Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Go Around or Not?
I always enjoy reading about safety items or safety procedures when it comes to flying.  A fellow pilot posted this article on Facebook and I wanted to share it with my blog readers.

You can check out Pilot Workshops by clicking on their logo at the top of the page and you can click on the title, Go Around or Not for direct access to the article and listen to Wally Moran narrate.

I can't say I have followed this procedure to the letter but I will say when my GPS provides the audible alert to five hundred feet I make the decision. It's a quick read of the airport environment along with my airspeed before adding the last notch of flaps and landing. Just because I committed to land doesn't mean I won't go around if it doesn't feel right crossing over the numbers. For those times I make a landing beyond flat and porpoise or wheelbarrow, then decide saving the nose gear and prop are a better choice, trying one more loop in the pattern. We all have those crap landing days.


Go Around or Not?

Featuring Wally Moran
Subscriber Question:
"When should I give up on an approach and go-around? How do I recognize a non-stabilized approach?" - Walter W.

"Ask the guys who have landed long and have gone off the end of the runway.  They will tell you to go around early and often. But, sadly it’s too late for them. Almost all runway over-runs started with an unstabilized approach.

go_around_or_not_UPDATED.pngI think the first sign of an unstabilized approach is that little voice in the back of your head telling you something is not right. We all have made lots of good approaches and it is not too hard to tell when things just don’t look right. But the urge is strong to press on and see if we can’t get it all together by touchdown.

So the real question is - When is it too late to save the approach?

At the airline I worked for, our policy on visual approaches was to have all parameters where they were supposed to be prior to reaching 500 feet above ground level. In our case the parameters were speed stabilized at proper approach speed, sink rate stabilized at less than 1000FPM and final flap configuration. I always planned to have all that done at 1000 feet then if I missed a little, I still had time to fix it before 500 feet. Now if we were making an instrument approach then we needed all those things at the FAF. A go-around was mandatory if we were not on those numbers.

That policy worked good for me for many years so that is what I use for my general aviation flying. I try to recognize 500 feet above the ground on all visual approaches and at that time I double check that the green gear light is on, confirm my speed to be within 10 mph of my target and in a position that given my current sink rate I will land where I planned. If I don’t have the airplane within those parameters, I go around.

I always plan to land just past the numbers except on very long runways where it may be advantageous to land at a different spot. But, I always have a spot planned.  If I am doing an instrument approach I plan to be stabilized with gear down and landing checklist complete prior to the FAF. I am simply too busy flying the approach to be bothered with changing airspeeds, trimming and checklists inside the FAF.

The pilot who has not thought this through ahead of time will someday find himself floating down the runway wondering if it’s too late to go around or if he will get stopped by the end of the runway. This is a poor time and place to try to make that decision. On the other hand, having already made the decision on approach standards before you takeoff, you only have to execute the missed approach if you don’t meet the standards." 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Family Visit

The title may be a bit misleading. This is not a quick trip with Mary and I to visit family but a most appreciated visit by my niece Katie, her daughter Brooke and boyfriend Mike. How refreshing, the younger generation comes to visit the "old" folks, it made our day.

Brooke made a best friend in Ziva, and I'm happy to report that when we headed off to bed this evening Ziva had no play left in her, she went straight to her bed, curled up, and was down for the count. Thank-you Brooke.
We had fun catching up and talking horses and pets. Katie loves horses and recently acquired Dream, a beautiful paint that both her and Brooke ride. Mike and I agree it's another feed bill, having owned three horses at one time I know the drill. Mike and Katie also have two dogs, an Australian Shepard and big old man part Great Dane.
Mike and Katie turned us on to a security camera that they can access via the internet and a home wifi connection that also lets you talk to whoever is in the house. Their friend Laura was pet sitting and of course they accessed the voice option to demonstrate and scared the heck out of her. I think I'll be heading to Best Buy and set that up in the house.
We decided to head out for lunch and after many choices decided on the Full Moon Saloon in West Ocean City. The food was very good but it took forever to get out to the table, not typical for one of our favorite places. The fish tacos were very good and Brooke's wings looked yummy too.
Katie, "I'm strong I can do this"
After filling the tummies it was time to fly. Mike wanted some fly time and Brooke sounded like she might and Katie was a no go. Once we tugged 08Romeo out Brooke was a no go, Katie convinced herself to try it and Mike was still all in. Mary and Brooke stayed behind in the SUV enjoying the air conditioning.

flying towards Assateague, south of OXB and OC
I can't remember the last time I had to do a pre-flight briefing. I did explain the exit procedure in case of an emergency landing and the run up process before take off, everything else was a swing and miss. We launched off runway two-zero and climbed out south to overfly Assateague. We were hoping to see some horses but there was nothing but people out on the beach.
RT 50 bridge and the inlet top left
Next we headed up the bay with Ocean City off our right wing. It was a smooth and comfortable flight and my passengers seemed to be enjoying the view. Mike's dad was a pilot so Mike was around planes when he was younger. I asked if he wanted to fly and he said he was happy enjoying the view. I get that. Often when flying with friends I'll just soak up the view, it never gets old.
We made our way north to Bethany Beach and then I turned out over the ocean so Katie and Mike could view the beach as we headed south. Once past RT 90 I turned west across the bay and made our way back to Ocean City Airport. It was busy today, with training aircraft, the jump plane and a few transient aircraft.
As I descended below two thousand feet there were a few bumps. I made my position calls and aligned us for a landing on runway two-zero. I was good passing over the numbers until I went to set 08Romeo down. At the moment the mains should have touched I flattened out and then had a little bounce, adding power to land once again, flat. Ughh...not the way I wanted that to end.
Isle of Wight at RT 90
 We taxied in and secured 08Romeo. My Bride and Brooke were nowhere to be found. Mike quickly added that he was sure Brooke talked Mary into ice cream, no, not without me. As we finished up Mary and Brooke came rolling in, yes, they had ice cream. Mary said they wanted to see us land but as they were heading back to the airport I flew overhead on final, they missed.
Rt 50 bridge and inlet, short final
It was a fun time flying but better yet a welcome visit by my niece. Mary and I really appreciate Katie and Mike thinking of us and taking the time to stop in and visit. They are always welcome here and we hope to see the trio again for some beach time. Mike and I can fly while the ladies beach and he can kick my butt at a round of golf.

Article: Entry-Level Travel

As I sit here on a gorgeous Friday morning in Ocean City, I'm reading my recent copy of Aviation Safety. I'm settled in with a mug of hot chocolate topped with whip cream and flipping through pages.

I usually flip through looking for an article that stands out, catches my interest, before starting at the beginning.  Just like in the days of newspapers I would dig into the sports pages then go back and start with the headlines.

The cover photo caught my eye, a Cessna, with the title noted below.
Entry-Level Travel
Yes, you can use a slow airplane to travel. Differently. Page 16

"The problem with an airplane like that is you can’t really use it for travel,” said a pilot looking out the FBO window at a Cherokee 140 sitting on the ramp. That pilot was saying that an entry-level airplane—think two or four seats, fixed gear and no more than 160 hp—can’t go places.

I about spit my hot chocolate out. The author, Dave Higdon, goes on to defend the bug smashers, making a funny relating back to Lindbergh's flight.

"Sorry St. Louis, I'm not flying to Paris unless I can average a buck-fifty...No. Lindbergh flew more than 33 hours between Long Island and LeBourget, averaging 107 mph over 3600 miles."

The comment from the pilot in the FBO was made about the authors very aircraft. Mr. Higdon goes on to makes the case, how to use the typical four seat single engine for travel.

The author walks through his steps about utilizing his plane, a Cherokee 140, to travel. As he noted, You gotta start somewhere, and he did, right out of the gate. Six days after passing his private pilot check ride he and his bride flew from Wichita Kansas to Washington, D.C. That's a big first step in my book.

Higdon goes on to talk about planning and being flexible, his suggested minimum equipment list and strongly encourages obtaining an instrument rating. I agree with his article and have blogged about some of these very topics.
  • Nothing beats a good plan, and a plan B
  • Keep current data for electronics up to date
  • Read and research your destination
  • Know your equipment, and its limitations
  • Get that instrument rating
I take a lot of flack about my Sundowner being so slow, but I think I travel more than most owners and I'll sacrifice speed for comfort any day of the week. In the article Higdon shared the thoughts of his friend that stated, "It's just like flying a short day trip, except when you take off again you don't go back. You keep going in the same direction." This gave me a good chuckle and immediately brought back memories of Bo Boggs and hearing him say "Cross country flights are like eating a pizza, one bite at a time."

It's time for me to get motivated and get a few things done around the house, maybe even take 08Romeo out for a quick hop.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Family Visit to Long Beach Island, NJ

Mary and I made plans to visit her brother Mark and his family at their beach house on Long Beach Island. Mark and Lynn's home is located in Harvey Cedars, which is located half way between Surf City, New Jersey and the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park at the north end of LBI.

08Romeo needed to take on some fuel so we headed to the airport, making one stop for breakfast at McD's. We rolled through the airport gate at 7 am, called for fuel then sat and ate our oatmeal. John was on the fuel truck this morning and he brought us up to fifty gallons total with a sixteen gallon top off.

I had filed last night for the one hour hop and decided to pick up my clearance in the air since the NEW remote outlet frequency at OXB is already out of service. We climbed out of Ocean City pointing 08Romeo towards Cape Henlopen looking for five thousand feet for our cruise. I contacted Dover approach and opened my instrument flight plan and was directed to maintain VFR squawk 4733.  Hmm, ok this is different. I continued climbing and Dover returned with a route amendment direct Waterloo (ATR) then as filed.

That's not really much out of the way and honestly, I expected it. As I made my way towards ATR, Dover amended the route again with a simple direct SIE, Sea Isle VOR. Not sure why he didn't just turn me direct instead of "amending" the route. It sure beats the heck out of me, I don't try and figure it out anymore. If it looks good on my route I just comply.
Passing over Cape Henlopen
Cool temps at 5000'
We crossed the Delaware Bay with no mic audio on the VIRB. Then as we switched over to Atlantic City it started to work, not a clue what's up with that. The flight was smooth with a tail wind, maybe seven to ten knots. Atlantic City stepped me down from five to four then three thousand and asked me to report the field in sight. The rest of my route hadn't changed, I was still headed to the HOGGS fix.
Cape May ferry terminal
Atlantic City NJ
Atlantic City asked if I was direct Eagles Nest and I responded that I wasn't cleared direct. Approach turned me direct and I soon canceled in the air with the field now in view. As I turned final I spotted a tower left of center line that was now yellow on my Garmin 496 GPS. I had a clear view and stayed north, it's clearly visible on the video and you can watch it pass under the left wing.
I made a nice landing and taxied for a tie down in front of the office. I remembered to note the office codes from the web page which provided access to the bathrooms, always an important item. The rental Jeep Grand Cherokee was parked and waiting for us so we picked up the keys and headed out to find our way to Harvey Cedars.
What did we ever do before our phones and the GPS maps? I plugged in the address and away we went.  The ride was maybe thirty minutes, just fifteen miles. It was fun to see the many shops and typical beach bike rentals scattered along our route. We made it to Mark and Lynn's, their house was the second from the dunes at the ocean, it was really nice.
After  Mary had some baby time with Brennan we headed out for a tour of the town. Mark and Lynn have been coming to Long Beach Island for thirty (Mark) and forty one years for Lynn.  The impromptu tour was detailed and educational. I really enjoyed the harbor tour and our visit to the Barnegat Bay Lighthouse.
75th Street Beach and Yacht Club
Barnegate Bay Lighthouse (Old Barney) with a biplane giving rides overhead
One of many commercial fishing boats
This homeowner set up a safe zone for turtles to lay their eggs. They come back every year.
We returned to the beach house and enjoyed BLT's for lunch. Jersey tomatoes, the best tasting tomatoes on the planet. It was fun to see the new beach house and  spend some time together with family. As with any fun time, time seems to fly by. We sadly had to say our goodbyes and make our way back to the airport.

Once the rental was secure we headed into the office. There is a $15 landing fee for singles, a bit steep, but it does help the airport. I dug into my pocket for some cash but only had a twenty, two fives and a dollar.  I'm not leaving a twenty. I stuffed two fives in an envelope and Mary grabbed an extra self addressed envelope so I can send the remaining balance once we get home.

As I completed my preflight I heard voices then a scream, dear Lord, more sky divers. I can't get away from them! I finished up and climbed aboard 08Romeo, we were ready to get the fan turning. The winds now favored runway one-four so I taxied to the hold short and completed my run up.  I announced our departure and rolled for the numbers, adding a notch of flaps for  take off. 08Romeo climbed for the coast so I could gain some altitude before crossing above the Atlantic City class C airspace, whose ceiling was 4,100 feet. Atlantic city approach gave me five thousand, expect six thousand shortly. No problem, I wanted more altitude to recross the Delaware Bay.
Atlantic city handed me off to Dover approach as I passed south of Ocean City New Jersey. I road along with Dover until safely across the bay then cancelled IFR for the last fifteen minutes of the flight.  Dover asked me to keep my squawk code and advise altitude.  I responded, leaving six for four thousand and went along my way. Once I was within ten miles I started my descent, working my way to two thousand.  I knew this would trigger Dover to cut me loose, and it did.
"08Romeo squawk vfr, frequency change approved."  I acknowledged then motored south with a smirk on my face. There was only one plane in the pattern at OXB, a Cessna, taking off and heading north, towards me. We swapped position calls and continued with that pilot stuff that we do.
I made another nice landing and taxied clear, heading  for the hangar. No clean up time for 08Romeo today, we needed to get home and let Ziva out. Our girl has been in the house since 7am and it's now just past 4:30, a long day.

The house was intact and the zoo was ready to eat when we walked in. With the critters squared away I started working on this write up but ended up calling it a night, I was tired and thirsty. I grabbed something to drink and headed off to bed.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Vlog Experiment

What does it mean to vlog?
A vlog (or video blog) is a blog that contains video content. The small, but growing, segment of the blogosphere devoted to vlogs is sometimes referred to as the vlogosphere.
I decided to give the vlog a try.  After watching Last Man Standings, Tim Allen,I was motivated. Ok, some motivation came from the "Mike Baxter" character but honestly all the sailing refit vlogs really gave me the push to give it a shot. Having a video of my flights has been fun and I hope to add more approaches in instrument conditions at some point. The thought of added video of our destinations and explorations will be a welcome addition to the pictures we take.
I am going to start with a video follow up from yesterdays disaster trying to inspect the plane and somehow get some good video. I only left the intro since Mary and I both laughed at my goofy facial expressions, we thought the blog readers would have a good laugh too.
So, here is my first attempt at a vlog. I obviously need to stop looking out the window and make better eye contact with the camera. 
What are your thoughts? Should I stick to my retired life and no video, stay with blog entries only adding just flying videos, or continue to give the vlog a try?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Maintenance Day

I decided to take advantage of the cooler weather this morning and head over to the hangar for some maintenance issues. I loaded up the Ziva pup and few tools along with some anti-freeze and the Garmin  VIRB.

I guess I have been inspired by watching all the sailboat refit videos on you tube. I decided I need to use my camera more and figured today would be a good start.

My little ranger pick up truck spewed coolant on a previous airport visit. I couldn't locate the source of the leak that day, needing a few tools to remove a shield blocking my view of the radiator bottom and hose connection. Today I had sockets and assorted tools to get the job done.

Play time comes first so Ziva and I went for a walk and she decided to run the fence line multiple times, along with her izzy dizzy drills running high speed tight circles.  I don't get it, and I gave up trying to figure out why she loves doing that maneuver. We finally retreated to the hangar for a cool drink, her water from a gallon jug in the fridge and a Gatorade for me.

Time to get to work...

I opened the truck up to get some cool air circulating and release the hood latch. I used one of 08Romeo's winter cowl cover moving blankets to ease my ground work while on my knees and crawling under the front end. I quickly removed the shield and the hoses looked fine, no visble leaks or stains from leaks. I crawled back out from under to top off the coolant, hardly took any at all, and then start the truck.
I let the Ranger run until it showed some temp on the gauge and then crawled back under to check for leaks. Not a drop to be found. Hmmm...I shut the truck off and figured maybe it would leak from the pressure build up now that it stopped circulating, nadda. I rechecked the coolant level and it was perfect, I haven't got a clue.  I decided to take ranger for a drive around the hangars and try to build up more heat, no change, not a drop. I guess I'll move this repair to the divine intervention category. Actually, I'll move the truck from the airport to the house and see if that triggers anything.

On to 08Romeo...

I have noticed more oily type grease from the nose landing gear. I think it is coming from either an oil leak or the grease is breaking down in the extreme heat in the hangar.

First the cowl needs to come off. Of course the winds started to pick up and all I could think of is me either tripping over the dog or a gust taking the cowl out of my hands. Fortunately the cowl came off without a problem and I gently set it down next to the plane, in one piece.

I did find some oil splatter, very light, on two hoses near the firewall and some residue on top of cylinder 2 around the push rod shroud tube. I cleaned everything up and then took a look at each valve cover and the bottom cowl for any oil leak that may have collected there.
I checked around the oil filter, filler tube and just about everywhere I could think there might be a leak. Everything looked clean, so for now I rehung the cowl and cleaned up any fingerprints.

push rod shroud tube

I think I am going to purchase a new grease gun and grease for the plane. I'll re-grease the nose and main landing gear fittings just to be safe. I'll also check with the shop when I get the oil changed later this month in prep for our BACFest flight in September. For now I am going to search the internet for some new exhaust gas temp probes.

lower cowl is clean

Where is the rest of the video? I'm only providing the intro, the rest was poor camera angles, not enough light looking down into the bottom cowl and it just sucked. I really need to refine my video skills for ground work. I will have to dig out my tripod for better shots and find something small to clamp in a safe position in order to free up my hands and not take pictures of my feet, the ground or whatever should not be in the shot. Kudus to the sailboat guys that do a great job, I have a new appreciation for your work.

Next up, a flight across the Delaware Bay to Eagles Nest Airport (31N) in West Creek, New Jersey. Mary and I are going to spend a day with her brother and his family at Long Beach Island. I will need to call and check on the availability of a car rental.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Book Review: The Magnolia Story

Mary and I are faithful watchers of Chip and Joanna Gaines show, Fixer Upper, on HGTV. I read the book cover to cover in one night, I couldn't put it down. The book is all the background info you want to know if you watch the show. Honestly, how many shows do you watch that you wished provided more background on the characters. In this book Joanna and Chip share about their lives growing up, from school through college and the relocations along the way. They both walk us through how they met and how the early years shaped their story. The strong family ties and their faith was evident, it was very refreshing to say the least. It's a great read about hard work paying off and how the tough times drew them closer to each other.  I'm looking forward to their next book, Capital Gaines, due out in the fall.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Breakfast Flight

Mary and I decided we would fly north rather than drive so we could meet up with my brother and sign our documents for the taxman. We planned to head out early in the morning and be in the air by 8am.


We make good time getting ready and taking care of the zoo. Ziva follows me to the garage door and thinks she is going to the airport with us, not today baby girl.
We roll through the tenant gate and to our hangar where the pre-flight routine kicks in. I open up the hangar door while Mary moves the Ranger pick-up. 08Romeo is tugged out and I complete the pre-flight with a fuel check. Crap! I thought I had more fuel remaining after my last flight so I didn't give a second thought to topping off yesterday. I now required the fuel truck and the airport terminal was just opening. I called for fuel and then watched the Op's folks perform their runway checks before grabbing the truck. I get it, there is an established routine and runway checks are very important.
Mary and I climb back in the ML320 and at least we have the air conditioning to keep us cool. I hear the fuel truck so I jump out and get my caps removed. Jonathan is on the truck today and he is always friendly and seemingly in a good mood. I ask for fuel to the slots which will give me twenty gallons a side, plenty for the trip in both directions.
plenty of haze
With the fuel sump completed we board, and I finish my inside checklist. I call clear prop and get the fan turning to taxi out and provide relief from the heat. I watch a Cirrus land after he reported a right down wind for runway three-two. I'm not sure what these pilots read or review but traffic patterns at Ocean City are all left.  More on this later.
With the Cirrus clear I announce and take off for Summit, KEVY. Once clear of the pattern I make a last call noting my departure to the north. The ride today was smooth and pretty much hands free. I decided to pick up flight following once I heard Dover directing "heavies". I figure if there are C-5's in the area I should be talking to approach. I also painted multiple targets so the extra eyes for the ride would be welcome.
C5 setting up for an approach into DAFB
I cancelled with Dover maybe fifteen miles south of Summit. I wanted to switch over to listen for any traffic as we made our way in. I continued in making my typical ten and five mile calls for runway three-five. On final I noticed an aircraft at the hold short so I landed a bit longer than normal and used the mid-field high speed taxi-way. Mary and I secured the plane in front of the terminal and put our sun shields in place to keep things cool.

Joe and Janice were sitting out front as we walked out the door, great timing. It was a short ride to Bob Evans for breakfast. Service was fast and the food good, well, except for Mary's Sausage and biscuits. Mary said she was happy she had ordered an egg on the side.
Photo from our Flight to KGED in 2008
It's always fun catching up with Joe and Janice. We headed back to their home to sign some papers and just hang out and catch up. Always very relaxing and plenty of laughs. We got to check out Joe's new bike and Mary gave it a whirl, she loved it. Our new bikes (from Christmas) have sat idle with my then work schedule and this year my foot. We hope to get some boardwalk riding in this fall.
We had to get back to the airport and head south since we promised we would pick up our friend Pam from the Salisbury airport around 3pm. Joe and Janice ran us back over to the plane and we said our goodbyes. I settled up my fuel bill, having taken on ten gallons, and then headed out to the ramp. I completed a pre-flight and sumped the tanks before climbing aboard. It was good to get the fan turning and move some air, it was getting hot.
The Monster Mile
I took off on runway three-five climbing towards the C&D canal, just over the nose. I made a left turn and departed the area on the left down wind, pointing for home. Another smooth ride, this time just below a few to scattered layer. I once again picked up flight following with Dover approach for our flight south. South of Dover I picked up traffic on ADS-B but never had a visual on them. To our right was the Delaware State Police helicopter N1SP as our shadow. Never had a visual on them until we saw them landing at Delaware Coastal, KGED.
State Police shadow (N1SP)
I cancelled flight following and switched over to Ocean City to get a feel for the traffic. I had a few targets but didn't hear much chatter. After my five mile call I did hear a pilot flying a Piper Cub that he was orbiting over the field at two thousand. As I set up to enter on a left base for runway one-four the cub announced he would enter the right down wind for one-four. Ughhh...I couldn't help myself. I responded the patterns for Ocean City are left traffic, not a problem I thought, I'll adjust and land number two. The Cub pilot instead headed towards Assateague and eventually landed when I was pushing 08Romeo back in the hangar.

A fun day flying and catching up with family! We secured 08Romeo and headed for the house to let Ziva out then immediately turned and burned for Salisbury. I think we got to the terminal at 3:10. Pam walked out the door and I loaded her bags in the back of the ML320 and off we went for home.
Mary and I mixed up a pair of Mermaid Lemonades and some guacamole with blue corn tortilla chips with sea salt for dinner. A happy ending to a fun day.