Saturday, September 21, 2019

Into The Valley

The weather was perfect, the plane and pilot were both ready, it was time to fly! And fly I did, to Wilkes-Barre and back. 
amended route
I did file a flight plan thinking it would be good practice and good to once again work in the system.  However, I received a notice that my route was amended and with that put the IFR plan on the back burner.  Instead, I decided to fly direct, at 7,500 feet, over Philly airspace and just pick up flight following. 

The new plan worked perfect.  I picked up Flight Following with Dover Approach about 15 miles south of the ATR Waterloo VOR. Easy peasy, an extra set of eyes for the ride. 
Delaware Memorial Bridge
I was handed of to multiple Philly sectors and eventually Allentown Approach. For the most part it was quiet and the ride was smooth. Allentown handed me off to Wilkes-Barre Approach and we rode along until I had visual on the airport. Once you see the ridge line with all the wind turbines you are pretty much there.  Cross the ridge and make your way to the airport.
Limerick Power Plant and Heritage Field, Pottstown
Lehigh tunnels
I should have asked for lower sooner, but it's all good practice for when ATC dumps you on to an approach. I worked my way down from 7.5 and made a nice landing on Runway four. It was a quick taxi to the FBO, Aviation Technologies. The line service was professional and the counter person was just as professional and pleasant.  The FBO squared up my fuel bill and let me use the courtesy car. Perfect!

The drive isn't really that long, maybe 30 minutes across the valley. I exited at Forty-Fort and made my way through the side streets to the main drag, Wyoming Ave. From there I drove until I came to the Wyoming Valley Airport, it was just a few more turns to the Italian Independent Cemetery. 
Why don't I use WBW? They don't have a courtesy car and it's a pain to get a rental delivered and picked up.  I'll have to check if things have changed since the last time landing there, it's been a good number of years. 

Once at the cemetery I cleaned up around the head stones, one by one, each family member. I talked with each Aunt and Uncle, grandparent, and my parents. I miss them so much. What I would give for just one more conversation or just a few questions answered. I know my Dad would have loved flying, Mom, not so much, ok, NOT AT ALL. 

It was time to head back to the airport and return the FBO's car. I made a stop to put in  five gallons of gas and grabbed a bacon cheeseburger at the DQ nextdoor.  Some slob left all the containers from their lunch in the car so I cleaned that out too. I just don't understand people sometimes. And folks wonder why courtesy cars are going away. People, add fuel and keep it clean!

Upon my return I dropped off the keys at the desk. With the car taken care of I walked back to the kitchen area, intent on quietly enjoying my lunch, and reflecting on my day. Why I love to fly...wake up in Ocean City and I'm sitting here having lunch in Wilkes-Barre. Enough contemplation, it's time to saddle up and point 3 Tango Charlie south for the beach.
The hot start went well and I sat at idle to bring the oil temps up. I also had to chug and plug the flight plan. Ok, I used the reverse feature then added an additional single waypoint, KMQS.  By adding MQS I would keep clear of Philly's Bravo airspace. I had planed the return flight for for 6,500 feet.
It felt good working with ground and a tower again as I made my way to runway four.  After completing my run up I advised ready to go at Bravo 2, at runway four.  I was quickly cleared to take off.  I should mention that ground gave me a squawk code for flight following, very nice. I wish more airports did this.
I only used ten degrees of flaps since the runway is 7,502 feet. I was up and climbing out, cleaning up gear and flaps, gaining altitude.  The departure procedure calls for a climb to five thousand before turning on course, I turned sooner and cleared the hills since the DP wasn't assigned and I was directed to resume own anvigation. 

It was another smooth and quiet ride south. I was handed of to each approach in reverse of this morning. Eventually I was handed off to Dover and canceled with them after passing south of Delaware Coastal, KGED.  I was now just ten minutes from home.

Ocean City was busy with winds favoring runway two-zero.  There were a few jets inbound and they selected runway three-two. Hey, roll your own, just play nice with all the other aircraft.  I made a nice landing on two-zero and taxied for the hangar, it was good to be home. 

I'm glad I stretched my wings a bit and went beyond my comfort zone. I'm ready to start adding states and airports once again!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Hangar Time & Video Set Up

I  headed to the airport with our Ziva girl so I could prep for tomorrows flight.  After Ziva did her turn and burn, obviously really enjoying the zero humidity today, I got started on the plane. 

I took on fuel the other day (12 gallons) and needed to enter the info on my JPI engine monitor. I also needed to clean windows, vac the carpets and update my GPS data card. All items checked off my to-do list.

While I was in the plane and had the avionics master on, I thought it would be a good time to review my video set up.  

If you're new to the blog here is a list of my equipment.
Garmin VIRB XE - two units, one still in a NTSB time out. The single unit on hand will be mounted on a Tackform bracket to the pilot side headrest and shoot video over my shoulder for the forward view.
Next up is the Activeon CX Gold - Two units.  For now, one will be used to view the Aspen and the other for either the tail tie down or in cockpit view of the crew. 


The audio is really poor on the Activeon Gold, but the video is very good.  What's nice is the price, around $55. If I lose the camera off the tail tie down I'm not out much money.  
Speaking of the tail tie down I am making the attachment with the most excellent, MyPilotPro bracket, it does a fantastic job. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Plans for KAVP

The plan this morning is to head north to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (KAVP). It's been a long time since I last flew upstate and it's been way too long since I visited my parents grave. It's time to do the mulch and flower planting.

Looking back, our last flight north was May 2016. The following year we missed due to my left foot surgery and recovery time. As for last year, well, let's not revisit that summer of Doctors, hospitals and rehab.  
The weather was looking great this morning all along the route north. I would file, my first time back in the system since June 2018. I am current but not as proficient as I would like. Maybe that should read not as confident, I'm plenty proficient with the plane and systems. Getting the ticket wet is another story and that's my confidence issue. 

The sky was looking ugly here in Ocean City and the winds were picking up way ahead of the 2-3pm noted times in the MOS forecast.  I drove through some light sprinkles on the way to the airport and had a few drops while I drove around assessing the sky conditions. 
I did end up taking on twelve gallons to bring my total to forty-eight. Once again, eight in the left tank and four in the right. I did set up my timer on the Garmin 480 and I will be switching tanks on a thirty minute interval once I run through my one thousand foot checks on departure.  I plan to follow the POH and be on the both tanks setting for takeoff and landing. 

So with the fuel good to go, I completed my pre-flight. Today's decision is a no-go. I'm thinking about a Friday or Saturday flight north instead. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Test Flight and Eats

 Chet and I decided we would fly out for breakfast this morning, following our success installing the seat roller bearings yesterday. The plan was to be in the air around 8am and head to either Millville, (KMIV) or Cape May, (KWWD).

I did my preflight and was waiting on the fuel truck to arrive when I heard and saw a motorcycle come around the hangars.  I had no clue who it might be, ruling out my hangar neighbor since he road a big black Harley.  This bike coming at me was a custom, along the lines of an Orange County Chopper build.  As the rider gets closer I recognize him, it's Chet!
Man this guy has all the toys. What a beautiful bike, painted to look like a war bird.  



The fuel truck pumped in twelve gallons.  Eight on the left side and four on the right side.  The POH calls for running on both tanks but from now on, once in cruise, I am going to switch tanks every half hour. 

The climb was smooth and steady as we followed the coast and made our way across the bay. I started down just shy of ten miles out, setting up for the left down wind one-nine.  I made my position call and was quickly corrected that I was on Millville's frequency. That was our initial plan but we switched, well everything switched but my brain, since I dialed in the KMIV CTAF. 
I thanked the guy who gave me a heads up then switched to the correct CTAF at Cape May.  With the position calls made I slowed 3 Tango Charlie down, and once on down wind dropped the gear adjacent to the numbers. Multiple GUMPS calls and I even decided to try the third notch of flaps. 35* really made for a smooth and slow approach as I crossed the fence. I liked it.

Once the plane was secure in front of the terminal, Chet and I headed in to the Flight Deck Diner. The place was busy with even the extra terminal seats filled. We decided on the counter and had our choice. 
Breakfast was good and so was the service. I had creamed chipped beef over home fries and a side of bacon with a large OJ to wash it all down. I think Chet had eggs and bacon. 

We headed back out to the plane and after a few tries 3TC finally started. I had such a good streak going with my hot starts. I taxied out to one-nine and launched for home. Again, the flight was smooth but with a few more traffic targets then our trip north. 
I had planned for runway three-two but a plane departing advised the sock is favoring two-zero despite the ASOS report.  It would have been a wash for me and I always like the longer runway even if it has a cross wind component. I played nice and changed up for a straight in two-zero and acknowledged the Cessna asking to leave ahead of our arrival.  I was two mile final at the point so he was good to go.

With the last notch of flaps added I settled in over the numbers and squeaked a nice landing. I had to add power to continue down the runway to turn off on the taxiway. With 1.2 in the log book and the seat passing inspection I was good to go. I should note that prior to departure Chet and I briefed in case my seat slid back on the rails. I knew it was working perfect but it's always nice to work through the what if scenario. 

There will be no BACFest this year. Mary had a fall and is not moving to fast with her back issues so we decided to cancel the trip to Denver. No ticket refunds but we have until February 18th next year to rebook and use up that value.  Not a problem, winter means cold temps here and Key West will be looking good in December. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Seat Bearing Install COMPLETED!

Woo Hoo....the seat bearings are in and the seat now slides like it's on butter.  

I will say I learned a lot in the last few days. The number one take-away was that it is way easier with two people then one. 
The install was harder then the removal, maybe because there were no front roller bearings on the removal. Once the bearings were installed, then slipping the axles in the tube, Chet and I began the gentle alignment process. 

  • First the seat cushion has to be near vertical as you gently guide the new front bearings into the back end of the seat tracks.
  • It is critical that the seat stay squared up across the tracks in order to have the latching mechanism drop in the cut outs located on the top part of the seat track.
  • Use a zip tie to secure the seat latch in the released position, this frees up one hand and it hold the bullets close in so it will drop in the cut out. 
  • Once the latching points are in the seat tracks slowly lower the rear of the seat cushion while moving the seat forward. As you move forward, line up the rear bearings and guide them into the tracks. When you feel everything slid smoothly drop the rear stop pins in place.
  • Cut the zip ties and let the seat lock in place while you finish installing the stop pins and the safety lock pins.
Grab a cool drink and test the seat.  Since Chet was so nice to help, I told him have at it. He repositioned the seat a few times and I managed to grab a picture. 
Thank you Chet for your help, I could not have completed this task without you.  Let's grab lunch, I'm buying!

So we closed up the hangar and went to the Green Turtle for some cool drinks and burgers.  A good lunch and as always excellent airplane chat.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Roller Bearing Assembly

I received my parts in the mail today! I searched online for local machine shops and found two, Davis and Mumford.  Davis was closed and the phone number didn't work.  Mumford answered and told me come on over and if we can't get it done we'll point you to a shop that can. 

I did stop and pick up lunch for Mary and I at a new place here in Berlin, Paul & Vinny's.  Great cheese steaks and the "Vinny" Italian hoagie type sandwich was excellent.  All imported meats and cheese on a very good roll. 
With lunch finished and cleaned up, I loaded up the parts and headed out to Mumfords Sheet Metal Works.  The guy in the shop had a twenty ton press but I opted for the bench vise and a small socket to match the inner bearing race. They charged me $10 and I gave the guy a $10 tip. 

I still need to cut the axle to length but I want to measure the existing to be safe. Chet is going to stop over at the hangar tomorrow to help me set the seat back in the track.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Seat Roller Repair, Day 2

Seat lock mechanism
Thursday 9/5

Chet and I agreed to meet around 11am, that works out just fine.  We both arrived a little early which was perfect, it didn't start to rain yet.

Chet climbed in the passenger side and knelt on the seat while I assumed the position just on the wing walk pilots side. Together we gently lifted the seat in a level plane, then slid the seat back far enough to allow the seat locks to clear the top of the seat channel cut outs located about mid track.  Once the seat locks were clear I adjusted the seat back position slightly forward and we continued to move the seat backwards until the bearing/axles cleared the rear of the seat track. 
There were no bearings left, just an axle on each side. I found the other half of the one bearing that I knew was broken but never saw the other.  It may be sitting on the carpet, I didn't climb back in to look.  When I clean and prep the tracks I'll look for the mini ball bearings and the other broken bearing pieces.
Good news, the seat is out. The bad news I need two bearings and at least one axle. I ordered two of each to have all the front end bearings and axles brand new. I will save the axles and work on getting new bearings pressed on and keep the set as a back up in my inventory. 
bent axle
The new parts and install will be posted soon so stay tuned!