Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bombs Away

A short flight today in order to crawl around the Collings Foundation B17, B24 and B25. More to follow.....after a cool shower and dinner out with my Bride!

Ahhhh, I'm showered and my tummy is full, I am ready to type a few lines noting today's solo adventure. First off, it was not the same without Mary riding along right seat. My lovely Bride decided to stay wheels down and lay out in the sun and putz around the house (I guess WWII bombers just didn't do it for her). I on the other hand took advantage of the great weather to get some left seat time.

I read back my taxi clearance and was underway. Run up completed I acknowledged clear to take off on runway 27. Almost to pattern altitude I get a call from the tower to recycle my transponder. Grumble....Grrrrr...I thought this was working. As always flying the plane first, I request a left turn out on course to trouble shoot and clear the delta airspace. Breaker good, turn the unit off then on, wait, no light at all. Hmmm, on and off again hit ident and the light comes on and this time Wilmington tower confirms contact. The rest of the flight was smooth and trouble free.

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum was packed with visitors which is always good for the cash register. The Bombers were neatly lined up on the west side of the museum hangar. First the B17, next the B24 and finally the B25. Thanks to 'Danos' from the POA forum who provides the ground shots since he remembered his camera.

The aircraft were in great shape and this old man crawled around checking out every nook and cranny. I will say this, the MEN that flew those aircraft and the crew who battled enemy fighters were all hero's in my book. If you have the chance to see these flying history lessons, do so. I plan on taking a 30 minute flight the next time they are in town.

It is an unmistakable sound... two Wright R-2600 engines echoing through the sky as one of America's most famous medium bombers, the B-25 Mitchell, soars through the skies over 50 years after its service life. Made most famous for the Doolittle Raid on Japan, the first American attack made on the Japanese mainland after the attack on Pearl Harbor. This famous raid saw sixteen B-25s take off from the aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet on a daring mission that brought morale back to America in a time of war. The B-25 was never conceived to fly off of an aircraft carrier, but it adapted... that's what the B-25 was known for, adaptability under any combat circumstance.
Employed as a bomber in every theater of operations, and even as a ground attack aircraft and low-level bomber, the B-25 was a reliable aircraft with a proven record that was hard to beat. Even after WWII, the B-25 saw considerable use in the civilian sector as a transport aircraft and as a fire-bomber over America's forested regions.

The Collings Foundation’s B-24 is the only restored flying B-24 in the world. America's only flying B-24 continues soaring through its native skies as part of the annual Wings of Freedom Tour with its sister ship, the B-17 Flying Fortress. A product of a multi-million dollar restoration, the B-24 stands testiment to the strength of the 1940's engineering that built it and helped it survive through many years of hardship.

I also had the chance to meet a fellow POA Forum member, 'Danso'. What a nice guy and his passenger whose name escapes me both seemed to enjoy the exhibit. We talked planes and flying lesson's; Danso's commercial rating (almost there) and my ground school work towards my IR. Time as always fly's by, no pun intended. We parted ways and they headed back to Caldwell and I said my goodbyes to my fellow POA Forum members and to my co-workers in operations. I pre-flighted then saddled up for my short hop to KILG.

Fun day, short hop but worth the time in the air. I'll post pictures as my friends at work send them to me. Why you ask, because I packed everything but the camera...can you say Duh!

Until next time.....Blue Skies!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

North East Flyers "Lunch Run"

Forecast for Lancaster (KLNS).
Today Sunny. Not as warm. Less humid with highs in the mid 70s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

This morning Mary and I will be heading to Lancaster,PA. We are going to meet up with the North East Flyers group for lunch. This morning's weather report looks great so we should have a nice flight. METAR KILG 181451Z 34011KT 10SM CLR 22/06 A3019. This does not reflect the gusting winds as noted in the ATIS report. No matter, it was a smooth take off from runway 1 with a left turn out to our north west destination. Winds aloft as noted by St. Petersburg, yes, St. Petersburg, Fl was for 36 knts. Williamsport FSS is now closed and I was directed to call 1-800-wx-brief which dumped me to Florida. Somehow this does not give me the warm and fuzzies.
I picked up flight following with Harrisburg Approach about 8 miles west of KMQS (the old 40N) Chester County. I received my squawk code and dialed it in, fllowed by my readback to approach. A few minutes go by with no radar contact. Great, the transponder is acting up again. I call approach to confirm and he asks for me to Ident. No problem, they have me and confirm our location. I report a 4 mile final for runway 31 and then advise crossing the four lane highway as directed. A smooth landing with stall horn moaning just a tad left of center. We roll out and taxi to parking on the west ramp

We waited for the others to arrive and they indeed trickled in with most folks running 30 minutes behind schedule. We had a nice lunch and had some good airplane chat. Mary had the chicken cranberry salad and I had the buffalo chicken salad, hold the buffalo. I don't care much for the hot sauce. Service was good as usual and the place seemed pretty busy. The waitress asked how all the pilots know about the restaurant. I told her word of mouth mostly and then explained about and the ability to leave feedback on the FBO's (which she understood) and places to eat. We walked out to the flight line and saddled up for home. I watched as Bob passed overhead in his R44 Helicopter and I followed Ed in his Cessna Centurion out to 31 for departure. Mary and I decided to fly right home passing up the shopping at the outlets and a stop at Smoketown.

I contacted Wilmington Tower 15 out to the North West and was directed to enter a left down wind for 32. Traffic departed from New Garden (N57) and was headed to KILG also. I had a visual on the lark and Wilmington directed me to follow him in #2. AS I slowed and fell in line we were both given the option for runway 27. I accepted the change and positioned for a right down wind entry. As I was about to turn down wind I watched an aircraft depart 32. I had contact on him the whole time acknowledged with the tower and as he climbed out and passed by me I started my turn to down wind. He made a call to Wilmington asking about the aircraft off his left side not talking to anyone. Hellooooo.....are you not listening??? Wilmington blasted back that I had visual on him and I was in contact. KILG 181751Z 33010G16KT 10SM CLR 24/07 A3019
Another smooth landing on 27 followed with a taxi to Red Eagle. Mary and I secure 679er and head for home. A fun day, even though it was a short trip.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Summer Days...No Haze

Sunny. Highs in the lower 80s. Light and variable winds... becoming south around 5 mph this afternoon.

This morning we (the men) will take a 30 minute ride from Ocean City Maryland to Cape May,NJ. It was decided (by the ladies) that the men will go fly and the ladies will do what ladies like to do at the beach. I am sure that will include walks, the beach and of course SHOPPING!

The men headed off to the airport to spend some time bonding, as us men sometimes do. I called to have 679er topped off this morning and that task was completed. We uncovered, pre-flighted and climbed aboard. I had to give the pre-flight speech that My lovely Bride usually takes care of. Review time; Seat belts, time to talk and not talk, looking for traffic, brake test, run up, exit strategy and finally the stall horn during landing.

With all the technical goodies taken care of we finally get to start up. If memory serves me correct we taxied to runway 32 for departure. Run up complete, we announced our intentions and were underway. A smooth take off with a 45* turn out at pattern altitude. We headed across Assawoman Bay and zeroed in on Pam and Ted's condo. Pam & Ted's son Patrick was in charge of camera duties and he did just fine, well pretty good if we don't count all the self portraits(kidding Patrick). I think Ted and Patrick both enjoyed the ride and had fun spotting aircraft and boats in the Assawoman and Delaware Bays. We entered the pattern for Cape May (KWWD) and joined on a 45* for the left down wind for 28. We followed a Mooney in and had a nice landing. After clearing the runway we could not help but commenting on the corporate jet that was parked near the Big Sky FBO. After researching the tail number and calling my co-workers to confirm the aircraft, we find that it was indeed Oprah's Global Express, N54SL. I downloaded a picture from the internet since Patrick did not get this one. We taxied to parking near the DRBA Operations building and shut down there for our tour of the Naval Air Station Museum.

The Museum had more aircraft then the last time I visited. The F-14 Tomcat was completed as well as a few other new additions. We finished our tour and then saddled up for our return to Ocean City, MD. I took off from runway 28 and at pattern altitude turned out 45* left to circle the Cape May light house while gaining altitude for our re-crossing of the bay.

I opted for a left base entry to runway 14 at Ocean City and didn't scrub enough speed off as I wanted. Great showing to first time passenger as I announced a "going around" and gave it a second try, this time low and slow as I should have been the first time.

The men picked up the wives and Patrick went to work. We went to a place called HarborSide Bar and Grill and had shrimp salad for a late lunch. Both the food and service were very good. With full tummy's we made our way for OXB. Potty stops completed, we saddled up for home after saying our good-bye's to Pam and Ted. We taxied out to runway 14 and held for traffic that was on short final. Mary and I launched for home and picked up flight following 10 miles north of KOXB. Mary never saw or heard a thing, she was sound asleep in minutes. I was left to myself for spotting traffic and singing a verse or two from the weekend bet about an old cartoon, the wacky racers and Penelope Pitstop. Something about "stop that pigeon", did Penelope ever really fly a plane in the races? There's a $100 bet on the line here. For the younger readers this is why drinking,discussing old cartoons and making bets is not a good idea.

Back to the flying! Dover approach had me re-cycle the transponder since they had no radar contact on me. I shut it off, turned it on and now no light at all! Greeaaaat, I went through the procedure again, checking the breaker, re-cycled the transponder and finally hit the "ident". All of a sudden I could see the light blink at a rapid pace and then back to a normal rhythm. I went back and forth with Dover approach and finally they had radar contact. We road along together until about 16 miles south of Wilmington then I was cut loose to squawk VFR and a frequency change was approved. I acknowledged and thanked Dover for their patience with my transponder issue.

Mary and I had a GREAT time! I've known Pam since I was 18 and I'll be 50 this December. I've know Ted since they started dating and that must be 20 years. Where does the time go? It was so nice of Pam and Ted to open their home to us at the beach. It was great to spend time, have some laughs and enjoy good company together. I must say the sunset's from their deck are absolutely the very best! I could get used to that view real fast.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Waiting Game

Here we sit on Saturday morning waiting for Visual Flight Rule (VFR) Conditions. The truck is loaded and we could depart Wilmington (KILG).

KILG 111127Z 111212 35010KT P6SM FEW015 SCT025 OVC040 TEMPO 1214 SCT015 BKN025
FM1400 35010KT P6SM FEW040

KOXB - Ocean City, Maryland Updated at 12:53 PM GMT on August 11, 2007 (8:53 AM EDT): METAR KOXB 111253Z AUTO 02006KT 10SM BKN020 OVC024 21/16 A2998

Why scud run, we can't get into our destination anyway, so here I am wishing I had my Instrument Rating (IR). Speaking of a new rating, I'm working on completing the ground school portion and them I will begin flying/simulation work.

Mary is taking a nap on the couch and I am burning up the weather pages and wearing a path in the carpet walking out front to confirm what I am reading online. I guess I had to post just to vent! Very frustrating!

We finally launch for Ocean City around 11am into the following conditions. SPECI KILG 111500Z 35005KT 10SM SCT024 22/13 A3003 There was a nice opening over Wilmington that I really wanted to go "over the top" but reports at Ocean City didn't look good for an opening to drop back down. So instead we cruised along under the layer as it slowly cleared. WE started out at 2000' and by Dover Delaware we were holding at 2800' - 3000' Flight following gave that extra feeling of security even though it was see and avoid at all times. I actually had traffic pass in front of me from left to right maybe 5 to 10 miles out with no call out by Flight Following.
Ocean City (OXB) was busy but everyone seemed to play nicely. We entered on a 45* for left down wind runway 20 and got a nice look at the golf course. I had a bit of a cross wind to contend with but it makes it fun. METAR KOXB 111653Z AUTO 07010KT 10SM BKN023 OVC033 23/15 A3000.

The folks at the terminal were super friendly as always in OC,MD. Pam and Ted were there in no time to pick us up as we loaded our bags and climbed in. We made a stop at their condo to unload baggage and kick back for a few. We then piled back in the explorer and headed out to Seacrets for lunch. After lunch we got the tour of the town and made our way back to the condo. We had a nice afternoon and evening catching up and sharing laughs.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Getaway on Hold

Mary and I decided that a "no go" was in order for today's planned flight to KOXB. We didn't think it would be the right time to introduce a first timer to a four seater in the crap weather that rolled in as forcasted. Current conditions.

SPECI KILG 091922Z 26005KT 5SM -RA BR SCT020 SCT046 24/23 A2991

We made a change to drop off Maggie girl for an overnighter at the local doggie resort on friday evening so that we can launch Saturday by 7:30 am for KOXB, Ocean City Maryland. The weather picture looks much better to share a first flight. The plan is to arrive at KOXB around 8:30am, load up our two passengers and depart for a breakfast run to Georgetown, KGED. After a great breakfast we will take the ladies back to Ocean City and either join them for some beach time or sneak out for some flying time. I'm thinking the Wildwood Naval Air Station at KWWD and then a hop to the Millville museum at KMIV.