Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coastal Viewing

Saturday the ladies wanted to shop in Americas Coolest Small Town, Berlin Maryland. I wasn't on board with that and Ted decided to also pass. Instead the men took to the sky. Ted last flew with me when we were still flying the club Archer back in August 2007.
I ordered fuel from the FBO and got 08Romeo tugged out on the ramp.  I guess we took on 20 gallons  to bring me to 40 total on board. The plan was take a leisure hop up the coast and try to locate Ted's friend Kevin and his home along the Indian River Bay.  We launched off of three-two and remained in the pattern, departing the area on the left base leg which pointed us up the coast.
We flew north over the Isle of Wight Bay crossing the Route 90 bridge and then the Assawoman Bay followed by the DE/MD state line.  From this point I followed RT26 West to RT20 and then made a right turn back to fly east along the Indian River Bay towards the inlet bridge. Once we found Kevin's house we circled at 2000 feet and then headed for home.  We followed the coastline south and made our position calls for OXB. There was a Piper turning crosswind for three-two and I scrapped my plan for a midfield crossing and instead followed the crosswind entry, now number two for the field.
Base to final was looking good, the Piper was down and clear and I stole a quick glance (right and left) up and down the coast to look for any wild ponies on the beach, there were none. Last notch of flaps set and I was settled in waiting to roll it on the runway. The sock showed the winds changing from a cross to tailwind as 08Romeo ballooned a bit then settled back for a smooth landing.

Good times flying with Ted and getting the oil pumping in 08Romeo.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

2014 in Review

It's time for my annual year in review and a look forward to some new goals for 2015. Looking back at the goals I set in 2013 I at least managed to bust one hundred hours this year.  No new upgrades on 08Romeo but maybe we can get things done in 2015.

2014 Totals

Hours:   ASEL- 108 YTD - TT 928
         Landings- 90
         Approaches- ILS 3, GPS 12, VOR 2
         Cross Country- 95.1
         IMC- 6.9
         Sim.IMC- 4

F45-North Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, FL.
KAYS- Waycross-Ware County Airport,  Waycross, GA
KHQU-Thomson-McDuffie County Airport,
Thomson, GA

KJZI-Charleston Executive Airport,
Charleston, SC

States: Florida

Aircraft: Cirrus SR22

Fun Flights:
Beach runs turned into home away from home flights to be with my Bride. Mary has been holding down the fort in Ocean City while I try and get the house sold in North Wilmington. She has her hands full with the three cats and Ziva the American Mastiff. We hope to find a buyer in 2015 so I can retire!

The only 'distance' flight was our Thanskgiving get-away to Florida. Our Valentines day Singer Island get-away was cancelled due to snow :(

2015  Goals

Hours: Same as every year, at least 100 and I hope to bust a total time of 1000 hours.

It will be different for us this year. I will be retired shortly after our home in North Wilmington is sold. I have no plane in Delaware, we gave up the hangar at New garden and now keep 08Romeo in Maryland full time. Maybe we'll use the plane in reverse, flights 'from' the beach to visit family and friends in Delaware instead of weekend beach runs.

Mary and I have discussed more four day get-aways.  We are looking forward to Jekyll Island, GA., visiting family in Boston,  finally crossing Mackinac Island off our bucket list and a few more hot spots. We have also talked about getting back into animal rescue flights for MAESSR. I have also given some thought to the vacant Beech Aero Club Mid-Atlantic Regional Director position...more on this later.

Aircraft Upgrades: 
Still on the list is Replacing the Collins Audio panel with a PMA800B panel.  Replace the Century I autopilot with an STEC capable of shooting approaches and tracking course.

After this past weeks flight I will say I still enjoy hand flying. I'm thinking that if wx gets that bad, like it did Tuesday, I'll divert and sit it out.  Everyone keeps telling me don't put 15K into the plane, buy something faster with an autopilot. I admit I did say a few times in those heavy rains and winds I would have liked to run my diversion numbers and have the autopilot keep us on course and level providing less of a stress and work load.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Turkey Day Travels

Tuesday 11/25/14

The previous days fog that didn’t lift until 1pm was nowhere in sight.  Maybe the aviation Gods were going to smile on me. The sky looked good with some scattered clouds so it was safe to depart and have an out if I needed to get back in.
The Route
The storm
250853Z 25008KT 10SM SCT110 17/14 A2988 RMK
250520Z 2506/2606 21010KT P6SM VCSH SCT050 OVC120
FM251300 01005KT P6SM SCT015 OVC035
FM251800 02006KT 5SM -RA BR OVC020
250525Z 2506/2606 22006KT 6SM BR VCSH BKN050
FM250900 VRB03KT 3SM -RA BR SCT006 BKN015
FM251500 33006KT 5SM -RA BKN008 BKN020 OVC050
FM260000 03006KT 4SM RA BR OVC006
crossing the Chesapeake Bay - Bay Bridge Tunnel
I filed KOXB – KCRE, ETE 3:39, FOB 5:30.   We were wheels up and on course checking in with Patuxent approach.  Time off noted at 7:25 am and on course to Snow Hill (SWL).   We were on the west side of the storm system along the peninsula but it wasn’t looking to good over the nose.  Newport News was dealing with the storm system and farther south XM weather was painting a slim chance of running the gauntlet to Grand Strand KCRE. Airspeeds were bottoming out at 74 knots. I continued on and decided I would have to divert to one of my safe options.  The best plan was to make South West for Triangle North Executive Airport in Louisburg, NC (KLHZ). 
Red-Intended route - Blue diversion to LHZ
I was North East of Cofield (CVI) solid IMC and the light to moderate rain along with the brutal headwinds were taking a toll. Approach had previously alerted me of moderate to heavy rain twenty miles ahead and now they were again providing an update. Ok, I got the hint, I’m watching the wx too. Commercial flights were also looking for a better ride and complaining about mother nature.
A few more miles under the wing and I made my call to divert. Approach, Sundowner 08Romeo would like to divert to Kilo Lima Hotel Zulu, we’ve also had enough of mother nature. Approved direct, maintain four thousand.  I eventually worked my way out of the rain and broke out a time or two along the way.
All business
Mary did get about 15 minutes of VFR flight time. My Bride has been talking about the companion courses. I must say after the initial ham fist she settled in and flew altitude and course to Practical test Standards.
Silly Girl....
Mary and I both needed a break, it was a good time to regroup and give the wx another look from the safety of the FBO. I shot the RNAV GPS 23 approach direct MIDVE with Raleigh and thanks to the LPV minimums the runway showed up right where it was on the sectional. I love how that works! 
After a topping off the fuel, Mary and I saddled back up with a revised plan. I was going to run the west or backside of the storm system.  I filed for KLHZ – KOPN.

251515Z 00000KT 7SM OVC008 16/14 A3008 RMK AO2
251515Z 36004KT 10SM SCT041 11/02 A3010 RMK AO2
The ride was pretty good as we made our way through Georgia.  I was actually enjoying the VFR flight time until west of Columbia, GA.  There was light rain and some additional IMC time as we were in and out of the wx, nothing near what we flew in approaching Cofield.  Once again we broke out into the clear and today's flying had my eyes tired and my head feeling like I absorbed punches flying this rope a dope style of continue but verify wx. 
I had an airport approaching off the left side of the nose and the closer I got it looked good.  I did a quick check on the Garmin 496 for info on cars, hotels and eats, this was my limit. I advised approach we were diverting to KHQU and before he thought about asking me I offered up I am tired of dealing with wx and was calling it a day.  Approach acknowledged and gave me a frequency change, squawk VFR.  With a few twists on the Garmin 530 I was making position calls on CTAF and turning back for the pattern.  The Lineman met us at the plane and was really helpful.  Thanks John for your service hooking us up with a rental car and advising on the good eats at Hogie Joes.
Mary and I secured 08Romeo with her covers, plugs and tie down. Her belly was full of fuel and she would be safe for the night.  We got a lift to Enterprise and rented a Dodge Dart for a stroll in town.  We checked into the Hampton and went straight out for eats, the bags could wait.  We checked out the Italian place the car rental lady told us about, didn’t look so good.  We made a U turn and found our way back to Hogie Joe’s located in the old downtown that looked like it was being revitalized.  Great atmosphere, excellent service and awesome food!  We even got dessert to go as we waddled out the door.  It was just a short hop to the Hotel and after we schlepped the bags to our room we both passed out.

Wednesday 11/26/14

It was once again raining, very light and the sky looked like it was struggling to clear.  By the time we showered and packed up we opted for the free breakfast Hampton offered instead of making a stop at the Waffle House.  Today’s flight would be with a tailwind and a forecast of clear skys.  The plan was one hop to North Palm Beach County, F45.

261355Z 30003KT 10SM BKN004 BKN007 10/10 A3008 RMK AO1 T00950095
261353Z 25011KT 10SM SCT013 BKN020 OVC030 24/23 A3001
261132Z 2612/2712 23008KT P6SM VCTS SCT030CB BKN050
TEMPO 2612/2613 VRB20G30KT 1SM +TSRA SCT015 BKN025CB OVC040
FM261300 27013KT P6SM VCSH SCT015 BKN030
FM261600 32013KT P6SM VCSH FEW020 SCT050 BKN120
We departed HQU, I was loving the tailwinds and clear sky! 08Romeo sailed along at 135+ knots. I was hands in my lap, XM radio on and life was good.  Well pretty good, Mary didn’t feel that great so I diverted to Waycross-Ware County (KAYS) after just an hour in flight. Better safe than sorry and Mary ended up being fine.  I did top off the fuel since F45 was so much more expensive and we walked out with a bottle of water and Mr. Pib for our flight goody bag and a bag of FBO popcorn.
We quickly climbed back to altitude and picked up the tailwinds right where we left them. The ride was sweet all the way to the coast. Once turning south we had some wx that I slipped through with some showers along the way.  We were rerouted over lake Okeechobee direct Pahokee VOR (PHK) This would set us up for the ILS 8 approach that we would need to get through the layer.
turned south along the coast
Miami center handed us off to Palm Beach approach and they gave us direct YIGBO, it would shave off some time and kept us away from the ‘feet wet’ scenario. I advised I had the wx at North Palm Beach and that I would be doing the procedure turn to loose altitude.  I always like to make sure approach and I are on the same page.
I entered direct, got my speed and altitude under control and turned inbound.  I descended through the layer and with a clear view of the airport I canceled IFR and switched to the advisory frequency.  F45 was busy with training flights and helicopters so I switched from runway eight with a tail wind to runway three one and a smooth flow to landing.  My brother and his wife were there to meet us, it took a while for the folks at Landmark to come out. I worked on securing the plane and the family wheeled the bags into the FBO.  Not very good on Landmarks part.

Turkey Day – Thursday 11/27/14

Janice and Joe opened up their home and provided a great feast!  I cooked breakfast for everyone and we followed up with an awesome tour of the area.  It’s very different from home, everything is hidden behind the beautiful landscape, no malls or gas stations cluttering up the highways.  Also the roadways are built really wide, multiple lanes in each direction which has to eliminate traffic jams and work day bottle necks.
We returned home and the smell of the turkey cooking filled the house…yummy stuff!  Mary worked on some new recipe that Janice had for the asparagus and Janice got the rolls, mashed potatoes and dessert lined up.  The table was set and we were ready to enjoy family and fine food.  I am thankful I got to spend time with my Bride visiting with family and breaking bread, that’s what the holiday is all about.
 Once everything was cleaned up  we all settled in for some E-A-G-L-E-S football. The Eagles pounded the Cowgirls so that was like having an extra serving of pie.

Black Friday 11/28/14

Joe cooked up sausage and pancakes for the boys and the ladies did yogurt and fresh fruit. The plan was for the ladies to shop the outlets, yikes! The boys packed up a few things and headed to the airport to load them in the plane. Joe and Janice sold the Florida house along with the furniture but a few sentimental items needed to get back to Delaware.

Between packing things up to ship home in 08Romeo and driving back and forth we ate up a good bit of the day. We were home for a short time when the girls called for a ride home. Traffic did get backed up on the exit ramp as the number of cars far exceeded the turn lanes into and out of the outlets.

We finally got back home and 'my brother' made dinner.  Chicken Marsala was on the menu and I have to say he hit a home run. I never knew he could cook like that! Once again we were stuffed and it was good to relax for a spell.  Ryan brought the grandkids over to visit and it was fun watching them interact with Nonna and Nonno.

Saturday 11/29/14

Departure day. Mary and I both passed on breakfast, instead grabbing a bottle of water each and our freezer pack for the goody bag. We had dried fruit and some crackers for the first leg.

We said our goodbyes after loading the plane, I always hate goodbyes. We both had so much fun with our family, we hated to leave.

I settled up the fuel bill and we climbed aboard after the preflight was completed. 08Romeo was ready to fly and the wx looked perfect. The flight plan showed tailwinds for both legs.  This is going to be a one stop gas and go in Charleston, SC (KJZI).

I picked up my clearance as filed, I got that a lot this trip. I had worked my Weight and balance to 10lbs under gross at start up, figuring the antique coffee table, pictures and beach stuff heavier than they were to keep it conservative. With the fuel burn for start, taxi and run up I had plenty of safety factor.  My brother asked a zillion times if weight would be ok as we loaded the previous day.
08Romeo was off and climbing, windmilling into the wind. I contacted Palm Beach approach and we were on our way north. It was fun to fly the coast and Mary got a great view. We cruised at 140 knots. Once we got to halfway between Brunswick and Savannah we were turned direct Charleston, every little bit helps.
I got relaxed cruising along looking out the window on this first leg. When we were turned loose to land from approach I made a nice circle to landish turn and came in low and slow over the numbers....thought I was in then mains, nose, mains.  I added power, leveled off and flared once again for the real landing. Down right ugly! Taxied clear gave the sock a look and hey did I think about that cross wind....duh!
CAVU Bay Bridge Tunnel
My wounded ego limped into the FBO. While the lineman fueled 08Romeo to top her off I gave a look at the gear trying not to be to obvious.  Everything was where it should be and there were no parts dragging or falling off.
Another gas and go with some warm chocolate chip cookies from the FBO. Nothing for 08Romeo but a pat on the cowl, sorry girl.  We picked up our clearance and launched for home. Climbing to seven thousand we picked up nice tailwinds and made the hop in under three hours and twenty minutes.
We got in before sunset and had 08Romeo pushed back in the hangar in short order. A well deserved bath and wax is on tap after this weekends out and back to KILG.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Look What I Found!

When I flew 679er
I was searching the internet while stuffing my face with lunch and decided to do a search for the Archer II club plane I flew.
We were introduced to N28679 back in August 2006, she was a great plane!  This aircraft took Mary and I on many fun adventures and exposed us to the reality of ownership and annuals. Our first overnight trip, first trip to Wilkes-Barre, PA to visit my parents grave, many first time flyers and some great adventures to Nags Head, Grand Strand, Stonington ME....good memories Mary and I share.
679er you look awesome! skies and many more fun adventures in your future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Annual 2014


Since 08R now resides at KOXB, Ocean City Maryland I would need to reposition AND work out ground transportation. It was an early start getting 08R ready for flight and an even more concentrated effort to get her started. Dead batteries! I tried jump starting with the external plug but had no luck, this called for a direct battery jump. John from operations saved the day and 08R was soon running at a smooth idle.

It was a smooth clear flight north ending in a nice landing at the new Claremont airport, the  former Cecil County.  I tied down at Cecil Aero and locked up the plane.  Next was the task of getting back to OCMD.  I called Enterprise and soon had wheels, a Mazda itty bitty something.  I just hoped the rubber band wouldn't break as I pushed hard for home.  I wound this buggy up zipping along between 70-80 keeping with the flow of traffic.  As I approached my first toll it hit me I didn't have my EZ pass.  I dug through my pockets and came up with a five, two ones and a dollar in change.  The Bridge toll was three dollars and the Dover toll was also three, I was good to go.  I made the trip in two hours counting a fuel stop for 3.025 gallons for eight dollars.  This little buggy got got 37 mpg!

MONDAY 11/10
Alarm went off!!!
This morning I was awake around 3:30 and tried to settle back in for another hour.  At 4:17 the alarm went off and scared the heck out of me. I was up and ready to go, giving Ziva a pat on the head and the cats some chow. The temp on the truck gauges said 58 degrees in the garage. By the time I reached the highway, all of a few miles this is what I was looking at.'s a bit nip.  I'm driving my SUV north to pick up Vince then a half hour backtrack to the shop to get started on the annual. It's good to see everyone and I do miss Keith who has worked on 08Romeo for years.  I hope to see Keith in Flagler Beach over the holidays if I can find him while we are in Florida.

Lets get started...

Cowls off and the engine tests begin. Compressions look awesome averaging between 77 and 80 on all four jugs. I worked on removing inspection panels while Vince helped Stan on the power plant.  Plugs were cleaned and we were introduced to a new tool to check plug wear.
How does this work...well it's pretty simple. After getting the plugs clean and gap checked you basically use the larger of the two holes to see if the plug fits inside.  If it passes through, its time for a a new plug, if not you're good to go. How's that for a KISS explanation?  Look at the examples.

Still Good
Will likely need to be replaced next annual, this one was real close.
Next up everything was lubricated. I also took the time to rub a silicone paste on all the baggage door and cabin door seals.  I also took the time to apply this paste to my fuel cap seals, it really helps keep out water and extend their life cycle.
Vince reading about getting 08Romeo in the air.
I pulled both batteries and checked the battery box, everything was clean. We load tested both Gill 25S sealed batteries and one was bad and the other very week, two new are on their way to the shop.
I was right at my 50 hour oil change tach time so that was completed along with taking a sample and tomorrow we will cut that filter open.  Aeroshell 15W50 has a new package!  Check out the bright color scheme.
After lunch we got 08Romeo in the air so Stan could get started on the main gear.  Vince and I worked on opening up the main spar panel for inspection. While removing the panels Vince noticed some hydraulic fluid around the perimeter, which needed further investigation. 
Hydraulic fluid around edge of panels

With all the panels removed we finished up the day deciding we will need to remove the co-pilot flooring to take a better look at the brake lines that run through to the right wing main gear. Everything looked dry upon inspection of the copilot brake/rudder pedal assembly, including the master cylinders.


Another early start this morning, but not as early as yesterdays trip north from the beach. I picked up Vince around 7:30 and we walked into the shop around 8am.
The gear was completed today with disassembly, clean and repack bearings. I needed brakes on the left main, I think this had something to do with last years caliper seal failure. Right side brakes looked very good so we left them on. I also had the shop replace the right side main tire to match the left that was replaced maybe 3 years ago. The wing inspection plates were buttoned up and we moved under the plane. 

While inspecting the main gear Stan found play in the right main trailing arm bushing/pin. At first I had flashbacks of the knee pin bushings but decided to remain calm. The knee pin had to be removed in order to provide enough swing to remove the cotter pin and pin/bushing set up for the trailing arm.
The bushings were not out of round and still seated with the pin tight with no play. The fix would be to add a shim or two as needed between the fork section and bushing. This worked out perfect and once reassembled the play was negligible.
Late in the afternoon we found hydraulic fluid under the wing spar inspection plate. We left that R&R for one for the last inspections...because there are so many screws and it sucks to remove and reattach.
In order to make sure it was fluid from the co-pilots side we had to open up the interior to gain access to the lines that split right and left for the main gear. Stan found a definite leak from a fitting that passed through the floor just under the co-pilot Pedals. Vince found a potential leak in the wing spar area and saturated inspection plate.
I was solo today, Vince was back in school after the Holiday.  It wasn't the same without him. He is really into the work and investigates each item on the work inspection list and follows procedures in the manual step by step. My solo order at Dunkin was one hot tea and sandwich only.
Stan and I worked on tracking down the leaks and getting them squared away. In order to reach the under floor copilot leak Stan had to remove the electric fuel pump. The wrench swing area was very limited but he got a few turns on the nut to tighten things up. Before we tested that fix we made sure the spar area was clean and ready to go, we wanted to test both areas.
I climbed in and really pumped the brakes.  The initial check to locate the leaks revealed fresh fluid this time around everything was dry. Stan worked on a fuel line to burp the system while I was inside, we went master on in order to run the fuel pump. Pressure came up just fine and we were good to button up both plates located on the belly of 08R.
The new batteries were also installed today.  I switched from Gill to Concorde, I will see how much better they really are.  I did notice 08Romeo really cranked fast on the run up/leak test.
All the paperwork was completed and I handed over this years check. The two new batteries really drove the cost up but other than that things seemed pretty good.  I do like when the guys in the shop tell me how much of a pleasure it is working on 08Romeo.  I left 08R at Cecil Aero, it was getting late and I'm still not night current. Besides after three days crawling around on concrete floors I am pretty beat. I'll move the plane Friday or Saturday.