Friday, April 29, 2016

Just Needed To Blog

I haven't been in the air since April 7th, I really do need some flight time. The new job has kept me busy.  Since I have no electric to my field office I come home and do my computer work....thus no flying. After going through email and printing out reports and updating the project books it's time for dinner and then I don't feel like heading to the airport. Poor Ziva girl hasn't enjoyed her typical airport runs in a few days and the weather hasn't helped much.

I'm planning to head to the airport in the morning to tug 08Romeo out for some flight time. I'll stay in the pattern or practice area until I shed some rust then maybe file and climb into the cloud cover for a few approaches. We shall see what the day will bring.
I have a few things I want to do to the new to me work truck. I have a few carpet samples to match and then I'll order new carpets.  The previous owner was a smoker and there are a few burn marks, so I want to freshen it up. The smoke smell is noticeable when the truck is sitting closed up in the heat.  The headliner was already replaced by the dealer so I'm doing the carpets. The seats have been cleaned and are in really good shape. I already received my new floor mats and they fit very nice.
We said so long to the VW Cabrio, the airport buggy will be missed. It was fun cruising Ocean City with the top down and it provided transportation to and from the Motor Home when we first spent summers here at the beach. Over the years the dogs also enjoyed the ride.
Maggie, gone but not forgotten...she loved to fly too.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Breakfast with Bob

Mary and I had a busy Saturday driving around to flea markets and antique shops pickin'.  We came home with a few new prize possessions. Today we wanted to get out and fly, okay, I wanted to get out and fly and my Bride was nice enough to join me.
The plan was to head out for breakfast so with a quick post on Face Book Bob C responded. Jeff D and the Woodbine crew were headed out but no decision was made by the time I launched. Once in the air Woodbine selected Cape May but do to the packed house diverted to Georgetown, Delaware Coastal.

Bob and I swapped text messages and decided on Millville, N.J., just about half way between us.  Sixty-five miles for me and forty-five for Bob.  Of course Bob enjoyed a great tail wind heading south east while Mary and I trudged along at eighty-five knots...Ughhh. We finally made it to MIV and crossed midfield for the left down wind runway ten. I made a super smooth landing so I felt better about the flight. As I taxied in we passed an absolutely gorgeous P51. In case you're wondering...of course I stopped in the middle of the taxiway and took a few shots.
Picture taken by Bob C
Millville was just as busy as cape may. Verna's Flight Line restaurant had a twenty minute wait but we sat and caught up and the time flew by. The eats were very good but due to a full house we waited a bit longer then the typical fast service. Mary and I wanted to see Bob's plane since the recent paint job. The paint scheme was beautiful and they did an awesome job laying down the colors.
With hugs and handshakes we said our goodbyes the walked back to 08Romeo. I taxied out to runway ten and launched for cape may or in the general area. I wanted to cross the Bay at sixty five hundred and enjoy my turn at the tail winds. Sure enough as we climbed the ground speed followed right along. Soon we were cruising along at one hundred forty knots....yes!
I made my position calls as I crossed RT54, ten miles out then RT90 five miles out. I had monitored the jump plane as he booted out his passengers at ten thousand feet, I was looking for silk. I swung out a bit wide and entered on a forty-five for the left down wind runway two and confirmed visual on two chutes. I slowed down and extended the pattern then turned for final as the first jumper landed. By the time I was over the numbers the other jumper had landed near runway three-two approach end, all clear. I made another nice landing, long, since the jump plane was on my heels.
I did manage to over fly my work site in Lewes, DE and took a few shots. Here is the before and after to show two weeks of progress.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Family Visit

Since my project is now starting up and I'll be busy weekdays, Mary and I decided we would make the short hop back to Wilmington and visit her Aunt Letty. There was some scheduling to work out but we were in the air around 11:30 and with a bit of a tail wind, we road out the bumps for a quick forty minute hop north.
We met James, Mary's second cousin at the house and Aunt Letty soon arrived from her doctors appointment. Mary and I had use of the FlyAdvanced courtesy car so we were somewhat limited on time, we wanted to be back and not exceed three hours.
The choice was made to have lunch at the BBC Tavern and Grill in Greenville Delaware. The food was excellent and the service just as good. We enjoyed our lunch and great conversation. Time was flying by, no pun intended. We finished up and headed back to the house where we said our goodbyes. We hated to eat and run but out of respect for other pilots and crew we wanted to keep to the suggested car use time limit.
It was a short drive back to Wilmington Airport.  I squared up my twelve gallon fuel bill and walked out to conduct my sump and preflight. With everything checked out we loaded up and pointed 08Rome south. Bumpy tail winds that pushed us north in excellent time now were off the nose keeping speeds to eighty-five knots.  It took us over an hour to get 08Romeo back to Ocean City, but the ride was smooth, go figure.
My Bride woke up, startled by my ten mile position call and exchange with inbound traffic. We were both about the same distance and once within five miles of the airport I did two 360's  so the other traffic could land and taxi clear. I was now turning final maybe two miles and the other plane decided to back taxi instead of roll out and use the taxiway. I dumped all my flaps and nosed up to slow things down until they were clear. Pointing 08Romeos nose back to the runway I made a long landing with a short taxi for the turn off at the end of the runway. Another family mission accomplished thanks to General Aviation.

Monday, April 04, 2016


Friday April 1st

Ted and Laurie(Cloud Nine Rescue) had posted an event on Face Book for a get-together of friends and Pilots of America (POA) forum members. I had recently accepted a position consulting on a project that was scheduled to start late March early April. Since the timing was now critical, we quickly dispensed with flying 08Romeo and instead scheduled commercial flights via the spam can, mailing tube or whatever you want to call it.

Of course on the day of our departure the project, with an email, gets pushed back to a Tuesday start and we could have flown 08Romeo, well it was a thought. The weather at Ocean City was nothing but fog. It would have taken a better part of the morning to get out with 08Romeo which would have made a long day flying requiring a possible overnight since I am not night current.
Mary and I arranged for the pets to be boarded and took care of that chore then headed for Salisbury KSBY for our 10:45 departure. We would arrive in Philly around 11:30 and sit and wait for our 1:40 flight to Kansas City, KMCI.
The Salisbury flight went smoothly despite the nasty weather that was passing overhead. I think we crossed the Delaware Bay just south of Dover at three thousand and continued to Philly. On very short final the typical set the props for go around sounded different. We were going full power and climbing out followed by securing the gear. The crew made a return after being vectored around for a bit and the second attempt was a nice landing in gusting winds in the Dash 8.

Eventually we boarded the Embraer 175 for the last leg to Kansas City. This was our worst flight. Smooth for all but the last ten minutes but we had no heat. At thirty five thousand we were cold and my Bride was not a happy traveler. She even mumbled how long does it take to drive home.
We made our way to Enterprise and rented a Dodge p/u truck, 4WD no less, wanting to fit in with the surroundings. We should have rented an SUV but we're always a bit different. Ted called while we were working out the rental details and asked if we could pick up his friend that landed about the same time. We arranged to meet at Enterprise and it worked out perfect.
We checked in at our hotel then headed to Ted and Laurie's for some pizza and catching up with early arrivals. Pete did a flyby in the Diamond but I wasn't quick enough to get outside and snap a shot. It was fun to see Robert and his sisters, they seemed to grow like weeds just since we last saw them this past October.

We didn't last very long into the evening since we were up early and flying all day. We eventually headed out and found our way back to the hotel for some much needed sleep time.

Saturday April 2nd

Ted and B
We slept in a bit later than planned then finally got ourselves showered and dressed for some bonfire farm fun. We picked up Pepsi and water along the way and continued to the farm.
It was a long day filled with great aviation stories, meeting new people and putting faces to names on the flying forum. All the kids had fun, even the big kids. We enjoyed hay rides and tremendous amounts of delicious foods. Laurie had made every type of salad one can imagine. Potato, corn, pasta, even gluten free selections. There was enough BBQ beef and pork to feed an army. If anyone left hungry it was their own fault!
Troy at the controls
gathering wood for the fire
Cris, GG and Robert
So much food!
The sun had set and the bonfire was kicked off. A smaller fire pit was set up for the roasting of the marshmallows for smores. Again, kids of all ages enjoyed the warm fire, tasty treats and camaraderie.
I know I've said it before but it's worth saying again how much our 'flying family' means to us. We have made life long friendships and truly feel welcome in their homes as we welcome them to our home. It's hard to explain and maybe hard for some to understand that bond. Knowing just about anywhere you travel there is 'family' close by.
Mary and I finally ran out of gas, we were both tired. We said our goodbyes and I know we missed some people but we were physically beat. You hate to leave but it was time for us to make our way back to the hotel. My torn tendon in my foot really flared up and when we got out of the truck I limped back to our room. Mary's hip wasn't feeling much better so the two of us passed out.

Sunday April 3rd

Rise and shine....Ughh..go away sun!

Our flight is scheduled for 11:50 and we have to return the truck rental. Slowly we got it in gear and managed to squeeze in breakfast at the hotel dining room, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. The food was good and the service was quick and friendly. After finishing up we made a last pass through our room then checked out.
It was a thirty minute ride to the airport and we found our way to the rental return without any problems. The rental companies have a shared bus service to shuttle passengers to and from the terminal. The shuttle dropped us off at Americans terminal but we could not find a sky cap anywhere. We went inside and the line was already starting to grow for security checks. Mary and I got in line and decided we would just ask to check our bags at the gate.
This airport has a full body scanner and it made it a bit easier. However, I did get pulled aside and they asked to check my left shoulder and right ankle areas. I looked at the screen and its just a white outline of a body with highlighted yellow squares of areas of concern. Thankfully not MY body outline.
The TSA agent asked if I had any pain in my shoulder or ankle area...strange...I said besides arthritis and a torn tendon what's left. the shoulder was my Italian horn but no clue what triggered the ankle.

After the screening we found our gate, it was a very short walk in an older terminal. Once the attendant showed up I asked if we could check our bags and he said absolutely, it's always tight getting all the carry-ons stored. baggage fee if you check them at the gate.
PHL short final
The flight back to Philly was smooth but once again hardly any heat.  My Bride said she doesn't want to fly this way again, she was freezing. Once in Philly we had a three hour layover, I could have driven home but we already had tickets and why pay for the additional one way car rental, so we sat. They finally called our flight and we boarded the mighty Dash 8 once again, this time for home. Captain Bob kept us at three thousand once again as we crossed the Delaware Bay with Dover just off the wing. We crossed RT50 and Mary pointed out Salisbury. A nice flight and approach but a real main gear plant ended the flight.

It was good to climb back in our SUV and motor home. With a quick stop for something to drink we then proceeded nonstop for the house.  As we passed the mail pavilion we looked at each other and simultaneously said tomorrow...we crack ourselves up. After a quick check that all was in order we called it an early night a crawled into our own's good to be home.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Reposition and Approaches

My friend Frank (AirDorrin) is still waiting on his hangar to be repaired from one of the recent wind events at KGED. Frank did find temporary shelter for 8 Delta Fox at another airfield and recently got an opening at KESN.  We traded a few text messages and both studied the weather for our flights this morning.
I filed for the short hop to Easton since the sky was looking dark to the south. Just in case the weather took a drastic change I would be in the system and ready to shoot an approach if needed. The sky was looking good at Ocean City when I taxied for runway two-zero.  Potomac Clearance Delivery had me hold for release for traffic into and out of Salisbury. My plan of an 8am departure was history, I was on the ground holding in excess of thirty minutes. While I sat singing to myself and waiting for Potomac I watched the airport weather flag on my Garmin 496 turn green for Minimum VFR conditions at KGED,Delaware Coastal.
Finally, Potomac cuts me loose with the added bonus of direct Easton since the restricted area R-4006 is cold. I'll take it! I am in the air and climbing out riding along at four thousand, just above the layer, with no IMC this leg unless Easton closes in. Handed off to Patuxent they descend me to two thousand and after reporting the field in sight they turn me over to the tower. I made an ok landing and taxied for the terminal ramp.

I saw Franks Twin Comanche on the ramp and he was standing there waiting for me to shut down. We decided on breakfast and Frank bought, thanks Frank. We enjoyed good eats at the Sugar Buns Airport Cafe' mixed in with airplane and flying chat, always fun.
SPECI KGED 251545Z AUTO 27005KT 2 1/2SM -RA BR OVC013 19/17 A2978

We decided it was time to saddle up and head over to KGED, Delaware Coastal and get Frank back to his wheels. We climbed out for five thousand and I got some IMC time. The last real IMC I had was in February, about a half hour while heading north to KILG. I definitely had some rust to shed and it really showed. Not bad on course headings but just way to busy chasing altitude, playing with trim and trying to brief the plate. I think I ran just shy of plus two hundred feet, not pretty. Granted it was windy and the there was thermal activity but there's no excuse for not getting it done to standards. Thinking back I also should have briefed the plate while sitting in the restaurant...more signs of rust and my decision process.
Once on the RNAV GPS 22 approach I seemed to settle in. We were direct HUVOX and I turned outbound for the procedure turn. Once inbound I held on course solid and followed the approach for the LPV DA of 299'. We broke out somewhere between thirteen and fifteen hundred feet. I added flaps and made another ok landing. I tied down 08Romeo since the winds had picked up and went inside to plan for my hop home and wait out the passing weather. Frank joined me and we each had something to drink while enjoying more aircraft and flying chat.
While we sat the rains came and really gave everything a good wash. We watched the storm cells pass by and even got to see the sun peek out. Frank went on his way north and I saddled up for home. The wax job on 08Romeo was showing, there were little water droplets beading up on all surfaces.
I had filed for this last hop and had to call Dover's clearance delivery since the ground communications was a no-go. I had filed for direct but that was changed to the following; direct ATR Waterloo, direct SBY Salisbury and then direct Ocean City. What???  Ughhh....I didn't have a big choice here so I accepted and being number one ready to go, launched for home.

As soon as Dover had radar identification they turned me direct Salisbury and soon handed me off to Patuxent Approach. Pax and I road along and the controller asked what approach I would like. I hadn't picked up the weather yet so I advised RNAV GPS 32 which has the lowest decision altitude to get in. I then picked up the weather and with the gusting winds that favored two-zero I requested the RNAV GPS 14 with a circle to land two-zero.
I was locked in on course and altitude. The rust was gone and I felt better with my approach. I was turned direct PFAIR, maintain at or above three thousand cleared for the RNAV GPS 14 approach. I crossed PFAIR for the procedure turn then descending inbound for the airport.  Somewhere along that portion Pax terminated radar services. At two miles I did not have the field, it was covered with a light mist, that was fast moving, almost a swirling motion. Runway one-four comes into view and I made a call on CTAF to announce my circle to land runway two-zero.

I have the entire field in view crossing two-zero to enter a tight left downwind circle to land. As I look back over my shoulder I see that fast moving mist cover the approach...crap! I'm thinking I will need to go missed and continue my circle towards final, holding seven hundred feet. As I look for the numbers they come into view as I was just ready to power up and climb runway heading where it's safe and call a missed to Patuxent.  Instead I cancel IFR with patuxent, add flaps and cut the remaining power to get 08Romeo on the ground with a good landing. What a crazy approach!  It was one of those now you see you don't...oh, there it is. It felt good getting back in IMC.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

First Timer, In A Long Time

The rest of the story...

After returning home from one of my flights earlier this month I asked the car rental guy at the Ocean City Terminal where he gets his cars worked on.  Don pointed me to Bridge Auto and Rob Perry. The garage is on the way home from the airport and on the same side, that works.  I wheeled the Mercedes SUV in, parked out front, and went in to look for Rob.  Rob came out and I let him know Don sent me his way...he laughed and said then you have money cause all Don's friends have money. I said I missed that memo...about having money.

We discussed the symptoms my ML320 was having and that I thought it might be as simple as trans fluid. FYI, The Mercedes does not come with a trans dip stick, I kid you not. I went on to explain I recently had it serviced when I moved to Maryland full time and soon there after it started to slip.  Just a bit at first then the last week it got worse.  No leaks anywhere, the garage floor is spotless.

Bridge Auto
Rob went in the garage and came back out with a MB dip stick. Sure enough, 2 quarts low on fluid. He topped me off, I took it for a test drive and it was good to go. I'm sure you're wondering where the heck this is all going and how does it relate to flying. Rob asked how I knew Don and I explained I used to rent cars from him when we flew into the airport on weekends. He asked if I had a plane and from there flying dominated the conversation.
Rob always wanted to fly, even gave some thought to taking lessons but never followed through. When we walked into the office so I could pay for the service he said I was good to go, I didn't owe him anything. What? I said your time and materials are worth something...he said take me for a ride sometime in your plane. We shook hands, done deal.
Rob at the control turning out over Cape Henlopen
The Flight...

This morning I collected or maybe he collected on that deal. We did a detailed preflight and I answered  many questions. Rob was really into every aspect of the plane, having me go into detail about control surfaces, pitot tube and static ports. Heck, I'm ready for my commercial test now!
The plan was to fly up the Maryland coastline into Delaware and follow the coast to Cape Henlopen. There we would turn back and fly south over the water so he could see the beach from a different perspective, he was all smiles. Rob gave flying a shot and made a perfect standard rate turn holding altitude perfect until we were pointed back down the beach. I think he was surprised how responsive the plane was and how easy the control inputs move the plane around.
Bridge Auto center of picture
We headed out to overfly his business along RT50 and then off to take a few pictures of his home. With a first flight in the book and I think mission accomplished we pointed for home. Winds had picked up and I advised it could be bumpy as we entered the pattern. The winds were twenty knots and gusting, seventy degrees off the nose. My base turn really pushed me out of position but I had turned early for the winds. I was centered up nice and added the last notch of flaps...wish I had not added them in.
getting the crab in on final!
I was now short final floating high and fast, then the winds shifted and I really had to dip the wing. I held it in line and touched left main down then the right. Right at that moment I felt the plane lurch forward and the mains came up blowing us to the right and what felt like wheel barrowing on the nose.  I went full power, kept the left wing down into the wind and climbed back into the air.  With positive rate of climb I took out each notch of flaps and searched for my seat cushion.  Rob asked was that what they call a touch and go? Once on the ground I explained what happened with the gusting winds.

Round two was much better with only a second notch of flaps for this approach to land. Again a noticeable dip into the wind and more side load push but when I felt the right main plant I quickly raised the flaps and felt 08Romeo stick to the runway.

Some excitement but Rob was still very happy he took the ride.  It was fun to see that perma-grin on a first timers face, brought back good memories of my first flights. I now have a new name for the ride list, I hope we can get back out and fly a bit longer.