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The Community of Flying

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC

A look ahead to 2018

I usually use the first quarter newsletter article to let the membership know what to expect for the coming year.  So here we go for 2018.

First off, the ramp at Palo Alto.  Construction started early in January and will be conducted in 4 key phases.  The first 3 phases involve the apron and the tie-downs.  Phase 1 covers the old A through L rows.  It will take about 4 months, involves pouring a foot of concrete into the base to stabilize the surface, costs about $10M and should look great when it’s done.  We’ll also get the self-serve fuel island back when it’s completed.  Phase 2 will incorporate the middle section of the apron and likely wrap up later in 2018.  The third phase, which will affect most of our current tie-downs will occur in 2019.  The runway redo will likely occur in the 2020 timeframe and we’re already discussing how to minimize the impacts on operations at the airport while that part of the project goes on.

The club itself has several priorities for 2018. 

One – Member Programs

In 2018 we are starting an all-new instrument ground school.  This is in addition to our already running PPL ground schools at PAO and SQL.  We are also planning to increase the number of Safety Seminars throughout the year. There will be 4 larger quarterly events.  One such event is our 46th anniversary party set for August.  It will be an 80’s theme party following on from our 70’s theme party last year that celebrated our 45th anniversary. 

Our quarterly new-member events are being ramped up to once a month and will now be hosted by our Member Services Team.  We are also planning on shifting our summer BBQs to a new time on Wednesday evening before the open Board Meetings. This is to encourage members to meet the board members and participate in more of the meetings.

There will be a continued focus on our social media presence with expanded coverage on most of the popular sites.  Additionally, 2018 will likely be the year we welcome the 12,000th member to the club.  Stay tuned for that event and how we celebrate it. 

Two – The Fleet

There never seem to be enough planes!  The survey we conduct on an annual basis shows that while we’re doing better, there’s still pent up demand for more airplanes. So, once again we will be focused on further growing the fleet.  The fleet is currently at 52 aircraft and the year-end goal is to be somewhere in the 55-60 range. 

For maintenance, there are several initiatives underway.  In early 2018 we returned to 3 full-time A&Ps with a fourth now in training.  We will likely return to 7-day a week maintenance sometime during the year.  We’re excited to announce that Cirrus Aircraft has selected WVFC to be a Limited Service Center for our Cirrus fleet which will improve turn around-time for maintenance and parts, especially for the newer aircraft under warranty.  We have started a new wash/detail program where the planes are hand-detailed on a quarterly basis so the fleet should look better on the ramp.  We will continue to ramp up our maintenance facility in San Carlos which has helped significantly with efficiency for the fleet at that airport.  Finally, we are continuing a program to put all the aircraft maintenance records (aka log books) into the cloud so that any member can look at any aircraft logbook at any time.

Three - Infrastructure

There are several changes coming in 2018.   We will be introducing Mac computers into the club houses so members will now have a choice of Mac or PC.  We will be refreshing the loaner headsets with a more consistent offering at both locations.  The WiFi issues at San Carlos will be tackled with some new hardware that hopefully gets us back to where we once were.   We will also continue to add various wall hangings at both locations, many of which have an interesting historical story to them.

Four – Safety Culture

We are making some key strategic changes in the area of safety.  First, the Safety Office is being renamed to Flight Operations and Safety (FOS for short).  We would like to welcome CFI Jim Higgins as Director of Flight Operations and Safety.  The team will include Ashley Porath, Manager of Flight Operations and Safety, and Mike May and Don Styles, both club CFIs who serve in contracting roles to help with many of the flying aspects of the department.  Jim has several plans we will be working on.  One is improving the way and how quickly we communicate safety issues to the membership.  He will be working more closely with the CFIs to make sure that the club safety culture stays at the top of everyone’s agenda so we can continue to be proud of our great long-term safety record.  Jim has a new office, the one that’s off the breakroom area in the Palo Alto clubhouse.  Please stop by and say hi to Jim when you get a chance.

We hope that many of the above items enhance your experience at WVFC.  We are so fortunate to have such a great and diverse membership.  If you have any ideas, big or small, come on in and share them, send us an email, call, or even better come and have a bagel, donut, pizza, burger, or hot dog at one of our many events and say hi.

Safe Flying in 2018.