Hailed as a great success by organizers, the conference featured sessions on safety, weather, wilderness survival, and air traffic control.
A fleet of Bay Area aviation luminaries shared their expertise on topics “beneficial to novice and experienced pilots alike,” organizers noted.
Held at the Seaport Conference Center in the Redwood City marina, the conference opened with Rod Machado, famed aviation lecturer and humorist. Machado co-wrote and co-anchored ABC’s Wide World of Flying and served as the CFI voice on Microsoft’s Flight Simulator.
One attendee commented that “Rod’s exciting kickoff presentation was very funny and super engaging.”
Machado’s presentation stressed the importance of using a moral code of conduct to create consistent safety decisions, and compared the self-control of skilled pilots to the honor of samurai warriors.
Machado’s kickoff set the tone for the conference and served as inspiration for the day, organizers said.
The conference continued with three tracks of seminars and panel discussions from leaders in the field. These 12 sessions ranged from local aviation issues like the new SFO Class B airspace changes to cutting edge topics like electric airplanes and advances in unleaded fuels.
Howard Donner, an experienced flight instructor and doctor, laid out how to survive in the event of an off-airport forced landing, and expert Cirrus instructor Eliot Floersch discussed preparations for handling emergencies while flying in the clouds.
Avionics and flight technology also featured prominently in the program with a presentation by Ryan McBride, lead product designer at ForeFlight, and an update on standard procedures from Jason Miller, speaker and educator of the Finer Points of Flying podcast website.
Other speakers included charter pilot Bennett Taber clarifying radio communication, representatives of the National Weather Service explaining Bay Area weather patterns, and Michael Huhn from the National Transportation Safety Board outlining ways to learn from NTSB accident analyses of recent local accidents.
“The event brought together a powerhouse of presenters with valuable information to share,” noted Herb Patten, a local commercial pilot and CFI.
The event concluded with a moderated panel discussion featuring air traffic controllers from five different Bay Area air traffic control agencies. The panelists took questions from the pilots and discussed ways to improve pilot/controller communication.
All involved were quick to note the benefit of direct engagement between pilots and air traffic controllers sharing experiences and context.
“I loved the ATC panel! I could have chatted with the pilots and controllers all night. They were awesome,” said Stacey Maye, Control Tower Manager for San Carlos Airport.
After the conference, attendees wound down with a social hour allowing participants to mingle with presenters, discuss what they had heard, see old friends, and make new ones.
One pilot commented that “people were energized and definitely loved it. There was a line of pilots waiting to get a photo with Rod Machado.”
This celebration of general aviation for San Francisco Bay Area pilots helps meet San Carlos Flight Center’s mission to increase safety, build community, and share the adventure of flight.
“We hosted BAY FLIGHT 2018 to help fill the gap left when the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) stop hosting their annual Summit, and to offer general aviation pilots the latest in news and education. And the event also definitely helped build the sense of community between Bay Area pilots,” said Dan Dyer, chief pilot at San Carlos Flight Center and an organizer of the conference. “Flying clubs like ours play a part in bringing pilots together, but more needs to be done. We were delighted to see BAY FLIGHT 2018 connecting pilots from all over the area.”
Like the Flight Center’s own seminars, these Bay Flight sessions were taped and will be available for later viewing online.
BAY FLIGHT 2018 is the natural extension of San Carlos Flight Center’s safety seminar and guest speaker program, according to flight school officials. For more than six years, the San Carlos Flight Center has hosted events every Wednesday evening and Saturday at noon in its office at San Carlos Airport. These events welcome local pilots for ongoing training, discussion, and exposure to the latest and greatest in general aviation, and has become the center of the pilot community at San Carlos Airport. Each year, more than 2,300 Bay Area pilots attend one or more events at San Carlos Flight Center.
“Everyone I spoke to said they’d love to come to it again next year,” said local pilot Stoo Davies.
As a result of the success of this year’s conference, BAY FLIGHT organizers are already making plans for next year’s BAY FLIGHT 2019 to be held in late October 2019.