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From the Desk of the Chief

From the Desk of the Chief

Jesse Gamueda, Chief Pilot WVFC

How Time Flies!

Wow, I am amazed about how fast time has flown by in my tenure at West Valley!

That being said, I am just now coming into what it means to understand the safety culture at this club.  It varies from where I’ve been in a few ways, and is also very much what I am accustomed too.

I’ve had an opportunity to meet airport officials, our local FSDO FAA reps, other chief pilots, most of the flight instructors and a lot of the membership.

This position reminds me of my serving in a law enforcement capacity as a servant to the community.  However that being said, I need your help.  In the law enforcement arena there were two typical ways of “policing” if you will.  There was the proactive stance and the reactive response.  I am hoping that in the coming months we will start developing a proactive stance to our “safety” culture.  I’m sure you were thinking that I was going to ask you to police one another, and in some small way I am. 

To say this club is enormous is an understatement.  100 pilots is a lot of responsibility, 500 enormous and 900, nearly impossible. This is where I am asking you to step in.  I’ve written about most of the things that I am going to ask you to do for the club now.

1.)   Make sure that all of your documents are in order – For the membership this means current medical, plates, charts and updates for tablets.  For flight instructors this means that your CFI certificate and medical are current. 

2.)   Please bring ANYTHING to our attention!  This includes aircraft that seem to have issues, other pilots who are not handling aircraft well, or any small thing that you may not even think matters. Believe me, it matters to us!

3.)   Stay abreast of anything general aviation.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve.  I’m sure for those of you that send us concerns and don’t get a quick response, may be a little frustrated by this comment.  I am not making an excuse, but please understand that we are working with a lot of CFI’s, membership, government officials at all levels (local, state and federal).

4.)   Positive Control of Guests.  I am reminding the membership of this because this has become a hot button at San Carlos, but still applies to Palo Alto as well!  Do not give out gate security codes to anyone!  Including family/friends!  Keep your guests in your sight at all times and do not allow them to roam off anywhere.

5.)   We’ve just started installing spot specific chocks at the Palo Alto airport where space is tight.  If you’ve gone past these chocks during pushback be advised that you may end up striking another static aircraft.  This has happened a few times at the club this year.  This also allows you to keep an eye on how far back the aircraft needs to go.

6.)   For those of you checked out in the Cirrus, do not leave the oil cap off under any circumstances! If you need oil, replace the plug and the cap, retrieve a quart and then replace immediately after filling.  We’ve had a few incidents where oil filler caps were not replaced and then oil was blown all over the interior of the cowl and down the side of the plane.  Thank God that no one was injured during any of these incidents!

7.)   Currency for the majority of the fleet is 90 days. 60 days for the tailwheels and complex aircraft. 60 days and 30 days for the Pitts.  Maintaining currency in the aircraft does us all a favor.  It helps you maintain being a safe pilot.  And here is a regulation that you may not have known.  Doing your takeoffs and landings at night makes you day current as well.  However flying and landing during the day does not make you night current.  Any of our flight instructors would love to help you out if your currency expires!

These are just a few of the common sense reminders that I would ask of our membership and the instructors.  I am pleasantly surprised with my time here at West Valley Flying Club. 

I’ve been a dancer all of my life and my coaches always remind me, the basics are your bread and butter.  All complex styling will come from being great at the fundamentals! 

So in closing, I have plenty of topics that I could write about, but I would rather you stay proactive in your approach to basic safety and hope that these few little tips will remind you of what’s important, especially over the summer months!  I am not in any way, shape, or form asking you to “snitch” on one another. Rather help one another out in a time where we could use all the help we can get at the “club”.  900 pilots working towards one goal far outweighs what a single chief pilot can do!

As always I appreciate and thank you for taking the time to read my article!

Regardless, my door is always open, 1-5 M-F, feel free any time to come let us know how we’re doing!  Good or Bad!