Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Sisters First Flight

Mary called me last night as she was headed to the Philadelphia Spectrum to see the Celtic Thunder -Irish Tenors in concert. I got to stay home and watch the Philly triple header of the Flyers, Penn State football and the Phillies, all of which won their respective games!! Mary reminded me to call my sister Denise and her husband Dave to see if they wanted to join us on a breakfast run. Denise could make it but David had an appointment for a job estimate, we decided to go anyway. I'm sure we'll get Dave in the plane very soon.

One of the club members had 679er out yesterday in all that crappy rainy windy weather. I haven't seen this guy fly in ages, not sure if at all this year and yesterday he launched, who knows. Needless to say I gave 679er a good pre-flight taking my time to carefully go over every detail, inside and out. I had to order fuel since the left tank was really low and the right tank was at tabs, she took 13 gallons to balance out. Our girl checked out and we were ready to go. Denise climbed in the back and Mary went through her passenger brief, it's been awhile. I called for our taxi clearance and was directed to runway one niner at kilo. I acknowledged and got underway. No sooner I completed the run up and advised the tower we were ready to go, they cleared us for take off.

We climbed out of Wilmington enjoying the view with clear blue skies. The tower asked for a left turn out when able for a C-130 on left base for runway one. I immediately started my left turn and acknowledged and got a thank you in return. My sister seemed to do very well on the takeoff and commented that now in flight it seemed to her like we were almost standing still. I explained that with the tail wind giving us a good push we were actually flying along at 115 kts indicated with a ground speed of 129 knots (150 mph). I announced our position for Millville traffic and remembered to add "with information" to eliminate the speech from Millville radio. As I reported entering a five mile 45* for the left down wind runway three two another pilot followed with a call of a 45* for left down wind three two. That got my attention in a hurry since I hadn't seen a single aircraft on the south side of the airport. I immediately asked the Cessna pilot what her position was and she responded two mile 45* for three two. Hmmmm, say it ain't so cause I see nothing as I am almost at pattern altitude and getting ready to turn out, give some room and try this again. As I approach the two mile out point and still looking I once again ask her position and give mine. The pilot responds that she has misreported her position (pucker time) and is now closing 100 meters but for runway one four. I'm scanning as I enter the left down wind for three two and pick up her plane as she turns to the left down wind one four. I advise I have the traffic and she follows suit adding that she will enter the pattern for three two, number two to land. Gotta love traffic around the airport!

Finally on the ground and secured adjacent to the Cornerstone Grill we walked in for breakfast. Mary had an egg white omelet, Denise blueberry pancakes and yes I had my usual the breakfast quesadilla. Traffic was buzzing in and out as we sat at the window enjoying breakfast, each others company and watching aircraft come and go.
Together we decided that since Denise did so well on the first leg that we would fly over Cape May, NJ for some photos of the lighthouse and the Ferry Terminal. We soon loaded up and headed to Cape May. I climbed to 3,500 and the ride started to smooth out. We passed over Cape May airport and watched a citation jet taxi out and another aircraft taxi up number two to take off. As I was banking to the right and dialing in the DuPont VOR for our trip home we heard both aircraft announce and depart Cape May. I flipped over to Atlantic City approach for flight following but did not get an answer, she seemed busy. As we made our way up the Delaware Bay on the Jersey shore I picked up Dover approach and monitored. It was time to make my call to Wilmington so I noted the ATIS and at fifteen out let them know who and where we are and what our intentions were. I was directed to report a 3 mile straight in for runway one. I had one traffic call out, a red Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross on a five mile final and still could not see him. The L-39 did a T&G entered a left pattern and was on base turning final again when I finally spotted him, I was just about 3 miles out by now and cleared to land. (File photo)
A very nice day to be in the air and have the chance to fly with my sister. It was her first flight in a small plane and I really think she had a blast. I say this because she told us the story of her first flight ever, a commercial flight, in which she kept our Aunt company on a trip to Florida. She explained that she was so scared on that first take off that she was in tears. I must have done ok, there were no tears and I think I can talk her into going again.
It was a great feeling taking my sister up with us today. As Mary stated as we taxied in, who would have thought your goofy little brother would be flying planes, we all laughed. Flying family has a different feel to it, a special sense of accomplishment, at least for me. It was a fun 1.8 in the log and I can't wait to do it again!

No comments: