Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Thank you to those that have served, those protecting this Nation today and their families that have sacrificed so much.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Valley Run

After many weeks of planning and scrubbing this mission, Mary and I finally accomplished our task.  Mothers day we were going to take care of my Brides parents at the Veterans Cemetery near Summit airport, KEVY in Middletown, DE. Following that short hop we were going to then fit in a run north to Wilkes-Barre, PA and take care of my parents. That fell through when I tried multiple times to land at KEVY, the gusty cross winds chased me home.
Since I was a kid the family tradition has always been to visit the graves of family members and attend a memorial service for those who laid down their life for this country. Honestly, I haven't been to a memorial service in some years but I never have missed taking care of family.
Every year I think back to a simpler time as we make this trip. It was easy and fun as a kid growing up surrounded by family. These days time seems to be a blur. I often thought today how my Dad would react to flying upstate versus all those weekend trips driving. It always seemed like there were long lines on the North-East extension and backups at the Lehigh tunnel. Today we flew over that roadway and tunnel. Two tunnels now, multiple lanes each direction.  Mary was snoozing and communications were set on isolate as to not wake her. I cruised along with many a road trip memory running through my head.
We had launched from Ocean City after I had to call for Op's to clear a family of Canada Geese from the runway. My run up didn't do much to motivate them but when the Ops truck came by they waddled their butts across and eventually lifted off for the empty field across for the airport.

The ride north was smooth and we enjoyed the tail wind. I didn't pick up my IFR clearance until riding along with Dover Approach on flight following. I went through a series of hand offs with Philly and got to help out with an ELT signal that was sounding. A few commercial flights reported and then Philly asked me to give a listen. I heard a faint signal about seven miles south of Pottstown Heritage Field Airport, KPTW and as I passed overhead it was screaming. I reported both distance markers and then was thanked and handed off to Allentown.
Allentown was quiet and I listened for the ATIS at Wilkes-Barre. Allentown eventually handed me off to Wilkes-Barre Approach and I was crossing the mountains enjoying the view when I spotted the Francis E Walter Dam in
White Haven, PA. First time I noticed this structure.
I cleared the last ridge line and gave the wind turbines a good look to my left then descended for the traffic pattern. I was cleared to land runway two-two. I made a nice turn, base to final and followed with a smooth landing. It was a short taxi to the FBO, Aviation Technologies. We were given the use of the courtesy car and in turn took on twenty gallons of 100LL for 08Romeo.

The run across the Valley was quick, despite some crazy drivers. I'm not sure what the rush was today but 'they' were out in force. Mary spotted a new garden center just off the cross valley, Ed's Garden Center. We really liked our usual flower stop but we always had to make a second stop for mulch. This place was the jackpot! Beautiful plants and flowers, a small petting zoo and great service, our new go to place.
We planted flowers and placed mulch at my parents grave site and dressed up a few other family members. I was happy to clean off my Uncles service plaque, the headstone was already done by my cousins. My Uncle Murph and Aunt Balty, Moms sister, are buried right next door...sounds weird, I know. The joke was that since the whole family was in that area it would be one big party on the other side. Strange the things that stick in your head from childhood.
Most will think I'm nuts but I enjoy talking to Mom and Dad while I landscape. I also get to chat with my Aunt and Uncle right next door. So many good memories, I wish they were all still with us. Many aunts and uncles are buried here along with both sets of my grandparents. It's a quiet ride for me as we head back to the airport. Mary and I decided to grab some lunch along the way at The Cafe' on RT. 315.  Good eats and service!
The last stop before the airport was for a quick gas and go. We returned the car with a full tank and squared up our fuel bill at the desk. We were ready to head south.

I filed for this leg to KEVY.  The sky had build ups and I wanted to make sure, if I had to, I could plod along IMC if needed. I picked up my clearance with WB ground and was given the Scranton Five departure. Say what??  I'll have to look that up. Read back was correct and we taxied for departure. Ground advised the Scranton Five was runway heading to five thousand feet. I quickly brought up the SID on my iPad noting 224 heading, climb to five thousand then radar vectors. The regional jet departed in front of me and we eventually taxied into position and launched. Next stop Summit, KEVY.
The build ups were indeed setting up shop. I had filed for six and was thinking I would take four and ride under. I wasn't going to out climb what was right in front of me with a full belly of fuel and DA of 1600.  Once past the front line I advised I could do six thousand and be good to go but Wilkes approach was ready to hand me to Allentown so I was kept at four. I managed .3 IMC and bumped along just into the bottoms but not low enough to have any ground contact. I eventually broke out and by the time we reached Allentown I was comfortable riding under the buildups.
Crossing the C&D Canal, final for RW17 at EVY
Allentown handed me to the first Philly sector and they turned me direct PTW (yes, the ELT was still singing) and then direct KEVY. We paid the price for the nice tailwinds heading north and now bumped along at 102 knots. I cancelled IFR with the last Philly sector and pointed down the runway for one seven at Summit. Another nice landing and we were marshaled into a front row parking spot.
At Summit we took on some fuel and were given the use of their courtesy car.  The drive to the Delaware Veterans Memorial from the airport was six minutes. We did have to make a stop for fresh cut flowers so it was maybe twenty minutes total. The Veterans cemetery was covered in flags, despite the reason why, it was a breathtaking site. We cleaned up the service plaque and placed the flowers Mary picked out. I always like to talk to Pop and Mom L...I even told her Mary made a great dessert for me just the other day. Mom L ALWAYS made me was our inside joke to tease my Bride.
We returned the courtesy car van, and squared up our fuel bill. It was really hot walking across the hot mix ramp. Once we got the fan turning we kept both doors open on 08Romeo. With forty gallons on board we lifted off and pointed south. No flight following just quiet time. I made my position calls heading into Ocean City and made another nice landing on two-zero. I tucked 08Romeo in her hangar and spent some time cleaning all the bugs off her leading edges, it was loaded and gross. She's all clean and I'll stop by tomorrow to hook up the battery minder and give the inside a quick clean.

For the rest of the weekend we'll get some beach time and stay close to home. Maybe even some additional fly time.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Finally Flying

I woke up to a gorgeous day! That big shiny thing was in the sky, I think it's called sun.  We haven't seen sun for over a week, but we have seen plenty of rain. So much rain that my project is shut down this week and I'll at least have some time to fly. Time to fly if sun stays out and the rain stays away.

Speaking of flying... I thought I would drag 08Romeo out of her warm hangar and we could have some fun flight time. Mary was feeling better so we decided to head over to Easton, MD (KESN) and grab breakfast at Sugar Buns.  From Easton we would head north to Summit (KEVY) and use the courtesy car to head over to the Veterans cemetery and place flowers for Mary's Mom and a new flag for her Pop. I also packed a towel to kneel on and WD40 to clean the marker plaque.

METAR KOXB 081353Z AUTO 26007KT 10SM CLR 20/14 A2969

After taking on 18 gallons of 100LL we climbed aboard and got the fan turning. I listened to the AWOS and instead of leaving it on I cut the broadcast off after the altimeter setting. After making my call for departure 08Romeo climbed out, but was not her normal self. I had a good fuel load this morning, 50 gallons. Everything looked normal; EGT and CHT temps, rpm's, oil pressure and temp. Nothing out of sync in my run up either. I toggled comm 2 back on for the AWOS and the density altitude was just over 1200, that was my slightly different feel. When you know your plane you notice the slightest change in sound or performance, everything was good as we continued on for Easton.

METAR KESN 081445Z 31010G18KT 10SM SKC A2977

It was a slow flight dealing with 25 knot head winds. I have to say it was also a pretty bumpy ride. There was an airmet Tango now showing on my GPS and the Easton ATIS was advising Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS) through Flight Service. Just peachy.
I made an ok landing at Easton, a little bit of stall horn, then needed power, then it ended up kind of flat. We were on the ground and clear of the runway and 08Romeo would fly again.
Sugar Buns was packed. We had a short wait for a table and a little longer wait for our food. Everything was very good and of course we got two Sugar Buns to go.

On to Summit...

I picked up the current ATIS and contacted Easton ground for my taxi clearance and headed to runway 33. The flight to Summit was very bumpy and once again some winds that would change direction. At least this leg I was getting to see 105 knots. I listened to the Summit AWOS and much like Wilmington's that I listed, the gusting winds were really changing. As we approached, each time I checked Summit a new wind and gust factor was presented.

METAR KILG 081651Z 32022G29KT 10SM CLR 20/01 A2976
METAR KILG 081551Z 30017G25KT 10SM CLR 21/06 A2973

I lined up for runway 35 and only added the first notch of flaps. The winds were causing me to tail slide like I was alternating pressing full on the rudder pedals. We got a good bit of wing rock that shook the plane and the lower I got the more crazy the winds seemed to get. There wasn't wind shear noted but it sure felt like it. As I crossed the numbers I could not hold alignment and keep wings level. I powered up, cleaned up the one notch of flaps and decided to go around. On my second approach I extended my final and hoped that would give me more time to figure the winds and work my way in, it only got worse. I had actually broken a sweat on the second landing attempt and I noticed I was breaking the squelch with heavy breathing, it was a work out.
We're outta here! I called Unicom and let them know I wouldn't need the courtesy car but thanks for holding it. I said we're heading back to the beach, I'm not trying those winds again.
The headwinds were now tailwinds and I enjoyed 130 knots on the ride south to Ocean City. I picked up flight following with Dover approach and settled in to enjoy the ride. It was bumpy at times but nothing like the first two legs.

METAR KOXB 081653Z AUTO 32016G25KT 10SM CLR 23/09 A2973

The winds were down the runway so I was feeling good about getting home. There was a coast guard helicopter at 500' just off shore heading south to north. I gave my position report and I asked him how the ride was just off shore at that altitude, he advised not to bad at all. I crossed the field and entered the left down wind feeling the push from the gusty winds. Pulling the rest of the power out but ready to add it when I turned final I made my position calls. You could feel the gusts but it was all power management at this point and I made a sweet landing with a long taxi to clear the runway. We were happy to be home.
No more long gaps in my flying...I don't care what time I get out there but I will get seat time. We will head back to Summit and on to Wilkes-Barre this week to take care of both of our parents cemetery plots. It would have been nice on Mothers day but later this week will be fine.

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.