Sunday, August 09, 2015

Friends Fly-In Visit

Mary and I were very excited to have our friends visit us here at the beach.  Adam Z and his Bride Tam were going to fly down Saturday but the wx for beach time was not looking good.  Instead, they arrived at KOXB early this morning and we picked them up for a fun day.

We spent some beach time cooking in the sun despite not being allowed in the water.  First time I have ever heard the life guards keeping everyone out. In their defense I will say the waves and undertow were the worst I have seen.  I watched boats come out of the channel and turn north disappearing with the rise and fall of the waves only to turn around and immediately head back in.
We eventually packed up and made our way back to the SUV to stow the chairs and beach bags, then headed back up on the boardwalk for a late lunch at the Frog Bar.
The Frog Bar and Grill overlooks Assateague Island and the Ocean City Inlet. The view is fantastic and really lives up to its local nickname "Brew with a View".   The men had fish tacos and the ladies had cheeseburgers.  Good food, good laughs and great friends!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Touring NASA Wallops Flight Facility

Ocean Pines put together a bus trip and tour to NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility, I immediately signed us up. I made a call to Vince just to make sure he wanted to go and he agreed. Instead of typing a bunch I'll post the pics that I have, thanks to Vince for his most excellent camera work.  If the picture is meh...  I took it with my phone.

From Pilot and wire reports:

The Navy plans to hold landing practice at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore this summer.
E-2 Hawkeye
The Navy said that Norfolk-based E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircraft will run up to 20,000 passes annually at the site, which was selected over the Emporia-Greensville Regional Airport.
C-2 Greyhound
Diverting the twin-engine, turboprop aircraft to Wallops will take pressure off of Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field in Chesapeake. The Hawkeyes and Greyhounds have practiced at Fentress, which is primarily used by squadrons of F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets from Oceana Naval Air Station.

A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight.
heat treatment for nose cone. Material resembles bed liner spray.
The NASA Balloon Program provides low-cost, quick response, near space access to NASA's science community for conducting cutting edge science investigations. This includes observatory-class payloads with advanced technologies and large aperture/mass. The program also serves as a technology development platform for future space missions Instrument & Subsystem development for NASA Flight Projects and it provides hands-on training of Students and Young Scientists.
scale model balloon
Wallops Island launch area and Naval training was the last stop on the tour.  This was strictly on the bus but the Wallops guide along with fellow Pilot Steve H did a fabulous job providing details and behind the scenes info on the facility.
Pad 0B
Launch pad 0B with Minotaur V rocket in September 2013.
Launch pad 0A with Antares rocket, April 2013
Surface Combat Systems Center Wallops Island

Three main facilities make up SCSC Wallops. The AEGIS Engineering and Training Complex houses destroyer/cruiser AEGIS and ballistic missile defense (BMD) baseline testing. The Ships Self Defense Facility houses live and simulated operations for ships self-defense systems as well as large-platform (aircraft carriers and amphibious ships) baseline testing. The Wallops Island Engineering Test Center houses the CVN 78 and DDG 1000 radar development and testing.

When ships in the fleet are getting outfitted with the latest technology, SCSC Wallops is the place they can rely upon to put their hands on the exact equipment they'll be operating on the ship. The bonus is that they can throw everything they have at the system, break it, and have the support they need to get the system back online and do it all again in a controlled environment. This helps build the confidence and muscle memory the crew will need when operating these systems in a real-world scenario.
Aegis Combat System training
US Navy Ford Class Carrier Training
I am looking forward to my next visit to the facility. I hope they will have the hangar open once the aircraft services are completed. I would also like a tour of the horizontal integration facility (HIF) that houses the Antares rockets being readied for launch.

It was an awesome tour and we had a blast!! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Flying with Friends

Rob and his family have been vacationing on Aseteague Island for the week and we had talked about getting some fly time in.  We traded a few text messages yesterday and the final plan was to meet up at 7am at the tenants gate at Ocean City Airport.

I arrived a bit early, got the hangar opened up and put the rear passenger seat back in the plane. I honestly can't remember the last time all four seats were in 08Romeo. I wanted to top off the tanks to make for fifteen a side but the FBO does not open until 8am. Nota big deal, I'll start up and taxi to the self serve and save some change.
Rob got the girls buckled in and we started up to taxi for fuel. Maddie wasn't real happy and she stressed a bit so Rob had a chat with her while I set up to pump fuel. By the time 08Romeo was fueled and ready Maddie wanted out so her and her Dad walked back to the hangar, Ally and I taxied back and shut down. Rob drove Maddie back to Aseteague then turned around to once again join us for this mornings flight.
Ally is used to flying, she flew with Rob in the Diamond and C172. It was time to once again get the fan turning and taxi out for runway two-zero.  Winds were light and pretty much down the runway,the temps were high 70's.  We climbed straight out then turned east then south to follow the coast along Aseteague Island above 2000' and remaining clear of the Wildlife Refuge.
I then turned out over the ocean to travel north up the coastline so Ally could see the ocean city boardwalk. We were careful to remain clear of the Wildlife Refuge and the Warning area offshore W-386. There was a scattered layer west of Ocean City that made for a nice backdrop on some of the photos. We remained clear of the clouds and continued north towards Lewes, DE. Rob and I transferred controls heading north between Aseteague and Ocean City, he didn't show any signs of rust.  I did ask the last time he flew and he quickly blurted out October 22nd, 2011.  OK....that date is registered for all time.
Rob did some circles around a point, the point being the wind turbine at UD's Hugh R. Sharp Campus located north of Lewes. FYI, Since the wind turbine  became operational in June 2010, the turbine has generated 9.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh), spinning out more than enough electricity to power the Hugh R. Sharp Campus.
From the wind turbine we headed over the Lewes Ferry Terminal, Ally got to see one of the boats leaving the dock and getting underway to cross the Delaware Bay. Rob did a fine job keeping us clear of the Warning area and Ally seemed to really enjoy checking out the sights along the beach.

We once again transferred controls as I turned us west to follow RT 90 for a bit then start a long final. Depending on traffic my plan was for a straight in or fly upwind and join the left down wind pattern. There was only one other aircraft inbound and he was six miles or so behind us, I made for a straight in approach to land. I made an ok landing and taxied back to the hangar to wrap up a short but fun flight over the beach.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

iPad Mini 3 Install

This morning I decided to touch up the support tubes in the Sundowner and get the iPad mini 3 mounted. I papered off the area and after cleaning up the tubes, put down two coats of black paint. The 'scars' as a result of normal wear and aging now look a bit fresher and clean.
This week I had purchased the Sporty's iPad Mini 3 Yoke Mount. I really like the easy snap in/out to make the connection and it sits very secure in the mount. The package came with the following items; the iPad Mini Cradle with 1” ball,  Standard Double Socket Arm (3") and the Yoke Mounting Base.
Installation was very easy, typical RAM mount products.  I moved the mini back plate mount 1" ball to the optional location that allowed the iPad to sit lower over the yoke. Overall it squared up very nice and felt secure. My one concern was that if not centered it would cause the yoke to turn while in flight.  I flight tested on the flight last night to and from KILG to take our friend Jo Ann home. I flew hands off with no issues, the light weight iPad mini had no affect.
My flight test did provide one tid bit that I am going to change and that is the standard double socket arm.  The 3" length projects the iPad to far from the yoke, overall length 3.69", socket to socket length 3-Inch. I ordered the smaller version with an overall length of 2.38" and socket to socket length of 2".  This change, although just an inch, will tuck the mount closer to the yoke and provide a cleaner look and feel when holding the yoke.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Out and Back

Our friend Jo Ann is going to join us at the beach this weekend and Mary offered that we could pick her up at Wilmington, KILG and save her the drive.  Perfect out and back mission that will add some time to my flight totals.  Besides, who likes driving in beach traffic, not me.

We had a few errands to run and then we headed to the airport. Mary and I seem to be out of sync, due mostly to our lack of flying together since I retired. I took on 22 gallons of fuel to bring 08Romeo to 45 and we were ready to go.  I completed my final walk around as Mary closed the hangar door, we were finally ready.
great temps at altitude
I had filed last night but decided to just pick up flight following with Dover.  Wilmington had a Vice Presidential TFR scheduled but the plan was to be back in the air heading south when that kicked in. Dover eventually cut me loose and recommended further flight following with Philly but I switched to the tower at ILG and monitored traffic.

In just a few miles I would be at the ten mile out mark crossing the C&D canal contacting the tower to advise inbound, with (ATIS) Lima, going to Red Eagle. I was directed to advise 3 mile left base runway three-two. As I was about to advise the left base position the tower asked me to extend the base....huh what? I knew what he wanted, he need some extra time so that the jet, on an engine test flight, could run up and then depart. I acknowledged and slowed down, adding a second notch of flaps and turning out enough to be on an extended final approach when I turned for the runway.
cape henlopen
I made a nice landing and got the full length taxi, crossing runway nine - two-seven and exit on the last taxiway. Perfect, this put me just a short distance from Red Eagle. I shut down on the ramp and went inside to talk to the guys at the shop while Mary watched for Jo Ann.
I wanted to ask about getting on the schedule for some work, adding the Garmin Flight Stream 210, GDL88, an Stec 20 auto pilot and he has a Garmin 340 audio panel just traded in that he'll give me a good price on. When we get back from South Dakota 08Romeo is headed in the shop, she'll get her IFR cert done too.
A fun day flying and I got some info for 08Romeos avionics upgrades.  Next up is a tour of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern shore of Virginia. I'll have pics to post and a write up to share.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

South Jersey Regional at OXB

After swapping a few text messages Dave S and I agreed on a meet up for dinner.  The plan was to meet him and his Bride Lynn for dinner at the Harborside Bar and Grill in west Ocean City, MD.  Dave gave a heads up that there would be eight in the party heading down from KVAY- South Jersey Regional.
This was an easy gig for Mary and I, a ten minute drive from home to the airport.  We headed over to OXB in time to hear Dave call 14 miles out of Ocean City.  The fly guys of South Jersey made their way in, one by one.  First Dave in his Cherokee 235, followed by Michael in his Arrow and the last couple in their Cessna 182.
I had room for two in our ML320 and the rest of the group piled in one of the Express Rent a Car Ford Expeditions supplied by Don. It was a short hop to Harborside for great eats and even better company.
We all headed back to the airport and said our goodbyes. Mary and I watched as one by one they taxied for departure.  We headed out and parked on the airport road as we watched all three climb out for home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

iPad Mini 3

iPad Mini 3 64GB Wi-Fi/Cellular
I decided it was time to upgrade. I have been using Foreflight v5.0 on my iPad1 for what seems like forever.  I use the iPad for flying only.  I have the typical wx apps, weight & balance, Airnav, Flightaware and the likes. I will say it has worked without any problems although I've noticed it seems to be slowing down. I have all my instrument plates stored and IFR low charts.  With all the Foreflight updates, now version 7.2, I was starting to fall behind the curve.
The mini was delivered today and in just a few minutes I had downloaded all my goodies from the Cloud. My W&B didn't work so I'll need to learn how to share my airplane file for that to get squared away. I have been doing my flight planning and file on the iPhone6 plus, so additional screen size will be nice.   
I also purchased the yoke mount by RAM. This seems to be the mount of choice with my friends that have the mini so I'm giving it a shot. I will have a trip report posted this weekend with the mini mounted on the yoke and my iPad on my lap.
This will be step one in the upgrade process. I'll be adding the Flight Stream 210 and the Garmin GDL88 to couple to my 530W and have the Bluetooth wireless gateway in place along with ADS-B and Traffic.