Cirrus Flight Instruction - Platinum CSIP Greg West - ATP / CFII / MEI / Cirrus CSIP / Charter / Ferry / Delivery / 408-687-7520 Sun, 07 Dec 2014 07:19:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Air Show Changes This Fall Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:54:46 +0000 AOPA_fly_in


If you’re like me: a pilot who likes to attend air shows and industry conventions… there’s been some changes in the schedule this year.

As you may have heard, AOPA is no longer doing their annual huge “AOPA Expo” on alternating coasts, instead they are doing several smaller regional ones.  The west coast event is at Chino (KCNO) on September 20, 2014. Visit their page here.

Since the AOPA change of strategy leaves a void for a large convention (other than Oshkosh of course), Flying Magazine has decided to do their own event – in Palm Springs, from Oct 31 to November 2.  This aims to fill the void, complete with a Parade of Planes through the streets on the day prior.  Visit their announcement here.

And as always, if you’re in search of expert Cirrus flight training, please look around my site and then contact me to discuss your goals.

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My First Landing at SFO in a Cirrus Fri, 13 Jun 2014 22:57:21 +0000 terminal_s

Left Downwind Departure from SFO Runway 28L

General Aviation is alive and well at San Francisco International Airport.  Usually to be avoided because of the $237 in fees for landing and parking, and because it’s a very busy Class Bravo airport… I had the opportunity recently to land a Cirrus there.

The reason was charter.  A customer was in a hurry and needed to be picked up at a smaller regional airport. The end of his business day didn’t coincide with regional airline departures (only two per day), and it was too far to drive in Bay Area traffic.  He needed to catch a commercial flight in a few hours.  No problem, we’ll fly!

Imagine getting to SFO without Bay Area traffic jams and no parking cost, hassles, or wasted time.  In your Cirrus!


On the GA ramp, holding short of taxiway C as the A380 passed by

The process was straightforward, however the controllers appreciated me flying a faster than usual final approach.  It took some work to get slowed down…but with the runway being more than two miles long, it wasn’t a problem. Once off Runway 28R, it was a quick taxi to Signature Flight Support SFO.  It’s just like landing in Vegas (KLAS) but with the fees I mentioned earlier.  (Vegas doesn’t have the hefty landing fee.)

It was very interesting leaving as well.  Hold short of taxiway Charlie for the Airbus 380 (Lufthansa).  I then was to follow that one (staying very, very far back so as to not let its engine blast get me inadvertently airborne!) and I was #5 for departure.

When it was my turn, I got a downwind departure toward San Carlos.  Overall, a piece of cake and very fun!


Holding short 28L for several arrivals

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San Francisco Bay Tour Delights Visiting Pilots Mon, 23 Dec 2013 06:24:48 +0000

Flying the Bay Tour over San Francisco

The San Francisco area, when seen on a clear day from a small airplane, is one of the greatest sights in the country. Local pilots love to fly the “bay tour” and pilots from around the world inquire with me about how to fly it.

When I am contacted about arranging a flight lesson for a holder of a foreign pilot certificate, I am usually asked about license requirements, which aircraft would we use, at which airport would we meet, and the costs.

There’s no short answer. Everyone’s situation and desires are different. It depends on the airplane you want to fly, the airport you want to depart from, the length and route of your “tour” (e.g. fly over the Golden Gate Bridge, down the coast, over downtown San Francisco, etc.), and basically how much time and money you want to spend.

Flying over Golden Gate Bridge

Flying over the Golden Gate Bridge at 1500′

I have access to Cessna 172, Diamond DA40, and Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircraft through local flight schools/clubs, and the prices for those rentals vary.

My time is billed hourly for all air and ground time. I can come pick you up at the closest airport to you if you’re willing to pay for the engine and instructor time. Remember, even though the sights are amazing and you can snap some pictures, this is an instructional flight and you will be in the pilot seat – logging dual instruction time on the flight.

So if you’re planning to visit San Francisco and would like to do some flying, feel free to contact me and we’ll put together the perfect plan for your visit.

Fly safe,


San Francisco Bay Tour Flight Instruction

Greg (right) and visiting pilot Nick (left) debrief the San Francisco Bay Tour flight after landing








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Five Good Reasons to Say Yes to a Business Aircraft Tue, 12 Nov 2013 18:47:18 +0000
I liked this article in AOPA Magazine so much I wanted to reprint it here. Find out how business aircraft can help you and your business: either flying it yourself, or using a charter company for occasional trips.

You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company or multinational corporation to benefit from using a general aviation aircraft in pursuit of business. In fact, thousands of entrepreneurs and small companies currently use GA aircraft and gain a competitive advantage. Why not you? Buying an aircraft for your business makes sense. Read on to see why.

Read the whole story on AOPA here.

For more information about chartering an airplane for your next business trip, or to find out how to take the first steps in learning to become a pilot yourself, contact Greg.


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The Benefits of Using Air Taxi Thu, 27 Jun 2013 20:35:10 +0000 Our latest video production comes from my charter company Silicon Valley Air Charter where we offer excellent value in short-range day trips using a Cirrus SR22 aircraft. In this 2 minute overview, I’m the narrator (and on-camera pilot) as we showcase the ease and convenience of using an air charter / air taxi service. Let us know what you think… and always feel free to contact me for more information about flight training or chartering.



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Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program in Las Vegas Sat, 16 Mar 2013 16:14:39 +0000 The Cirrus Owners and Pilot’s Association (COPA) regularly holds intense training weekends throughout the world. This weekend, Las Vegas and Nellis Approach will be busy working more airplanes than usual, as the Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP) comes to North Las Vegas.

If you’re a Cirrus driver attending the event, be sure to say hello, as I’ll once again be instructing at this valuable training event. If you’re a Cirrus driver not attending, why not?  It’s an outstanding program. I’ve been to numerous weekend events (Seattle, Van Nuys, and Concord) and I learn something new every time.  I make sure that my clients do, too.


If you fly Cirrus airplanes and haven’t attended a CPPP, I urge you to consider it as part of your annual recurrent training. Contact me for more information.

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Executive Terminal Planned on West Side of SJC Tue, 19 Feb 2013 18:33:33 +0000 sjcExisting customer demand and historic, present and projected aviation trends are driving aircraft manager Signature Flight Support to invest $82 million at the San Jose airport, the company’s president and chief operating officer said.

Signature Flight Support promises a 17,000-square-foot “Executive Terminal,” including a proposed expansion of the San Jose Tech Museum; 240,000 square feet of aircraft hangar space in seven hangars; full aircraft service and maintenance; and 18.5 acres of ramp space where it can manage and service aircraft overnight for visitors.

Read the full story here at The Register.




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From The Bay Area to Tahoe In Under An Hour Mon, 04 Feb 2013 07:07:48 +0000 truckee-airportGetting yourself to a ski weekend in Tahoe on a Friday evening can be a harrowing experience. You’ve been there: sitting in traffic for four… five… sometimes six hours. You begin to wonder if it’s even worth it.

Consider: using a small airplane to fly to the mountains. You can land in Truckee, Reno, or South Lake Tahoe in about an hour. You can depart from any one of the many municipal airports around the Bay Area. You can arrive stress-free and be there for dinner.

This is real, and it’s not just for the jet crowd. You can land, have a rental car waiting, and be on your way in mere minutes. No more Friday afternoon I-80 traffic headaches. Contact Greg to find out how you can hire a charter to get you there, or begin the rewarding journey of learning to become a pilot yourself.

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Reach Multiple Destinations In A Single Day Mon, 14 Jan 2013 19:16:03 +0000 inflightDid You Know?

Companies needing to reach multiple destinations in a single day rely on business aviation, because this type of itinerary is often impossible to keep using other modes of transportation. When using a business airplane, employees can meet, plan, work en route and discuss proprietary information in a secure environment and without fear of eavesdropping. To see examples showing how companies are using business aviation to compete and succeed in a very demanding marketplace, and learn more about the many ways business aviation benefits the nation’s economy and companies of all sizes, all across the U.S., visit:

When you’re ready to book your first charter flight, please don’t hesitate to contact Greg.

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Take The Pain Out Of Business Travel. Fly Yourself. Mon, 03 Sep 2012 13:57:35 +0000 Don’t discount a small plane as a powerful business tool. For trips under 600-800 miles, it can beat airline times by a huge margin; and on 100-200 mile flights, you’ll be in close competition with corporate jets for performance and a big winner on efficiency.

Reprinted from (I thought it was a great article! Link to it here:)

When a client in Teterboro, NJ—a stone’s throw from Manhattan—called and asked to meet the next morning, I had a few choices.

Traveling from Providence, RI, by road was particularly unappealing. That’s a four-hour trek down Interstate 95 where construction and traffic delays for at least a third of the route are a given. And then there was the dismal prospect of frazzled, grouchy New York drivers battling for rush-hour lane supremacy on the maze of highways across the New York area. Forget that.

Time To Spare, Go By Air

Sure, Providence airport is 15 minutes away. Delta has a $2,000 (are they kidding) round-trip fare to Newark that takes six hours (!) each way. That’s without the 90 minute pre-departure clear-security-get-to the-gate time penalty. You could fly to Bora Bora for less money.

Ok, let’s be fair: Hot Wire found a nonstop United commuter flight. While the one hour and seven minute schedule sounded attractive, it still meant arriving 90 minutes prior to departure time, plus another half-hour road trip to Teterboro. Door-to-door, my car was faster. The real clincher was the next-day, round-trip $1,000 fare! It was certainly half-price but, no thank you.

Ah ha! North Central Airport, 15 minutes to the north, is where I keep my Mooney. Let’s see. Leave home at 8 am, takeoff by 9 am and arrive at 10 am. No contest!

Cleared For Takeoff

On a short hop like this, I’ll travel at 220 mph and get better gas mileage than a Hummer—20 gallons each way. It was summer so the only weather that would deter me would be fog (none), and thunderstorms (none). Still, I filed IFR (instrument flight rules), which put me in the air traffic system along my route together with other small-piston-powered aircraft like mine, corporate jets, commuter turboprops and of course major airlines—but not the Delta flight that was heading to Atlanta before returning to Newark.

My routing was more or less a straight line to Teterboro. Cleared at 6,000 feet, I knew the corporate jets and airliners would be well above me. That was indeed the case. Although air traffic control (ATC) keeps every IFR aircraft separated by a healthy margin, one needs to keep a watchful eye. Still, on the entire flight through the heavily trafficked areas between Boston, Providence, Hartford and New York, aided by my panel instrument that shows air traffic, I saw only one other plane and that was an airliner in the New York area. There was nothing even remotely nearby, and in the busy Teterboro area where ATC vectors everyone in a safe and efficient conga line to avoid Newark traffic, the flight was equally routine. The nearest plane was a Falcon Jet five miles behind me.

Advanced Technology = Safety And Efficiency

Mooney’s, and the new crop of small planes like the Cirrus and the Cessna Covalis TT, can fly approaches to nearly match the speed of corporate jets, so spacing is rarely an issue. In addition, the latest crop of light, piston-powered aircraft are better equipped than many airliners five years ago. Even my 20-year old Mooney, which is retrofitted with moving map displays (three) that show weather, traffic plus approach charts, makes a 10-year old Boeing look like a dinosaur. My autopilot will fly the latest GPS approaches to the same minimum altitudes as any airliner or corporate jet and when I land, a large image of the airport taxiways displays so that I know exactly where I am.

After landing, I taxied up to one of several facilities at Teterboro dedicated to business aircraft and was greeted with a smile and “how can we be of service.” I walked from my plane to the facility, out the lobby and to the office building nearby. Not only was I was early for my 10:30 meeting, it was great fun getting there, proving that business travel can not only be efficient, but also enjoyable.

The Right Tool For The Job

That’s the beauty of Teterboro and airports like it. Business aviation can use metropolitan area reliever airports like this. They surround every major city and they’re often closer to one’s ultimate destination (in my case across the street). In addition, many thousands of other airfields serve smaller cities, towns and local communities across the nation. So, Delta, United and American, while you give great service between New York and LA, you just don’t go where I and tens of thousands of business flyers need to go.

It’s amazing to realize how powerful a business tool even a small airplane can be. But whether you fly yourself or sit in the cabin of a much faster and capable business jet together with your colleagues, there is more to it than saving time and money. You can make travel a pleasure again—actually make it fun. How do you put a price tag on that?

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Business Aviation: The Unfair Advantage Thu, 09 Aug 2012 21:42:13 +0000 What was once used only in extraordinary circumstances or by top global companies has today become a business necessity. If you charter, lease or own an aircraft, you already understand that Business Aviation — also called General Aviation — is as indispensable as your cell phone and your laptop. For those companies that don’t use Business Aviation, read on to discover why it’s an invaluable business tool in order to survive — and thrive — in today’s tough economic climate.

Reprinted from a Forbes article dated 8/6/12, found here.

Only about 3 percent of the approximately 15,000 business aircraft registered in the U.S. are flown by America’s largest and most well-known companies, while the remaining 97 percent are operated by a broad cross-section of organizations, including governments, universities, charitable organizations and businesses — large, medium and small. And that 97% represents the vibrant heartbeat of what keeps American business humming… or in this case, flying.

Whether it’s moving a team of technicians from one plant to another or bringing clients in for a presentation, companies of all sizes and in all industries are counting on business aviation to compete in their specific markets. As a result, business aviation is saving companies money by eliminating the “down time” and frustrations associated with commercial air travel.

Beechcraft 2000 Starship (Photo credit: Paul Bowen)

“Because there isn’t enough time in the day as it is, relying on a business aircraft helps companies take advantage of the time they do have,” says Kim Showalter, President of Showalter Flying Service in Orlando.

Companies are taking to heart the old adage “time is money” as they seek increased productivity and profitability, while providing healthier, happier work environments for their employees. And they’ve found several instances where business aircraft accomplishes both — such as when a sales team has several places to go in a short amount of time, when more than one employee is traveling on the same itinerary, when their destination isn’t a major airline hub, or when airline schedules simply don’t fit the company work schedule.

For most companies, cost was the major stumbling block to using business aviation services in the past. But that argument is no longer valid, says Showalter. Businesses that rely on their own aircraft have done comparison studies to determine its cost versus the combined cost of commercial air travel, including airfares, overnight expenses for hotels and meals, car rentals, and, most importantly, the value of an executive’s time on the road and away from home and family. ”Those costs add up,” adds Showalter. “Businesses are finally realizing it’s more cost-effective to have their employees working instead of waiting for delayed or canceled flights.”

Less time at airline terminals is scoring big points with employees, too, who are eating more meals at home and fewer at the airport. Business aviation actually gives business travelers the freedom to go where they want, when they want. And with the trend in business to decentralize from major cities, that’s important. Today, if your business destination isn’t a major commercial airline hub, it takes you twice as long to reach it.

Aside from the ease in scheduling, users of business aviation are exposed to fewer travel hassles. The walk from the ramp to the luggage carousel to the taxi stand becomes obsolete, as does lost luggage and cramped quarters on board.

“Many companies actually conduct business or staff meetings in the air when traveling by business aviation,” Showalter says.

Business aircraft generally take the form of single- or twin-engine pistons, turboprops, or corporate jets, and can accommodate as few as four or as many as 24 passengers. While the commercial airlines have access to only 500 airports, business aviation aircraft can take off and land at more than 5,000 facilities around the country — 10 times more than are available to commercial airliners.

“Business aviation has simply become a way of life for the successful, thriving businesses of today,” Showalter says. “From the boardroom to the accounting department, it’s the most efficient business travel alternative available.”

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Who Are The Best Candidates for Air Charter? Tue, 03 Jul 2012 21:06:38 +0000 Small airplane charter provides the best value for a business trip where you’d like to fly somewhere in the morning, conduct your business, and then return home on your own schedule later the same day.

Consider a day trip to Ventura County.  You could drive, but you wouldn’t make it home in time for dinner, instead you’d have hotel costs and be on the road for twelve hours roundtrip.  You could take a Southwest flight to Burbank, rent a car, drive to your destination, and then hurry through your day and hope that your business is finished in time to get back to Burbank (through SoCal traffic) in time to make the last flight home…

Or, you could climb on board our safe and fast Cirrus SR-22 charter airplane and land at the Oxnard airport in about 90 minutes… just steps away from your destination.  Conduct your business, and then be flying home in the afternoon.  Home for dinner indeed.  No airport parking, lines, or hassles.  Just a productive day.

Feel free to call Greg or email an inquiry to his charter company and he’ll be happy to discuss private flying for you on your upcoming trip.  We serve all bay area airports with charter service for San Martin/Gilroy/Morgan Hill, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Carlos, Hayward, Livermore, and all other nearby airports.  Give us the opportunity to quote your next trip…you’ll be glad you did!


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Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program Lands in Concord This Weekend Sat, 21 Apr 2012 04:31:44 +0000 The Cirrus Owners and Pilot’s Association (COPA: regularly holds intense training weekends throughout the world. This weekend, NorCal Approach will be busy working more SR20 and SR22 airplanes than usual, as the Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP) comes to Concord’s Buchannan Field.

I was asked to join the instructor corps, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. If you’re a Cirrus driver attending the event, be sure to say hello. If you’re a Cirrus driver not attending, why not? It’s an outstanding program. I’ve been to numerous weekend events (Seattle, Van Nuys, and who can forget the simulator session offered in Las Vegas!) and I learn something new every time.

If you fly Cirrus airplanes and haven’t attended a CPPP, I urge you to consider it as part of your annual recurrent training. Contact me for more information.

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Flying Magazine calls Cirrus SR22 the Most Sophisticated Single Ever Thu, 05 Apr 2012 01:48:32 +0000

In the April 2012 issue of Flying magazine, the cover story says that the 2012 Cirrus SR22 is the most sophisticated single-engine civilian airplane ever built. I’m sure the folks at Cirrus are thrilled, as am I (since I get to instruct in this amazing airplane!).

I was able to obtain a pdf copy of the cover page and the article. Here’s a link to the file. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to contact me for your flight training needs in Northern California.

Fly safe,

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All The Way to Cabo San Lucas! Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:18:55 +0000 This wasn’t your standard Mexico Checkout flight! Usually for a border crossing checkout, we fly just across the border to Tijuana or San Felipe so the pilot can get a feel for all of the paperwork, fees, and sloooow service that awaits. This time – we went all the way to the tip of Baja California and landed at Cabo San Lucas. What a treat!

From the Bay Area, we flew nonstop and under IFR into Tijuana (MMTJ) where we cleared into Mexico, did all the paperwork for the pilots and airplane, and refueled. Then it was onward to Loreto (MMLT) which was another couple of hours flying time. We enjoyed beautiful scenery along the Sea of Cortez.

After an overnight in Loreto (the client had business there), a day trip to Cabo was in order. Only another 1.25 hours down the Sea of Cortez, La Paz instructed us to contact Los Cabos Approach and we were soon on the ground in Cabo San Lucas (MMSL). Note: don’t try to land at San Jose Del Cabo (MMSD), that is the busy air carrier airport with much higher prices.

Fees and fuel were reasonable at MMSL, and they even gave us a ride to the beach for lunch.

The return trip was slow (headwinds) but uneventful – we landed at San Diego Brown Field (KSDM) and cleared US Customs in no time. Then it was an IFR flight back home to the Bay Area.

This was a wonderful way to introduce flying in Baja California and I hope to have the opportunity to do it again. If you are thinking about flying into Mexico (or Canada, or the Bahamas!) please contact me to discuss your training options.

For a more complete description of border crossing procedures, read my blog post about visiting Rocky Point on mainland Mexico.  To read more about my “Mexico Checkout” flight instruction, read this.

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