Odd flying club dilemma

ChasenSFO

hen teaser
About 3 months ago, I bought a bunch of block time on 172s at my flying club. It was summer, I was busy, didn't get a chance to fly for a few weeks. Then my BFR expired. A CFI buddy offered to fly with me for free and get me an amazing rate on an Arrow if I could just wait for him to have some free time. This took a few weeks, but I got it done. The very next day, I go to my flying club with a buddy to rent a 172. I look in my logbook and notice it's been 89 days since I last flew a 172, and the club requires a 90 day currency. I'm glad I decided to go flying because the currency process is known to be a rip-off at this club.

I get to the desk to find no one there, during business hours. A CFI offers to help me get my BFR scanned and in the system so I can rent again. When he see's my currency is about to expire, he refuses to rent me a plane. He claims I'm just as dangerous at 89 days as I am at 90 and I need to fly with a CFI. He then goes on a personal attack on how I seem like a slacker and looking thru my history I'm "notorious" for flying the bare minimum to retain currency. I tell him that I do flying in other states and from other airports for much cheaper and I just give airplane rides for the most part out of their club. He goes on to tell me they don't like that and want 100% of my flying. He then randomly goes on to tell gruesome stories of people he knew my age dying in plane crashes. I tell him it is asinine that he feels I'm dangerous the day AFTER my BFR in a complex airplane. When will I ever be more refreshed?

He tells me he'll do his "best" to call the chief pilot and see what he can do for me. When he does call the chief pilot, he insists he grounds me and tells him my log book is full of random airports no where near the area and I need a refresher on flying in this area. Despite the fact all my flying out of this airport includes Bravo transitions that I handle fine. I get grounded, while the club policy says I'm still ok to fly.

It then turns out this CFI is a former CFI with the club who is currently a NetJets captain taking a refresher course on his lap top. Yet they let a non-employee go into the system and ground a pilot. I told West Valley they won't get my money for this move, and I'll do my checkout in Livermore with my buddy. They told me I have to do it there, where it will cost $400-500 and take 2 days.

I've reported them to the BBB. What else would you do in this situation? Why post a currency limit if you aren't going to stick to it? Should I pack up, leave, and get a refund for my block time?

Always a headache at SQL.
 

pilot4500

IT Manager/ Former Cirrus Charter Pilot
What a nightmare! I would definitely demand a refund and then leave and find a different place to rent. This place obviously does not need or want your business. I cannot think of a single reason why you would want to continue renting from a place that.
 

ntbjounin

Well-Known Member
Id demand my money back, and leave. If they refuse, mention that youre going to talk to your atty about this, and get back to them. I would. Thats absolutely asinine!
 

skypilot6

Well-Known Member
wow, just wow. Im with everyone else, get your money back and run like hell in the other direction...
 

FlyingScot

Spanish Proficient
Sounds like they grounded you in contradiction to their printed policy, without just cause, only because they want your business exclusively, which I doubt is in the contract. They therefore broke the contract and should refund your remaining money so you can go elsewhere. If you really are as dangerous as they say, why do they want your business exclusively. Coolly calmly tell them you feel they broke their contract with your arbitrary grounding and you'll take your money and go elsewhere.

Alternatively use the cool, calm approach and talk to the owner or CP to see if they will accept your training elsewhere as currency and go back to where you were before, probably not an option if they see the BBB report. I'd take my money and leave though unless the alternative was very far away. Remember possession is 9/10s of the law and they possess your money now so don't make it a pissing match, go in level headed and try to resolve this one way or the other. Then come back and tell us which club this is so we can avoid it.
 

jskibo

Done
Must be the same owners as the one I dealt with here. They had a great rate, $70 wet in a warrior or c172 and four to choose from. Only wanted a $900 buy in and $40 a month.

I thought about it a couple weeks while I was flying out of there at full rate ($110 I think). I asked to used my american airlines AMEX to sign up so I could grab the points. Reluctantly they agreed.

Three days later they grounded the planes claiming they were refinancing, two weeks went by and I saw them advertised for auction. They filed BK.

Got my $900 back from AMEX, but WTF, if you are going under why let someone join your club? Had I paid cash I would have been out.
 

Rotor2Wing

Unapologetically American
Sounds like they grounded you in contradiction to their printed policy, without just cause, only because they want your business exclusively, which I doubt is in the contract. They therefore broke the contract and should refund your remaining money so you can go elsewhere. If you really are as dangerous as they say, why do they want your business exclusively. Coolly calmly tell them you feel they broke their contract with your arbitrary grounding and you'll take your money and go elsewhere.

Alternatively use the cool, calm approach and talk to the owner or CP to see if they will accept your training elsewhere as currency and go back to where you were before, probably not an option if they see the BBB report. I'd take my money and leave though unless the alternative was very far away. Remember possession is 9/10s of the law and they possess your money now so don't make it a pissing match, go in level headed and try to resolve this one way or the other. Then come back and tell us which club this is so we can avoid it.
Although this is probably the right thing to do. I would just get a refund and pee on their door mat!
 

A150K

Well-Known Member
What BS...With the amount of flying you do in your area, I'd pay more to rent from a decent flight school/FBO rather than put up with that crap. As for that CFI...I think he deserves a good old fashioned MikeD ass kicking all up and down their ramp :D
 

Acrofox

All fox
I told West Valley they won't get my money for this move, and I'll do my checkout in Livermore with my buddy.
As I was reading your description, I kept thinking that I was going to reply and say "Heh ... that sounds like West Valley." ... then I hit this line and laughed.

I'm sorry to hear about that. They have some nice airplanes, but they're legendarily awful in other ways. I'm often tempted to go over there by some pretty airplane or another (Like their aerobatic complement), but then I see how much they charge in dues, hear horror stories like (and worse than) yours, and decide to say "NFW".

There are much better, much more friendly places to rent nearby. PAO is VERY close to SQL, you know, even in rush hour.

~Fox
 

Vyse

BirchJet CA
Yeah, West Valley has some stories...

Several years ago I did a checkout with one of their CFIs. For his instructor payment he would not accept check or credit card, only cash. Luckily I had a few 20s on me. When he didn't have the $3 change for my cash payment, he quickly said there actually was an "logbook signing and paperwork fee" so he didn't need to give me any change. When I complained, they said "well, if you really are going to get that worked up over just three dollars, I guess we can mail that to you sometime." Never got it of course.

A few flights later, overheard one of their CFIs at the office talking to a perspective student about getting his private. She told him that she only accepted students who paid for their entire training up front, because "she didn't want students who weren't committed." Classy.
 

inigo88

Composite-lover
There are many Part 61 schools that would be grateful for your business at all. If you have a current BFR, and you've made 3 takeoffs and landings within the last 90 days (if carrying passengers) and the school doesn't have some arbitrary lower currency requirement in the rental agreement (ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT!) then you're good to go.

Beyond that, it's none of their damn business what airplanes or airports are in your logbook!

Unless I'm going to do a crap ton of flying in a short amount of time, I've resolved to never join a flying club. This thread is why. Find a part 61 school at PAO. Pay a higher wet rate for the plane (but no initiation fee, monthly dues, etc) and enjoy being free of this kind of BS.
 

Acrofox

All fox
Unless I'm going to do a crap ton of flying in a short amount of time, I've resolved to never join a flying club. This thread is why. Find a part 61 school at PAO. Pay a higher wet rate for the plane (but no initiation fee, monthly dues, etc) and enjoy being free of this kind of BS.
I'm a member of a flying club at Palo Alto that is awesome. It's like friends/family... great people, nice airplanes, good mx, good availability. There are a couple other places on the field that I've heard are pretty nice, as well (Not clubs).

http://www.advantage-aviation.com/
http://www.flysundance.org/
http://www.advancedflyers.com/

*Shrug* No vested interest, and I don't know much about advanced or advantage... but I really do love my club and think it's run by classy people ... and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to a west valley refugee.

-Fox
 
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