Saturday, June 21, 2008

Block Island

The North East Flyers saddled up for a day trip to Block Island. Mary and I made the go decision this morning once I was confident that she was feeling better. My Bride has been fighting bouts of diverticulitis all week. The doctor finally got her on something that is keeping her pretty much pain free and not feeling sick.

We made a stop for something quick at McD's (great food for a bad tummy)this morning then straight to the airport. Flight time was scheduled for 1 hour and 40 minutes with a nice tail wind. We departed Wilmington around 8:30 and turned north east. I planned for a trip through Philly's Bravo airspace and then over the top of New York's Bravo at 7,500 feet. Once above Pattern altitude I quickly flipped to Philly Approach on 119.75 and gave them the details in my best pilot in command voice. Philly Approach, Archer 28679er off Wilmington, One point two for seven point five, VFR to Block island, request bravo transition and advisories. I was given a squawk code and a few vectors to take me on the North West side of the airport to help their traffic flow. I was given a choice for altitude and responded, I'm good at either where do you need me to be? I responded, 4000' it is. Once clear of the Philly class bravo I climbed to seven thousand five hundred feet to keep us over the top of New York airspace. It's a shame it was so hazey, we could barely make out the "Lady" as the Statue of Liberty is refer ed to by pilots. We were very busy calling out traffic and at one point had a heavy pass us by less then one thousand feet vertical and a mile separation. At the same time we had another aircraft off the nose pass left to right at seven thousand just more then a mile or two. Arrggggg Tim Allen would say, there was big Iron everywhere!!

Once beyond the NY class Bravo, we enjoyed the ride towards Block Island. Tailwinds were really helping the cause with an indicated airspeed of around 100 and a ground speed of 130-135 (150-156 mph). We followed the island clear out to the Hamptons and past the point of no return Montauk, KMTP. Block Island was in view so I reduced power and started a slow 500' per minute descent. The CTAF 123.0 was busy with a lot of various airports on the same frequency. I made my calls at ten and five miles followed with a 45* for left down wind runway two eight. It was slow and sweet extending down wind for an aircraft on final then turning base and final watching the ferry and boats pass by. This mornings landing was by far one of my very best, short field, stall horn and hardly a chirp. I taxied in and followed the cart to my parking.

Ted and Susan taxied in their twin as we walked to the FBO. Following in next was Adam and Marisol from New Hampshire and a host of others joining the fun. Most of the group decided on walking to the restaurant, I passed on that thought and gladly jumped in a cab. Adam and Marisol joined us. It was a $13 trip for the four of us but the ladies enjoyed some extra shopping time. Adam and I fought the urge but we eventually were lured into the shops. My, look at the time, the group should be here any minute, or at least we had hoped. We made our way back to Finns and found our tables. The cold water quenched our thirst as we read through the menus.

Our table order was Lobster roll all around except for Ted, he had fish and chips with a bowl of clam chowder. Lunch conversation, as always, was entertaining. Dave had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to fall out of my chair. If you ever have the chance you have to hear the "Wright" story, along with the Harrison Ford special picture and Neil Armstrong stories, just too darn funny, they were worth the fuel burn to get here.

A few folks had to hit the road after lunch. We said our goodbyes to Adam and Marisol who had plans for the day back home but at least made the lunch run. It's always nice catching up with our friends. While Bob and Paul rented mopeds/scooters a few in the group continued through the shops. I waited as Mary made her way checking out what treasure was hidden away at each location. She did pretty good only coming home with a single charm, which she will add to her bracelet that has a charm from each flight to a new location. Today's charm was a silver flip flop, it was cute.

We hopped a taxi back to the airport only costing $11. Mary asked if I wanted water for the flight home and I passed, I won't do that again. We walked out to 679er and pre-flighted followed buy staring up to stay cool. I taxied out for my run up and departed 28 looking ahead at the hills of green. I had added a notch of flaps since we had burned at least 15 gallons on the flight up and I wanted to add some insurance on my first time out of BID. 679er climbed right up and away as we crossed the sound and made our way to KWST - Westerly. WST had 4.69 for fuel advertised on Airnav (Dooney Aviation) so I figured why not top off.

There was no full service at WST so I re-started and taxied to the self serve at Landmark for $5.29 a gallon. As we started to fuel we watched two banner tow planes drop the signs and land. They taxied right behind me for fuel. 679er had a full belly so we taxied out for departure on runway two five. I completed my run up and announced followed by checking the pattern. I didn't see the aircraft turning base until he made a call. I was rolling and told him I would be out of his way as I went full throttle and screamed out. He called that he had the traffic departing and I followed with my call departing to the west straight out.

I picked up flight following with Providence Approach and chugged along at 100 knots into the head wind. I was handed off multiple times as we made our way north of the NY class bravo. Once turning southward towards the Broadway VOR we dodged the big stuff into EWR, Newark. ATC was really good and eventually turned us loose to climb back to an altitude at our discretion. Mary and I had a bumpy ride home just below the cloud layer at 6500. NY Approach gave us a direct to ILG from the Broadway VOR but then cut us loose providing only a frequency for Philly. I monitored Philly Approach on our way in then dropped down to 2800' once we were ready to pass through the outter ring of class B at Philly (PHL).
I gave Wilmington a call about ten miles north and I was directed to advise a three mile final for runway one nine. This worked fine for me since I was looking straight down the runway from our current position. I slowed to my Instrument flight settings and added a notch of flaps and set for 1800 rpm to descend at five to six hundred feet per minute, nice and easy. 679er knew this deal and she gently made her way down to the runway. I was slow adding a touch of power as I crossed the numbers and kerplunked on in with only a short blast of the stall horn. Not very pretty but we are home. I ordered fuel as we tied down and covered. We were both tired and dehydrated from the bumps and since neither of us had hats we were baked from the sun beating in the plane.

KBID is a nice airport with very nice folks working the line and counter. We plan on returning to spend a long weekend. Turn me loose with on of those scooters.....wooo hooooo now that's dangerous!

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