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The Community of Flying

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC

Fleet Quality

The 2014 member survey provided a clear indication that the membership was requesting the club improve the overall state of the rental fleet.  So, for 2015, we created several specific projects to help achieve this new goal.  I would like to walk you through the plan and the progress we have made to date.

1)      Avionics issues.  During 2014, the number of INOP avionics rose to the point where it was clearly having an impact on the quality of the fleet.  For 2015, the club developed a new and substantial relationship with LAC Avionics, based at SJC.  From the beginning of the year, we have had at least one club plane at LAC almost continuously.  LAC has done a fantastic job repairing autopilots, GPS units, radio displays, power receptacles, and a lot more.  These repairs are often quite expensive.  For example, the flat rate repair on a KLN94B Color GPS, typically found in the Cessna 172/182, is around $4000.  We have the commitment from the aircraft owners to make these repairs a reality, and to increase the quality of the fleet.


2)      Aircraft Quality Checklists.  We have started to implement a process to “measure” the overall quality of planes on the fleet, looking at everything from paint, interior, avionics, engine, and a lot more.  Certain planes just don’t come up to a standard that we’re comfortable with.  We work with the owners to implement repairs and improvements, or simply agree to remove the plane from the flight line.  Examples of items that you might see improve are seat coverings, interior plastics, laminated checklists, and the oil/rag box at the back of the plane.


3)      Adding planes to the flight line.   We have instituted a policy whereby we will only accept a plane on the flight line if it meets the criteria from #2 above.  We are no longer willing to accept a “tired” airplane with the hopes that rental revenue will create enough income for the owner to later fix the plane.  Recent history has shown us that this generally doesn’t happen.  So we’re just calling a spade a spade up front and politely declining any plane that is too “worn” for our flight line.


4)      Recruiting newer planes.  Over the past 12 months we have been able to attract some beautiful newer planes.  This culminated in the recent acquisition of a brand new 2015 Cirrus SR22 – a sure sign of confidence in our club that we are well prepared to train and maintain such a gorgeous plane and keep it in tip-top shape.


5)      Maintenance.  We are changing the way squawks and observations are handled from start to finish.  Our internal tracking and handling has been re-engineered so we have a better idea of what is dragging on for too long and to put focus in areas where we think we will have maximum impact on the fleet quality.  This is an ongoing journey but we’re confident we’re on the right track.

I hope you are starting to see and benefit from these changes.  There is still a long way to go and we will be happy to take whatever feedback you have for us – good or bad, and we’ll try to strive to make our fleet even better than we have right now.

Safe Flying