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From the Safety Office


Michael May, Standards Officer WVFC

What is the new Safety Office?

To kick off 2014, West Valley created a new Safety Office. This office will fill the role of the Chief Pilot, but it is structured differently. Traditionally, the Chief Pilot has been one person, but the new Safety Office will consist of a team to share the responsibilities that go along with managing the flight operations at such a large club.

The Safety Pilot is the first member of this team, and the scope of this position has been changed somewhat to focus primarily on the flying side of managing our operations. West Valley CFI Don Styles will be filling this role, and as the Safety Pilot he will be performing phase checks, remediations, maintaining the CFI line checks, and various other flying duties.

The Standards Officer is the second member of the Safety Office, and I’m very pleased to be writing to you in that capacity. My role will be administrative in nature and will involve a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into running the operation. Things like creating ground review forms, working with our maintenance department, and scheduling the Safety Seminars will be some of my primary tasks. I’ll also be a regular contributor to this newsletter, and I love suggestions! You can reach me at or at

Ashley Porath will be the manager of the Safety Office.  Our General Manager, Steve Blonstein will be the final member of the office in his current capacity as GM.

As the name implies, the primary objective of the Safety Office is SAFETY!  We will all be working together to maintain our safety standards in all aspects of operations. This includes flight training, member checkouts, maintenance, and compliance with FAA and local regulations. This new structure should also create some distinct advantages for the club. One of our goals is to reduce the turnaround time when things like ground review forms are submitted, or a phase check is scheduled. If you have a question at the airport, chances are at least one of us will be there to answer it.

The spirit of the new office will be all about maintaining and improving safety, and on that note I’d like to close out this introduction by reminding the membership about a valuable safety tool that is available to all members of the club, free of charge. West Valley has a grand total of 4 simulators split evenly between San Carlos and Palo Alto, and 2 of them include a free hour every month, to every member. These simulators can be used for virtually any aspect of training, cost a fraction of renting a plane (after the free hour has been used of course), and can simulate scenarios that cannot be safely conducted in a real airplane. They are a fantastic resource that we can all use to help become safer when we get behind the controls of the real thing.