Sunday, October 21, 2007

Salisbury Wine Festival

I have to at least post the sunny wx picture and trust me, that does not do justice for the fantastic day flying today. Mary and I made plans to visit her cousin Maureen and her husband Dan. Mary's Mom decided she was ready to try General Aviation and wanted to head south for a visit too.

We started our day with a stop to pick up Mom and then headed south for the airport. The morning temps were cool with a light breeze and the forecast high was for 77 degrees. We uncovered 679er as Mom watched, asking questions about the pre-flight as I finished up. Mary provided the passenger briefing for the outside and inside of the aircraft, she is so good with everyone that flies with us.

I climb in with the usual "piper roll" and Mom is number two to board. As I start my pre-start check list Mary reviews the 'inside' passenger brief. The only part I add to the briefing is the hand single for quiet if needed. I call 'clear prop' and 679er comes to life seemingly as eager as I am to get some flight time on such a cool sunny day. We get taxi clearance to runway two seven hold at 'M'ike. After completing the run up I am cleared to take off two seven and advised to watch for birds. As I acknowledge the cleared to go Mom asks, while the mic is keyed, what kind of birds. We all crack up laughing and Mom covers her mouth, I'm laughing as I type this still.

The flight was so smooth, like sitting in a chair looking out the window at home. I explained traffic advisories once we were on with Dover Approach and we all looked for landmarks along the way. It was so clear today that you could see the mouth of the Delaware Bay with Lewes and Cape May clearly in view. The white sands of Cape Henlopen were clearly visible from a few miles south of Wilmington as we climbed to 4500'.

I contacted (KSBY) Salisbury Tower and reported a 3 mile right base for runway two three. A nice landing and roll out to the taxiway and on to parking at the GA Terminal. The Lineman marshalled us in to parking and Mary's cousin was standing right there with him. He had brought her out in the van to meet us as we taxied in. I made arrangement to top off the fuel and then joined the ladies for the ride to the house.

Maureen and Dan have a gorgeous home. A new pool this year and everything landscaped as if we were walking into a better homes and gardens picture shoot, very nice indeed. It was great to chat and catch up. Maureen made crab cakes that were out of this world so we enjoyed a light lunch along with a salad of spring garden mix that had dried cran raisins, feta cheese and candied pecans (to die for). I had to pass on desert (full tummy) but had a taste of Mary's coconut cake that she had. Heck lunch alone was worth that trip, Phillips has nothing on Maureen and Dan's crab cakes!

We loaded up their SUV and headed to the Wicomico Autumn Wine Fest. There was a good crowd for a Sunday but the temps and sunny weather sure helped. We strolled in and staked our place in the shade for the picnic blanket, chairs and cooler. The ladies quickly headed out, wine glass in hand, while us men held the fort with our designated driver wrist bands securely in place. The wine tasting was unlimited so the ladies had fun, making a return to sit and chat as if to recharge.

Maureen and Dan's friends were very nice and I got to talk about aviation, which is always fun. One gentleman asked about the presidential TFR and how I made out going through it. Hmmmm...let me get this straight, a non-pilot understands about TFR but yet some pilots do not 'get it'. I digress, Yes, I acknowledged the TFR but said that particular one had ended yesterday, I then explained the why and why nots, how pilots check the status and what goes into a 'flight plan'.

We all sat and enjoyed the live band while eating cheese, crackers and grapes. There were many food stands but I was happy munching while drinking my Mountain Dew. I drank the last of the dew around 3pm and as of 8:30 pm (as I type) I am still wired. Mary, Mom and I said our goodbyes and Dan drove us back to the airport. Gezzzz, where did the day go? It's 4:15 as I pay my fuel bill and we walk out to saddle up for home. I complete a walk around along with sumping the fuel and we are ready to go.

We are cleared to taxi to runway one four number three behind a Cessna 150 and Citation Jet. The 150 has mic problems and pulls clear of the taxiway to let the Citation depart. We pull up for our run up but leave room for the 150 just in case. The guys in the 150 do not respond to ATC (at least not on twr frequency)and pull up to the hold short. they are cleared to take off and again no acknowledgement on the tower freq. It's pretty bad when my wife who is not a pilot understands what frequency to be on and the need to acknowledge, she mumbles nit wit as we watch them roll out for departure. We finally get cleared to take off and do so climbing out to 5500' and turned loose on course, all the while enjoying the clear view of Ocean City, MD and the coast.

We had some traffic call outs once handed off to Dover Approach from Patuxent. The tine in flight was about fifty minutes with winds aloft 320* at 20. Headwind on the way home but 679er galloped along wanting to take the bit as they say in the horse world. Once cut loose from Dover I started a slow descent into Wilmington (KILG). I crossed over pea patch island at 1500' and was at pattern altitude 1080' as we called out the right down wind entry for runway one four. We had traffic passing by from 1 to 10 o'clock about 1500' and acknowledged. Abeam the numbers I am cleared to land and squeak a landing in with a roll out for the first available taxiway.

A day in review...A first time General Aviation passenger, a great day with family and back home safe, life is good and I am thankful.

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