Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Valley With A Heart, KWBW

Mary and I planned on a 9am departure this morning but mother nature had other ideas. We arrived at Red Eagle Aviation at 8:15 and strolled through the gates with our vehicle, figuring on keeping warm while we wait for Dassult Falcon Jet to top off our tanks. I completed the preflight as the fuel truck rolled in and gave 679er a drink of 100 LL. I pulled the bird out of the tie down to let the sun shine on the wings and speed the melting process. Mary and I loaded up and I made a quick call to Williamsport to activate our flight plan. We were ready to roll at 9:35 clear of all frost.

The Valley with a Heart, Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley was our destination today. Wyoming Valley got that tag back when a flood ravaged the area. On June 23, 1972, tropical storm Agnes swept through the area. In her wake, she left 18 inches of rain, 6 people dead, 25,000 homes nearly destroyed, and $1 billion in damages. The river rose to 40.9 feet, 18.9 feet above flood stage, and 4 feet above the levees that were built after the flood of 1936, which crested at 33 feet. Although 2,278 businesses in Wilkes-Barre were damaged by the 9 feet of water that flooded the square, downtown Wilkes-Barre has been totally revitalized by the new businesses and buildings that have sprung up after the tragedy. I rememebr walking through the area and seeing houses gone, washed away. The devastation was almost unbelieveable....but it was so real. The Valley with a heart vowed to come back and they did. Good hard working folks that care about each other and the place they call home.

Mary and I got kicked to the curb by Philadelphia Approach, "Archer679er call back in twenty minutes,(I'll be half way to WBW in 20, I'm starting to get a complex)I gave the ol' double mic click to acknowledge message received and that we were on our own. Mary and I continued to cruise along at 3500 climbing to 5500 once clear the Class Bravo of PHL. When reaching the Allentown airspace at a point 13 miles east of Reading, PA (KRDG) I called Allentown Approach for Flight Following. Allentown approach gave us a squawk code and we were glad to have the extra eyes with us. Overall great flight, nice and smooth, so smooth my "co-pilot" took a nap. Allentown handed us off to Wilkes-Barre Approach and at 5-8 miles out we had WBW sight so we were turned loose to squawk VFR. I wanted to proceed up the river but approach recommended a heading of 025, which was fine, we entered on a short 45* for downwind 25 (even though I said 22 and then corrected myself) . A nice landing and short taxi to a tie down right in front of the FBO. The gentleman working marshaled me in and set chocks under the nose wheel once shut down. A very nice man, wished us Merry Christmas and Helped Mary off the wing and pointed her to coffee inside. He let us know the rental was there but left so he called to get them back out.....THANKS ED !!

The fun few hours spent with my Aunt & Uncle were well worth the trip. We also made a stop for fresh greens that were arranged to sit on top of my parents headstone. It looked nice with the red ribbon and fresh holly mixed in (My Mom would have liked it, Dad would have tolerated it). It's never easy for me during the Holidays.... I miss them both so much.

We returned the rental and got a ride back to the airport. I completed the pre-flight and then called from the plane for an update to the weather brief. I am going to purchase the smart patch cables so I can plug the phone into my headset and music into Mary's headset. I got the same guy at Williamsport FSS and he remembered me. He said its nice to know as a fairly new pilot that I would make the second call knowing the forecast reports this morning were calling for VFR all day. I laughed and said the call is mighty cheap insurance for an extra look see by qualified folks. He thanked me.

METAR KAVP 201954Z 25009KT 10SM CLR 06/M05 A3030

A call to WBW traffic for taxi, back taxi and departure has us taking off minding noise abatement (following the river)and making a call on unicom to thank the folks at the FBO. A quick flip to WB Approach has flight following activated with a new squawk. A hand off to Allentown followed by Philadelphia and at 15 miles out of Wilmington I cancelled flight following. Wilmington Tower gave me a "report 5 mile final 19" Wooo Hooo, that sure makes it easy, I'm heading 185 and I have the runway in sight. A business jet calls in and is told to enter a left downwind for 19, he then is cleared to land as I report a 5 mile final as instructed. I get "cleared to land 19, no. 2 behind (can't remember what type)jet", I confirm cleared to land 19, no. 2 and have traffic turning final. Second notch of flaps in I watch the jet turn off and continue my decent. Mindfull of wake turbulence I slow myself down and plan my landing. Everything looks good 65 kts short final over the numbers holding solid at 60 kts, sinking flair.....and down on the runway. Very shortfield with a right turn off on t/w kilo that I had to add power to make. I stop beyond the hold short and clean up then taxi to parking, staying on with the tower as requested.

All buttoned up we decide to head out for shrimp and chips (The No.52) at La Tolteca with a few cold ones. It's good to be back home after a fun day flying!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Breakfast at Antino's (KMIV)

What a beautiful day! Mary and I decided to head out for breakfast at KMIV (Millville, NJ) and enjoy a nice clear crisp start to our day. I must say we have the ground work on Six Seven Niner down to a perfect routine, sort of like dancing with the not that dramatic but you get the picture. First things first, of course (who thought that saying up anyway?) Off comes the cockpit cover, cowl plugs and chock which Mary then folds and gets ready for storage in the baggage compartment. I am on my way through the pre-flight having called for fuel upon checking the tanks when we walked up to the gal.

Pre flight complete and the tanks topped off we climb aboard and buckle in. I flow through the checklists and dial in ILG's ATIS along with setting up comm 2 for ground and tower. Taxi instructions in hand we are off for run up and departure. "Clear for takeoff runway 9 with a South East departure Archer 679er" and we're off.

Quick flight today with winds 310 at 30 had us in Millville and at our table at Antino's in 30 minutes. Traffic was light at KMIV with everyone doing a nice job on the radio with announcing positions.

We each ordered the special, a quesadilla made up in a floured tortilla with scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, ham and cut sausage. WOW! good stuff!!! Excellent meal and service as always. Mary and I walk up the flight line and make a stop at Big Sky Aviation. We figured we would check out T shirts and sweat shirts as added Christmas gifts for us both. They didn't have my size and Mary said she would wait until the next trip. We chatted with the folks there and thanked them again for such a nice time last week into KESN (Easton, MD) and our shuttle ride to experience Christmas in St. Michaels.

Tummy's full we saddle up for home. No desire to travel around today instead we just wanted a change of pace for breakfast. Headwinds heading home as I depart runway 32 and head for KILG aiming just right or North of the Salem Cooling towers. A call to ILG announcing "28679er 15 miles South East with Sierra, 2800 level, for full stop". I get a straight in for runway 32, report mid river. That's about as easy as it gets! Feeling pretty good about breaking the 100 hour mark and on short final for landing, I set 679er down nice and smooth, holding it off I actually get back into the air and then add a touch of power to again settle back down smoothly. Very strange, that's a first but I'm sure not a last. Hmmmmm...can I count that as two?

Again the ground team does a fine job buttoning up and we are heading out to visit the in-laws. Great morning, 1.2 in the book and most important my flying fix is good for a few more days!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

North East Flyers, KRDG

This morning we headed out to Reading, PA (KRDG) to meet up with the North East Breakfast Group. There had to be at least 30 people that made the run today. Mary and I asked my brother Joe and his wife Janice to join us. They both seemed to have a good time and mixed right in with all the pilots.

We had the chance to catch up with Andrew, Adam, Bob and his wife Dru and.....we got to see Mackenzie, Bob & Dru's daughter who took her first flight toady !! There were so many people to meet and so many names to remember. I'm looking forward to all the photos posted on AOPA forum.

All in all a busy weekend but FUN! 1.6 in the book yesterday and 1.8 today. Special thanks to Reading Approach, Tower and Ground for getting us all in and out so smoothly! Thanks Adam for posting the photos of the group and flight line.

Home from St. Michaels

What a FANTASTIC day !

Mary and I decided to fly to KESN (Easton,MD) and meet up with the group from Big Sky Aviation out of Millville and Cape May, NJ. Special thanks to Beth and Doug for getting the group together and having a very nice shuttle bus waiting to take us into St. Michaels.

Mary and I asked Jo Ann to join us for a day of shopping......yeah, like we had to twist her arm to team those two up to shop ;). This was however, Jo's first trip in a 4 seater. Mary and I had 679er ready when she arrived and just had to wait for the fuel truck to top us off. The Ladies are waiting inside the airplane while I see to the fuel caps and sign off on the fuel ticket. Mary hops out and I perform the "Piper roll" to get into the left seat. Jo seems pretty excited to me as we get ready to roll.

Wilmington Tower clears us to taxi out followed by a cleared for take off r/w 27. Six seven niner jumps off the ground and climbs out seemingly as eager as we are to get to Easton. Flight following is brief as is the trip. I announce my position for Easton traffic at 15, 10 and 5 miles out with a full stop for r/w 22 entering on a right base. I have a visual on one aircraft(Cessna) practicing an engine out and they touch down as I am about ready to turn final. with the high wing away I settle in for a very gentle landing with a short taxi to the Terminal. We three pile out and I lock up the bird after final checks for master and keys. Good to go, as the lineman chocks the nose wheel and directs us to the shuttle awaiting our arrival.

It's a short 12 mile ride to St. Michaels as we pull up just in time for the Christmas parade. The Ladies start to hit the shops as we make our way down one side of the street. I manage to watch some of the parade ducking in and out of the shops trying to keep up with Mary and Jo. The parade had a marching band (pictured in the background of Mary and I)horse and carriages, the Maryland rough Riders horse parade team and vintage cars of all ages including one of my favorites the Roadrunner.

As the parade marches by the ladies continue to knock off stores like a little kid on Christmas day taking out the toy soldiers. One by one they fell, who ships, who does not, ornaments only here, antiques there and last but not least my favorite.....a place to eat.

We made a stop at Oyster Cove for lunch and a break from the cool temps. I had the hot roast beef which I must say was very good. Mary had an oyster sandwich and a cup of soup that she seemed to enjoy and Jo had shrimp salad. While waiting for lunch a young couple maybe 30ish walked up next to the front window where we were seated. The father has a small tray of oysters and Mom and Dad both look to be asking the maybe 4 yr old daughter if she would like to try one. I'm already feeling ill just thinking about her slurping one down. Sure enough daughter slurps one down and thinks it's great. I turn green while Mary and Jo (oyster eaters) tap on the window and give the folks a thumbs up. The little girl just smiled. Mom smiled too but Dad puffed out his chest and gave the thumbs up right back......BLEcccccccch...get the kid some fries will ya'!

We continued shopping and eventually made our way to the Acme market to catch up with the group. Everyone seemed to have a great time. The taxi pulled up and hauled the first portion of the group back to KESN and we asked him to loop back for us, he agreed. In the mean time a second cab from the same company pulled up and we hitched back with him taking on two folks from Millville Smokey and his lovely wife. It was a in the front seat as the driver was teased by Smokey and his wife as she continued to stir the pot saying he the driver needed a hug. The drivers looks were priceless ! Good guy and got us back safe.

We said our goodbyes and saddled up for home. An abbreviated preflight complete we called clear prop and six even niner came to life. We taxied out, completed the run up and departed r/w 22. The ladies took some nice shots as I announced and departed the area on the 22 right downwind. It was a nice ride home picking out landmarks and recapping the day. I think Jo had a blast.

I called Wilmington tower and advised having current info along with direction altitude and intentions for a full stop. The tower advises enter left downwind for 27 and call at 3 miles or so (I can't remember). Bridges clearly in view and Mary had picked out our other familiar landmark the cooling towers at Salem. We also got a good look at Fort Delaware pictured on the tiny Island in the Delaware River.

Cleared for landing on r/w 27 I settle in with a nice landing and another quick taxi to our tie down at Red Eagle Aviation. We button up and head home after a fun day. Mary and I can't wait to go back in nice weather in the spring or summer. Flying has really opened up a new world to us both. We have met so many nice people and the opportunity to visit places without all the hassles of driving so many hours has been a blessing. Life is Good....

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The "And More" After KESN

Saturday December 9th as noted in my previous post will be a quick fun trip to KESN in Easton, MD followed with grounmd transportation into St. Michaels. The second half of the double header will be Sunday the 10th as we once again saddle up for a quick hop to KRDG in Reading, PA. This trip we will have the company of my brother and sister-in-law. We are going to meet the POA (Pilots of America) December Breakfast group. Looking at the time reservation it will be more like brunch, but who's watching the clock.

After we eat I will check with the rest of our party if they would like to visit the Mid Atlantic Air Museum on the field. I'm thinking the ladies would rather shop but that will be for another day. More to follow whne we get back from the busy weekend.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Flight Plan to KESN and more...

Mary and I received an invitation to join the folks at Big Sky in a trip to St. Michaels on Dec. 9th. Everyone will fly into KESN (Easton, MD) and we will have ground transportation ready and waiting. A bit of history, I started my lessons at Big Sky in Millville, NJ but due to work issues and my instructor needing some time off to heal injuries I made the move to TAS at Brandywine Airport. I still am very fortunate that I get to work with the folks at Big Sky at both KMIV and KWWD while managing projects for the Delaware River and Bay Authority.

Mary asked one of her girlfriends (Joanne) to join us on our trip. According to past trip accounts they have the shopping plans mastered......Hmmmm...I can't even use the ole weight and balance line since they both will eagerly ship packages home, without missing a beat. We're talking professionals here, these ladies know how to get the shopping done.

On to the flight plan. We are scheduling for December 9th to KESN and ground transportation to Christmas in St. Michaels. I think the group is heading over from KMIV around 9am but that will need to be confirmed. I am thinking about getting into Easton around 9am and get secured and ready to roll by the time they start entering the pattern.

Here is a quick look at the AOPA flight plan. We get close to the St. Michaels air space but nothing to worry about. Of course there is always the ADIZ lurking to the west.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Williamsburg-Jamestown (KJGG)

The dates on the photo's are off by one day, they should read 11/10 and 11/11

On The Road

Mary and I made arrangements with our friend Susan for a overnight visit to Williamsburg. One must understand that Susan is addicted to work :) and it's hard to match up schedules. The ladies got all the details squared away and I took care of the flight planning. Friday's wx was looking fantastic so the plan was to depart Wilmington (KILG) by 8am and make a breakfast stop at Georgetown (KGED). The stop over was suggested by Mary in order wait out the morning fog at Williamsburg (KJGG) she figured why not stop for eats at one of our favorite places. The METAR for KGED 101354Z AUTO 29003KT 10SM CLR 16/09 A2997 (for the non-pilots, very little wind blowing from the west northwest and you can see 10 miles.

Our pre-flight and taxi to run up now complete we hold short of 27 at t/w 'M'ike. With a call to the Wilmington Tower to advise 28679 is ready to go, we get a quick response and get rolling. Wow, what a beautiful morning. We depart 27 and climb straight out, reaching 500' above pattern altitude I turn on course south. Once leaving class Delta of Wilmington we're cleared to change frequency and contact Philadelphia Approach. A nice ride along today with Philly at 4500' and a quick hand off to Dover App has us soon descending for Sussex County.

Field in sight and now squawking VFR (transponder set to 1200) I announce position and request airport advisories (wind direction and speed). Runway 22 for a full stop seems to be the ticket in. No traffic as we approach so, as I am east of the field, I announce a straight in final of 3 miles. A nice smooth landing and taxi to the cafe' for some breakfast has us climbing out of the aircraft and heading for a good seat (at the window of course).


All loaded up and ready to head to JGG now that the weather has cleared. I decided to hook up the Lowrance 1000 as a backup to the on board equipment (Garmin 300XL). I am still learning the Garmin. With the SBY VOR (Salisbury Navigation Aid) tuned and ID'ed we are on course and talking to Dover Approach.
METAR KJGG 101700Z AUTO 20005KT 10SM CLR 23/12 A3000 RMK AO1

Dover App, hands us off to Patuxent Approach who in turn eventually hands us over to Norfolk Approach. Mary was taking pictures and noting the leg times (times between each check point) as we stayed on heading. A nice tail wind was showing a ground speed of 130 (149 mph) on the Garmin and the same on the Lowrance. The shot on the left with the ships was taken just north of New Point Comfort, if I remember correctly. Mary got a great shot of Point Comfort on the way home. Norfolk Approach was really good, great voice easy to copy and just plain on the ball. A few traffic call outs and some nit wit not talking or squawking in this busy area had everyone looking as jets made their way into Newport News. It was busy out there and I got a reminder for Altitude as I drifted a tad above my assigned level by 150' I acknowledged and got back to 4500' while continuing to look for and confirm traffic.

With the notable bend in the James river pointing the way to JGG I was cut loose to descend at my discretion. A flip flop of the radio to 122.8 and a call to JGG to announce my position with a request for airport advisories has me following the river for 31. I see and hear no traffic so I opt to pass on the overfly and reposition for downwind 31 and instead with full field and patterns in view announce a 3 mile final for 31. With a steady descent and numbers in sight I add the last notch of flaps, bleed off airspeed, listen to the stall horn moan and gently set down on the mains followed by the delay and light touch of the nose wheel. Mary says nice job, very smooth as we roll out for parking.

Unicom comes to life and asks our intentions and I advise we are here for the night and pull up to secure six seven niner in it's designated parking area. We unload and head in to pick up the rental that is waiting and ask for a top off. A few folks are eating at Charley's but we decided to get to Susan's ASAP. We have directions printed out to the hotel and find our way with no problems. The ride was maybe 25 minutes.

Hotel Check In

We arrive at the Hampton Inn, check in completed and secure internet access (for wx briefing and flight plan update) life is good. Mary and I check out our room, I hit the showers since the temps here are a bit warmer then home. I was soaked after securing the plane. We settle in and decide that we should have packed for warmer temps, lessons learned. I reminded Mary that as Bo Boggs once said on the Flights of the Mouse web page, "From this point, if we forgot something, we either do without or buy it when we need it". We decided to "buy it" for a few "lighter" clothes. Well shopping is right up the girls alley so we meet Susan and head out for a quick lunch, key word here is quick.

Lunch Break!

Just across the parking lot from the Hampton is a Pizza Uno Chicago Grill something or other. We are seated and place our orders....insert jeopardy music....Two ice tea's and one glass of water and oh yeah,50 minutes later at the end of my rope I ask for the manager. He finds his way over and I explain (we just get lunch served), the orders are screwed up and my food is lukewarm at best. I explain to the guy there is a problem somewhere either service or the kitchen needs some help but this service stinks. He says he'll comp the meal and it's all his fault. Yeah I think well that's great, fall on the sword another time I only want my food right. It takes everything in me to be nice, but the Bride is proud, I was very well behaved. We finally finished lunch and I asked our waitress for the check. She explains the manager is comping the meal and I explain to her I don't accept free meals, that's not why I complained. I pay the bill and we leave.....grumble grumble...Grrrrr they don't get it.

Time To Shop

Well the ladies are happy as we hit the shops. I pick up a few light shirts and a brown belt since I forgot mine and I am good to go. Yes, the man gets in and out with mission accomplished, the ladies of course must continue. Hey they had fun and I sat out on a bench in the shadow of the shops and would you believe....right on the corner of the left downwind to base turn in the pattern for PHF r/w 7. I sat and enjoyed the nice breeze judging the dive for the runways vs the nice smooth finals. Just as I am thinking life is grand I hear the rumble of jets, multiple jets. In an instant four military jets in formation roll through the base leg of the pattern and continue east south east, ....A great sight and good for the soul. I "think" they may have been involved with the dedication of a Marine museum in Triangle, VA but I'm not positive.

With our shopping fix met we decide to head back and get dressed for the concert at the Ferguson Center. Susan gave us an anniversary gift of tickets to the show to see Gary US Bonds and The Four Tops. Listen to one of their greatest hits..."I Can't Help Myself". We met back at an Irish pub (Keagans)for a very light dinner. Flash fried calamari, crostini's with beef tips, oyster Rockefeller and drinks. I passed on the drinks not knowing what time we were heading out on Saturday, besides I am the designated driver.

Ready for the Show

Off to the show to see Gary US Bonds who did a nice job as the opening act...He really had the place rockin'. Then the Four Tops took the stage.....all the moves, like suits and FANTASTIC music. What hits, what a walk down memory lane, it was really nice. Thanks Susan!

After the show we all decided to head out for desert and coffee. We tried a place near the Hampton Inn but they were closed. We decided to call it a night and turn in. Mary and I walked into the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the lobby so she grabbed a cup and filled a cup with hot water for my English tea, she thinks of everything, even packing the tea I like. We also noticed one of the field hockey team coaches hanging out in the lobby area. No doubt on guard in case any of the high school girls try anything, it was a classic moment.

Mary putzed around with this and that while I decided to turn on the news to get the weather. I was also connecting to the internet to take a look see for myself. We carried Mary's lap top along but decided that we are going to set my lap top up with an AOPA planning connection and all the links we will need from the road, it's much lighter. The internet is up and running and access to the AOPA planner is good to go. I also checked into the club calendar and that worked too.

Finally time to sit back watch some tv and sip on a fresh warm tea. I am beat, so I turn out the lights after channel surfing and pass out. Mary says she wishes she could do the same but I serenaded her with some wood cutting. Yikes, between cutting wood and a bed that was as hard as concrete it's no wonder either of us got much sleep.

Saturday 11/11/06, Time To Head Home

Ahhh...rise and shine to a new day with beautiful weather. We are tempted to extend our stay but instead follow the wx forecast and decided to head out after breakfast. ILG is reporting IFR but clearing out by 1500Z. METAR at JGG calls out the following; 111523Z AUTO 14004KT 10SM CLR 21/14 A2998 RMK AO1. We pack up and head down for check out and bump into a few of the field hockey team members. We teased them about the "posted guard" in the lobby last night and mary said someone was having fun in the early morning hours as noted by all the giggles. Checkout was followed by a short drive to the local Cracker Barrel. We meet Susan, file in and get seated rather quickly. Mary went through the shop while I went outside for a sit on the rockers.

As for the shopping, the weight and balance is not impacted with 200 plus pounds available between the back seats and baggage. Not that that matters, since I was instructed that whatever can't be brought home with us can be shipped to the house...., she's good...real good.

Time for good-byes, which are never easy but we give Susan hugs and let her know we will return in April to see her. We watch Susan pull away in her new town car, I know a piece of my brides heart goes with her. Mary and Susan have been friends for many years (30+) and shared an apartment/condo and a house for a good number of those years.

It's a quiet ride to the airport but we both are happy that the first overnighter was indeed to visit one of OUR best friends. We head west on I-64 for the airport and have no problem finding our way to Six Seven Niner. First order of business is to return the rental so we wander into the terminal and BAM! there it is, as promised the smell of fresh baked bread....oh my God it was awesome. I was tempted to grab a loaf and take it for the ride home but the older gentleman baking didn't look like he would give it up easy.

With the fuel bill paid (top off 14 gallons - that's 7 gph)we uncovered our baby and loaded up the baggage. While performing the preflight I left a sample of skin from a finger and bled all over the tie down ring. I had to use a handi-wipe to wash it and me off (Thank's to Mary for packing that stuff).

A last look back at the terminal with a wave to the gentleman that took care of the counter and we saddle up for home. Winds favoring r/w 13 this morning so I taxi out to run up and then hold short for a cirrus on final. Noise abatement calls for a turn out at 500' to 180 to avoid houses. We depart and turn out then once above pattern and closing in on PHF class Delta I turn to shadow the James River. Confirming squawk code I am on board with Norfolk Approach. We overfly Busch Gardens and Mary snaps a few shots with the zoom. The view is just gorgeous this morning. This view alone is worth the year of lessons to get here. For the folks who don't fly, you have no clue what you are missing.

We cross the York River with the York river bridge on our right then cross the Moblack Bay where Mary gets a shot of the New Point Comfort Lighthouse. From the point we turn towards Accomack, KMFV. Norfolk Approach again is very good, great voice, easy to copy and very accomodating. Approach calls and tells us the restricted area 4006 is cold. I thank him but advise we are enroute to Accomack, Salisbury and Dover for the scenic ride home, he acknowledges with a "have a great trip".

There are a good many sail boats on the Bay today and the usual shipping traffic. As we cross the shoreline we are given a heads up about an aircraft VFR not talking or squawking at or about our altitude approaching at our 9 o' clock. I quickly turn the head and shoulders to my 9 and search, clipping the wind scoop that flips into the pilot side vent window with my elbow cracking the hinge clean off the bracket. GRrrr....Grumble....same traffic now called out at my 12 o'clock and we report do not have traffic in sight. Mary and I are on high alert with see and avoid but can not see this aircraft. Finally a report of traffic NOT a factor.

On past Accomack and heading northward towards home,KILG. The DQO VOR rock solid and a quick peek on each GPS shows our ground speed at 137 Kts or about 160 mph. Not bad, a bit of a tailwind each day, each direction. Mary and I are taking in the sights while maintaining a scan for traffic when she asks what a certain cloud formation looks like. I start to laugh and agree with her that it looks like a rabbit running, no we are not in need of oxygen. Take a look for yourself.

Wait, it gets better. As we continue north and now with Dover Approach we look out over the Delaware Bay and see clouds that indeed look like fish. I did not drink last night and checking the instruments we are at 5500' and level. Okay we may as well go for the whole ball of wax here and go out on a limb and say where there is one fish there is usually a school of fish. You decide.....

Now that we all had our laugh lets look at what we see in the next picture....ok it's easy, it's the Salem nuke plant cooling towers. Ok, this was the easy see and say choice, you all pass.We are less then 20 miles from ILG so when the tower/ground is finished with a clearance we will make contact. Wilmington Tower, Piper 28679er 15 to the south inbound for full stop with "D"elta 3500 level. We are directed to enter the right downwind 14 and report abeam the numbers. I read back the right downwind but I didn't hear all of the "abeam the numbers". Tower repeats and I confirm.

Looking good if we were on final for r/w 1 but we're not so a left turn to a heading of 320 and I am on downwind. As I am about to call the tower I am cleared to land and hold short of 1. They have a Mig landing on r/w 19 just after I land on 14. I touchdown smooth and roll out to a stop well before runway 1 and get instructions to turn off on t/w F. With the after landing checks complete I contact ground for taxi to parking instructions. An easy trip with right turn on F, hold short runway 9, cleared to then turn right on r/w 9 and a left turn on K5 and we are home!

Home Sweet Home

With 28679er safe and secure we wheel our bags to the SUV.'s a bit of a search and rescue as we look for the keys. We finally locate our keys and vow to work out the kinks in the process for the next trip. Time to head home then back out to pick up the Maggie girl so all the family is back together.

Monday, November 06, 2006

First Overnighter....

Yep, planning for our first overnighter. Mary and I have decided to visit our friend Susan in Williamsburg, VA. I confirmed our hotel reservation at the Hampton Inn, booked the car that will be at the airport waiting and cleared the insurance qualifications in the club aircraft by faxing in my log book copies to show the 5+ hours dual in type.

Now on to the fun stuff! I worked up a flight plan on the AOPA planner, plugged in my aircraft info and completed a weight and balance on a excel spreadsheet. Mary and I will be posting our trip journal after our return home. Here is the flight plan as of today.

I decided to steer well clear of the ADIZ and instead fly along the Maryland/Virgina coast of the Chesapeake Bay. I have run both routes and there is no real time saved. We will take a peek at Tangier Island (KTGI) another place we want to visit located in the Bay north west of Accomack(KMFV) and look for the campers at CheeryStone, where some of our friends rent cabins and spend time fishing. A lot of sight seeing and I hope some great photo's. WX is looking very good for both Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First Flight...six seven niner

An early start today as I prepared for my initial flight in 28679. I arrived at the airport by 6:30 and completed my pre flight with the exception of sumping the fuel. I ordered fuel and always sump afterwards. Six seven niner took 25 gallons and upon my test found no water.

Clear prop! was the call and 679 comes to life. I tuned in KESN on the Garmin 300 and gezzz do I need to read that book again. I pass on playing with the radio portion and opt for com 2. Atis dialed in and information Bravo noted, we are ready for our taxi out. Our taxi instructions take me to r/w 27 via t/w "k" with a departure from intersection at t/w "m". I bee bop on by a gulfstream (Campbell Soups aircraft) and turn on to kilo. I proceed with my run up and when complete confirm runway 27 intersection at "m" departure with ground, ground confirm's. Ok flip to the tower and I am cleared for takeoff to remain in pattern for T&G's right traffic 27. Four rounds on 27 and then I am directed to enter left downwind for r/w 32, I confirm and turn out to the left and position as required. This tower stuff is a blast, I love the whole radio thing. One round on 32 then directed to enter right downwind for 27 again. I confirm and on departure turn right to enter the right downwind for 27. I needed to make adjustments for the winds today blowing in on 27, but it was good practice for locating ground reference points. Ok final T&G complete my CFI announces our departure to the SW to Easton, MD. Time to get familiar with the GPS and autopilot.

679 was rock solid and very stable, she trimmed out very nice and held heading and altitude with little or no extra work. The auto pilot was cool, always love new toys but I must admit I rather hand fly anyday, it just felt strange. Switching over to ESN traffic I announce my position and intentions. Traffic seemed light and I could have opted for the straight in but I instead positioned for a right base entry to runway 22. That age old discussion how to enter.....Straight in provided the best view of the pattern but I opted to have that extra look see and enter right base. A tad high but with a slight slip I am in holding off the nose much better this time around. Bill, my CFI always reminds me not to flare as high and hold it off as I sink. The Archer tends to feel nose heavy landing and he recommended once in flare add in trim to ease holding it off.

A quick stretch of the legs and a bottle of water has us saddled back up and heading to Wilmington. I call Wilmington tower about 15 out to the southwest and I am told to report 2 mile left base 32. As I get a bit closer the tower asked where I was going (red eagle) and offered runway 9. I stayed with 32 and eventually reported left base. cleared to land and adding a second notch of flaps I turn final. Bill reminded me almost every landing to get on center, I wanted to make the last one a good one. Pretty much on center but rolling out to my left and make correction and as instructed turn right on runway 9 followed by a left on taxiway K5.

With 28679 back home and secured Bill and I talk about the aircraft, flying and my future instrument rating. Some of the things I need to do is order a checklist in the flip format. While the one in the aircraft works, it's way to busy for me. Bill shared some really good tips today and I'll add them to my list of knowledge for those occasions I may need that little bit extra. He also reminded me to stop in and see him at Brandywine, which I will do to take advantage of that 50' wide runway to help keep me "centered".

A nice day to fly, and always great time flying with Bill my CFI. I reminded him that we need to get together for a night out to dinner with the ladies and he agreed. If there is one thing that I have treasured since learning to fly it's the friendships I have made. The Delaware flying Club just opened the door to more adventures and friendships for both Mary and I.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's Official!

Our membership in the Delaware Flying Club is official! I met Gary this evening and went over a few things and was given a set of keys. I will need to complete two hours of dual (instruction) to make a total of five hours dual in type before we can solo. The Insurance required this since I am a low time pilot. Mary and I are very excited and can't wait for that first overnight trip. Gary (Aircraft Owner) has provided us a fantastic opportunity to sample what ownership involves. I am looking forward to the annual in November and getting a little hands on and at the very least getting in the way and asking a bunch of questions.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

KWBW for a special visit

N99 - KWBW - 40N - N99

Blue skies and a very good wx brief stirred the soul today as Mary and I headed to the airport. Winds were 260 at 8G14 for departure and 270 10G20 at WBW. A last minute call to the wx brief by one of the CFI's at the school and I read the information supplied. By the time we were scheduled for our return the winds would be 260 12G24. With the strong gusting winds I sat and thought about changing my mind to go but the back up call and winds favoring my runway for landings at each location weighed in on the go side, and so we did. I also thought about all that crosswind training, which left me feeling in tune with the crosswind Gods.

Brandywine was busy today with the Rotorfest; helicopters, fixed wing and people everywhere. Mary loaded up the aircraft while I did my preflight. The only catch to getting out would be if we got fuel in time. The TFR took effect at 12:00 local or 1600 Z. The fuel truck finished and I completed my checklists, pacing myself with the thought if we miss the window who cares we can go another day. The time is 1550Z when I call clear prop and fire up 46C. I taxi out behind my instructor and await my turn for a run up. I had a 152 that taxied behind me so I could not run up where we sat, besides I am not changing the routine just to get out playing beat the clock.

Number three for run up I taxi into the box and run through the checks. All is good to go as the Ground Boss calls 3 minutes until N99 is closed. I am now number two at the hold short getting ready to taxi for departure. The 152 in front of me did his run up on the taxi way and he moved up in line. My Instructor departs in Tango Bravo a 172, followed by the 152. I roll into position and call my departing 27. What a picture, the 172 well away on the upwind, the 152 with good spacing and I'm just wheels up.

Eyes all around with the helicopter traffic and the U.S. Army Black Daggers parachute team in the air. I make my call...2746C departing the area to the north and exit out on a 45* away from the normal crosswind pattern. I get a return call and someone says thanks for the turn out 46C...followed by a call to the helicopter with the jumpers that the zone is now hot. I didn't get a chance to see the jumpers, I was to busy reining 46C in and dealing with the turbulence. My call to PHL Approach was delayed (VFR traffic calling standby) with all the traffic on the air but finally was contacted followed with my acknowledgement of the squawk code. The flight plan was on the mark today despite the rough ride. We crossed the East Texas VOR on time and we were still riding along with PHL App. We should have been handed off to Allentown Approach. I made the mistake of saying out loud that it was odd that PHL is holding on to us this long, we should have been passed to Allentown Approach. Mary got that look on her face. I had tuned in Allentown App. and was listening for traffic just in case. I finally decide to call PHL as I am getting ready to cross Blue mountain and over fly the valley where Arner Memorial Airport (22N) is located.

Ok, how do I phrase this to PHL App. without sounding like a smart A$$ ? Here is what I did;

ME Phl App 2746C request
PHL 46C, PHL App
ME PHL App, 46C still with you 5500, would like to contact Wilkes-Barre Approach.
PHL ah...46C Freq. change approved, have a good day.
ME Freq change approved, thanks for your help today 46C

I got a good laugh.....I already had Wilkes-Barre dialed in so I made the call and was given a new squawk, which I thought was strange but understand now since it was not a "handoff". I confirmed squawk and verified that I would report the airfield in sight.

The foliage colors were really pretty on this trip although not as outstanding as I thought they would be, more of a blanket of color. I did however like the cloud shadows on the surface.

New territory for us today, as I stretched the wings beyond the known. With the Susquehanna river in sight and that distinctive bend, I knew I was west/south west about 8 miles. I report to WB App field in sight and they cut me loose. I had WBW dialed in and made the flip. I advised WBW traffic I was 5 miles 45* from south west for full stop r/w 25 WBW. Not a peep on the radio. I called out downwind, base and final with no other noise. I tried unicom again after calling clear 25 as I taxied in but not a word. (<- downwind 25 )

Mary and I decide to shut down right in front of the building, if someone is home they will know we are here! After locking up 46C we headed in to find everyone having lunch. A very friendly bunch at Valley Aviation, dropping what they were doing and getting us a taxi (Enterprise closed at noon). The man at the counter hangs up the phone and says 15 - 20 minutes. We thank him and make ourselves at home. (<- Final 25)

The man then says, where are you headed and how long will you be? We were going to drive a few miles to the cemetery across the highway where my folks are buried and then up to a town called Forty Fort (a few miles from the airport) to visit an Aunt and Uncle. The guy said take my truck, I'm stuck here until' 5:30. I say Oh, a courtesy vehicle that's really very nice. He states no, it's my truck. I ask, are you sure, and that he didn't have to do that. He said heck, I got your plane. Mary and I were off, and as we walked over to his new Dodge Ram 4wd p/u she said laughing, it's not our plane! We got a good laugh.

Mary and I placed flowers (mums) on my parents grave and added a small pumpkin and Indian corn for the Halloween/Thanksgiving holidays. My Bride, she thinks of everything. Off to visit the family but they were off on some train excursion that is a local thing....guess you have to live there to understand it. We left word with my cousin that we flew in and to let his folks know we we there.

We headed back to the airport after topping off the tank in the truck, it's the least we could do. We decided to grab a bite to eat across the street from the airport but the wx looked like it had other ideas. I asked if they had computer access so I could check the wx and I was taken to an office in the back. Hmmmm, odd I can't log into DUATS, so I tried the AOPA weather pages. I was concerned about the winds and if the rain would pass, we could see it moving our way.

I confirmed what we saw outside. I played it through a few times to follow the track and it was headed towards WBW/AVP. Mary and I decided it was time to scoot.

METAR KAVP 141754Z 23013G24KT 10SM SCT080 11/M06 A2976 RMK AO2 PK WND 25029/1722 SLP077 T01061056 10122 20022 56008

Mary pulled the chocks and returned them to hanging on the fence while I preflighted the aircraft. The wind was really starting to pick up as we both climbed in. I finished the preflight and called clear prop as 46C was ready to head home too. Calling out a back taxi on 25 for departure we made wat for the run up at the approach end of 25. Everything good to go and we were rolling to the hold short. WBW traffic, Cessna 2746C departing 25 WBW....and we were off. Cloud level looked like was maybe 5500 and I planned for 4500 for the leg home. A final call to WBW traffic as I announce our departure on 25 crosswind to the south adding a thanks again for all the help.

Time to climb over the mountain, focusing on a path between towers right and left. gentle "s" turns to see over the nose and position looks great. Finally the radio comes to life as we reach 3000' . A call to WB App and a new squawk code has us heading home with some added protection. Mary is closing her eyes to deal with the turbulence and I think even catches a few winks along the way. WB App called out traffic and I confirmed contact as we neared the hand off to Allentown. Allentown asked for our final destination when we checked in and called out traffic a few times. We had a Gulfstream at our 1:00 at 4600 with no contact at first but then a clear view passing through our 12:00 well ahead of us and headed into KABE.

Checking the time I knew were not going to be able to land at N99 until the TFR was lifted at 4pm, it was 3:10 or so as we passed Pottstown cooling towers. I canceled flight following as I crossed Rt. 30 decending to 3000' and decided to make our way towards 40N Chester County. I gave Mary the nickle tour of the area and doubled back on the south side of 40N to enter the 45* for r/w 29 at Chester County. The downwind to base was, exciting to say the least, with the winds kicking. Keeping speed up and only adding the second notch of flaps we are on very short final when the gusting winds feel like they stop. I added a touch of throttle and worked that to get us in.

We parked at the Jet Direct Aviation and decided to have an early dinner. Jet Direct treated us the single engine piston just like the big boys, great service! Our first time eating at The Flying Machine Cafe' and it was really good. The onion soup is a must have!! Service was fast and friendly, worth a return trip. It was nice to watch a few Gulfstreams land and taxi in as we enjoyed the time relaxing and talking about the flight. The service was really good and friendly.

Mary again pulled the chocks and returned them as I preflighted. It seems we have this system down pretty good. All is good and we fire up 46C for the short hop home to N99. A smooth take off and turn out for noise abatement followed by a call to announce departure on the 29 downwind to the east. Ahhh, with my water towers in sight I postion and announce a 10 mile 45* from the SW for left downwind 27 Brandywine. Helicopter traffic is still buzzing around so Mary is my second set of eyes. I call out 4 mile 45* for left downwind 27 from the SW just to let the place know where I am located. Landing checks complete I announce downwind 27 and give another look at all the goings on at the helicopter museum. Announcing base and final I am a bit high as I line up. pulling out the throttle and splitting the PAPI lights I'm on glide looking good. Wow! wind gusts and some crosswind we start rockin' and rollin' I'm thinking great....this will be fun. This is why I am so glad I trainned here at the 50' wide 3400' runway., Adding power to prevent the "thud" we float then sink, rudder throttle hold it off sink and we're in. I'm sure it didn't look pretty at all, but it was gentle and only a short taxi to clear. 46C is home and secured as Mary grabbed the flight bag and headed to the ML while I paid the bill. My lovely Bride pulled the truck around to the flight school front door as I sat and chatted inside. Finally, we are headed home and I can't wait to pour a big glass of ice tea and kick back.

METAR KILG 141951Z 25013G20KT 10SM CLR 15/M04 A2984 RMK AO2 SLP105 T01501044


Location : Brandywine Airport, West Chester, Pennsylvania near MODENA VORTAC (MXE)
Beginning Date and Time : October 14, 2006 at 16:00 UTC
Ending Date and Time : October 15, 2006 at 19:45 UTC
Reason for NOTAM : Parachute jumps by the U.S. Army Black Daggers Team
Type : Airshow
Pilots May Contact : Philadelphia (PHL) Air Traffic Control Tower, 215-492-4123
Affected Area(s)
Airspace Definition:
TFR Center: 6 nautical miles from MODENA VORTAC(MXE) on the 053 radial (Latitude: 39º59'24"N, Longitude: 75º34'55"W)
Radius: 3 nautical miles
Altitude: From the surface up to and including 10500 feet MSL