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The Community of Flying

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC

2015 – Looking Back on the Past Year


Shameless advertisement first!  Plan on attending our annual holiday party, Saturday December 5th, 7PM at the Domenico Winery in San Carlos.  We look forward to seeing many of you there.

Each year the club sets high-level goals, and then expends a lot of effort rallying the staff, CFIs, owners, and members, around those goals.  We discuss and adjust the goals based on feedback from the previous year member survey, input from the Board of Directors, and a multitude of hallway conversations that happen throughout the year.  I would like to discuss one that I think went particularly well this year, and one that was a “failure to launch” which we hope to get to in 2016.

In the “Good” column:

The number 1 goal for 2015 was to focus on some specific membership programs.  We wanted to reduce the total number of member terminations by 20% from the previous year and we are on track to hit about a 15-20% reduction, so that is a good start. 

We rolled out ACH payments (direct debit from a bank account), allowing members and the club to save money.  There is an additional $5 per month member dues credit when using ACH in months where 2 or more hours are flown.   It’s now possible for a member to get their monthly dues down to $35 per month by taking advantage of prepaid dues in January, Safety Incentive, and the ACH credit.

Assessment Rebate: For those that suffered through the low spot of 2010/11, and paid the $250 assessment to keep the club afloat, we are eternally grateful for the faith that you put in the club and the staff efforts to turn the operation around.  We emerged on the other side a much healthier club, and are now in a position to return the assessment to those that paid it.  To incentivize further participation, we are returning the assessment after members fly 10 hours between October 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016 (15 months).

In the “Not so good” column

One of the four club goals for 2015 was to place more focus on our newest/student pilot population.  Feedback, and our own research for that matter, shows that there is still a very high dropout rate between a brand new student pilot starting training and getting to solo, yet alone private pilot.  It’s a national problem, not just a WVFC problem.  However, we feel we have the experience and the resources to focus on the challenges of this group and do a lot better than the national average.  We had identified a staff member to focus on the task at hand, but unfortunately we had to use that resource elsewhere in the organization for most of 2015 so really didn’t get started on this project.  We still believe it’s a critical assignment both for the long-term health of the club and for General Aviation.  We will be revisiting this goal in 2016 and again making this a top priority.

Safe Flying and Happy Holidays.