Saturday, November 18, 2017

IFR Cert and Audio Update

08Romeo's annual is complete and she is now at Red Eagle Avionics for her IFR certification and audio panel upgrade.
The PMA7000M is a mono intercom system, it does have our renown 6-place IntelliVox® automatic Voice Operated Relay (VOX) intercom system. Adjusting a squelch circuit is a thing of the past. And with over 18 years of field experience, find out just how easy it is to forget you are even using an intercom, it just works! No more clipping or missed syllables.

The Bluetooth(R) Interface does allow music streaming as well as interconnect to an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or any other Bluetooth(R) enabled device that has the Handsfree or A2DP profile.

The PMA7000M provide 3-com capability with the option to easily convert Com 3 to a full duplex cellular telephone interface. It also has our pioneered "Split Mode". This allows the pilot to be on Com 1 while the copilot is on Com 2, freeing up the pilot to work with ATC while the copilot gets weather information or finds out just where the lowest fuel cost is on the field while still in the air.

Check list of capabilities:
  • IntelliVox® automatic VOX system with individually gated microphones
  • 6 - Place hi-fi mono intercom with Soft Mute™
  • 2 - music mute modes: Mute On and Mute Off
  • Built-in Marker Beacon Receiver
  • Hardwired Satelite Telephone connection (in lieu of Com 3) which provides dedicated On/Off hook switches for unprecedented flexibility
  • Split mode for dual audio panel capability
  • 2 - hi-fidelity mono music source inputs
  • 3 - Isolation modes - Pilot Isolate, All, and Crew
  • 4 - unswitched inputs
  • Selectable music muting for passengers
  • Selectable special intercom mode with  "Alternate Intercom Mode"
  • RAM (Radio Active Mute) eliminates constant back ground noise from radio static
  • 2-year Pro-Support Warranty
The only knob that is on the panel is a concentric volume control for the Crew  and Passengers intercom volume. The all push button controls of the PMA7000M allows for easy selection of Coms and other Nav aids.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Annual 2017

A Busy Monday

The weather was rain and chilly temps for my ride to the shop this morning.  I was on the fence as far as work or shop time, but, thanks to mother nature and her rain, the bulk of the work was cancelled. Instead, I proceed past my normal turn off to cut through Millsboro on RT 24 and kept on track north bound on RT113. Traffic was light and I made decent time for my two hour trip. Of course once I pulled up to the shop I had forgotten to pack the rudder trim and LED tail nav light, items I wanted to have installed.
08Romeo had already been pushed into the shop when I arrived. Poor girl was wet and her engine cold.  I always wonder how the compression test will result from a cold soaked engine.  I chatted with Roger about a few items I was concerned about.
The first is Service Instruction 1167, the inspection and/or  replacement of the horizontal stabilator aft center spar. This SI effects all sundowners from serial number M1362 - M2270, 08Romeo is M2244. 
The second item of concern is the recommended Service Bulletin 27-3954 for Flight Controls - Install Flap Inspection Access Panels.
I went out to get started on removing inspection plates and help Josh and Jeremy with whatever I could. There are four inspection plates under each wing, one on each side of the tail and the tail cover access. Also underneath is the gascolator cover,  cable inspection cover and the dreaded wing spar cover, I really hate doing that one.
Wing spar cover
Gascolator panel removed

Josh got started on the engine and the compressions were really good.  77-77-78-79.  Once I finished the plates I cleaned the spark plugs.  I did find carbon in the bottom plugs and had to use a dental pick to clean them out. I then got to use one of my favorite machines, the glass bead blaster. This machine uses glass beads to clean the plugs or parts you choose. All the plugs get tested and gap checked with a final brush of the threads on a wire wheel.
left bottom plugs - right top plugs
lead deposits
all lead removed - plug for scale
Jeremy and Roger used a boroscope to check the stabilator spars. I felt much better probing around with the scope then watching inspection holes be cut into the underside of the control surface.  Everything looked good and as far as Roger and I are concerned, the spar is good to go.  As far as the flap attach bracket, we did a visual inspection. The rivets looked great, no cracking paint or soft feel to the flap so I put off cutting holes in the flap and agreed to revisit this service bulletin next year. 

Rear view - right mag leak

Front view - intake leak

Back up front Josh found my oil leak, it was the right mag and it was minimal. The mag was pulled and each surface was cleaned and reinstalled with a new gasket. The run up will let us know if the new gasket fixed the issue.  Also up front Josh noticed a leak at the intake manifold attach point for cylinder two.
before clean up for new gasket
Progress is moving along at a good pace and we haven't found any real issues that cause me concern. As the day came to a close Jeremy was getting ready to get 08Romeo in the air for gear, brake and bearing inspection and grease as needed.  I headed out and made the two hour trip home, its brutal.  
cleaned and ready for new gasket

I walked into the house to the smells of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn.  Excellent dinner prepared by my bride, and I did the dishes, ok stacked the dishwasher.  Time to get cleaned up and settle in for the night so my body can heal.  Tomorrow Mary has her second eye surgery and getting her squared away and comfortable is my priority.


Surgery Day

I did not make it to the shop today. Mary had her eye surgery and all went well. She is home resting. I am going to run some errands and get a few things ready to take to the shop for day 3.


Make Arrangements

Today I have to get Mary to her follow up visit with the eye doctor in Berlin Maryland. I'll be headed to the shop once Mary is back home and resting.

I ran to my hangar yesterday to pick up  a few maintenance items I purchased for 08Romeo.  One item is the rubber fairing for the vertical tail portion (rudder) connection to the stabilator. The other item is an LED (white)nav light for the rear position at the top of the tail fin. I held off on the donuts, that will be next years fun install.

Before I made the drive to the shop I thought it best to give a quick call and check on 08Romeno's status. Roger answered the call and I asked, what I could do to help today. Roger said, "they are pulling the plane out to run up and leak test along with the recurring AD's (ignition and Standby vac), we are waiting on the bracket air filter to arrive." Ah, ok, then I guess I'll head to work. Should I plan for Thursday or Friday pick up. It was decided that Friday would be the safe bet that way the bracket filter would be delivered and installed.

So, plans were made to be picked up by Jeremy on Friday at Ocean City and he would give me a ride back to the shop in his Cessna 152. That works out great, it saves me a rental one way. From the shop at 58M I will drop 08Romeo off at Red Eagle  in Wilmington (KILG)for the IFR cert and software updates on the Garmin 530, GDL88 and Flightstream 210. I may even have a new audio panel installed...stay tuned.

UPDATE 11/17

Winds aloft at three thousand are 330 degrees 20-30 knots. That's a hard long ride in a Cessna 150. I sent a text to Jeremy and advised I will drive to the shop, then fly my plane to Wilmington and then either taxi or rent a car back to Elkton to pick up my truck and drive home. The life of a pilot, and getting maintenance done on the airplane.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Wallops - Antares Rocket Launch

My launch view location 31.7 miles north-east
I parked across from the Assateague Island National Seashore Park Ranger station and walked up to the beach.  Thankfully the parks were open (Free admission) all weekend for Veterans Day. Mary and I really need to get the yearly park pass. This launch was for a resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The commercial spaceflight company Orbital ATK successfully launched an Antares rocket today (Nov. 12), providing a Sunday morning spectacle for early birds along the U.S. east coast.

Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Topped with the International Space Station-bound Cygnus cargo spacecraft, the 139-foot (42.5-meter) Antares rocket lifted off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia at 7:19 a.m. EST (1219 GMT). About 9 minutes later, Cygnus was deployed in low-Earth orbit, where it will spend the next two days chasing after the International Space Station (ISS).

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Reposition For Annual

I headed to the airport early so I could watch the planned launch of the Antares Rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility. Airport temps were 28 degrees, BRRrrr.

Wallops is 27 miles from the airport and I would have had a perfect view of the launch for the Space Station resupply mission. The actual launch pad is about 37 miles from OXB. Unfortunately some dip stick pilot wandered into the restricted area, six miles off shore at 500 feet.
In a post-abort briefing at the Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center this morning, Orbital ATK officials said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that a small personal aircraft entered the restricted airspace while flying about 6 miles (10 kilometers) offshore at an altitude of approximately 500 feet (150 meters).

It is not yet clear how the aircraft managed to escape detection until the last minute before launch, Orbital ATK officials said. The FAA issues notices to aviators about airspace restrictions well in advance before rocket launches. At this time, Orbital ATK does not know who was piloting the aircraft in question, but the FAA is investigating the incident.

Disappointed in the launch scrub, I still needed to get in the air.  It was time to relocate 08Romeo to Claremont-58M for her annual. The pre-heats were on since last night after dinner and the oil temps were at the top of the yellow band. I made departure call and launched off runway three-two into the frigid air. 
Temps at three-thousand feet were holding around 20 degrees. My Garmin 530 would not even come online, the screen went all wonky and looked like some old tube TV with the vertical and horizontal hold on the fritz.
Without the 530 I had no ADS-B because it paired with the GDL-88. I went back to the old fashioned way of chug and plug on my Garmin 496 and the iPad mini with ForeFlight, each set up for the direct route. I did use the AHRS function on a split screen with the sectional on the other half, it worked perfect.
I made all my calls on the number two comm, the trusty Collins 251. I flipped between picking up weather and radio work, it was fun to work through the issue and just have fun with it. I tried the 530 a few times then just figured I would leave it on and see what happened. I confirmed the breaker location just in case I needed to pull the power. About half way to my destination the 530 came back online. ADS-B was good to go and I loaded my flight plan from Foreflight to the panel with a point and click.
I made a nice landing on runway three-one and taxied to Cecil Aero. Once 08Romeo was secure I walked over to the terminal and waited for my new ramp neighbor, Chet, to pick me up in his Cherokee. I was planning on hanging out for an hour or so since Chet was on his way home from New York then would fly up to get me. The cell phone rang and Chet said since he was just driving through Wilmington he would swing by and pick me up and we would drive to Ocean City, that works!
Annual starts Monday and immediately following I will fly 08Romeo to Wilmington (KILG) and Red Eagle Avionics for an IFR cert, software updates for the 530, GDL88 and Flight Stream 210.

Thanks Chet for the ride home!

Thank You

Thank-you to those who have served and to those who stand watch today. Thank-You for the very freedom you provide my family every day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Dissect The Approach

I frequent many flying forums and despite having to wade through a lot of BS and non-aviation banter, every now and then I come across a post that is a teaching moment.  I really appreciate when a pilot shares their flight, especially if there is something to learn and apply to my flying. The following scenario was taken from a forum post that reminded me of the Back to Basics, children of the magenta line post I did on my blog.

Let’s dissect this approach, the RNAV 36 into Joplin, and how it didn’t go very well for the pilot sharing their story. Ok, let's ride along.

I think I did several items wrong which caused me to get way behind the aircraft and eventually go missed. Weather was 600 OVC and mist, tops were about 4,000. Aircraft is a C182/G and has a CNX80/GNS480 and coupled Autopilot.

I was approaching from the SE (blue dashed line) and was told by KC Center to expect this approach and vectors to JEMLO (red arrow) for spacing and for the RNAV 36 approach. I acknowledged that and got the approach loaded in the box. After some steering vectors I was cleared direct JEMLO and for the approach. At JEMLO is where I began the confusion chain.

The 480 was indicating that the next item in the sequence was the procedure turn. But in the rush to do the approach I disconnected the AP and turned inbound to the runway. I was full on milk bottle at this time.

Ok, time out. A few things that we need to address. Highlighted in the red box is the note that there is NO PT from 088 to 268 degrees. Did the pilot do a proper brief? Let's assume they did. The inbound turn is correct. Back to the action.

In between JEMLO and LOVRE I never regained a stable approach. Twice while dealing with the GPS, I looked back to find myself in a 30-degree bank that I don’t remember inputting, and one of those looked a whole lot like an unusual attitude setup from IFR training. After recovering from the last one, and fifteen more seconds of not successfully regaining the needles (I only had an LNAV indication on the GPS), I called missed, climbed, and went toward MITBY.

I chose not to try again and first told ATC I was going to Fayetteville (my alternate) but then chose to just return home.

We can all speculate and think what we would do different to prepare and fly the approach. Bottom line this pilot BROKE THE CHAIN, made the correct call, and went missed.

Current and proficient are two different animals, and this includes keeping proficient with our avionics. When it comes to buttonology if we don’t use it, we will lose it. As pilots we must also be ready to hand fly an approach at any time. Keeping situational awareness our priority, and most important, keeping ahead of the plane.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

More Jersey Time

I wanted to get some fly time this weekend so Mary and I were going to head out this morning.  I was up early to take care of the zoo while Mary slept in. I gave some thought to heading north to Williamsport (KIPT) and catching up with Chris (Photographic Logbook) for breakfast then making the quick hop over to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport (KAVP) to take care of some business. I ended up taking a pass on both and figured I would head to the airport and decide then.
I had to wait on taxiway crossing traffic
Mary also took a pass, not feeling well again, so she stayed home in bed. I went to the hangar thinking I would find something to do on the plane. The first thing I did was order fuel, taking on fourteen gallons to bring me back to fifty total. Next I thought I would charge the tug since after the new paving and slightly steeper slope to the ramp I needed some help to move the plane inside. So, I plugged in the tug and just gave a quick touch on the forward button to further tuck the tug under the wing. The tug engaged and took off, it did not stop when I released the button, and I didn't release my grip. I let go as I smashed my shoulder into the leading edge of the wing right on that pointy bone on the top of the shoulder.
The tug continued under the wing and into the wall. There was no damage to the plane, or the wall for that matter, but my shoulder was really smarting. Nothing like a good whack to the acromioclavicular joint (Yep, looked it up).
Rehoboth shore line
feet wet over the Delaware Bay, looking at Cape May NJ
I traded text messages with Charles from New Garden (N57)and his meeting was pushed to 1pm, he was now a go for breakfast. We tossed out two places and Millville seemed like the midway point for both of us so that was the plan. I taxied out and launched, no video, just some quiet fly time enjoying the view. I crossed the Delaware Bay at five thousand five hundred and let down for Port Norris on the Jersey coast of the bay. Traffic was starting to pick up and I made a nice landing on runway ten.

Flight Line Restaurant
Charles was in shortly after me and we met up on the ramp across from the Flight Line restaurant. A very good breakfast and great conversation as always with Charles. We are going to take our brides out to dinner in Annapolis one of these days, it will be fun.
We finished up and headed to our rides. I pulled the nose plugs and kicked out the chocks then climbed aboard 08Romeo. I made a nice climb out for the coast and crossed the Bay at six thousand five hundred.  I made a last call for Millville then switched over to Dover approach. I was looking south along the beach and saw nothing but a cloud layer. Ocean City was reporting Minimum Visual Flight Rules (MVFR). That's not to bad but I fully understand how fast it can go to hell in a hand basket along the water. I decided to ask Dover for a pop up clearance into Ocean City.
departing KMIV
Dover cleared me to OXB - via Waterloo (ATR) Salisbury (SBY) then direct. Descend and maintain four thousand. I was already direct ATR figuring on the RNAV 14 approach. Dover soon handed me off to Patuxent approach and I checked as soon as I picked up the weather at OXB. I was given three thousand and turned direct Ocean City, sweet, I surely didn't want to motor towards Salisbury. There were a few call outs for traffic as I entered IMC conditions for just a few minutes. When asked to report the field in sight I said I was in IMC, approach gave me two thousand.  I broke out at 2,800 or there about and had the field. I didn't cancel right away because I didn't want to get caught on top if the scud rolled in, BTDT.
Eventually I canceled and made my calls for the field turning final for runway one four and skipping one in with the crosswind. It was a fun flight to and from Millville despite not getting to shoot an approach coming home...maybe next time.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Book Review: Capital Gaines

I just had to follow up the Magnolia Story with Chips latest book. This book was a great read, motivational, inspiring and all about his positive attitude.  Chips story, from his crazy antics to his deepest passions, come out in this read. His positive spin is contagious, his passion for his family and helping others is inspiring.

I loved his take on sports, and how baseball taught him life lessons and really reinforced the bond with his father. I can't say enough how enjoyable this book was for me to read. I highly recommend it, it will make you think about your take on life and how you respond to others and events happening around you.