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Student and New Pilot Support Group

Student and New Pilot Group

September 2013 Meeting Report

The Student and New Pilot group held its September meeting at the West Valley San Carlos classroom on Monday September 9th – the group usually meets the first Monday of every month, but since last Monday was Labor Day, we moved the meeting one week. As we fast approach the second year anniversary of the existence of the group, these meetings have been attracting various pilots from the Bay Area that meet to share information and experiences.

The featured topics for the September meeting were presentation and discussions on the following topics:

·       The Flight Review – What to expect 

·       VFR Destination – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

·       VFR Destination – San Diego, CA

Nariman Farsaie, CFI, spoke to the group with respect to the objectives of the Flight Review, formerly known as a biennial flight review, or BFR for short. The purpose of the flight review as required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 61.56 is to provide for a regular evaluation of pilot skills and aeronautical knowledge. The regulation leaves the actual content of the flight review up to each CFI specifying a requirement that it must include at a minimum one hour of ground training and one hour of flight training. Nariman explained that he begins the flight review process by having a conversation with the pilot to understand their type of flying including destinations and frequency of flights. This provides insights to Nariman into which areas he will probe during the flight review. The overriding goal of the flight review is safety – to ensure that the pilot is able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the regulations as well as demonstrate that he / she is a safe pilot and making reasonable decisions.

In a continuing series of favorite discussion topics, trip reports from members, Michael Vowles provided the team with an in-depth report of his flight to Victoria, British Columbia (CYYJ) in early August in a G1000 equipped Cessna 182.  Michael highlighted the multiple activities required and challenges to successfully launch a flight of almost 700 NM, but also of crossing an international border. The presentation included the various prerequisites and legal requirements to exit and re-enter the United States in a general aviation aircraft. The group was surprised to learn that you need to purchase a ‘sticker’ for the aircraft from the US Customs and Border Protection Agency prior to exiting the United States.  This sticker, which is on some of the club planes, actually is only valid for a year and you need to verify if the current sticker is still valid since there is no printed expiration date. Michael also shared some ‘tips and tricks’ on how to successfully use the eAPIS system to make the border crossing more seamless and less of a burden.

Lastly, Stoo Davies presented his recent flight to San Diego to Montgomery Airport (KMYF) in a Cessna 182 equipped with the G1000. He shared with us his route planning (fly high and direct) as well as his approach to navigating the complex Los Angeles Bravo airspace.  Stoo recommended flying high - above the Bravo, but mentioned that even at that altitude above the Bravo, he seemed to speak to a new controller about every 90 seconds.  After the LAX transition, Stoo shared some tips on making the approach into Montgomery and how it is common for pilots to mistake Miramar Airport (KNXX) for KMYF since they look very similar. Stoo recommends that you identify both airports – and not just one, to ensure that you do not make the mistake.  Although it is not the policy of the New Pilot Support Group to promote a particular airport FBO, Stoo had a very good experience with Gibbs Flying Service upon both arrival and departure.

A key benefit to this group is the opportunity to share information and meet other pilots.  We invite any interested pilot to attend our next meeting.  The group meets in various locations between the San Carlos and Palo Alto airports so please check the announcement for the location. Be aware that our next meeting will be on Monday, October 7th, at 7:00 PM at the San Carlos Flight Center.

We have several great topics lined up for the October meeting, including:

Tips for new student pilots including local airport customs, study tips and flight gadgets

Trip report from Coeur d’Alene, ID

Everyone, whatever and wherever they fly is welcome. In addition to some tasty pizza and soda, you will have a great chance to meet your fellow pilots in an informal setting.

To subscribe to this group, please email: The presentations from past sessions are posted on this group site.

 Please contact or  if you would like additional information.