Dennis Garcia was, for the first time, the sole manipulator of the controls N738LF on Saturday, May 21. Aurelio was the somewhat nervous but confident CFI
John Kitts earned his Private Pilot Certificate. John, who now lives in the Southwest, worked with Howard Foster during the winter and spring rainy season and then took his check-ride in the warmer/drier climate.
Dave Walrod also took his Private Pilot Check ride and came away as a newly minted certificated pilot. Ralph Robinson, is the CFI with the broad smile.
Chinmay Patel soloed on the last day of June in a Cessna 152. An enthusiast of radio controlled airplanes, he finds sitting in an airplane more enjoyable that standing on the sideline with a radio transmitter in hand. Peter Sturdza was the CFI sitting on the bench with a Handheld in one hand while taking notes with the other.
The weather has turned and not a day too soon. Needless to say, this amount of rain we received this past winter and spring has been a problem for all flying clubs and Sundance is no exception; coupled with the price of AVGAS going over the $3.50 per gallon and the cost of oil at $5.00 a quart and the net result was fewer airplanes in the air. BUT, the weather has changed for the better and the price of a barrel of crude oil is, they say, coming down so we are hopeful you, our members, will return to the “Friendly skies.
In case you didn’t catch our new advertisement in the Palo Alto Daily News, we are promoting flight training. Essentially, new members working toward their Private Pilot’s Certificate will not be assessed dues during the first year while training. If you know of anyone who wants to begin flight training, we have the CFIs that can move people from the right seat to the left.
Safety is not an accident. Safe flying comes from knowing yourself, knowing your airplane and being proficient. As the weather begins to warm, keep in mind that the summer afternoon cross-wind season also begins. If you don’t feel comfortable landing in a cross-wind, give your CFI a call. If you don’t have a CFI, give the office a call and we’ll set you up with one. And, if you want to practice approaches, our Elite Simulator is a great and inexpensive ($25.00/hr) way to do it.
What’s Going On?
Several members suggested that Sundance coordinate a “fly-in” to an airport in the general vicinity. Columbia has been one suggestion and Clear Lake was another. The questions I have are as follows:
Š Is this something that would be of interest to the membership?
Š Does anyone have any other suggestions for such an event?
Š When is the best time to have such an event?
From time to time, I am asked if I know of anyone interested in buying an airplane. To date, I know of several and list them below. In talking to the owners, I believe each is negotiable.
If you have any interested in becoming an aircraft owner, let Tony know.
Alas, N738LF has left the nest; BUT we still have three good 172s for those who prefer the Cessna line.
Finally and with some hesitancy I mention there is more competition at the PAO. A new Flying Club has opened its doors and is promising the moon to anyone and everyone who comes through its door—lower rates, no membership dues, a growing fleet. From a prospective members’ point of view, it’s a fantastic deal; but the reality is, the aggressive pricing model simply cannot last and reality must be addressed. Having been in the flying club business for several years I have learned about some of the costs associated with the airplane rental business: AVGAS, insurance, maintenance and the infrastructure required to rent airplane are expensive. Even when the owner is doing much of the maintenance work to minimize expenses, parts and other consumables remain expensive. It is our belief the other Flying Club cannot continue its current pricing structure; as much as we would like to rent planes at below cost, it simply is not possible in the long run. It is our understanding the managers at the new Flying Club are using a kind of “bait and switch” philosophy—advertising a no dues/low rental rate club for a time and raising rates and charging membership dues.
At Sundance Flying Club, we have always maintained that “It’s All About the Flying”: have tried to price our airplane rentals to be affordable yet attract owners who share our goal; we have attempted to minimize the amount of bureaucracy sometimes found at other flying clubs; and we are continually looking for ways to minimize overhead yet provide for the needs of the members. Are we the least expensive Flying Club at Palo Alto? Apparently not. But we have been at Palo Alto for better than 20 years and with your support, we will continue.