Thursday, May 28, 2015

RWY 2/20, 14/32 CLSD

It's looking like a ground pounding type of day. No, not because of the wx forecast but instead both runways are closed at KOXB. :(
The thought process is to make a run to Helen's Sausage House for supplies, check out Summit Aviation at KEVY for fees and ground transportation and visit the Veterans Cemetery to visit Mary's parents.  We like to keep the plaque cleaned up and make sure Pop has a flag at all times.
It's 9am and we are heading out the door for today's adventure. I haven't made this run since the end of March, I don't miss it. We made good time with little traffic heading north bound. I made a stop at Helen's for a sandwich and we purchased 5 lbs of links for later use...yummy. Back on the road heading north north-east, I followed RT896 then RT71/301 to the Veterans Memorial. We made another quick stop for flowers and then made three right turns to the memorial.
The grounds are always immaculate, the ground crew does a fantastic job and I'm sure all the families appreciate the special care they provide. It gives me chills to see all the flags, so many men and women that have served our Country.
Our next stop was a six minute drive. We checked in at Summit Aviation, KEVY to inquire about a crew/courtesy car. They do have a car available, first come first serve. The remaining ride south was typical travel time, a bit more traffic than this morning but moving very well.
I'm looking forward to the next visit by plane, 40 minutes each way sure beats and hour and forty minutes of driving each way.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day - We Remember

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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Back to the Valley

Wilkes-Barre, PA  -  Wyoming Valley, The Valley with a Heart!

I know I posted this info back in 2006 but I wanted to repost to once again expand on the title of the post. I was just 14 and the destruction I saw is still fresh in my minds eye today. It will be 43 years the end of June.

The Valley with a Heart, Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley was our destination today. Wyoming Valley got that tag back when a flood ravaged the area. On June 23, 1972, tropical storm Agnes swept through the area. In her wake, she left 18 inches of rain, 25,000 homes nearly destroyed, and $1 billion in damages. The river rose to 40.9 feet, 18.9 feet above flood stage, and 4 feet above the levees that were built after the flood of 1936, which crested at 33 feet. Although 2,278 businesses in Wilkes-Barre were damaged by the 9 feet of water that flooded the square, downtown Wilkes-Barre has been totally revitalized by the new businesses and buildings that have sprung up after the tragedy. I remember walking through the area and seeing houses gone, washed away. The devastation was almost unbelievable....but it was so real. The Valley with a heart vowed to come back and they did. Good hard working folks that care about each other and the place they call home.
I filed for our flight this morning just to keep working in the system and to help keep sharp with communications and flight planning. Patuxent Clearance and Delivery answered on my second call and we swapped all the required info. I was quickly released for departure.

R- ENO V29 As Filed, Depart on 270* heading
A- 3000/6000 in ten minutes
F- 127.95 (Pax)
T- 7064

What a gorgeous day, the sky was cloud free and the visibility was spectacular! I climbed out on a 270 heading and contacted approach. Pax cleared me to 6000 and direct EZIZI.  Of course I didn't have EZIZI in my flight plan, instead ENO.  No problem, I hit FLTPLN on the garmin 530 and scrolled down to ENO and dialed in EZIZI then direct. Pax changed my altitude to 5000 and I cut my climb short.

Blue Mountain

Lehigh Tunnels I-476

I was handed off to Dover, multiple Philly approaches, Allentown approach and finally Wilkes-Barre. Wilkes gave me a few vectors and I reported having the current weather followed by reporting the field in sight. Approach handed me off to the tower and I was cleared to land on runway 4. A bit of cross wind but a nice landing and roll out.
There is a new FBO at KAVP, Aviation Technologies. Customer service was perfect and the folks were just so friendly. We took on 17 gallons of fuel and used the courtesy car to make a run for flowers and mulch for the cemetery. Last person to use the car left an 1/8 of a tank, what a putz.  We  made a stop just outside the airport and put it a half tank so we could make our run. Flowers looked great and everything cleaned up nice.  I wish I had a wire brush to clean off around the headstone it had a sandy growth starting. Time to improvise...I used a river stone that was in the dirt and gave it a light rub, it turned out just fine.
I really miss my folks...At least I can keep Mom in flowers.  She loved pink !
Walking through the cemetery to say a prayer at the grand parents I bumped into my cousin Phillip from Florida and his Mom, my Aunt Lee, it was great to catch up.  They were doing the same thing Mary and I were doing, cleaning up the family plots for Memorial Day.

Keystone (my family's hometown)  just ahead on the left
We said our goodbyes and loaded the trash and tools in the car. After a quick stop to add to the dumpster we pointed the car for AVP. I paid for fuel and went out to sump before climbing in.  Mary was already getting things squared away in the plane. After a complete walk around and hands on inspection I climbed in the left seat. 08Romeo came to life and with a call to ground we were cleared to taxi.  No IFR plan this leg, instead I asked for flight following and got a squawk code, 1610.
I climbed out on runway 4 and once clear of the right side 'hills' I made a right turn on course as directed. Tower cut me loose for approach and I made my calls to check in. It was a super smooth ride at 6,500 and each hand off to a new sector was easy peasy.  Philly cleared me into the Bravo airspace and turned me direct Ocean City. It was a quiet ride with each approach while I was cranking up the country music in the plane.  Mary passed out and I moved my mic out of the way and was singing along, it was fun.
Thanks for the shortcut Philly Approach, cleared through the Bravo!
The Delaware memorial Bridges....I don't miss work at all!
I worked my way into OXB and was number two for the field. Another smooth landing and an easy roll out for the mid field taxiway. 08Romeo is tucked in for the rest of the weekend and depending if I can get out Friday before the runway work starts She may have to be relocated to KGED.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hop For Fuel

This morning Mary was going to head to the beach with our friend Pam.  That works for me, I'll get the main gear cleaned and painted and make the short hop to top off fuel for our Wilkes-Barre trip. I preflighted 08Romeo and launched for Georgetown, Sussex County, KGED. It was beautiful this morning so I pulled the power and chugged along taking a few pictures.
The Parke at Ocean Pines. Our house!
I did manage to work on steep turns and since there was only one other aircraft inbound for GED I did some slow flight.  With the headwind approaching GED and full flaps I think I flew backwards! Well I flew pretty darn slow listening to the stall horn then calling it quits.
Ocean Downs Casino
I entered the pattern on a left base for two-eight and made a nice landing. I'm once again hearing the stall horn, the horn thing as my Bride calls it. I taxied in and parked next to a King Air and placed my order for fuel.

I ordered to the slots plus six which would put me at 52 gallons. I figured a 4 gallon burn back to Ocean City so I would be sitting around 48 total for tomorrow's flight.
Selbyville, DE
I did have lunch at Arenas, a massive bacon monster BLT. Service was quick, food excellent and I got an additional ten cents a gallon off for eating there.  Couple that discount with the fuel tax rebate of twenty three cents a gallon at tax time and the fuel price per gallon works out to $4.42, not bad.
I made the quick hop back to OXB and taxied to the hangar. The wheels were next on my list for clean up so I did the degrease, wash and prep for paint. They turned out ok and at least look clean for our get-away.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wing Walk

Wait, you thought maybe I was going to wing walk?  LMAO! No, not a chance.  Instead, it's time to upgrade the wing walk area on 08Romeo.

Ok, the plan for this rainy beach day is to finish 08Romeo's detail by CAVU back on March 21st and get the wing walk areas looking just as good as Ivan left the rest of the plane. My plan of attack is to purchase a product made by Rustoleum or Krylon.  Not just paint but an anti-skid paint to dress up the existing wing walk product.
Step 1 - Painters tape and plenty of newspaper/detailers paper to protect the aircraft.
Step 2 - lightly wire brush existing area and clean with compressed air.
Step 3 - Shake the heck out of the can and get all that good grit moving.
Step 4 - Get the blue gloves on and cross my fingers that I apply the product smooth and even.
As I finished taping off the pilot/left side I realized I forgot to take pictures of the process...DUH!
I got the left side ready to wire brush and took a few shots. I also managed to shoot the non-slip paint on my steps. They look good and now have the extra grip for Mary and I when we climb aboard.
I did take a few of the right side between coats.  Here is the right side after the second coat was applied and then the final results after the paper and tape are removed.
Overall I think the results are fabulous! This job took some time to paper off and prep but overall much easier than the wing walk product and using rollers. One spray can did two coats on each side and it was easy to shoot since it was one of those cans you could hold in any direction. The product has very good texture and for under $7 it was worth the time and effort to complete 08Romeos spring detail.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wings Fly-B-Q

It's time for the annual Wings Fly-B-Q!

We try to make this fly-in every year.  Mary and I are dedicated, in 2009 after my hip surgery Mary drove us to the event and I got my airplane and flying friends fix while getting around on crutches. Thankfully, this year I will once again be on my two feet and not need any sticks.
I put together a flight plan Thursday and had some concerns about the possibility for early afternoon thunderstorms rolling through the Philly area.  As Friday came and went the overnight TAF was pushing that possibility later into the day. This mornings TAF for the area (KPNE) showed no signs of thunderstorms and the threat of rain is clear until early evening.

We planned to take Ziva with us but decided to leave her here with the cats to enjoy some quiet time. We figured all that good food and so many people would drive her crazy and it was just easier for Mary and I to enjoy our time with friends.
We left for the airport and only made a few miles when Mary said we forgot to load the two chairs. Sigh....U turn time and backtrack to the house.  OK, back on the road and headed to the airport with everything on board. Mary flashed her badge and we went through the gates at 9:20ish.  I wanted to be in the air by 9am.  We eventually get the plane loaded and pre-flight completed.  I sumped fuel and made a final hands on control surface check then climbed aboard.
I didn't bother to call and open the instrument flight plan, instead I opted to open with Dover once in the air and closing in on the ATR, Waterloo VOR. We had VFR conditions but it was really hazy. I contacted Dover eight miles south of ATR with my info.

ME: Dover Approach, Sundowner 6708Romeo, eight south of Waterloo, three thousand level, I would like to open my ifr flight plan to Lima Oscar Mike, Wings.
Dover: 08Romeo, squawk 7024 and ident. 
ME: Sundowner 08Romeo 7024 and ident.
Dover: ident observed, seven and a half miles south of Waterloo. Advise ready to copy.
ME: ready to copy 08Romeo
Dover: 089Romeo you're cleared to LOM Wings, direct Modena (MXE) direct LOM, climb and maintain five thousand.
ME: Cleared Lima Oscar Mike, direct Modena direct Wings, leaving three thousand climbing five thousand, 08Romeo.
It's that easy. The ride was silent until handed off to the first Philly sector on 119.75.  Philly changed the plan to direct Wings, great! So in my excitement instead of just hitting direct scroll down to the box and select KLOM I instead (insert head slap) hit direct, dialed in KLOM and hit enter.  All of us pilots know ATC...NEVER...changes what they give us (insert eye roll).  Philly hands me off to another sector 124.35 and they change my plan to, you guessed it, direct Modena then Wings.
I cracked up laughing. I knew when I cut corners on the last change it would bite my butt, it did.  Not a big deal, I went to the flight plan screen and added MXE then selected direct. I had the wx and advised, then set up for the GPS 6 approach. It's been awhile since I've been into wings and it's so much easier having the info on the GPS. I spotted the airport in the haze maybe eight miles out and canceled with Philly. I shot the GPS 6 approach with a circle to land at pattern altitude, 1500', instead of the approach noted 780' breaking it off just inside of PLAYS the final approach fix. I made a sweet landing and rolled out for the turn to the terminal. I followed the line guy for parking and shut down pretty close to the BBQ action.
There were seats open at picnic tables so we ended up leaving the chairs in the plane.  We sat with Andy, Adam B and his Bride Jeanine. It was so good to catch up with friends! I got to finally meet Kent's Bride, Kelcey and as always a good time catching up with the master of ceremonies Adam Z and Andrew "Porky" Stanley the master BBQer.  I got a chance to chat with Gary S, Andrew M, Dave H, Anthony, Michael and his Bride  and chatted with Rob S and his three beautiful daughters.  Rob and Becky will be camping at Assateague Island in July, Mary and I are anxious to catch up with their family.
I did keep an eye on the wx and noticed the thunderstorms were moving east and crossing into PA and WVA. I told Mary when the line of storms reach Hagerstown and Martinsburg we will get in the air.  Hagerstown would give us 75-100 miles of cushion between the storm and our flight path heading back south. I had to figure in saying our goodbyes and that would eat up at least another 45 minutes so I was padding my safety zone.
The maroon color is my extended flight path beyond MXE to remain clear of the Bravo at 3000'
The flight South was uneventful. I picked up flight following instead of filing. It was really hazy in the Philly class Bravo but once we were south of KILG and approaching Dover the visibility improved. Despite being on flight following with Philly, one must be aware of the sector altitudes. I maintained three thousand and had to clear that last box on the north west side of KILG. Unless a pilot hears the magic words "cleared into the Bravo" you need to be mindful of your altitude and location.
This is what passed through the area this evening
Philly handed us off to Dover and we road along until turned loose maybe 12 miles north of OXB. I thanked Dover for their service and switched to Unicom at Ocean City. I reported 10 miles and then 5 miles as I crossed RT 90. I decided on a straight in for runway two zero. There was an aircraft 9 south as I passed 4 miles so I kept my speed up and made another nice landing with a roll out for the taxiway at the 02 approach end. As I taxied across 14-32 I saw the Piper landing. Mary unloaded the chairs we didn't use and I got 08Romeo secured. It took a couple of dips in the water bucket to clean all the bugs off, they were really gross!

Next up is our trip out to the Dayton area. We'll be headed to I67 in Harrison, Ohio to visit Ted and Laurie.

From Adam Z on the POA forum, the master planner and coordinator of this event.

A HUGE thanks to Andrew Porky Stanley as always but also a major thanks to EdFred who made not one but two extra trips to pick Andrew up from northern Mass and bring him back home today. The long trip is just a hell of a drive for a short period of time so Ed made it possible for Andrew to be here and thus the BBQ!

Also a big thanks to Bob Ciotti for contributing his smoker to the collection so Andrew didn't have to lug his down from Mass.

I also want to mention all the great sponsors of the FlyBQ, Smithfield who provided us with all the fantastic pork butts and ribs, POA's own Shane Schmidt owner of the Sqauwk Shoppe Who not only donated a very cool headset, go pro cable, IFR training video and iPhone holder but showed up to present it.
Sennheiser which donated an awesome Noisegard S1 Digital Headset, David Clark which also donated a great headset and Aircraft Spruce who sent a gernerous gift card.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Flight Plan OXB - I67

Mary and I decided we are going to head west, ok Midwest, ah..make that Ohio.  Some time late this month or early June we are going to visit Ted and Laurie. The plan is just starting out and I have toyed with a few route options. Unfortunately the Washington DC SFRA gets in the way and I'll need to compare route times for a north or south passage.
Just playing around on the computer this morning with Skyvector and I think I have a tentative plan. The first leg will be north of DC, over Baltimore and on to KMGW, Morgantown Municipal Airport in West Virginia. This will be a fuel check and top off along with a quick FBO stop.
We'll load up and make the last 2 hour plus hop into I67, Cincinnati West Airport located in Harrison, Ohio.  Total flight time just over four and a half hours not counting our stops.

Mary is so excited to see the twins and Robert. It will only be a long weekend get-away but getting some time with our friends is worth the time planning and flying.

Next up on our flight planning will be a trip north. Mary and I want to visit with our friends Adam and his Bride Jeanine in New Hampshire.  It will be our first visit with them since they got married.  We missed their wedding due to my back injury while moving, resulting in a herniated disc.

As the summer rolls on we hope to head out to new locations. We are in the planning stage for Jekyll Island in September, looking at routing and hotels. We would also like to make another flight to explore more of the Maine coast during July or August, at least we will escape some of the heat here at the beach in OCMD and get some great lobster up north.