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The Community of Flying

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC

A Cool (and warm) New Patio

On Friday, September 22 we celebrated 45 years of West Valley Flying Club with a 70’s theme party at the Palo Alto clubhouse.   There was a lot of 70’s disco music and some really great costumes.  Thanks to everyone that helped make the party possible and for all of you that attended and had fun. The patio area, historically a pretty grungy place, was transformed.  That transformation is now permanent with all new patio furniture, propane heaters, and sparkling lights.  It seemed like a fitting way to get the celebration going.  The current plan is to celebrate each of our decades over the next 4 years (80’s, 90’s, 00’s, 10’s) and finish with a 50th anniversary party in the summer of 2022.  The party was almost entirely paid for by our partners and sponsors.  I want to extend a thank you to Cirrus, Commerce Bank (who provides loans for many of our rental fleet), Aircraft Spruce (from whom we buy many aircraft parts), Wells Fargo Bank (our bank!), and World Fuel (who provides the Phillips 66 fuel for our planes).

Just as the patio is a sign of rebuilding at the club, I wanted to highlight some other things that have been reborn at the club and some firsts for us. 

2017 was the first time in quite some time that we’ve had private pilot ground schools at both the Palo Alto and San Carlos locations.  In early 2018, we are re-establishing an instrument ground school in Palo Alto on Monday evenings.  We’re even planning (though no dates yet) a Drone ground school as that business continues to grow quickly.  Additionally, our Safety Seminar program has been re-energized, so expect to see a lot more scheduled seminars at both Palo Alto and San Carlos. 

For maintenance, there were several significant changes in 2017.  First, we started offering weekend maintenance services, so now, on many Saturdays and Sundays, it’s possible to find an on-duty maintenance person to potentially help you out with an issue with your plane.  Even more exciting is the signing of a lease for a maintenance hangar at San Carlos. This is a game changer for the SQL fleet. We will no longer have to ferry planes down to PAO for many of the common services which will increase efficiency and decrease aircraft downtime.  It’s also going to make it a lot easier to work on squawks on that field.  While most of the club has been in the “cloud” for some years now, maintenance records have not.  That world is still dominated by good old maintenance logs and logbook “stickers”.  That is all about to change as we are partnering with a company to put the maintenance records and logbooks into the cloud.  That’s going to enable any member to look at any aircraft record at any time and the FAA is saying that these online records will be acceptable for check rides (well let’s see).

The SQL fleet has continued to grow from a low of 8 planes in recent years to the current 14 planes.  Additionally, in 2017, the club took ownership of the G1000 SIM at SQL so now we own both SIMs and can offer a free hour on each without any additional expense to the club.  

Finally, I want to say a huge thanks to CFI Scott Stauter.  We held a retirement party for Scott (on our warm new patio) on Friday October 27th.  Scott’s member number is 407!  He’s been at the club for most of our 45 years.  He’s accumulated over 20,000 flights hours in that time – mostly flying with West Valley Flying Club.  He’s been a CFI and mentor to many.   He’s been through almost all the ups and downs in the club and we were happy it’s an “up-time” as he hangs up his headset.

Fly Safe.  Happy Holidays.  See you in 2018.