Saturday, September 12, 2020

Finally, Back to the Valley



It’s time to head north and get back to my annual task of taking care of my parents grave. The last trip north for Mary and I together was in May 2016, and my last trip was September 2019. Where has the time gone?

I went through my typical flight plan process and turned up one nugget of info that would have been critical if not for the timing of our flight. KAVP has a NOTAM that reads as follows.


Thankfully we will depart Ocean City around 8am and arrive in Wilkes-Barre around 9:30am. The airport closure is no factor.

Winds at seven thousand are five knots, and a head wind of course. On our departure AVP is MVFR with broken clouds at three thousand five hundred, but, they are clearing as the day goes on. Ocean City METAR is as follows.

METAR KOXB 121153Z AUTO 07009G16KT 10SM SCT035 21/14 A3022

I set up the video camera and after a short engine warm up taxied for runway two.  The airport at 8:15 was quiet as we made our way to complete our run up.  Everything checked, I rolled for takeoff. Plenty of rudder needed this morning for the gusty crosswind and once above the trees we really took a gust that rocked the plane. I told Mary to relax and she quickly snapped "don't tell me to relax". As fast as the plane moved with a mind of its own in the wind, it was over. The remainder of the climb to seven thousand five hundred and cruise was smooth sailing above the layer.  Mary drifted off to sleep and I did that pilot stuff.

Once on top we settled in and enjoyed the sunshine and smooth ride. I spotted the glory (plane in the rainbow) but the camera shot wasn't clear enough.  
C&D Canal

By the time we crossed the C&D canal  some of the layer had broken up.  The view didn't last long as we were once again shielded from the view of what's below. Dover handed me off to Philadelphia approach as I continued north for the DuPont (DQO) VOR.
Philly handed me off to Allentown Approach for a short ride and they in turn handed me off to Wilkes-Barre Approach.  Now I was cruising along at 7.5 and I know I needed to start down.  For the second time approach left me at my own choice, obviously no different then when I was on an IFR flight plan.  A step down would have been nice but I asked and was given a descent at my discretion. I pulled the power and started down but knew I would be getting the slam dunk just like the last time. I advised I needed to descend and remain clear of the cloud layer. Approach advised report on final, well that was easy enough. I made my turn inbound, reported and cut the power.  Adding approach flaps and the gear, still pointing at runway four. I added the second notch of flaps as I crabbed my way in and despite a wind gust managed a nice landing. 
I was marshaled in and shut down as directed, right next to a king air. After a quick fuel check I ordered ten gallons for the right tank and six for the left, also inquiring and securing the courtesy car. 

Mary and I made the trip across the valley to Forty-Fort and found our go to flower shop just off exit 4 on Welles Street.  We purchased two lavender Mums and headed to the cemetery. There was construction all along Wyoming Ave but traffic was moving at a good pace. Once we arrived I was not happy about the condition of the cemetery, grass was a bit long and there were downed tree limbs that needed to be cleaned up. That's a first.

I planted the Mums and Mary and I made our rounds as I said a prayer for each family member. Mom and Dad along with the aunts and uncles always joked about having a party on the other side since most of the family and friends were buried there. I have no doubt.
Lets Head Home

We saddled up in the courtesy Jeep and headed back to the airport, retracing our steps.  So much has changed and it's been a year since I was last there, some of the lay of the land has slipped away.  Maybe the brain decided to purge things not required for the day to day operation.  Insert an eye roll and a disgusted shake of my head. 

I settled my fuel bill and Mary purchased a coke for the ride home. 3 Tango charlie started up, ran for a bit and died.  Mary asked what her problem was...maybe the nut behind the yoke should switch the tanks to both instead of off. Yikes!

With the plane once again started and oil warming I did the chug and plug to enter my return course, a reverse of this morning. The sky had opened up and I didn't have a problem climbing for my planned altitude of six thousand five hundred. Once clear of the mountains and wind turbines we enjoyed the sun above the layer of clouds below. 

Wilkes-Barre handed me off to Allentown and they in turn handed me off to Philly.  They must be short staffed since Philly kept me on the one frequency all the way south of their mode C ring without a hand off.  Eventually I was handed off to Dover and road along with them for a good portion of the flight over Delaware. 

I had a traffic call out, some jet at seven thousand opposite direction just five hundred feet above me. The jet passed by from my two o'clock, down my right side. I advised I had the traffic. The jet climbed to eight thousand, on his own, and approach gave him some static. He deserved it.

I cancelled with Dover so I could make my way for a hole in the cloud layer. I needed to descend from my cruise altitude.  I found a long slot leading from my position, closer to Delaware Coastal KGED, towards Cape Henlopen, this would work just fine. I descended though the wide open hole following the slot then turning back to drop below the cloud layer.  Easy peasy, and our reward was a bumpy ride the rest of the way in. 

I had announced my position at ten and five miles out, switching from runway two to runway one-four.  A bit less of a cross wind and a longer runway, just in case. The jump plane had taken off on our way in and I wanted to get on the ground before the jumpers if we could.  It all worked out, and despite some crab action on the way in, I made a nice landing to end the day.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

North East Flyers - Breakfast


The North East Flyers were meeting up at Katie's in Cambridge Maryland today.  KCGE is just a short hop and one of my favorite places to have breakfast, I was all in from the minute this fly-in was posted.

I headed to airport in time to launch around 9am. The flight was twenty minutes but I wanted to secure a tie down and maybe get some pics of the other planes attending. 

As I let down for the pattern I heard Charles G from New Garden calling base and final, I was maybe five miles out at that point. I ended up making a straight in for runway three-four and despite dodging a Bald Eagle and gusty winds I somehow managed a nice landing. Today's flight was up to my typical pilot procedures.  Having flown not to long ago I felt right at home and didn't miss a beat. 

Me and Jeff
Jeff's Saratoga
Today provided a special treat, a chance to see my friend and fellow pilot Jeff F, from Michigan.  He was at Lancaster, PA to visit family and took them flying. It made my day seeing him and his Saratoga at Cambridge. 

The restaurant wasn't that busy but they had one person waiting tables and one cook on, it made for a long wait. The food was good, once it got there, and the conversation to hold us over was excellent. Bob C, Brett and I talked airplanes, and Bob's passenger Ryan seemed eager to learn to fly.  Ryan is also a Firefighter along with Bob C. 

We sat and chatted for a good bit then decided we should head out to our rides and saddle up for home. I managed a few pics of the planes and then climbed aboard 3 Tango Charlie. 
Bob's C-172 and Brett's C-140

My Commander 112A

I was number one to taxi out and get my run up completed holding short of runway three-four. Bob was number two and Brett third to go. The ride was bumpy below two thousand so I climbed to three. Bob texted me his ride north was bumpy for most of the flight. 
Bob & Brett heading North, I'm heading SE
The ride was smooth going home until once again letting down for the traffic pattern. I was number two for the field and made my calls along the way. Winds were 030/10-G19 so I made my way in for runway two. A bit bumpy but an overall nice landing and roll out to cross runway one-four/three-two and shortcut to the taxiway. Another fun day of flying and meeting up with friends, life is good. 
Allen's Sundowner
Mystery Sierra
As I was leaving the airport I snapped a pic of fellow BAC member Allen's Sundowner and there was a Sierra sitting next to his plane.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Wing View Wednesday

I had plenty wing view footage from my flight on Sunday to Hammonton, NJ - N81, I just didn't use it.  Well, not until today.

When I got home from flying Sunday, I started a headache. Not really feeling that great, I just blitzed through the video editing. I even deleted my dash cam video too, just didn't feel like going through it all. Of course yesterday I felt better and this morning I feel great. 

Now, after watching my video, I wish I just waited until I felt better to add all the footage I had captured.  It is what it is, and instead I'm putting together a Wing View Wednesday review of this past Sunday's trip. 

So here it is, enjoy.  A little bit of tour guide and noting a few landmarks and waterways along the journey.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

N81 Diverted to KWWD

Sporting my new - Our Wyoming Life T-shirt

I posted on FB asking if anyone was flying in the tri-state area for a breakfast run this morning.  Bob C posted on the North East Flyers group.  Chris was on board with his beautiful V tail Bonanza and I was flying our magic carpet, the Commander.

The plan was to meet at Hammonton, NJ (N81) at 9:30ish.  I could have left sooner but I needed fuel. The fuel truck wasn't up and running until 7:45.  The Commander took on 17 gallons, adding to what was on board (40 GAL) for a total new total of 57 gallons.  After tugging 3 Tango Charlie out we headed for runway three-two.  It was busy this morning, the jump plane was on its third load of dropping meat bombs, and the transient traffic was picking up.

With my run-up completed I rolled for three-two and climbed out.  On the last flight I missed setting the HDG on for the autopilot, even after checking to make sure the compass and Direction Gyro were in sync. One should have this HDG set in case the AP somehow comes online, it's good to keep flying on the correct heading without any sudden turns or surprises.  Today I made sure that task was completed. 

Climbing to cross the Delaware Bay

I climbed out fat dumb and happy to be flying on a beautiful day. Unfortunately my rust was showing as I missed my typical one thousand foot checks leaving the pump, and landing lights on. Duh! I mentally scolded myself needing to get in the game. I noticed my airspeed was slow, even with the nasty headwinds I knew I should be climbing faster. Ok, get the scan going. Manifold pressure and RPM's locked along with mixture near full rich. Hey, what are those three green lights doing on?  What a dumb butt, let's retract the gear and the one notch of flaps.  Wow, so embarrassed to even share this.

Now pointed for KWWD

Anyone that knows me and my flying can tell you how I run my cockpit. Sigh...Today wasn't pretty on the first leg. Somehow I manage to cross the bay and communicate with Atlantic City Approach.  I had been monitoring but I heard Chris's tail number and approach say they didn't hear them check in, meaning another plane.  I knew he was looking for me so I asked for flight following and approach passed along a message that the destination was changed. I had already noticed Chris flying south about my three o'clock, he was headed to Cape May (KWWD). I advised approach I was making a 180 and now headed to WWD too.

It was windy today and I had to dance on the rudder pedals to make a nice landing on runway two-eight. It felt great shedding the rust and getting back in the game. Gusty landing with a crosswind always provide a good test of skills and a workout.

There is NO indoor seating at Cape May, the party is strictly outdoors. I guess Chris and I waited fifteen minutes or so then secured seating in the shade. The place was really busy but the service and food were excellent.

Climbing over Cape May Harbor to recross the Delaware Bay

With breakfast complete we headed back out to the ramp. There were plenty of planes lined up and still a few arrivals.  Chris and I saddled up and taxied out for our separate destinations. I taxied out behind a Cessna who turned off on a taxiway for his run-up, I went to the hold short line. I launched for home and flowed through my checklist items, remembering gear, flaps, and thousand foot checks. I settled in for the Bay crossing, watching banner tow planes shadowing the shoreline. 

Crossing RT 54 at Fenwick, DE

Ocean City was busy with the jump planes still buzzing and other traffic mixing in for runway three-two. I swapped communications with a Cirrus on the practice GPS 32 approach as he was about six miles out.  I could have easily turned base and landed but I didn't want to mess up his approach.  I advised I would follow him, number two for the field. The cirrus pilot then declared it was a low approach only.  Oh well, I'm flying, it's fun, and I can fly over the water a few miles off shore and at least check out all the boats.

Overall a fun day once I cleaned up my procedures. Not flying every few days has really built up the rust and I need to keep flying to shed that. I hope to get in the air again this week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Adding Chapters to a YouTube Video

Today I wanted to take some time to research and teach myself how to add time line chapters to my videos.  I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to add this feature to my video editing. 

There are a couple of ways to attack the issue. First, you can add the time line, and description, when you upload the video. 

Second, you can go back and add the time line by clicking on the "edit video" button on the bottom right of your video.  
Once you have all the time markers added with their description, click on save. When you go to your videos and view you will see the chapter markers. If you place your cursor over those markers it will show the chapter description you added to the video description.

Pretty easy peasy. Give it a try on your next video production. At the very least it will help you find the points of interest you want to review. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Aircraft on Ramp Update

I received a text and a couple of emails about the Cessna 441 that I had posted pictures of, nose down, on the ramp here at Ocean City.

When I went flying yesterday I noticed the plane was sitting in her proper stance and the props were gone. Of course I had to take a closer look and noticed the engine nacelles are sealed up in plastic. Not only is she on her feet but the props and engines are out. There looked to be some runway rash under her nose, but, i didn't get out of my vehicle to get any closer. I can only imagine the expen$ive repair bill for this beautiful aircraft.

I'm sure it was a heck of a ride when the gear collapsed. Good job on the pilot for keeping all on board safe, and keeping the plane on the runway.


Sunday, August 09, 2020

Katie's for Breakfast

It was a quickly put together fly-in breakfast meet through Facebook. We had four planes and five people attending. Chris and his bride made the hop in their V-tail Bonanza, Les arrived in his Sundowner, Bob in his 172, and me in our Commander.

It has been 25 days since I last flew and it showed on the flight from OCMD to Cambridge. The return trip was normal, checklist items flowing and no feeling of what did I miss. 

I was above the cloud layer at three thousand and had to find a hole to descend through to make my way towards the pattern for runway one-six. The pattern was an absolute beehive of activity, crazy busy, planes everywhere.

Approaching Cambridge MD KCGE

I had to go around due to a Cessna still on the runway when I was just coming over the numbers.  I side stepped right and climbed out. The rust was showing. The muscle reflex of Cram, Climb, Clean, Cool, Communicate wasn't there. Oh I went full power, left the gear extended, and slowly retracted the flaps. I didn't touch the cowl flaps. Somehow I did manage to communicate. The DA was around eleven hundred and 3 Tango Charlie was dragging around the pattern.  Ughh...not my best display of piloting skills.
Going around

Four of us waited for a good amount of time due to limited seating, a full ramp of planes, and some locals. When we were finally seated it took some time to take our order, which worked out perfect for Bob, who had a late start due to fog.

Bob landed just before they took our order and he walked by the restaurant windows just after we went around the table. I told the waitress he had to run out to his plane and was coming right back. She quickly asked did he leave his order and I gave the deer in the headlights look then said he did not. Busted! 

The conversations were fun, with multiple bucket list destinations discussed for each of us. I think we were all in agreement we want to do the Bahamas. 

We finished up and headed back out to the ramp, still busy with planes. I climbed aboard and got the fan turning, despite a bit of a long crank. With a short sputter and added fuel pump 3 Tango Charlie caught and came to life. 

It was a conga line getting out, I think I was third. I rolled on to runway three-four and made a longer then usual take off roll but was soon climbing out. I actually think there was a slight tail wind but I followed the line out anyway. I departed the area on the downwind and pointed for Ocean City.
It was still busy, even on departure

I skirted around Salisbury to the north wanting to remain below the cloud layer. I didn't want to climb above for the last twelve minutes of flight time to OXB.

Missing the Delta Space

I made a nice landing at Ocean City and tucked 3 Tango Charlie back in the hangar. It felt good getting back in the plane and I hope to build more time as weather permits. This weekends trip to meet the North East Flyers will be a no go for me. There is a Airshow TFR in place and I wont be able to get in until late in the day.