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Student and New Pilot Support Group

Student and New Pilot Group

So you are interested in an Instrument Rating?

The Student and New Pilot group met at the West Valley Flying Club’s San Carlos club house on June 3rd. These meetings have been attracting various pilots from the Bay Area that meet to share information and experiences. The topic of this month’s meeting was the instrument rating– specifically why, when, who, how and more.  The group was treated to a round table consisting of CFIIs, current instrument students, and a recently rated instrument pilot.


The panel discussed some of the key reasons why you should get your instrument rating. One key benefit is that under an instrument flight rule (IFR) flight, airspace boundaries essentially disappear. This can be beneficial if you are flying in an unfamiliar and complex airspace such as in the Los Angeles area. Another benefit is the ability to depart the Bay Area on a timely basis when the low stratus rolls in. Without the instrument rating, you may need to delay your flight. All agreed that the training received obtaining your instrument rating makes you a better pilot.

The panel also discussed factors to consider when determining when to start an instrument rating. Often times a newly minted private pilot is interested in rolling right into the instrument rating. A factor to consider is that the instrument rating requires 50 hours of cross country PIC time; often times a new pilot does not yet have that many hours. In addition, it is beneficial to get additional flight experience prior to starting the instrument rating. Get comfortable with your VFR skill and exposure to other types of aircraft. One valuable suggestion was to plan to do some of your instrument training in the winter which will provide better opportunity for training in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The group had a lively discussion about the type of plane in which to do your training (e.g., ‘steam-gauge’ vs. G1000).  Having exposure to traditional types of navigation equipment such as basic VOR can develop a sense of situational awareness, but the group was unanimous in extolling the benefits of a G1000 equipped aircraft. The panel entertained questions from the group and, judging by the number of questions, it was clear there are some potential new instrument students in the making. The presentation is available on the Student and New Pilot Yahoo group site.

We next had a report from Eric Bartelink, who attended the Hollister Airshow. One of the key tips he shared about getting to the Hollister Airshow was to fly in to Frazier Lake Airpark.  There is an airshow shuttle that takes you to and from Hollister airport. Eric said it was very convenient both getting to and back from Hollister airport. If you consider this, check club regulations about restrictions since this airport has a grass runway - Eric flew his own plane to Frazier Lake Airpark.

Also, at the meeting was a kick off of the Bay Area Pilots Summer 2013 Bucket List Challenge. Bay Area pilots are invited to participate in this event during the period of June 1st to August 31st. Pilots earn points for landing at new airports based on the distance flown. More points can be earned for other related activities. Post you Bucket List accomplishments on the group Facebook page “Bay Area Pilots Summer 2013 Bucket List Challenge”.  At the end of the summer, there will be a group BBQ where the ‘winners’ will be awarded their very own Bucket List trophy! More details are available on the Facebook page.

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 is going to start rotating meeting locations so please be aware that our next meeting on July 1st will be at 7:00 PM at the WVFC PAO location.

The topics of discussion will be:

·       Pre Flight Challenge –check your skills at finding airworthiness and other issues on aircraft in the WVFC MX hangar. Your challenge will be to see if your preflight routine can discover all the issues. David Vital, WVFC Director of Maintenance, will stage the aircraft for this unique and challenging event.

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 presentation from this session is posted on this group site.

Please contact or  if you would like additional information.