Saturday, March 21, 2015

Detailed by CAVU

This morning I was scheduled to meet Ivan, the owner of CAVU Aircraft Detailing, at 8 am at the tenants access gate. I was a bit early but Ivan rolled through the gates on time.  I opened up the hangar and had to move the VW Cabrio out of the way, it decided it was not going to start, just give a few clicks to let me know it sat idle to long. I was ready for this and pulled my SUV alongside, hooked up cables and got the Cabrio running on the first shot. I disconnected my battery minder and engine pre-heat so we could roll 08Romeo out for a bath.
I had to be back over the house by 8:30 to meet the installer from media-com who was going to provide a hard line telephone hook up.....let's not have this discussion.   The phone is in and it works, not sure who still calls on a hard line and does not use a cell phone.
My first weekend retired, that sounds nice. Well, it was a busy one.  I washed the SUV and the Cabrio by hand, I honestly can't remember the last time I did that. Both vehicles looked great, Ziva was only slightly wet and I managed to somehow stay dry.
Mary was off to Berlin to browse the main street stores with her friend Jo Ann that came down this morning. I made sure Ziva was squared away and then I went to the home and condo show located at the Ocean City convention hall.  I wanted to support Ted and Pam, Pipeline Contracting LLC, and check out some home solar info.
I finally made it back to the airport so I could use my shop vac and clean out the cabrio to complete the clean up. I hung out and talked with Ivan and met a few locals that stopped by to pick up his business card,  and one to chat about my Sundowner.  I did finally meet RonOC from the AOPA forum.  Ron has his plane hangared in the row behind me and he flys a 172. We have traded messages on the forum but until today haven't been able to cross paths.

Ivan finished up 08Romeo and I locked up the hangar. 08Romeo's reiff heaters were plugged in and so was the battery minder, she is ready for her next mission, wx permitting will be Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sunday 3/22

I took Mary over to see the final product and she could not believe how clean and bright the white was on the plane. We are both very happy with the work performed by CAVU Detailing. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


 Bucket List

With retirement just a week away, yes, I’m taking some vacation to get out even earlier than planned, I'm thinking about my flying bucket list. Mary and I will take more four day get-away weekends to explore some new places.  Of course we have pets to think about so cats must be boarded and we hope to travel with our lap dog (American Mastiff) Ziva.
I have found a few web links that list rentals for pet owners so at least I have a place to start. I guess the first step in the process is to compile ‘the list’ of where we want to go.  Since Mary does not post on the blog I’ll start out with my list which does include some of our favorites.
We both would like to get back to Maine, really nice people and beautiful views both of the water and mountains. Mary wants to visit family in Boston and we would both like to visit Ted, Laurie and the kids in Ohio.  It would be great to fly down and catch up with Linda and Dick in Nags head South Carolina and enjoy some beach time.  Charleston SC is on the top of our list, Jekyll Island, Atlanta and a host of other southern destinations.  A trip to the Bahamas is also on our short list and getting back to the Keys as often as possible.  Actually we are headed down to Marathon in April for some R&R and to locate rentals that will accept 112 lbs of furry lap dog.
Turning to the west I would like to spend some additional time in Nashville and visit Memphis.  We both want to visit Mackinac and eventually explore farther, finding new locations and meeting up with our flying friends.

Since I turned in my papers I have felt re-energized….I’m getting into work an hour ahead of my normal start time and staying past my normal bolt out the door quitting time. Maybe I just want to make sure my projects are ready to hand off with no issues, maybe I’m just counting down the days.  I’ve taken the time to meet with my close friends at our facilities to say goodbye to the folks who I really enjoyed working with, the core team that always worked well together. My office is empty, just the basics left here to function and my 08Romeo model on my desk to keep me focused on the final prize.
The new chapter that lies ahead is both exciting and scary.  I’m most looking forward to spending time with my Bride, I hope she feels the same about me after the first month.  The blog should be more active with more flying posts and pictures of our travels. Spring is almost here!
Stay tuned for our Marathon trip report!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Finally, Some Flight Time

Looking back through my log book I see that it has been one month to the date since I last had 08Romeo in the air.  It was gorgeous Saturday but we had errands to run and we met up with our neighbors for lunch. So, today I was going to fly, bore holes in the sky, get the oil pumping, knock the rust off, you're following me here.
Last night I posted on Facebook that I was going to meet up with my friend Jeff from the Richmond, Virginia area, KFCI to be exact.  Jeff and I texted back and forth and decided on 10am for eats at KGED, Sussex County Airport located in Georgetown, Delaware.  Bob C saw the Facebook post then texted for the details.
Mary was dealing with a migraine that hit late last night and we have a supper club event this evening so she decided to try and sleep this one out.  I took care of the zoo, put in a load of wash and made sure Mary was all set with something cold to drink and a dark room. I was off for the airport.
I got to Ocean City airport around 8:30 so I had at least an hour to kill since my flight was really less than fifteen minutes straight shot. I did my pre-flight and left 08Romeo plugged in, with a moving blanket on the cowl to keep her warm. I took the VW Cabrio out for a spin around the hangars then out to the airport terminal. There was breakfast being served for a donation of $7....I should have ate there!! I checked in with the folks in the office and hung out to chat with Don from Express rental cars.
I figured I bothered everyone long enough so I headed back to 08Romeo. I had the tunes playing while I disconnected the battery maintainer and the pre-heat extension cord from my switchbox controller. Both the VW and my ML320 were locked and parked out of the way at the end of the hangar and the hangar door was closed and's time to fly!! I had great oil temps since I turned on the heaters Friday night. A few blades and 08Romeo was once again patiently waiting at a smooth idle.
I picked up the wx and then launched for Georgetown/Sussex County. Headwinds for the short hop with indicated speeds around 100-108 and ground speed 81 knots. I made my position calls and landed on runway two two soft and short. Fuel was $4.50 a gallon with an added ten cent a gallon discount for eating at the restaurant.  I took on 20 gallons for $88. Jeff, Scott and Bryan landed in the Saratoga, that is one bad ass sounding plane. Bob soon followed in the Cessna 172.

We grabbed a table and enjoyed the buffet. Good eats and great company! Scott bought lunch today....Thanks Scott!
We all went out to look at our planes and on the way I was stopped by a man who reads my blog. We had met before and he said he always reads the blog and noted he used a link for medical info that I had posted.  Glad to be of service, thanks for reading!
We all said our goodbyes and headed for our rides. I taxied out behind Jeff and launched when he was away. Great tail wind for the hop home even if it did make for a bumpy ride. I swapped calls with a Cardinal and fell in number two for landing on runway three two. The cardinal didn't like his attempt and went around, I nailed another landing and taxied clear.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Support the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2

Send Letters to Congress 

Contact your Senators and Representatives and urge them to co-sponsor and support S. 571 and H.R. 1062, the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2. EAA helped to draft the newly introduced twin bills, and they already have bipartisan support from top lawmakers. The bill aims to allow pilots flying certain aircraft to operate using a driver’s license in lieu of a traditional third-class medical, and it will build upon the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights in ensuring that pilots and other airman are given due process in enforcement proceedings.

The medical aspects of the legislation would build upon the remarkable safety record proven by a decade of light-sport aircraft (LSA) operations. This success shows that it’s time to widen the pool of recreational pilots who can enjoy flying their small aircraft without the expense and regulatory burden of third-class medical certification.
In addition to reforming the 3rd class medical, the bill would extend important procedural rights to pilots facing FAA investigations, and protect FAA designees and volunteer pilots from liability.

Monday, February 23, 2015

When a portable becomes primary

I read a great article this morning on the AOPA web page, "When a Portable Becomes Primary".  We all train for what if scenarios and I know my CFII Mike tortures me on every BFR.  I guess this all ties into the current AND proficient discussion.
I've reposted on my blog because I really believe the training can save a life.  I know I will check the battery level on my portable, which is most likely dead.  I am going to set up a charger so I can keep my portable ready to go, full charge, in the hangar. I do have the adapter for my headset and a four foot patch cord that can easily tie into my outside antenna from the right side of my panel. I'll take some pictures and report back after my flying test.

Illustration by John Ueland
By Dave Hirschman
Cessna 210 pilot David Churchill wanted to do more with his regular instrument proficiency check than simply shoot approaches, so we came up with a plan that required him to use the portable GPS and handheld radio he carries as backups—but has never had to rely on it in a pinch.
The scenario we came up with was centered on a simulated electrical fire that required turning off the electrical master switch in flight, and leaving it off. We’d plug in a hand-held radio for communication and use Churchill’s portable Garmin 696 for GPS guidance.
To make our practice session even more demanding, we’d do it over West Virginia, where jagged terrain adds another layer of complexity. As it turned out, there were some surprises for both pilot and instructor.
We began at Greater Cumberland Regional Airport in western Maryland with a localizer approach to Runway 23. Churchill was under the hood and the airplane and its instruments were operating normally. After a missed approach, we entered a hold at the Kessel VOR (ESL), and implemented our scenario.
“Simulated electrical fire,” I said. “What are you going to do?”
Churchill clicked off the big red electrical master switch and, as expected, the panel went dark, the radios and intercom fell silent—and if you’re using a noise-cancelling headset with ship’s power—this is where it gets really noisy. The 696 was plugged into the panel, and it began a 30-second countdown to turn itself off. By simply touching any button, however, Churchill kept it alive on its internal battery.
“What next?” I asked, loudly, thanks to the dead intercom. Churchill reached behind his seat for his flight bag, took out a handheld radio, and connected it to the external antenna attachment on the right side of the instrument panel. Before doing so, he started to engage the autopilot, but quickly realized it wasn’t an option anymore.

With the handheld radio functioning normally (Churchill could hear it, I couldn’t), I asked him to take us to the nearest airport, Grant County (W99). He dialed in the approach frequency so that he could call ATC and ask for vectors to the final approach course, but he needn’t have bothered. “You’re too low for their radar coverage,” I told him. “And your transponder isn’t working anyway.” Churchill dialed in the CTAF frequency for Grant County, then he loaded the GPS-C approach on his 696 and switched back and forth between the geo-referenced Chart and Map pages. He hand-flew the airplane using the vacuum attitude indicator and pitot-static altimeter and vertical speed indicator, which operated normally.

He flew to the initial approach fix and had no trouble tracking the final approach course inbound. But there were additional complications. Most obvious, the electrically actuated flaps would have to remain in the Up position, and he’d have to lower the landing gear manually.

With those things situated, Churchill began the approach. But there was one more potential gotcha, a big one. The GPS Map page in the panel configuration contains a digital HSI that gives vertical guidance to traffic pattern altitude, and it was programmed to lead the pilot down on a shallow 500-fpm descent. In this mountainous area, however, that would have led us into a mountainside. Instead, Churchill ignored the siren song of the HSI and followed the published step-downs on the GPS Chart page.

Flying the actual approach on the portable GPS, even without flaps, was a relatively easy task. We arrived at the published minimums well-positioned for a normal landing.

For me, the takeaways from this flight were:

1) Even when you know a simulated emergency scenario is coming, finding the backup gear and getting it in place and tuned takes practice.

2) EFBs such as the Garmin 696 (or tablet computers) are nothing short of amazing in their ability to provide timely and critical flight safety information.

3) Ignore the temptation (and habit) of GPS-derived vertical guidance unless you are absolutely positive it will keep you well clear of obstructions.

This flight also showed me that IPCs don’t have to cover the same material every time, and that they can and should be customized for individual pilots. Almost all of us carry portable GPS devices, tablet computers, or handheld radios—and we should practice using the backup gear we might someday rely upon.


Master off?

Know in advance what capabilities your airplane will lose when the master switch goes off.
Make sure your portable backup equipment is fully charged and within easy reach.
Turn off the avionics master and/or individual instruments before turning the master switch back on again.
Realize that some glass-panel EFIS systems may not be able to initialize in flight.
Understand that a handheld radio transceiver operates much better with an external antenna and headset plug-in.

Dave Hirschman | AOPA Pilot Senior Editor, AOPA
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

N/A Newport News

With winter wx locking the mid-Atlantic and north east in we decided to get-away and take in a show. Of course my lovely Bride makes the statement that she is tired of rain and wishes we had some snow.  Ok, what is mother natures definition of 'some'?  Answer; 6-8"  with drifts. Now most of our pilot friends in the north east just busted up laughing but 8" of snow on the eastern shore of Maryland is an issue. These folks really have no clue about plowing, unlike the snowfighters of Delaware, who kick butt!
The HOA clears our driveway and roadway in time to head for Newport News Virginia.  I have taken enough advil to help relieve the back pain and we point the SUV south. Overall roads are clear with shoulders, turning lanes and crossovers still needing attention.  We make good time and cross the Bay Bridge Tunnel marking off 122 miles in just over two hours. I did stop the clock when we diverted for breakfast in the little town of Onancock, VA, just north of KMFV, Accomack County Airport in Melfa, Va.
The Bay Bridge was clear sailing, no traffic to speak of, we were the only vehicle in the tunnels, which felt very odd. The driving experience as we had known it came to and end once back on land south of the bay bridge.  I'm guessing there are no plows past the bay. The roads were brutal, passable but not safe conditions. We made our way to the Ferguson Center to pick up our tickets for the show then headed five miles to our hotel.
Pictures from our many crossings at altitude.
We went out to dinner with Mary's long time friend, Susan. It's always fun to catch up and once together it seems like we last saw each other the day before.  It's funny how that is with friends, like no time was ever lost or had passed. After enjoying a great steak dinner we headed for the show.
It's a five mile trip and parking at the Center is always pretty simple. There is a parking garage just a very short stroll from the main building and as people park they exit the garage and file along the brick paver walkway to the main entrance.  Once inside the atmosphere is charged. I love to people watch and it was almost sensory overload. As show time neared we made our way to our excellent seating, row D, center stage. Cue the music.....lights come up!
I must admit Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons are one of my all time favorites so this was a real treat. Hit after hit as the story unfolded, you could not help but sing along. I enjoyed the hits, including their first, Sherry along with Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, December 63, Rag Doll, Who Loves You, Working My Way Back To You, Dawn, and Bye Bye Baby.
I did enjoy the movie but the stage show was even better. The crowd was into it and it made for a fantastic night out with my Bride.
We met up with Susan for breakfast and then headed home. The ride north was just under three hours and once again no traffic on the Bay Bridge. Plenty of police pulling over speeders along the way but overall smooth sailing. We did make a stop at KMFV airport for a nature call and I wanted to find out about courtesy cars or rentals that would be available. It seems Enterprise is the only game in town and they will drop off and pick up the car at the airport terminal. I think Mary and I are going to fly in and rent a car then antique shop the area for the day sometime this spring.
If we can get some decent wx I will be once again be posting about our "flying" travels.  For now it's sharing the ground pounding adventures.
Why didn't we fly?  The wx was looking perfect for the flight south, clear sky not much winds.  The return home was changing from scattered layers to a broken layer and freezing temps. Winds were noted around 25-30 knots.  I didn't like the mix and the potential for icing, let alone riding a crazy bucking horse home battling the winds aloft. There will be many other opportunities to make this trip by air.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Do NOT Remove

Chris (Photographic Logbook) purchased a new CO detector for his plane and received this 'trinket'.  This one is just to good not to share with the pilots who read my blog and may not belong to Facebook where Chris posted.  THANKS CHRIS!