you on the ground for days (sometimes weeks) unless you want to gamble on making it out safely.

I believe in getting a thorough weather briefing (I like the NWS site for area forecast discussions and aviation weather), doing a thorough pre-flight, considering my options and alternatives, and my currency and skill as a pilot, then deciding if the flight is within my comfort level before I go.  If I encounter conditions enroute that I don’t like, I don’t hesitate to land somewhere other than my destination to wait for them to improve.

Back to the central valley, I have flown across it when it is obscured by low clouds on occasion enroute to Bishop, and I have gone over there to practice instrument approaches in actual conditions at Stockton or Modesto.  (It is a great way to gain more confidence in your ability to make approaches to minimums.)  When I told one flight instructor that I did this, his response was that it was not a good thing to do because it limited your options if you had an engine failure.  And that is true, but it is a trade off.  Engines do fail, but not frequently, and it is difficult to find more benign conditions in which to make actual instrument approaches to minimums.  Also, I don’t fly over or into the central valley when visibilities or ceilings are very low.  I want a minimum of 300-400 foot ceilings with at least a mile (and preferably more) visibility beneath the clouds, just in case.  That’s enough to give you some maneuvering ability below the clouds.  Not without some risk, but with good VFR above and VFR airports not too far away, I’m comfortable doing that.  The benefits are relatively high and the risk is relatively low.  For you, that may not be true.  As a pilot, you have to make that decision.  Do so wisely, and fly safely!!


Lindell Wilson, WVFC CFI

The Bay Tour

Now that the spring weather is almost here, (Here Now), the “Bay Tour” is on many pilot’s flight agenda. The Bay Tour is a great way to see the entire peninsula and is a real treat for out-of-town guests.  So what is the Bay Tour?


First the disclaimer, the following Bay Tour information summarizes one possible route and procedure available to pilots. Each pilot’s flight situation may vary. It is highly recommended that a pilot who is not familiar with the Bay Tour consider dual flight with a CFI who is familiar with the routes, airspace, and communications.


Let’s follow a typical Bay Tour departing from SQL.


Before the Flight –

Start by briefing passengers regarding the intended route and encourage them to bring sunglasses and a camera.


The Route –

We will depart SQL and fly northwest into SFO Class B airspace (with a clearance) remaining southwest of highway 101.  We will cross the departure corridor for SFO runways 28L and 28R just northwest of SFO, then continue north over San Bruno mountain and directly toward downtown San Francisco and Angle Island beyond. At Angle Island we will turn right and head towards Emeryville and Berkeley. We will continue southeast along the East Bay, over the Oakland Coliseum, over OAK runway 29 numbers, and mid-span San Mateo Bridge back to SQL.


The Pre Flight –


Let’s start our preflight planning with weight and balance calculations, weather briefing (with TFRs), and familiarization (study the chart) including the SFO class B, SFO/OAK airspace, and expected communications frequencies.


The Flight –

After loading the aircraft, hop-in and let’s go).

·       Listen to the ATIS and pay special attention to the remarks section at the end. At SQL the ATIS remarks section may contain “San Francisco is NOT accepting any VFR transitions”, then use Plan B below.

·       Call SQL ground and request to taxi and append your taxi request with either Plan A or B. Plan A is “Request a Bay Tour (101 transition)” or Plan B¸”Request a Bay Tour with NorCal”. SQL ground will respond with taxi instructions plus additional instructions for the Bay Tour including  SFO Tower 120.5 (plan A) frequency, OR  NorCal 135.x (plan B), and a squawk code. Taxi over to the run-up area, complete the run-up checklist, then switch to SQL tower 119.0 and ask for a takeoff clearance.

·       Shortly after takeoff, usually abeam Bay Meadows, SQL tower will say “Skyhawk 1234 remain outside of SFO class B and contact (Plan A) San Francisco tower 120.5, OR (Plan B) NorCal 135.x”. Switch to the appropriate frequency (KSFO tower or NorCal) and say (Plan A) “San Francisco tower, Skyhawk 1234 just off San Carlos 1000’ for the Bay Tower” OR (Plan B) “NorCal, Skyhawk 1234 just off San Carlos 1000’ for the Bay Tour”.

·       We will receive the following instructions, (Plan A) “Skyhawk 1234, San Francisco tower, cleared into class B at or below 2000’ remain southwest of highway 101 (or keep 101 on your right)”. Our read-back would be “Skyhawk 1234, cleared into class B, at or below 2000’, remain southwest of highway 101”.

·       Then we fly southwest of 101 (i.e. 101 on our right side) at or below 2000’, crossing the SFO 28L/28R departure corridor and continue north across South San Francisco, downtown, and Angel Island.

·       We turn right at Angel Island and fly towards Emeryville/Berkeley where we turn right again and continue south east towards Oakland. In the vicinity of Berkeley/Emeryville, we call NorCal and say “NorCal, Skyhawk 1234, over Berkeley, request transition Oakland, landing San Carlos”. NorCal says “Skyhawk 1234, NorCal, cross the Oakland coliseum at 2500’ for an OAK transition“. Our read back would be “Skyhawk 1234 cross the Oakland Coliseum at 2500”.

·       Before we reach the Coliseum, NorCal usually calls us “Skyhawk 1234, NorCal, contact Oakland north tower on 118.3”. Our read back is “Skyhawk 1234 contact north Oakland tower on 118.3”. We call Oakland tower “Oakland tower, Skyhawk 1234 with you over coliseum at 2500’ “.  Oakland tower responds “Skyhawk 1234, Oakland tower, cross the 29 numbers (i.e. fly over OAK runway 29 numbers) at 2000’, then proceed to the mid span of the San Mateo Bridge. Contact Oakland south tower on 127.2” Our response “Skyhawk 1234 cross the 29 numbers, then mid span San Mateo Bridge, contact Oakland south tower 127.2”. 

·       Shortly after crossing the OAK 29 numbers, Oakland tower says “Skyhawk 1234, Oakland tower, cross the  San Mateo Bridge at or below 1400’, keep your squawk code, and contact San Carlos tower on 119.0”. Our read back is “Skyhawk 1234, cross the San Mateo Bridge at or below 1400’, keep the squawk code, and contact San Carlos on 119.0”.

·       At this point we contact San Carlos tower “Skyhawk 1234 mid span San Mateo bridge at 1400’, landing with information G  …)

Simple, just a lot of communications AND a beautiful scenic flight… Enjoy.


Dave Fry, WVFC CFI and Aviation Safety Counselor

“We Need to Do Something.” Or How NOT to Make Things Worse in a Hurry

At times I get frustrated with politicians.  Like almost all the time.  And at the risk of offending some or all of you, I’m going to use some recent political examples as metaphors for something we run into in flying.

Without a doubt, the multiple murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School are tragic.  Equally without a doubt, every single one of us wishes such things wouldn’t happen, but we’d also like to be able to do something to keep things like that from happening.

However, the overwhelming desire to “do something” is at least as dangerous as the problem we’re trying to solve.  Without commenting on my opinion of the proposed actions in the Sandy Hook case (though you may guess from the context), it is far more important to do “the right thing” than to do “something” or even worse, to “be seen to be doing something” – the lowest form of cynical political filth.

“Doing something” in the political arena results in actions that often have little or nothing to do with the problem at hand – have you noticed the otherwise unbelievable amount of pork in the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill, things totally unrelated to the damage caused by the hurricane?  Things not even in the states hit by the hurricane?  But they’re “doing something.”  And they’re doing it in a hurry.  A cynic could cite lots of reasons for taking action in a hurry – none related to the actual need for immediate action.

Exactly the same thing happens in aviation.  When things go seriously wrong, it’s really easy to take a bunch of actions, some or all of which have little or nothing to do with solving the problem at hand.

In politics, when things go wrong and politicians have the overwhelming urge to “do something”, we simply waste a few billion or so, make lots of new laws when enforcing existing ones might be a good start, or ride the wave of hysteria to enact measures that don’t actually fix the problem.

Those are bad enough, but in aviation, “doing something” can kill you if it isn’t the RIGHT thing.

Whether it’s politics or aviation, it seems to me that “do something” takes three forms in an iterative process: Planning, Training/Execution, and Analysis, and it’s a process that works for routine actions as well as emergencies.

Planning, the first, and perhaps most important form of “do something” actually takes place before a flight.  It includes such things as preflight planning, weather and airport review, performance and weight and balance calculations.  Even more important would be things like the pre-takeoff briefing, which considers the conditions as they exist, and lays out a specific plan of action in the event the spaghetti hits the fan.  That (the planning part), of course, is something we see little of in the political arena – it’s so much easier to second guess and blame than it is to plan and proactively prepare for things that can go wrong.  Not that we see enough of it in flying.  I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve flown with Phase Check students that don’t give me a pre-takeoff brief, and if they don’t do one then, what do you suppose is the likelihood that they prepare a mental one on other flights.  One of the Laws of Flying and Life states, “If you don’t have a plan, you can’t execute it.” 

Training/Execution is something we do on most training flights.  We practice maneuvers; we practice emergency procedures.  And it seems to me that in aviation (and I could make the argument regarding politics, as well) there are only a very few emergencies that require “doing something” immediately – and those things HAVE to be the right things.  Those cases include engine failure immediately after takeoff, a stall warning on the base to final turn, a fire most any time, and depressurization at altitude.  Almost any other maneuver or problem can be addressed at your leisure (or nearly so).  Manufacturers of complicated airplanes often capture immediate action items in Memory Items that are either highlighted or outlined in red boxes in their checklists.  The ability to perform these actions (Execution) in the proper sequence, and at the correct time is a result of Training.  And yet, after getting our license, we rarely practice these maneuvers except during a Biannual or an aircraft checkout.  When’s the last time you practiced a stall recovery, a power off approach to an emergency landing field, or an emergency descent  triggered by a simulated fire?  If you do a proper pre-takeoff briefing, you may include a statement like, “if the engine fails after takeoff but before pattern altitude, I’ll get the nose down and land straight ahead.”  Have you ever had the power pulled at 200 feet and landed on the runway (doesn’t work at PAO or SQL)?  Few people have, yet if you haven’t practiced it, the chances of executing it successfully are pretty low.  And PLEASE don’t do this one without an instructor on board!!

Analysis, the final form of  “do something” is what happens after the immediate crisis has passed.  Properly done, it begins with an analysis of what happened, what systems had problems, what the problem indications were, and what actions the pilot (and others) took.  It continues with an analysis of why the problem occurred, and what the most appropriate actions would be to prevent similar problems in the future (in all three forms of “do something”).

Finally, it’s important to understand that this is an iterative process:  once Analysis is completed, the results should be rolled back into the Planning and Training/Execution processes.

In politics, most often, the problem is stated rather than analyzed and a solution is mandated with no causal analysis or iterative process.  I suppose that sometimes this produces the right answers, but it’s not where I’d put my money.

Our cities, counties, states, and country would be far better off if our politicians followed an appropriate form of “doing something”. 

Perhaps our flying would be better if WE regularly followed this methodology, as well.


David Vital, Director of Maintenance



Hello all. Spring is upon us and the good flying weather is ahead. This month we will talk about what causes the infamous nose shimmy.  Nose wheel shimmy conditions may be caused by any one of the following, but are usually the result of a little of all three problems.

 1. The torque links (scissors)

The torque link bushings and bolts should be checked for looseness and wear. One way to determine if the torque links are the cause is to replace the three castellated nuts on the torque link bolts with regular nuts, and perform this test: Tighten the nuts tighter than you would normally tighten a castellated nut to squeeze the links together to remove any excessive looseness. Make sure that the shimmy dampener and the nose gear strut are properly serviced. A high speed taxi test should tell you if the torque links are the cause. If they are, replace bushings and bolts as necessary and reinstall with castellated nuts.

 2. The steering arm assembly shims (fixed gear aircraft only)

These shims are located between the bottom of the steering arm and the bottom of the shock strut outer tube. After a period of time, these shims will wear, allowing the steering arm to move up and down. When this happens, any shimmy movement becomes a vertical movement rather than a horizontal movement that can be dampened out by the shimmy dampener. These shims are available in various thicknesses and are used as necessary to obtain a snug fit. Access to the shims requires removal of the shock strut assembly from the aircraft.

 3. The shimmy dampener

The shimmy dampener should be properly serviced and the attach points checked for looseness. The shimmy dampener should provide the same amount of resistance from one end of the piston rod travel to the other. Since most of the shimmy dampener piston travels in the center of the housing, the center portion of the housing will usually show the most wear. When the housing becomes worn to the point that the piston can no longer provide a good seal, the fluid will bypass around the piston instead of going through the orifices in the piston. When this happens you lose the restriction that provides the dampening action for the nose wheel assembly.

Many times the nose wheel fairing is blamed for a shimmy condition. Unless the fairing is actually loose, it will not cause a shimmy. However, the added weight of the wheel fairing may allow the nose wheel assembly to resonate after a shimmy has started.

So that is a brief description and reasoning of the infamous nose wheel shimmy.

 Reminder the MX team will be holding a Pizza Party in the hanger on Feb 22 @ 12:00 pm. There will be a couple of planes opened up for your observation. The MX team will also be there and available to answer your questions. We hope to see you there. 


Personal Minimums and Trip Report: KPSP

The Student and New Pilot group met at the San Carlos WVFC Club House for a packed meeting. These meetings have been attracting various pilots from the Bay Area that meet to share information. The topic of the meeting included a discussion by Francesca about personal minimums. Our trip report which is becoming a popular feature was presented by Paulis on his trip to Palm Springs airport, KPSP.

Francesca provided several handouts that she discovered to help develop personal minimums. During the discussion a number of members commented on their own use of personal minimums. The group discussed how personal minimums might be different for the different types of flights, e.g. pattern, local flights, or XC. Factors beyond just visibility, ceilings, and wind were discussed including recent flight experience, airport conditions such as length and width, and flight conditions such as day vs. night. The group also discussed how they incorporate other aspects of ADM including the use of IMSAFE. One pilot even shared that before he even gets out of his car at the airport he stops and reflects on each aspect of IMSAFE. One creative member suggested adding an R to IMSAFE to represent “Reflection” creating the acronym IMSAFER. All and all it was a great opportunity for pilots to talk about how they use personal minimums, what they include in their personal minimums and ways they approach building their skills and increasing their personal minimums. The documents that were used have been posted to the group’s web site.

The trip report has been added as a regular feature to our meetings. Trip reports provide other pilots information about a specific airport including flight planning and observations about the destination airport. Details such as where to find transient parking and what to see or do when you get to the airport provide other pilots first hand information for consideration. The Palm Springs trip report included tips about Paulis’s route of flight, approaching and landing at the airport. He shared his experience about the service he got from the FBO at the airport. He also shared a picture from the Palm Springs tram ride. The presentation has been posted to the web site

A key benefit to this group is the opportunity to share information and meet other pilots. We invite any interested pilot to our next meeting which will be on March 4th at 7:00 PM at WVFC San Carlos. The topic for discussion at the next meeting will be:

Electronic Log Books – a review of various electronic log books

Trip Report –Santa Monica, SMO

Everyone is welcome and addition to getting some free food you will have a great chance to meet your fellow pilots in an informal setting. If you have some experience with electronic log books and are willing to share please contact us below about helping with next month’s presentation.

To subscribe to this group, please email: The presentation from this session is posted on this group site.

 Please contact or  if you would like additional information.


Willows for Lunch – Saturday March 16th 2013

The WOW - Women of West Valley will be flying to Willows Airport KWLW on Saturday, March 16.  Please plan to arrive by noon.  The restaurant on the field is called Nancy's and they have good food and GREAT pies. KWLW has two runways, 13/31 3788 ft and 16/34 4125 ft.  The frequency is the CTAF 122.8 and it's located 120 nm north of San Carlos and slightly farther from Palo Alto, and about 15 nm north of the Maxwell VOR (110.0) on the San Francisco Sectional.

Contact Sue Ballew at for more information.

We usually get a large turnout so you will need to RSVP to me ASAP for reservations at the Restaurant.  Please also let me know if you plan to fly or need a ride.  All are welcome!!!

Hope to see you all there for a delightful lunch with lots of hangar flying.


Whale Watching fly out - Saturday January 19th 2013

The annual southerly migratory movement of the giant gray whale was the inspiration for the most recent Women of West Valley (WOW) fly-out on Saturday 19th January. Our own southerly flight from San Carlos for a 45 minute tour of Monterey to Point Sur coastal area was a powerfully uplifting sight - especially from an excellent vantage point of 2000 feet.

During our tour we viewed more than a hundred or so Gray Whales travelling in pods of between two and ten whales. They were mid way on their momentous 12,000 mile annual round trip from the Bering Straits to Baja California. At their destination they will then breed before the return northerly leg en famille, typically from March onwards.

Our own journey began with student pilot Monica taking off from SQL and, after a couple of class Charlie transitions, we were hugging the Pacific coast with our eyes peeled for any signs of aquatic activity. The deep Monterey Canyon attracts more than 26 species of whale and dolphins and we weren't disappointed. Just off the coast of Carmel we picked out a large school of dolphins clustered together as Monica expertly banked the C172. The aquatic show was finished off with a landing at Watsonville Municipal (KWVI) and lunch at the relatively new and very tasty 'Props' restaurant. A large group 37 from the Ninety-Nines, WOW, and The Santa Clara Valley Airmen and others, gathered together to benefit from this wonderful annual viewing opportunity; the gorgeous weather and the great food. See you next year for another fly-out where the sky meets the sea!

Jayne Pearce


Matt Debsky, Aircraft Owner WVFC

Adverse Yaw(n) 

One of the exercises many beginning pilots go through during the first few flights is a coordination drill.  The pilot banks the airplane left to right using the ailerons and keeps the nose pointed at the same spot on the horizon using the rudder pedals.  The drill helps to demonstrate the different effects of the ailerons and rudder.  While explaining to a beginning pilot how the drill would work, I explained that when banking right he would initially need to apply right rudder to counteract the adverse yaw, but would then need to gradually shift to apply left rudder in order to hold the spot on the horizon.  The beginning pilot asked why he would need to apply left rudder, because if adverse yaw persisted shouldn't he need to constantly hold right rudder to counteract it.

After the flight, I reread the section on adverse yaw in the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK) as well as in Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators (ANA) and a little bit of Wikipedia.  The answer to the pilot's question, of course, has to do with the dynamic behavior of the roll.  The explanation in PHAK emphasizes that the wing producing greater lift experiences greater drag, implying that induced drag is the main contributor to adverse yaw.  However, both ANA and the sources cited on Wikipedia discount this.  Both explicitly discuss the increased profile drag of the deflected aileron, an element of parasitic drag. The other element at play, not mentioned by PHAK, is the effect of the rolling movement of the plane on the angle of attack of each wing.  In the case of a right bank, as the left wing moves up, its angle of attack decreases causing its lift vector to move backward while the opposite effect on the right wing causes its lift vector to  move forward.  The result is a yawing force to the left, counteracted by right rudder. 

As long as the airplane is rolling, this situation remains and the pilot must apply right rudder to compensate for this adverse yaw.  However, when the bank is established and the yoke is centered, the ailerons are no longer producing different amounts of lift and depending on the degree of bank and the stability of the airplane, the airplane remains in a constant bank.  Additionally, since the plane is no longer rolling, the angles of attack are no longer different and the adverse yaw caused by the different lift vectors no longer exists.  At this point, the plane is entering a turn to the right and left rudder is necessary to keep the nose pointed at the same point on the horizon.  See the references at the end of the article; both have diagrams helpful for visualizing the vectors and relative wind. 

I found it interesting to go back and review some of the forces that cause adverse yaw.  Airplane designers have several tricks up their sleeves to minimize adverse yaw.  As with most airplane design decisions, they all have their tradeoffs.  The upside for pilots is that when rolling into or out of a turn, use of rudder to counter adverse yaw will allow the airplane to enter and leave a turn in a coordinated fashion.


The Wikipedia article is at

Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators is available at

Pasta Night!

Proceeds benefit the San Jose State University Precision Flight Team & other aviation-related education programs.

Thursday, March 7, 2013, Doors open at 6 pm

Please RSVP by March 4th to Mayetta

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            Santa Clara Elks Lodge

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Buffet Dinner with several pasta choices:

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