Monday, February 19, 2018

Farmingdale NY - KFRG

I have mentioned one of my hangar neighbors in previous posts, Chet K.  Chet has helped me reposition  08Romeo for annual with a ride home from 58M, picking me up on his way from New York. Chet was also my ride to Wilmington (KILG) to pick up my plane from Red Eagle after the IFR cert and audio panel update. Needless to say, he's been a really good friend, hangar neighbor and safety pilot when needed.  It's a welcome change to my flying at Ocean City, someone that actually LIKES TO FLY.
We made plans to retrieve his Cherokee 180 that had some work done at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. With my work taking up weekdays and the poor weather on the weekends we had to move the flight to today.  I guess if we left early yesterday we could have taken advantage of the sunshine but the rains and winds were coming, so we waited.
 I had 08Romeo detailed by CAVU Aircraft detailing on Friday and Ivan did an excellent job, as usual. Since Saturday was a wait and see I texted the switchbox and turned on the pre-heats for the plane and had the fuel brought to fifty gallons on board. Shortly after taking on fuel and cleaning up the hangar the rains came, good call on waiting until today. 
Chet and I swapped text messages and agreed to meet up at 8am at my hangar. I headed over early making at stop at McD's for some fruit and nut oatmeal for my breakfast. I rolled into the airport and got started on my pre-flight, everything checked out. I did sump more water from my right tank, very little but it took two sumps to come clean. I'm not sure where the water is coming from, maybe condensation. I shut off the pre-heats and tugged the plane out into the sun, we were ready to fly. Since I was early I had a chance to set up my Garmin video camera, electing not to use my Cannon for this flight.

Chet walked up to the hangar, not sure why he doesn't drive in but to each their own. I confirmed our fuel and that the preflight was complete, he was satisfied. We got the fan turning and soon taxied out for runway three-two. I filed IFR today just to get some work in the system and I thought it would be easier to deal with JFK during transit. Once my run-up was complete I contacted Potomac Clearance Delivery and requested my IFR clearance to Republic.

R AF(as filed)
A 3000/expect 7000
F 127.2
T 3605

I wasn't sure I had the frequency correct or the squawk code so after reading back and confirming we were ready to go. One quick change for departure, we were given direct Waterloo (ATR), climb and maintain 5000 which was odd since that was my first fix on the approved as filed route.
Once at cruise it was a smooth flight, headwinds were ranging from 10-18 knots which translates into a longer flight but we had fun. Potomac handed us off to Dover and they in turn handed us off to Atlantic City. It was short ride along with AC and they handed me off to McGuire who dropped me down to five thousand as we approached Sandy Hook. I was handed off to the first of three NY approach sectors and once again dropped to three thousand. I wasn't happy about crossing the water to Breezy Point at the Lower Bay Atlantic ocean mix.
As we crossed Breezy Point, approach turned us to follow the shore line of East Atlantic Beach then cross for Republic. To our right we passed Jones Beach State Park, Oyster Bay, crossed over both Meadowbrook Parkway, and the Wantagh Parkway all while shadowing the Southern State Parkway on an extended left base for runway three-two.
Did I mention how rough the ride was? There was low level wind shear advisories in the ATIS report to go along with gusty winds.  I made a nice landing and taxied for the Echo Ramp where I could not believe how many planes were tied down.
This had to be the most planes I have ever seen on a ramp and there was a constant buzz of planes taking off and landing the whole time I was there.
Chet cleaned the snow off his Cherokee and we each took on fuel for the ride home, hoping the winds would be in our favor. We didn't waste much time, it was cold and windy and my gloves were sitting in my truck warm and toasty, I wish my hands were warm and toasty. With my fuel replenished, I sumped, then climbed aboard to get out the wind and get 08Romeo started. I did take two fuel samples to clear a bit more water from my right tank. 
Chet taxied by and gave a thumbs up and I returned with a thumbs up, we were ready to head home. I heard his call to ground for taxi instructions then I called to pick up my clearance. 
Farmingdale five departure, As filed
A  3000/6000
F  125.7
T  xxxx
I had reviewed arrivals and departure procedures last night and when I got up this morning just in case. The Farmingdale five was easy peasy, for runway three-two. An initial climb to 400' then a climbing right turn to 010° maintain 3000 feet thence...vectors to assigned route/fix expect clearance to assigned altitude. Once checked in with approach and identified I was turned on course direct Kennedy, 6000 feet. 

Chet at -14 and climbing
I heard Chet check in with approach and he was given 6,500 VFR along the coast through the Bravo airspace. I tracked his location the entire trip south on ADS-B. Once in cruise the ride was smooth and I was handed off to each approach in reverse order of the trip north.

I keep my knee pad notes so I could dial in the frequencies ahead of the hand off. Once McGuire handed me off to Atlantic City I road along for a short time then canceled IFR, diverting to Cape May with flight following.  We were going to make a lunch stop and hopefully Charles from Brandywine Airport was going to meet us.
Chet off the coast +5
I was just inland and Chet was shadowing the coast as we each made our way to the airport. I heard Charles check in and then saw his plane pop up on ADS-B.  What great timing, Charles landed then I followed and Chet right behind me. The winds were really gusting and it made for interesting landings. We quickly found seating at the Flight Deck Diner and ordered. It was nice to relax a bit and enjoy good company. Flying, real estate and home building were the topics of discussion while we enjoyed brunch.
Charles 07Tango, Chet +12
We decided we should all get going and headed out to the ramp. We all said our goodbyes and saddled up for home. I was first to roll out and taxied to runway two-eight for departure. Chet and Charles were right behind me as we all bugged out.

I pointed 08Romeo for the Cape May lighthouse to circle and climb for the Delaware Bay crossing. Chet went feet wet at 2,500 and climbing, Charles pointed north for home. We chatted on 123.45 briefly and then switch to the appropriate ATC to monitor. I followed Chet across the Bay and then down the coastline for Ocean City. I had a plane in tow, a Piper Dakota about six miles behind and closing. I made my call at ten miles out, the Dakota pilot also. I caught a glimpse of Chet up ahead crossing the RT.90 bridge at the five mile out mark, the sun lit up his plane over the water.
Conga line for OXB
The Dakota and I traded position reports and within five miles of OXB he passed on my right side. I fell in behind him for entering the left down wind for runway three-two. Chet was number one for the field and I watched him land as the Dakota was turning final. I waited until the Dakota passed my left wing then I turned base to follow, number three for the field.
Marine Parkway Brg and Floyd Bennett Field

It was a fun day flying and always good to have a mission. I enjoyed flight time with Chet and catching up with Charles. I knocked out another new to me airport, shed some rust off the radio skills in busy airspace and logged 4.3 hours.  Life is good! 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Video Equipment and Upgrades

I thought I would post about the equipment I am using for my videos. Some of my oldest flight videos were taken with a camcorder, ancient, I know.  As I posted previously, Mary got me the Garmin VIRB XE for Christmas 2016, it's the primary video recorder that I currently use while flying.
 For Christmas 2017, Santa brought us a Cannon SX720HS 40x zoom. I still forget to bring it with us since I am so conditioned to use my iPhone camera. Well, during 08Romeos spa day I decided to get settled in the cockpit and work with the RAM mounts I have collected over the years and figure out a way to utilize the Cannon. 
I played around with a few positions and what I could capture. I found the passenger window to be the best mounting location to shoot the instruments, and still be able to realign to shoot some of yours truly doing that pilot stuff.

I'm also working on showing the approach plates and maps with an aircraft in motion vs just adding still shots, I think it will provide a better understanding for non-pilots and those who fly will enjoy the added feature.

I gave some thought to adding some background music but I really don't like watching flying videos with music blasting instead of ATC. I did enjoy some low volume background music with sections of video that had the speed increased to plow through long, nothing interesting to see, periods of flight. I guess it all depends and the viewers will let me know what they like or don't like.
Activeon CX Action Camera 1080p
I'm also looking into a camera to be mounted on the tie-down tail position, or strapped to a landing gear for some different views. Some of the cheap cameras should work fine and if it decides to exit the plane connection it won't be a big loss. I'm thinking about the Activeon CX Action Camera 1080p

I hope to get in the air today or tomorrow and get some video with both cameras and learn more about editing.

Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 Flight Plans

With spring just around the corner Mary and I have given some thought to our flying plans.  I gave a two week notice to the consulting company I've been working for with regard to my job in Lewes Delaware. However, they may have something in the Ocean City Maryland area, we shall see. So with the potential for free time we discussed a few destinations.
First up we have the BAC fly-in to Oak Island, North Carolina.  This hop will be late February for a day trip with the possibility of an overnight, we'll make that call as the date gets closer.
Next up we have the Kansas Bonfire event at our friends Ted and Laurie.  We last attended this event in  April 2016, we had a blast. It was a fun time catching up with so many flying friends and getting to spend time with Ted and Laurie's three children. With my foot surgery last January we could not make the 2017 event, I wasn't cleared to fly until May. We don't want to miss two in a row.

This may be a long day of flying (970 miles)if we don't have tail winds and I'm thinking west bound will be all headwinds. We may make an overnight stop, Memphis or St. Louis, arriving early Saturday for the festivities. Following the bonfire event we'll push farther south on Sunday to visit our friend Sandra in Plano, Texas and also Candy and Mark from the Beech Aero Club.
Once we get to visit with our friends we'll make our way the short distance to Waco, Texas to finally visit the Magnolia Market of HGTV fame with Chip and Joanna Gaines. I'm not sure where we will stop coming home but we'll eventually work our way back home and to our zoo.
Sometime in the summer we would finally like to visit Mackinac Island and catch up with our friends Jeff and Lori and their family, near Grand Rapids Michigan.
Summer will be BAC events and trips to see family along with a beach run south tossed in there. Fall weather will signal a push to check out the gulf coast of Florida, Sanibel Island and hopefully back to Key West in 08Romeo.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Ocean County, KMJX

I planned to fly at some point this weekend, and had an extra day, Friday, since work was shut down. With rain showers and strong winds, Friday was a no-go. The one positive, the preheats were on and zero eight romeo is toasty warm. I also posted on Facebook Friday late afternoon if anyone was up for some fly time on Saturday, maybe a lunch run.

I traded text messages with Bob C who was working Saturday in Toms River, NJ.  He and  I decided to meet up and we worked out a good time for each of us. I arrived at Ocean City airport needing to replenish zero eight romeo's fuel supply.  The total take for this morning, thirty gallons.
With the oil and cylinders sufficiently toasted, I climbed aboard and quickly got the fan turning. I noted the weather and NOTAM's one last time and announced my departure on runway three-two. The air was cold, ten degrees, and the Sundowner wasn't making much heat on departure. Once leaned in cruise the heat felt better but I kept my fleece pullover on, along with a scarf and Maui Aviation ball cap. As I approached the Delaware Bay I decided my gloves would serve me better on my hands then keeping the copilot seat warm.
I contacted Atlantic City Approach and checked in at seven thousand five hundred level, and distance from the waterloo (ATR) VOR. Just like that I had  an extra set of eyes watching over me and I always enjoy listening to people's radio work.
Atlantic city eventually handed me off to McGuire approach for the final few miles of flight through the restricted military ops area. Once clear I let down from five thousand five hundred for the pattern altitude at MJX.  I was still high as I approached the left down wind entry so I circled out to the east and re-entered on a forty-five degree for runway two-four. I turned final and still had to lose altitude, I slipped my way to short final and made a nice landing.
Bob was waiting at the Ocean Aire FBO. The folks at Ocean Aire were really nice to deal with and gave us a recommendation for one of the local diners.
Bob drove us over to the Sand Castle Diner located in Beechwood, NJ. The place was clean, the service excellent and probably one of the best burgers ever. I had a cheeseburger with raw onion and a side of fries.

Bob had the Jersey burger, it included cheese, pork roll and was topped with an egg. We sat and chatted for a bit, needing to digest a most excellent lunch.

It's always fun to catch up with Bob and today was no different. It's good to talk some shop with someone that understands our business and of course flying. We headed back to the airport and along the way witnessed a most bizzare incident, ok, strange act by the guy in the car alongside of us.  We were sitting at a traffic light and the guy next to us opens his door to get out. I'm wondering what in the heck is he doing, and he is in a TSA uniform with his jacket covered in official patch and badge. The man kneels down as if looking under his seat and then grabs something and climbs back in the car. I'm watching his hands and he picked up a ring ding cupcake still attached to the white cardboard base from the wrapper.
Obviously he had already consumed one and did not want to miss out on the remaining delight of the pair. Sure enough he brings it up to his mouth and blows on it then stuffs it in his pie hole, he goes one step farther and scrapes the chocolate off the cardboard with his teeth. You just cant make this stuff up, and I had a witness. Your TSA, not only ruining your day at the airport but making me want to lose my lunch. As a side note, the car was a mess, I'll leave it at that.
Finally back at the airport, Bob and I chat with the line guy then head out to the plane. I do a quick fuel check, pull the chocks while Bob pulled the nose plugs. It was time to head home so I climbed aboard and got things squared away. I changed the battery on the VIRB, then proceeded to start zero eight romeo. I picked up the weather, changed up the flight path on Foreflight for the ride home and then taxied out. With my run up complete and engine temps good it was my turn for departure.
I climbed out behind a Cessna and made my turn east to overfly the coast. I thought it would fun to see 'Old Barney' from the air after viewing the lighthouse up close during our family visit to Long Beach Island last August.
I continued down the coast line working my way to six thousand five hundred for the bay crossing. I passed between Atlantic City and the Atlantic City Airport and got a good look at the closed Bader Field, unfortunately, I never had the chance to land there.
Atlantic City
Bader Field
I was fighting headwinds on this leg, fourteen to eighteen knots, which extended this legs flight time. My one hour and four minute flight to MJX turned into one hour and eighteen minutes home. The pattern at Ocean City was quiet and I made my way in reporting at the typical ten and five miles out. A straight in was the approach of choice for runway two-zero and I set zero eight romeo down with a nice landing.
It was fun to catch up with Bob for lunch and knock out a new to me airport. I have a scheduled fly in to Oak Island, NC with the Beech Aero Club on February 24th, that should be fun and provide some good video.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Current Once Again

Today started out like any other day, get up at 5am, find my way to the kitchen with Ziva girl, clean the cat box, get a scoop of food for Ziva and feed her, refill her water bowl.  Today I added feed the cats since Mary wasn't feeling good.  Once the zoo is squared away I get on the computer and update our banking and pop in on facebook while the accounts update. Once that task is complete I get cleaned up and dressed for work.

I wish I could say work was normal....but, I was contacted by the client and advised there are changes to the plans.  Great....our concrete footers have already been placed and we are getting ready to make another day of it placing concrete to finish up the foundation walls. Ughhh...insert screeching car tires....crash and an eyeroll.

The steel guys are inserting hollo bolts (expansion bolts for steel members) for the roof members, and I can check torque numbers tomorrow. The concrete crew is stuck in a holding pattern, no pun intended, so they are pretty much done for the day.  I'm outta here, time to head home, find a safety pilot and go fly.

Time to Fly

I sent Chet K a text and he was available for some flight time. We agreed to meet up at the airport and off I went, iPad in hand, ready to see how much rust had really built up on the instrument skill set. I was a little tense about work but I knew flying would clear my mind and focusing on the approaches would melt the rest of the world away.  I called for fuel and brought 08Romeo back to fifty gallons, check that off my list.  I finished up my pre-flight and the hangar was now windy and cold with the door open. I waited to pull the preheat extension cord and blankets until my last task before tugging the plane on the ramp. 

Chet hopped a ride from the terminal with the fuel truck which made for a few laughs.  All tenants have a card to come through the gates but he always parks in the terminal lot. I'll have to get him to come inside and park. I uncovered and Chet pulled the nose plugs as I hooked up the tow bar and tugged the plane out.  
traffic inbound on the GPS 14 approach
I should mention I turned the preheats on this morning so we didn't have any wait time for engine warm up. I picked up the latest weather and taxied out. Chet and I discussed the plan of attack; three approaches at Ocean city then a couple at Delaware coastal followed by the return home for two more. In that plan I would do a turn or two in the hold and mix in vectors to final as a change up to the typical GPS, fly by the numbers.
Departing on runway two-zero I climbed out for the initial approach fix GOBYO on the RNAV GPS 32 approach. Over the ocean at two thousand feet I follow on course, hold steady altitude, simulating breaking out of the clag at six hundred feet vs the decision height of two sixty one.

I powered up, climbing out to the designated missed approach fix, PFAIR. After knocking out the hold requirement I shot the RNAV GPS 14 approach to minimums, seven hundred feet. Surprisingly I didn't feel rusty at all.  Following the approach for GPS 14, I climbed out to  the south and the initial approach fix CIRAN for the procedure turn for RNAV GPS 2.
Trying to change it up, we pointed 08Romeo towards Delaware Coastal. I mixed in with the state police helicopter also shooting approaches, and was number two on the RNAV GPS 22 approach. I wanted to do another round but decided on two more back at ocean city. I set up for the GPS 14 but changed it up by role playing ATC and using vectors to final. Another low pass and a climb out for the GPS 2 approach set me up for another round of VTF and a fun approach resulting in an entry for the left down wind two-zero. 
I managed a smooth landing to close out today's flying and taxied clear, now headed to the hangar.  Special thanks to Chet for his safety pilot services!  It feels great to be current again!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Chester County, KMQS

I woke up this morning with an upset stomach but it settled down when I had a few Club crackers and hot tea.  Mary showed me the new feeding routine for the cats and I manage to get the boys fed without screwing it up. Our George boy is on a diet, he really blew up when we were forced to feed Inky a special diet of DM dry food to deal with his diabetes. Jake is taking a pill, crushed into dust, for his thyroid issues.  Our fur babies are getting up in age, they are all 14 this year. After Ziva was fed I decided to do some wash and then get my gear together to fly.
The weather looks great and 08Romeos pre-heats have been on since Friday afternoon, it's time to fly. I posted on Facebook and Adam Z was a go to meet up for breakfast. We swapped phone calls and a final confirmation around 10am as I was heading out of Ocean Pines for the airport. The winds were blowing as I opened the hangar door, removed both moving blankets and nose plugs to tug the plane out. I closed the hangar door and with my preflight checks completed climbed aboard 08Romeo.
The plan was a straight shot to Chester County, picking up flight following if it seemed busy. The ride on climb out was bumpy but in cruise at four thousand five hundred it was hands in my lap smooth. I gave some thought to sirus radio for some sing along time but instead made my call to Dover Approach for flight following. With my position confirmed I continued north enjoying the view. Dover called me to change my squawk code from 22 something to 5 something, odd, I cant remember the last time my transponder code was changed with the same approach control. Traffic picked up north of Dover with a few DSU planes in the training area and crossing my flight path. Once clear Dover handed me off to Philly.
I switched to Philly approach and waited for a break in the action, it was busy. Before I could jump in ATC was giving one aircraft instruction and rolled right into calling me to see if I was up (on frequency). I responded and continued on for MQS.  Once clear of Wilmington and the outer ring of Philly's class Bravo I cancelled flight following.  I was ten minutes out from my destination so I started down, the ride certainly got interesting.  The video shows some of the rolling action but it doesn't show the few times the bottom dropped out and my seat and I separated.
The pattern was busy at Chester County and in that buzz of position reports I heard Adam check in.  I followed with my position report and worked my plan of entry. Since there was Adam in his Bonanza and a cirrus I would be at least number three for the airport. Instead of entering the down wind at midfield I decided to turn away from the airport, circle and then re-enter on a 45 for the left down wind runway two-nine. The plan worked out perfect, the spacing was the right call and I fell in line behind the cirrus. As the cirrus passed my left side,on final, I made my base turn and followed them to the runway. 
KEVY - Summit
Now turning final myself I watch the cirrus roll out clearing the runway. I added the last notch of flaps, despite the wind gusts, and continued for the numbers.  Gusting winds are from the left side on runway two-nine. The thought is to plant my left main on the runway followed by the right and then hope to ride it out and get the nose wheel down.  As soon as I rolled the left main on I felt a gust lift the left wing as the right main felt like it started to side load. I added some power to salvage the landing and get enough air to try rolling it on again only to bounce it in. I immediately went full power so I didn't plant the nose wheel and start the downhill slide of a porpoise to an ugly ending. Grrr...last week my landings were most excellent, today, I paid for them.  I announce going around and make one more lap in the pattern for a second try.  Attempt number two was back to normal and I rolled it on, oh the life of a pilot.
Adam and I walked into the terminal only to find out that the Flying Machine cafĂ© is closed. Closed as in out of business.  The line guys seem to think someone will reopen, I hope so. At least for today we caught a ride with the FBO line guys to the airport entrance on RT30 and enjoyed breakfast at the Lincoln Diner.  Service was excellent and the food was good too.  It was great to catch up with Adam and talk flying. We finished up and headed back to the airport with another ride from the FBO line guys.
Delaware river and Salem nuke plant in NJ
We each did a walk around and climbed aboard our aircraft. Adam was headed to Reading for a few more landings and I was going straight home. I did consider making a side trip over Lewes to take a few job photos but didn't want to deal with the winds. I launched and climbed out riding the bucking horse once again until above three thousand five hundred, and settling in at five thousand five hundred for the cruise home.
I eventually picked up flight following with Dover and worked my way south. Once clear of Delaware Coastal (KGED) I canceled flight following and let down to clear the scattered to few cloud layer at four thousand. Delaware coastal is only a ten minute hop home so how bad could it be.  Well buckle up cowboy the ride is on. The gusty winds are still hanging out below three and those last few miles were game on.  I made my position calls and set up for a straight in on runway two zero, I had the airport to myself.  I ended the day with an ok landing and taxied back to the hangar. Overall, a good day flying despite the rough ride and blown landing at MQS.