Reflections from a STEM graduate of GFCA Pegasus Project

GFCA has made a huge impact for many kids in the senior STEM engineering class at San Marin High School. The Pegasus Project is something that we were told about throughout our STEM path and is a very exciting project that many kids looked forward to working on.

San Marin High School seniors in STEM Engineering, class of 2019, with their teacher and GFCA mentors, standing with completed RV-12 wing assembly.

Many people are mind blown when you say you helped build an airplane in your high school engineering class. The mentors and the connections you build through this program are phenomenal, and it is truly inspiring to be around so many educated and accomplished adults who want to help you grow and succeed!

I learned so much about collaboration, team work, organization, the list is endless. This program helped me grow as an individual in many ways, and gave me something to look forward to when I went to school every day.

I was so inspired by these mentors and this project, that I decided to do a fundraiser to help purchase the next kit for the RV-12 airplane we were making. My classmates, the mentors, and I organized an event to raise money for the Pegasus Project.

STEM Seniors, Class of 2019, who organized and spoke at Pegasus Fundraiser, June 2019

It was a great learning experience, and it showed me the power of a student body that, with the right guidance, can do amazing things. Together, with the extra support of Rick and Susan, we created an amazing event where we raised $7,000 for the project.

I am extremely proud of my classmates and our fundraiser. It was an amazon experience, and something I will always cherish. I will always remember this class and the mentors that guided us through it. Thank you to GFCA for giving hundreds of students the opportunity to learn and experience something new, exciting, and truly inspiring. 

STEM Fundraiser for Pegasus project, June 2019
Olivia Matheson

Graduate of San Marin High School. Participated in STEM Engineering class to build an RV-12 through the Pegasus project funded and managed by GFCA. Currently attending San Diego State University

Flying Friendly for our Neighbors

Sue flew our neighbor, Jackie Bonner, who lives south of Gnoss Field

Last March, one of my fellow Rotarians, Jackie Bonner, reached out regarding the issue of low-flying airplanes over her home south of the airport.  It was not only the close proximity of the airplanes, but the loud noise, some worse than others.  After listening to her concerns, I asked her to start recording the time and day of the flights over her home that were most bothersome.  With that information, we were able to track many of the flights and aircraft.   It was discovered that most were in compliance with the altitude restrictions over her home and were definitely legal.   

What I thought was maybe Jackie needed to see the airport from a pilot’s perspective in the air.  So, I asked her if she would like to go flying with me in my Cherokee 180.  My plan was to give her a San Francisco Bay Tour and then fly the traffic pattern a bit.    

That next Saturday, Jackie showed up at my hangar to go flying.  Two things she was impressed with right away before we took off: 

(1) the radio information at the end of AWOS reminding pilots to “follow the Gnoss Field noise abatement procedures and avoid the homes south of the airport” and

(2) the sign at the runup area of runway 31:

We had a wonderful flight, perfect weather and Jackie was able to get some fantastic shots of the Golden Gate Bridge.  She reported back:

“My flight with Sue was wonderful, especially since the weather was glorious!  It was so generous of her to take me aloft.  Apart from the enjoyable flight, I did see that Gnoss Field does its best to alert pilots to stay away from the area where I live.  Mostly, I was able to see just how close we live to the airport and how keeping away from the houses upon landing involves some skillful flying by pilots.   It’s clear that the size and maybe age of the plane engine makes a difference to how much noise it makes.  I can see planes coming in to land from my window and sometimes they are pretty quiet and sometimes not, so I guess there’s nothing to be done about that.”

Jackie Bonner, neighbor south of Gnoss Field

The big take away:  We showed Jackie we are listening, we care and are trying our best to minimize the noise.   We hope we can be this effective with the rest of our neighbors close to the airport.

Susan Royce

Chair, Marin 99s
Vice President, GFCA
(and Novato Sunrise Rotary)

Planes for Puppies

I learned to fly out of Gnoss Field airport, Novato, and have been involved in the local aviation community for over twenty-five years.  In September 2020, I got an email from a volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind (GD) who knew about my aviation connections.  The organization was looking for pilots to transport adult dogs and puppies to several western states. I knew that Guide Dogs for the Blind had a campus in San Rafael, and I had seen them with their trainers around town, but it had never occurred to me that there could be a connection between aviation and dogs – two of my passions.  I put the word out to my flying friends.  Nobody I knew was able to respond to the request, but I wanted to learn more about planes and puppies, so I contacted the organization and spoke with Sarah Blevins, Operations and Project manager, and Karen Woon, VP Marketing.

I did not know that Guide Dogs for the Blind was started in 1942 to help veterans who had been blinded in World war ll.  It has continued to grow over the years and has puppy raising programs in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington, hence the need for different forms of transportation.    According to the “Planes for Puppies” blog entry on the Guide Dogs for the Blind website, the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the ability of the program to get dogs to their destinations. “Most airlines have discontinued flying dogs in the cargo areas, and those that are continuing have not been reliable in terms of their flight schedules or the aircraft being used.”  Even transportation by puppy trucks has been negatively impacted.  In light of these current events, they are in the process of assessing their future transportation needs, and considering general aviation solutions.

Guide Dogs for the Blind still has several options when it comes to flying adult dogs and puppies, one being the support of a private jet organization. But there is still a need for pilots and planes in our local area.  The Gnoss Field Community Association (GFCA) has identified seventeen types of operations conducted from our local airports that benefit the community as a whole.  Adding support for Guide Dogs for the Blind to that list would be supporting a worthy cause.  When they have identified their specific needs, GFCA will consider the options for helping them. We will be looking at the infrastructure, as well as pilots and planes, that meet the criteria for transporting puppies, adult dogs who have graduated from training, and those dogs who did not graduate and will be seeking alternate “careers”!  Stay tuned.

If you want to learn more about Guide Dogs for the Blind training, there is a great documentary on Netflix and other streaming services. “Pick of the Litter.”
Barbara O'Grady
Barbara O’Grady

Barbara is a pilot and CFI based at Gnoss Field, a member of Marin 99s, and active with GFCA improving our outreach to the community.

Update on LP Approach to Gnoss Field

The FAA division that handles amendments to instrument procedures has accepted a request to provide LP approach minimum criteria to the RNAV (GPS) RWY 13 approach to Gnoss Field. The expectation of this additional minimum will provide a lower ceiling decision height than the LNAV or Circling minima due to the greater accuracy of avionics certified to fly an LP approach.

One requirement will be to add runway markings to the threshold of runway 13 at Gnoss Field. We’ve been told that Marin County is planning on making those improvements so that the LP approach can be flight checked.

The process for scheduling the amended instrument procedure involves a prioritization assessment that has not yet been completed. Even so, the process is likely to take several months due to the backlog of instrument approaches being worked on by the FAA.

Napa County Airport and the FAA invite your input on proposed taxiway changes at Napa KAPC

Napa County Airport staff is preparing for the upcoming Taxiway “H” rehabilitation project. As a part of the project’s safety and outreach components, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Local Runway Safety Action Team (RSAT) will host a Microsoft Teams meeting to address safety topics and questions from the public. Airport Staff will also engage in the presentation and be available for questions. We encourage anyone from the public to attend, and please forward this message to those you think will benefit from this presentation.
 
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 6:00 PM
 
Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only)
+1 213-600-9157,,97057890#   United States, Los Angeles
Phone Conference ID: 970 578 90#