Sunday, January 06, 2008

Another First Timer

Today Mary and I planned for a breakfast run if the wx would cooperate. It was not looking promising as of last night but we decided to hold off calling Mary's friend and co-worker Jaime, who was scheduled to join us for her first "small plane" flight. Jaime has many hours flying commercial including Japan, France, Italy, Ireland and a few others I'm sure I missed.

I started checking wx again this morning soon after I fed the Maggie girl and let her out. Once she was done I knew she would head right back to bed with Mary. The wx actually started to clear and the sun came out with the cloud layer lifting. I went right to work printing out my plan and performing a formal wx check with the AOPA flight planner and all the resources offered by the Vans Air force web pages. I gave Mary the go-ahead to call Jaime and I gave her directions.

KILG 061451Z 19004KT 9SM FEW013 OVC041
SPECI KILG 061519Z 23006KT 10SM SCT013 BKN041 OVC050
KILG 061551Z 22005KT 10SM OVC045 06/02 A3028
KMIV 061454Z AUTO 00000KT 6SM BR OVC039
SPECI KMIV 061512Z AUTO 00000KT 1 3/4SM -RA BR SCT024 OVC037
SPECI KMIV 061525Z AUTO 00000KT 3SM -RA BR FEW030 OVC037
KMIV 061554Z AUTO VRB05KT 7SM OVC050 06/03

By 10am it was a "go" decision at Wilmington but Millville had other ideas. For my personal minimums Millville finally was a go at 1554Z or 10:54 am. The timing really did work out well since we were ready to fire up at 11:30am. Mary completed the passenger brief as I completed the taxi checklist. Wilmington Ground cleared us to taxi to runway two seven at taxiway Mike. I acknowledged and off we went.

Once in the air I notified the tower of my left turn on course since they cleared me on course at takeoff. Some pilots say no need but I always like to give the heads up in case traffic is in the area and they get busy. The cloud layer was around 5000' as we climbed to 2800' and flew the outbound 140* radial from the DuPont (DQO) VOR. The ladies were chatting up a storm and Jaime was really enjoying the view. Mary pointed out Fort Delaware and the Salem nuke plant cooling tower. Wilmington approved a frequency change so I flipped over to 123.65 to monitor Millville as we continued inbound. How nice during my briefing that I confirmed Millville remote was out of service, maybe we could have some quiet in the area so "PILOTS" could exchange position reports. Runway 14-32 is still closed for runway improvements so after noting the ASOS info I set up for runway two eight.

A World Wide Jet was waiting to depart so I held my altitude and headed over the field to reposition for a 45* entry to two eight left down wind. On our way in we heard Jeff from Woodbine in his slick looking Mooney. I landed behind a Comanche who scared the bejesus out of me when he also reported a two mile 45* for two eight. I quickly asked his position and confirmed mine as the same. I then saw the Comanche enter the downwind for two eight, there was no 45* about it. No harm no foul, see and avoid, I advised I will follow him in No. 2 to land.

The ladies went in to grab a table at the Cornerstone while I met Jeff and checked out his Mooney. I have to say it was sweet, every gadget imaginable and a solid IFR platform. It was all I could do to keep myself from drooling on his plane. Yes, I want a ride in that baby. Jeff joined us for lunch but admitted he had been in earlier for breakfast so he only had a soda. Mary had Shrimp roll up, Jaime had a cheese steak while I had, you guessed it, a breakfast quesdilla. As always the food was fantastic and the service very good. We sat and chatted for a good bit while Jaime entertained us with her engagement airplane Florida/Paris France episode. I must say I almost choked from laughing. I also have to tip my hat to her husband, what a class act and a master planner to pull this off. Jeff was entertained and said he only wished his wife was there to hear this story. Jeff provided some really good info on the Sun-n-Fun trip and pretty much sealed the deal for Mary. I offered up our Gaston's reservations on the POA forum when we got home. We all decided it was time to head home when Jaime snatched the bill. She "went to ask for a soda" at the counter, I can't believe I didn't catch that. Ok Jaime you got us this time, but we owe you. Thanks for buying our breakfast.

We finally cleared out and headed out to the plane. Jeff took some shots of us and I took a few of the ladies as they adorned 679er. We said our goodbye's and saddled up for home. By this time the sky had cleared, the sun shinning and it was absolutely gorgeous outside. I wish I reserved for longer but we had to be at Mom & Pop's for a 4pm dinner. As we climbed in I heard two aircraft circling to land on two eight. As they passed overhead The lead plane looked like a spitfire and the second an unmistakable corsair. We sat long enough for both of them to taxi by us. It was worth the wait. Mary also managed to get a shot of the P-47 in the hangar as we taxied by.

ASOS info noted we taxied out for two eight and our northwest heading home. Run up completed I announced and rolled out for our departure. 679er climbed out and we held the runway heading climbing through the traffic pattern altitude. I had the DuPont VOR already ID'ed and ready to go so I adjusted the heading bug to 320* and sailed on. The ladies were chatting up a storm so I switched to Isolate in order to hear traffic and the tower when I switched to 126.0. I always program the GPS so I have good numbers for reporting my position. I occasionally double check with our DME equipment and they are both dead on. I noticed while tracking the DuPont VOR I was straying off track on the GPS. I quickly re-entered direct to KILG and in doing so noticed I had punched in KIL something while on the ground. Lesson learned, check all guidance equipment after run up.

It was a nice flight home, smooth as could be. I called the ILG tower and he gave me a right downwind for 19 and I confirmed and stated my position again. He asked southeast? I confirmed and he gave me left down wind for one niner. I thanked him and said he had me scratching my head on that one. I made a nice short field landing with a first turn off on taxiway Kilo.

Jaime was a great passenger, she seemed excited and really had a good time. I hope she and her husband can both join us for a beach run or Inner Harbor day trip in the Spring.

I've added a few more shots of the Spitfire and the Corsair that were taken by Joe Clemente. Joe always manages to get the good shot and his collection of aircraft photo's is extensive.

1 comment:

garnettsmith said...

Hey Gary,

Nice blog. Very entertaining and informative. Is that your Archer? Very nice, indeed!

Maybe if you guys get down to Sumter, SC, my wife and I can meet you for lunch/dinner.