Friday, March 09, 2007

Beach Patrol...

Ah, what a beautiful day today! Hey, it's a great day just not going to work! Mary and I decided that we would work on our beach patrol day trip. The weather was looking great, maybe a tad nippy, but over all blue sky and hardly a breeze.

We rolled out of bed and took care of the zoo, who I might add was very happy to see us sleeping in and was willing to go along with the early weekend slumber time. We recently adopted a grey seven month old kitty, Harry is there with one of our other three boys Jake. As the zoo finished eating we were ready to get moving. Maggie had other ideas and tried to sleep while still offering the I'm on patrol pose, nice try slacker! Our showers complete, flight bags packed,flight plan checked, Flight Service called and weather outlook noted, we are ready to roll.

We made a stop at wawa for coffee and juice so that we had something to drink along the way. As we entered the gate and looked at 679er we could see Ice on the leading edge of the wings. Hmmm..this is not good and this stuff is thick. We both know the effects of ice and learned how fast the de-icer's work, it would not take long for us to get rolling. I was pretty excited about flying today; traveling, eating and shopping, but mostly spending time with Gary. I made a call to Dassault Falcon Jet, the same folks who provide our fuel to see if they could de-ice our baby. Not a problem as they rolled up in the fuel truck and got out with a hand spay unit. This was my first experience with this stinks and does not clean up well. After a second application and with a gentle rub with a spill towel the ice finally came off. What really sucked was completing the pre-flight and getting under the wing while having to cover my head with a towel so that crap didn't get all over me. Lesson learned complete the pre-flight first!

We planned to be off by 10am and it now was 10:15, good thing we got to the airport a half hour earlier then planned. Seven shots of primer and 679er roared to life. Setting idle at 900-1000 rpm let her warm up the oil very nicely. I toyed with the GPS trying to teach myself route planning but forgot the 100 plus page manual. I am familiar with the area and only use it (GPS)as a backup and distance tool. We are cleared for takeoff on runaway 14 today and 679er jumps off the ground, seeming to be as eager as I am to log some flight time.

We pick up Dover approach (he gets my tail number wrong twice)and then he kicks us loose, telling me I am not in his airspace. Well, Ok, fine I squawk 1200 and keep motoring south. In less then two minutes he contacts me (getting my tail number wrong again) and gives me the same code, go figure. We eventually spot KGED and I announce 10 miles out for full stop r/w 4. As we closed the gap I heard a call from a skyhawk turning left base r/w 4. I announced my 4 mile 45* for left downwind 4. I announce dowind, base and final feeling rusty as I come in a bit fast and flat. Not the best landing but not my worst.
I thought it was a good landing, no bouncing around and I like that. We taxi in, secure 679er and head in to grab a table near the window (file photo). The place is empty but it's not quite 11:30, we beat the lunch rush. I had a BLT and Mary had cream of crab soup and a grilled cheese. Excellent crab soup, highly recommended! As we got ready to leave a few pilots and some locals started to trickle in. I chatted with a man that came in to eat that had just taxied in with a LanceAir, this baby was hot! What a nice aircraft. I made a stop in the pilot lounge to check weather then headed out to the plane.

A quick check of the fuel and a walk around to make sure all is in order and we fire up and head out. Number three for departure we make our way to runway 4 and jump back into the sky. Did I mention how absolutely gorgeous it was? Wonderful job on the take off and Gary thought he was rusty. We decided to roam around Lewes and take some shots as I gained some altitude for my Bay crossing. We lumbered north of Rehobeth and back towards lewes then made way across the Bay. Mary pointed out the DRBA ferry's crossing in each direction, very nice! We spotted the cape may light house but we don't have enough zoom on the digital camera, this to will change soon. I report 10 miles out for full stop runway 10 cape may and continue on, all the while working my way from 5500 to 823' pattern altitude.

I know I have to fly over the airport and turn back in to enter on a 45* for runway 10 but somewhere between checking out the sights and looking for traffic I enter on a 45* for 28. Now this wouldn't be terrible but I had already announced a full stop for r/w 10 and had just announced my 3 mile 45* for 10 along with aproaching TPA. Grrrrrr catching myself,I immediately correct my position an announce a north east right turn out towards Atlantic City to circle back and over fly the airport. What a dip stick......felt like a dummy even though I had the place to myself. Actually I hardly noticed because as usual I was busy sight seeing and looking for other planes. Ok, finaly on a 3 mile 45* for runway 10, followed by a smooth downwind and base transition. Thinking slow down and make sure I hear that stall horn moan before touching down this time. I turn final on target great speed and add in the last notch of flaps. Oh yeah, very pretty, 65 kts nose high bleeding speed and horn was talking to me, no chirps, very smooth on the mains followed by nose wheel down in what seemed like 10 seconds after the fact. Ahhh...I feel better. Someone comes on the radio and says best landing I've seen all day....yeah that made me feel good.

The young man working at Big Sky was out to meet us and place chocks when we shut down, Thanks Sean! My co-worker Tom, Operations Manager at Cape May was also there to welcome us in. Tom was also the voice on the radio about my landing, but I'll take the kudo's. It was wonderful to finally meet Tom, I have heard Gary speak of him often. The man from Ace Sharper car rentals walked out to the flight line where I was running my mouth talking to a man getting ready to leave in his 1959 Cessna 182, was this baby a sweet heart. He shared the story of how he came across this clean aircraft and let us have a look inside. The inside was just as clean. He keeps his aircraft close to home, he lives at a fly-in community near the Pax river in MD. We both dream about retiring in a community just like the gentlemen we spoke with had described, you can always dream! We said our goodbyes then Mary and I jumped in our ford standard size rental transportation and headed for the beach.

Our directions were perfect that Big Sky had provided and in no time we were snapping pictures of the Cape May light house. Of course we checked out all the homes and available property in and around the area. From the light house we wandered our way towards the boardwalk. We checked out the Victorian homes, found the bed and breakfast we had stayed at and took a few more pic's. We checked out the boardwalk and in the picture at the far end you will see a red marker bouy. Mary met a gentleman while taking this picture. He told her about the southern most point in New jersey, it's at the end of the Cape May boardwalk. Sure enough we got out and checked it over, reading the sign and getting our picture taken. Mr. Weaver spent some time sharing stories about his past, his love of aviation, some interesting past flights and whatever else our conversations covered. The plus to being able to fly is the people we meet and the experiences they share with us. Mr. Weaver, thanks for taking some time to share your life stories with us. I firmly believe that sometimes we get lucky and end up in the right place at the right time. Today Mary and I were lucky enough to spend some time with Walt and we were treated to some interesting facts and his good natured ribbing.

Mary and I hit the local shops, taking advantage of no crowds. We strolled along hand in hand enjoying our day trip and quiet time together. I especially loved this part of the day, no one was around except for a few locals. Gary and I talked about our trip to Lewes/Cape May with my Mom last summer, great memories new and old. We managed to find a cape may light house collectible, the flat wooden hand painted recreation of the structure that we now added to our collection. We also found a jewelry store and Mary got an early St. Patty's day gift (for the Irish half in her) of a pendant and earring set with the gemstone Peridot. Find a jewelry store??? Are you kidding ? I navigate towards them like Gary does to a plane. Thank you sweetheart for the lovely earring and necklace set, you know that I’ll enjoy wearing them.

The day flew by, no pun intended. We saddled up and made our way back to the airport with a quick stop for water and raspberry tea at the golden arches. We turned in the rental at the FBO and proceeded to get 679er ready to go. I completed my pre-flight, added oil and posed for a few photo's. We fired up and taxied out to runway 19 for a run up and departure. Run up complete, we rolled out on to r/w 19 and pushed for full throttle as 679er really came to life. If 679er was feeling half as good as me for finally getting back in the air, I can honestly say I understood that power. I made a quick call to thank Op's just after wheels up then climbed to TPA before turning crosswind then downwind for departure to the North.

ATIS tuned and noted for KILG, we flipped over to the tower frequency. I heard one aircraft crossing the ILG airspace headed for KMIV, Millville, NJ. I advise Mary to help look for the traffic since we will be going head to head shortly. The Skyhawk was at 2500' and we were at 3000'. Mary called out traffic low and to our one o' clock maybe he was 1500'. I quick flipped back to 123.0 and sure enough that was him announcing his intentions for KMIV. Back to 126.0 to call up Wilmington, "Archer 28679er 15 from the south east 3000' level with "H"otel inbound for full stop". I was directed to call out my left downwind for 19, I acknowledged. Over the Delaware river and joining the left downwind I notify the tower. I was cleared to land 19, I repeated and continued on. I wanted to make the first turn off to taxiway "K"ilo so this would be good short field practice.

Base to final adding the last notch of flaps when I had the field made I was splitting the PAPI's on the mark. Over the numbers 65kts and falling, sinking, back on the yoke, sinking, a bit more back pressure with some nose up trim. Stall horn moaning, no chirps just wheels down and rolling followed eventually by the nose touching down. Retract flaps, only light braking since I needed some energy to make the first taxiway. I was really liking that landing, on center and very short, it felt great. We taxied in and buttoned up 679er with 2.3 hours in the book today. We are scheduled for Orange County, NY on the 17th!

I had to add this picture of Mary's potential rescue kitty found roaming the sand dunes. No, it did not come home with us and for all those concerned my Bride said it looked to be in great shape....(most likely working on it's free lunch, I thought). What a find for me, the kitty looked to be in very good health, nice shiny eyes and well fed. Cat’s, like diamonds, each one is different and holds memories. I hope kitty stays well taken care of as well as the other strays that live along the boardwalk.

1 comment:

k said...

Sounds like really nice landings!

We're looking forward to the chance to meet you the April 12 weekend! Our treat at Uno's... And Busch Gardens has a new roller coaster opening this season that looks pretty sweet -- I'm sure you'll have a blast!