Monday, April 21, 2014

Oil and Brake Service

I needed to take a personal day today to get 08Romeo to the doctor. Paging Dr. Roger, Dr. Keith....08Romeo was in good hands. Upon securing 08Romeo after my flight to OCMD with Vince there was a drip of oil in the hangar.  This called for rolling underneath the plane and giving it a good look along with pulling off the top cowl. On the left side lower cowl there was an oil puddle four to five inches long spreading from an inch to three inches leaving just a drip or two after shut down.   Upon further inspection the oil lines looked fine and I couldn't find a fresh run of oil, it seemed more of an accumulation.
old line
pin holes
We each gave the belly a look and there was oil residue. Now 08Romeo loves to sit at six quarts, anything more she blows it out. The belly has been clean and I burn just over a half quart every 15 hours.  I had added oil on April 12th, only needed just under half quart to make six but I moved on to something else in my preflight and came back to see she drank the full quart. Ughh.. this would blow out and be on the belly, sure enough that's where it went. Vince continued to examine 08Romeo and noticed a drip of hydraulic fluid near the gascolater. When looking a bit closer we noticed a sticky build up aft of the gascolater cover. A quick check of the master cylinder and while a tad low there was still plenty of brake fluid. I did call Roger and schedule 08Romeo in for a check that Friday (last Friday).
new line installed with extra protective shielding
Fast forward back to today. Mike helped me reposition on Saturday so I drove my SUV to the shop. With the Florida trip just around the corner I decided to get the oil changed even though she only had thirty-seven hours on it. The plan was for Florida then New Hampshire and all the beach runs in may. I'll be ready for a change at the November annual. Keith took a look at the lower cowl and concluded that the valve cover was leaking. The last time they were replaced was some 288 tach hours ago. The cork gasket was replaced and retightened, it was good to go.  The engine got a degrease so we could leak test with a run up, a clean start.
Next up the gascolater panel was removed and sure enough there was evidence of fluid. Mostly sticky so it was a slow leak but it must be investigated. Going topside on the copilot side the brake line has a tube that passes through the firewall. The next section of tube was the culprit, it had a few pinhole leaks, very tiny.  The line went from the master to feed the hand brake and a manifold type of part that the other lines fed from. Very cramped and hard to get to. Keith removed the old part and fabricated the replacement. We filled the system from each main landing gear until the master fluid level was correct.
08Romeo was ready for her run up/leak test. I called clear prop and got her started. Once the fresh oil came up to temp I did my typical run up.  I didn't see Keith give the cut the motor signal so I knew things were looking good. Once shut down and inspected there was no oil drip and no brake fluid behind the toe brakes and the master level was the same.
I drove to N57 and swapped text messages with Bob C. Bob offered to shuttle me back to Cecil Aero to pick up my plane.  This worked out great, I parked the SUV at the hangar and road right seat with Bob back to 58M. Cessna 09Lima purred along, a noticeable difference from my Lycoming, the Continental is quieter and smoother.  Thanks Bob for the rescue flight!
09L
My doctor would not be happy with me after crawling around on my knees in the shop helping with the plane today. That cortizone shot got a work out and both knees are really sore tonight.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Reposition Flights

It has been a busy day moving airplanes around.  Mike was moving the Cirrus SR22 to Lancaster, KLNS for it's annual and I was his ride home to Wilmington, KILG.

I had 08Romeo out and ready to taxi for fuel by 8:30ish and my SUV tucked in the hangar. I was number two for the pumps so I shut down to wait on a Cessna. Once the Cessna was clear I was a lazy butt and started up for my fifty foot taxi. I took on twenty gallons to take me to 35 total. I restarted and taxied to the run up area and followed with a taxi to runway two four hold short.  I made my call and departed the New Garden area, it was still pretty quiet around the field.
It was a smooth ride at three thousand and I broke the relaxing hum of 08Romeo with a call for flight following from Harrisburg. I reported eighteen south east of Lancaster VOR, three thousand level, with current ATIS info at the field. I was given a squawk code and identified by approach, it was a happy ride along. I was handed off to Lancaster tower and reported seven miles south with current wx for a full stop. I was directed to report a three mile final for three-one, easy peasy.  I made a nice landing and taxied clear to find my way to the FBO.
I didn't wait long as I heard Mike making his call to the tower, he was given the same direction, report three mile final runway three-one. Mike made a nice landing and taxied to the FBO so we could secure the Cirrus.

Next up was the hop back to Wilmington. Nice tail wind for this leg and some very mild turbulence. I kind of plunked 08Romeo in on runway nine, making a save out of a bad flair with just a bit of throttle. The plan was to drop Mike off for his car so he could pick me up at 58M, Cecil County Airport.  Instead, Mike tugged out the Cessna he teaches in and we met up at Cecil County. Mike took off ahead of me and I followed him on PCAS to keep a safe distance.  Cecil County was busy with aircraft but we each worked our way into the pattern and both made nice landings.
I secured 08Romeo and then we climbed aboard the 160 hp Cessna 172 for the ride back to New Garden so I could pick up my SUV. Mike made a nice landing despite the float and taxied clear. The field was getting ready for glider action and the piston crowd was starting to come alive. Mike taxied back out and headed for KILG and I got my SUV out and followed, well taking the longer ground route of course.  We finished up the day with a great lunch at Capriotti's, the best Sub's/hoagies!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Instrument Time

Since I have today off I thought I would zip down to the Motor Home and plug the rig in.  Electric was turned on this past Monday and I wanted to get the fridge cold and batteries charging on shore power.

Mike was going to make the run since we would both get some IMC time. However, once trading emails this morning I found out he had rental car problems, missed a flight and didn't get home until 2am,  that just stinks.  So While Mike B slept in I called Vince to let him know that the back seat ride turned into a right seat option, he was a go.
We preflighted then tugged 08Romeo out to the taxi lane. Vince parked the SUV in the hangar and closed the doors, it was time to saddle up.  I needed fuel so I took on 20 gallons which brought me to 46.  I started up and did my run up then taxied for runway 6.  I had filed for this morning after looking at the wx and skew T's. I really wish I had a picture of the skew T, both red and blue lines ran along the 0*C line to about 3,500 feet then both split in opposite directions.  Looking down the listed chart showed above freezing temps down low with freezing temps up to 3,300.  I filed for 5,000 with temps around 44*.
As we sat at the runway 6 hold short I tried calling Philly Clearance on the direct number, the 1-800 clearance number and multiple times on the listed radio frequency.  I could not make contact on any of the numbers or on the radio.  The ceiling was sitting at just 2,000 so I launched and contacted Philly approach. I headed on course towards ENO keeping cloud separation and maintaining VFR while Philly worked on my clearance. I don't think I could have passed the C&D canal with the wx ahead. My plan B was to either land at ILG and pick up my clearance from there (Vince's idea) or just head back to N57 and try the numbers again.  Philly contacted us and wanted me to advise when ready to copy.  I was ready and jotted down the CRAFT information, the only change being my temporary altitude restriction.  The Garmin 530 was already programed with the flight plan so I was good to go.  Philly handed us off to another sector then they handed us off to Dover.  Dover approach dropped me down to 3000 and I requested 3.5 to keep out of the tops and the rough ride, they agreed. With in minutes Dover put me back to 4,000 and handed me off to Patuxent, just crazy!
Pax was busy with military traffic today but worked the GA folks just fine, always great service. Pax made a change enroute, having me fly the 180 radial from SBY (Salisbury) for 8.5 miles, half way to the Snow Hill VOR. I was very tempted to cancel and find a hole to spiral down through to make a run to OXB, but thought better of that brainstorm.  Finally Pax turned me to direct CIRAN and back down into the layer.
I made a direct entry and went out bound for 3+ miles then turned inbound. I reported established then reported CIRAN inbound as directed.  Although approach said "cleared for the GPS 02 approach, report established" not cleared direct I advised I would be doing the procedure turn, it's just easier that we are all on the same page. I broke out well above the MDA but it felt good shooting the approach in actual for most of the ride.
Vince and I uncovered our airport car and made the short hop to the RV.  I plugged in and turned on the fridge and gave everything the once over, she was good to go.  We locked up and headed to Taylors for lunch. Crab dip followed by each of us ordering fish. Good food and good service.
We quickly got the Cabrio secured. With 08Romeo not needing fuel we were ready to go after a brief walk-around. I filed during lunch and we picked up our clearance with Washington C&D after our run up. Vince and I launched off of runway 2 and picked up the 270* heading towards SBY. Once Pax had radar contact we were turned direct ENO and enjoyed the ride north. No IMC time going home, the layer was hanging out along the shore, well behind us.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

June Flight Plans

Mary and I reserved two tickets on a Frontier flight to Denver then on to Portland Oregon for this years BAC Fest.  It was a great deal that worked out to $1271 round trip for both of us, can't beat that.
After going back and forth about Florida properties and the missed trip for Valentines day to Singer Island we decided to take a week in June and fly south. How are these two tied together you ask. We decided to cancel Portland and head south. The ticket money will fuel 08Romeo and we will experience what a flight to North Palm Beach would entail. So, it looks like June will be busy.  The Florida trip to hunt for homes in early June and we have a wedding to attend in New Hampshire near the end of the month.
Fun flying and getting back to taking advantage of GA!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sand Castle is Open

As a follow up to the Sand Castle at OCMD post, Mary and I decided we would take advantage of a beautiful Saturday morning to complete the mission. We dropped of Ziva at the kennel and headed straight to the airport.
We decided to have breakfast once we got to Ocean City and to get in the air ASAP. I had topped off to 46 gallons Wednesday night in case Mike needed to use the Sundowner to come get us Thursday but as I posted he came for us in the Cirrus. I completed my preflight, got the fan turning and launched for the beach. We enjoyed 128-132 knots on the way south, just love those tail winds!

Once secure at KOXB we quickly uncovered the airport car, loaded up all the supplies from the plane and headed out for eats. DeNovo's was the choice and as always provided quick service and excellent food.
On to the task at hand, digging out the Sand Castle. I broke out the shovel and started to fill the trenches left by the dual wheels on the Castle, not fun. Mary gave the inside a good cleaning and started to arrange all the cabinets. I hooked up the utilities and got the water system anti-freeze flushed out, cable tv online and the sanitary connected. Power will not be turned on until Monday but we have a generator on board that I ran to power the vacuum, lights and tv.

Once finished up we took full advantage of the shower and cleaned up for an early dinner. Our friend Jo was at the beach and we decided to meet at the Harborside. Jo and Jimmy walked in shortly after Mary and I got a table. The band was playing, the food was excellent and the catching up with friends made the day perfect. I really wanted an Orange Crush or two but since I was flying it was sweet tea only.
It was time to head north so we said our good-byes and headed to the airport. It was a nice ride home with a slight head wind that seemed least obstructive around four thousand five hundred so that's where we road along. Airspeed averaged 105-111 knots. Mary fell asleep and I picked up flight following with Dover then was handed off to Philly. I cancelled about ten south of New Garden and let down for the pattern. A nice landing and interesting taxi back while RC planes danced overhead. We are looking forward to a getaway with no work involved, just a refreshing orange crush, or two, and some sand between the toes.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sand Castle at OCMD

The Beast last summer in the same lot
I took a vacation day today so Mary and I could enjoy great weather and get our Motor home down to Ocean City, MD.  First things first, I had to get the beast inspected since I let the tags expire in early March.  Once we finally uncovered, after all that snow, I wanted to power wash the rig and confirm all my lights were working.  Mechanically she is in excellent shape, but the marker lights are always a hassle since the plastic parts are so old. I needed a headlight and three new marker lights to replace the few that would work only if you gave them a whack, I can't have that.

The Sand Castle passed inspection and I drove it the few miles to Wilmington Airport (KILG) where I would meet Mary.  We wanted to park my SUV there so we had a ride home after Mike agreed to fetch us up in OCMD later that afternoon.  We turned the beast south and enjoyed the 2.5 hour ride to the Ocean City Airport, KOXB.  We picked up the airport car at the airport so we had wheels to get back and meet Mike B.
It's only ten to fifteen miles to the RV park and the ride sparked summer thoughts as we passed by our favorite shops.  I swiped the security card to open the gates and parked in front of our leased lot. Hmmm, it had that same look of wet ground and underlying quick sand.  Ok, not the real quick sand but you get the picture.  I walked the area and decided that I would not get it stuck backing into the lot, instead I would drive around the back and cut through the lot behind us just like I did last year. It was a grand plan! However, the rear of the coach combination of weight and the dual wheel axle didn't make the final destination. I was stuck in the sand soil mud mix with no sight of my sidewalls. The dual wheels were caked with a mud wall between them. There was no moving forward the last ten feet to get to where I needed to be, this would require a tow. Indeed it did to the tune of $157, but we were in and I could back fill the trench we left getting into position another day.
The decision was made to lock up and head home. I didn't hook up any utilities, we let the beast sit until we could come back on the weekend. Mary and I headed out for lunch and then to the airport to meet Mike.
Mike landed on schedule despite fighting a headwind on the way south. After stretching his legs and us all climbing aboard Mike got the fan turning to take us home. It was a very short hop home with a nice tailwind as the Cirrus cruised along at a ground speed of 170 knots. I did some radio work as the tower cleared us for a left downwind entry for runway one nine. A smooth landing by Mike in windy conditions made for a nice end to our day. Mary and I helped secure the Cirrus and we all headed home.

Thanks Mike for the retrieval mission, it was a relaxing ride home after a hectic day playing road warrior.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Williamsport Fly-In

It felt great to scratch that four week itch of no flight!

As noted in my previous blog post, Chris (Photographic Logbook) and I planned on a meet up at Williamsport, KIPT.   The wx was perfect and there were a few friends that joined in on the fun.  Joe E (AOPA Forum)was right seat in Warrior 481 and I met up with Bob C at Brandywine, KOQN. After posting on Facebook Adam Z and Gary S decided to head north from Doylestown, KDYL and also meet up.

I remembered to turn on the engine heaters somewhere around 1am as I stumbled back to bed after my early morning nature stop. I sent a text message and 08Romeo was warming up. I guess I made it out the door around 6:30 after a burning hot wake up shower to loosen the sore muscles from yesterdays RV adventure. I cranked up the oldies and enjoyed the back roads to the airport making a stop at Wawa to hit the bank in the box for cash,a bottle of water and a pack of peanut butter crackers.
08Romeo was warm and ready to go. I went through my preflight, taking my time to get hands on everything, it's been a month since we last flew. With the hangar doors open, so much easier with out winters grip, 08Romeo was enjoying the sunshine.  I tucked my freshly washed ML320 in the hangar, closed the doors and boarded 08R. It felt great in the left seat! It was a short lived excitement since I had to taxi for fuel but I needed to fill up.
I did file today from Brandywine (OQN), that was the plan since the hop was a short one from New Garden (N57). Bob was ready at the terminal and boarded from the rear with 08Romeos prop still turning. Apparently he was working on selling my plane and the guy working the desk was asking all kinds of questions on Unicom. Bob buckled in and we headed north for IPT. We didn't pick up our clearance, instead we enjoyed CAVU, VFR flying. The flight was perfect, except for XM wx showing a twenty knot headwind just off the nose, I should have taken a screen grab. Heading North we averaged between 98 and 102 knots ground speed. I will say it was smooth flying, adding just rudder inputs on occasion.

We did pick up flight following along the way.  Philly road along with us for a bit then handed us off to Harrisburg who handed us off to Reading and they sent us off to New York Center. Center final handed us off to the tower as we crossed the end of the ridge line south of the airport and set up for a left base for two seven.  I made an ok landing and taxied clear on Charlie for the terminal ramp parking. We met Chris and Joe inside, already seated, and Gary and Adam were only a few minutes behind us.

We enjoyed a very good breakfast at the Cloud 9 restaurant. Service was a little slow but the place was busy. The young lady taking our order moved us to a larger table to accommodate the six of us and did a great job with our orders and the final billing.
Bob and I were the first to fire up and taxi out. Williamsport ground directed us to runway two seven via Alpha and Bravo. With my run up and checks complete we were on the roll. Something didn't sound right and I asked bob to recheck his door, it was partially open. I pulled the power, started my braking action and advised the tower we were aborting the take off. Aviate, navigate, communicate. I advised we had an open door and would be good to taxi back for another go. Once again cleared for departure 08Romeo was off and running. We climbed straight out until three thousand and turned south over the ridge line below, now pointing 08Romeo direct Elkton, MD and 58M.

The ride home was a much better pace. Very good tail winds were pushing us along between 122 and 128 knots. I tuned in approach in reverse order of our trip north and monitored. We listened to some music from XM and enjoyed the view.  This leg was also hands in the lap with a few corrections with rudder inputs. As we let down for 58M it got bumpy. We entered the pattern in the crosswind for three one and made our calls. A quick look and we didn't see Bob's plane on the ramp on the north side of the hangar. After turning down wind we didn't see the plane on the south ramp either. Hmmm...09L is obviously still in the shop.  I turned final and made a half hearted low pass, more like going missed as I crossed the runway end.
We climb back out to two thousand and road the bumps to New Garden. The home airport was now alive with activity. Gliders in the air, traffic in the pattern, it looked like a scene out of the Disney movie planes. Ok, it would have been perfect if we had a bunch of those fork lifts running around. I made my calls and turned base to final when the glider departing released early and made the impossible turn back to the runway. Ok, this was a new twist for me. I made a left 360 and advised doing so for the glider now inbound for runway 6. Once realigned on final for two four I made my call and advised traffic. Everything was looking good right up until the one mile final and a plane decides to depart two four. I advised Sundowner short final and the glider operation did the same. The aircraft immediately turned around and cleared the runway. I had slowed enough since I was getting ready to sidestep right and go around but instead was able to continue in and float 08Romeo in for the landing.

A good workout today after not flying in four weeks.  A great time meeting folks on the forums and blogs that I follow.  Always a fun time catching up with Bob, Gary and Adam.  I miss the airport 'hangar flying' sessions we used to have at wings.  Maybe I need to get the grill set up and pick back up on the hangar flying sessions at New Garden.