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Student and New Pilot Support Group


Bay Area Student and New Pilot Support Group – March, April and May Meeting Report

The Bay Area Student and New Pilot Support Group has had a very productive spring with a great series of meetings. Our group formed in December 2011 to provide a forum for student and new pilots to share their knowledge of aviation with other likeminded pilots. The group continues to attract new attendees in addition to a core group that have been around since the first meeting. For the latest news and announcements we encourage anyone interested in participating in this group to register as described at the end of this article. The group has also established a MeetUp group for those that want to stay informed of future meeting announcements. The MeetUp group is:

March Meeting – Emergency Procedures

In March we had a group discussion on emergency scenarios. One of the members, Ian, created a number of different scenarios to consider. Each scenario had a number of symptoms and the group started to discuss what those symptoms might indicate. We discussed what some of the possible issues were and how to respond to them. It was a great way to refresh your knowledge on emergency procedures. As an example, one of the scenarios was “If on final you drop flaps to the final notch and suddenly the plane veers to the left what might be happening?” How about if you are in the San Francisco Bravo when all of a sudden you lose your radio, what would you do? The group had a lengthy discussion about emergency descent procedures and in particular the guidance as documented in the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook compared to what some Airplane Flight Manuals specify. One of the attendees shared that the Cirrus procedure for this is very specific. The Cirrus procedure specifies Airspeed of VNE whereas the FAA AFM gives a more generic procedure. I know several of us took this opportunity to review the emergency procedures for the airplanes we typically fly.

April Meeting – Plane ownership

During the March meeting, Brad James, one of the attendees, happened to mention that he was in discussion about purchasing a club aircraft. As soon as

he mentioned this he got peppered with a number of questions from the group. We decided there was so much interest that we would have Brad present this topic in-depth at our April meeting. This would give him some time to prepare some general information. At the April meeting, Brad started the discussion with the three ways he had considered to acquire an aircraft. Those three were:

1.     Individually owned – no leaseback

2.     Shared ownership – no leaseback

3.     Individually owned and leaseback

He then shared his observations on advantages and disadvantages of each of these options.

Individually owned - no leaseback

·       Advantages - More availability of the airplane (fly when you want), no worries about others not treating the airplane to the same level of care that the owner would

·       Disadvantages – more responsibility for managing maintenance, no tax benefits

Shared ownership – no leaseback

·       Advantages – Likely still good availability of the airplane to fly when you want

·       Disadvantages – Challenge to find the right group to share ownership that have compatible ownership goals


·       Advantages - Tax benefits, maintenance handled by the club

·       Disadvantage – Higher cost for maintenance due to additional inspections/maintenance, not as much flexibility of being able to fly when you want, wear and tear on the aircraft from member usage

Brad decided that the lease back option was the right choice for him. The next decision was how he would own the airplane. He decided to form a Limited Liability Corporation, LLC, for a number of business reasons that he shared with the group.

There was a lengthy discussion about the costs involved in owning the plane including costs to form the LLC, insurance, maintenance, as well as factoring in money for an engine reserve and other miscellaneous expenses. 

It is hard to do justice to the content that was covered in a brief update like this but there was a great deal of information shared. In addition, one of the attendees, Eric has experience with owning a plane in a leaseback as well single ownership and was able to provide his comparison between the two models based on his own experience.

May Meeting – AOPA Fly-In & Local Reporting Points

Our May meeting was a review of the AOPA Salinas Fly-In procedure. Several of the attendees were planning to attend the event on May 16th and we used the opportunity to share information on the Fly-In procedure. As a group we reviewed the arrival procedure from the north including the details on the procedure for holding. We reviewed the visual landmarks that are part of the racetrack pattern to hold if in the event traffic volume requires holding.

In addition to the Pilot Information Packet that is available on the AOPA site, it was mentioned that a YouTube video had been created that summarizes some of the key procedure points. The group viewed the key information from the video. Several of us will be attending and likely will share our experience at the next meeting.

During the second half of our meeting we did a review of the common VFR reporting points at various local airports. The group started with the Palo Alto airport and came up with fourteen local landmarks or reporting points that are used. Some of us less familiar with Palo Alto found it educational to hear about some of these. The group also discussed reporting points and local landmarks for San Carlos, Oakland, Hayward and Livermore. It was a great discussion and everyone picked up some new local knowledge.

Coming Up

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.  We meet on the first Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. The group meets in various locations at the San Carlos airport so please subscribe as detailed below so you will get the latest information.

We have a number of great topics lined up for the next three months. We will be expanding our topics to include areas on instrument flying. Look for the following topics and more in the coming months:

·       Trip report from Las Vegas

·       Trip report from Catalina Island

·       Product review: Flying with Stratus 2 ADS B Receiver

·       Aviation fuel – a discussion led by a local subject matter expert on aviation fuel and what alternatives for 100LL are on the horizon

·       New pilot bucket list

Everyone, whatever and wherever they fly is welcome. In addition to some tasty pizza and beverages, 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 Herb Patten at if you would like additional information.