Saturday, December 27, 2008
Mary and I have lost some dear friends this year and that always makes one think of their own mortality and what have we given back to those around us, what legacy have we left. So many things to ponder as the year end draws near.
Our year of flight has been busy, more so with my Instrument rating then fun trips but we did manage to make a few. In 2007 I racked up fifty two hours and fell short of my goal of sixty by just eight hours. For 2008 I wanted to break sixty and secretly would like to have knocked out seventy five.
We started off the New Year with a new airport (KLHZ) destination and flight to visit family in Louisburg, North Carolina. It was a great trip, quality time spent with family and some great cooking by my Zia Erma; wow do I miss her cooking!
Another airport was added to the list as the North East Flyers invaded Orange County (KMGJ) New York. Good friends and a gorgeous flight.
Mary and I joined this generation and purchased iPod nanos. Mary now has entertainment while we fly and I can listen to podcasts related to aviation when I want to kick back and relax.
This month we added yet another new airport, W29 Bay Bridge. Along with the fun flying there was also the bittersweet sale of my 81 corvette in order to finance my Instrument rating; I started my IR the very next week.
Sun-N-Fun! Yep, we made it to sun-n-fun although it was not in the Archer but a US Airways flight. It was a fun vacation and great to be back in Disney. One of my favorite nights of the year was sitting in Narcosees' restaurant with Mary watching the fireworks display as we did on our honeymoon while enjoying lobster and fillet.
The North East Flyers “No Guts No Glory” tour of Millville Airport aircraft collection of Mr. Tom Duffy, truly a highlight of the year spending time on a private tour with chief pilot Terry Rush and the one on one time with Mr. Duffy himself.
Yes, IFR lessons continued and I was making progress. This month was busy with flying, besides the lessons we had a purpose to our missions. My Goddaughter Nichole was married in Ocean City, MD the Saturday before Memorial Day so Mary and I flew to the event, so much nicer than driving.
On Monday, memorial day Mary was feeling under the weather so I teamed up with Jeff from Delaware Air park for a fun day of flying to the Aviation Mecca, First Flight! What a blast!
This month was mostly Instrument lessons and hours spent reading in prep for my written test. Mary and I did manage to get a fun flight in and catch up with our friends. The North East Flyers were headed to Block Island for a fun day of good eats and time spent with friends.
More Instrument lessons and study time. We did manage to squeeze in a road trip to Lewes Delaware for beach and relaxation. We also added another new airport W05 Gettysburg, PA. It was a North East Flyers Gettysburg tour. Mary and I also got to spend some time with my Goddaughter and her husband, yes, the newlyweds.
August was more training and I knocked out my Instrument cross country, a fun flight and I learned some good stuff.
Mary and I also managed to get some flying in as we headed to Ocean City Maryland for the weekend. It was fun to spend time with our friends Pam & Ted and even looked into buying a condo right next door. This month also had us making a special run to Georgetown KGED for a crew car and crab run to Lazy Susans with my brother and his wife. Lazy Susans, really good eats and just a short hop from the airport.
Many events to attend to this month. The Gettysburg meet up with Purple Board for Pilots creator Kim and local PB’ers was fun and great to put faces to the forum members. I attended the Wheels and War birds show at (KMIV) Millville, NJ. Always a great time and thanks to our op’s (Joe C) I got a front row seat out on the flight line in the op’s vehicle, very cool.
I also added another new airport N31 Kutztown to the list. This was a diner stop to meet up with Bob and Rob from Wings. This airport is on its last legs and I think it will officially close in January 09, what a loss for General Aviation.
What a fun month. I had the chance to finally take my sister Denise flying. She really seemed to enjoy it and next time my brother in law Dave will have to join us, he had to work. Mary and I knocked out a few more airports with our vacation to Nags Head, NC. KMQI, Dare County in Manteo was our destination and they provided great service. Nags head was a blast and we will be returning in 2009. On the day of our departure we headed south to (W95) Ocracoke for a lunch stop, worth the trip. This place is also on our four day get away vacation list for 09. PASSED MY IR WRITTEN!!!!!
A few highlights this month. I finally got the chance to take Paul (co-worker) up for a flight. Paul's dad was a bombardier based in Italy with the 15th Army Air Division, Paul shared some great stories. What a nice day to fly and relax, I hope we can do it again soon. I was also involved in 679er’s annual over Thanksgiving week, what a learning experience! I can’t wait until next year.
Wow, what a month! Our first trip for the month had us flying over New York Bravo airspace heading for Hyannis, MA. A great flight and landing at KHYA Barnstable Municipal just at sunset. Mary and I met up with Adam and Marisol for a nice dinner out then we all spent the evening at the Anchor-In. In the morning we all made the short hop to KACK, Nantucket to partake of the “Christmas Stroll”. A fun weekend and two new airports added to the list.
It gets even better. For the last flight of the year Mary and I met up with Becky and Rob for the Christmas in St. Michael’s parade and shopping. A nice flight to and from Easton (KESN) made for a fun day.
My most important “Lesson learned” for this year was on one of the first flights of the year. Once cleared for takeoff out of Salisbury (KSBY) I headed north to Wilmington. It was really nice checking out all the lights. As I approached Dover AFB I noticed the airbase got a bit blurry. I knew right then I had a cloud layer even if ever so thin between me and mother earth. I still had plenty of lights in view as I continued my trek north. This night ride taught me a few things.
This was an experience all of its own as I got caught on top. I was heading north east on a 010* heading at 3500'. Looking back I should have requested a lower altitude with Dover but instead climbed to keep clear of what my strobes were now illuminating. I was approved to 5500' and off I went. As I made my way north past Dover I was now in the clear but quickly noticed there were NO lights off the nose, while looking for Wilmington. I was still south of the C&D canal so I was somewhat comfortable. I had been handed off to Philadelphia approach for the last 20 plus miles to KILG. I canceled flight following with Philly as I approached Delaware City's oil refinery. I had my way out as the refinery lights were peaking through the layer below. I was just north of the canal which is around 15 south of Wilmington Airport. I contacted the Wilmington tower to report my position and was directed to report a 3 mile left base for two seven. Turning final I asked for the lights to be brought up to medium intensity and set 679er down on center but firm.
Lessons learned: Fly the Plane, work your plan, know the situation and your outs,remain night current and get more night flying time, ATC is always there to help and of course...Get the Instrument rating!
Now for the numbers…
Total flight time – 269.3
Flight time for the year – 114
Cross country time – 50.9
New Airports – KACK,KHYA,W95,KMQI,N31,KMGA,KLHZ,W29,W05
Goals for 2009 - Expanding our flights west of Pennsylvania and finish up the North East States(ME,VT,NH).
I wish all our readers a safe and Happy New year. For those of you who do fly, I hope your 2009 adventures provide fun times, great memories and new friendships within the aviation community!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I must admit I did secretly send Santa my pilot toys wish list in hopes of fun things for flying and gadgets to keep me occupied. Mary enjoys the shinny things; silver, gold and gemstones and if she has been a good girl like she tells me I'm sure Santa will fill her stocking with goodies and leave her a few gifts to open.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Metar at Wilmington called for winds out of the north west at seven knots and few clouds at 4,300. Mary, Jaime and I climbed aboard 679er to keep warm. I called clear prop and 679er did not sound happy as she grunted out a few turns of the fan. I gave a few more shots of primer and gave it a second go. 679er tried to start but she was not liking the cold any more then her three passengers. I went through the process again and this time she turned a few revolutions and fired. Oh she was rumblin' and stumblin' and I had the rpm's at five to six hundred as she worked to warm that oil and her cylinders. It's times like this I really wish we had a hangar for our girl. We were just past two tenths on the hobbs as the oil temp needle climbed into the green and I slowly raised the rpm's. I made my call to Wilmington ground for taxi clearance and off we went.
We climbed out of Wilmington on runway one with a left turn on course approved. The sun was bright and warm on my face as we headed south west. Looking south east we had a clear view through the sun glare of the Salem cooling towers. I crossed the C&D canal and called for flight following as I passed over Summit (KEVY) at three thousand. I dialed in my squawk code and kept on my heading and altitude. Instead of the expected hand off to Potomac, Dover turned me loose squawking VFR and on my own. Not a problem, just 25 north of Easton (KESN) and I'll call up the tower at 20 miles. I flipped to comm one and noted the ATIS once again for ESN and got a handle on the traffic flow prior to my call up. I made my call and was directed to enter and advise two mile right base runway three three, I acknowledged and started to concentrate on finding the airport. I was now about 7 miles out and had no visual on the airport, very frustrating.(Pictured right is the Chesapeake City Bridge on Maryland 213)
I pulled the video camera so I could have a better view looking for the airport so no video of my landing.I was holding 1,500 just above pattern altitude until I had a visual and was ready to enter as directed. Finally at 5 miles I see runway two four and position for my right base on three three. I advise of my position and am cleared to land. Not a bad landing at all and a nice smooth run out to taxiway Bravo. As I taxi clear of the runway I hear Rob receive clearance to land. I try to slowly taxi back but we are turning left on taxiway Alpha and miss he and Becky landing.
Rob and Becky walked into the Terminal and Jeff and his group followed. I signed for the rental van and we all piled in anxious to get to St. Michael's. Jeff tried for the courtesy car but it was a no go for the day, he had a plan B ready with a rental car reserved. The van was ready and once Jeff was in his car we headed out. I blew right through my right turn for St. Michael's and had to make a u-turn down the road a piece. Rob got me squared away and we were soon entering main street with all the decorations and shops.
We found a great parking place behind one of the churches and Jeff pulled in alongside. That's pretty much the last we saw of Jeff and his group, they were off to find a seat for the parade. Our group headed for the shops, go figure. Just kidding ladies it was the plan, I know. Mary, Becky and Jaime hit the very first store on the north side of the street and it was game on from there. Rob and I took in the parade snapping pictures talking flying and freezing our tails off. We did duck into a store on occasion but only to keep warm, there was no thoughts of shopping for us.
The parade featured marching bands from the local high school and a few others. There was the rough riders on some very pretty horses, antique cars and trucks, boats, tractors and yes, even a few fire trucks. Let's not forget the big man himself, jolly old St. Nick. I guess start to finish the parade lasts about an hour. Good fun, really nice crowd and it raises money for a good cause. The ladies didn't get to see much of the parade their focus was on the shops but Rob and I have some nice photo's to post.
We made a stop for lunch at the Carpenter Street Saloon (file photo). Mary and Jaime had cheese steaks, Becky and Rob had cheese burgers and I had the Talbot street burger with cheese and mushrooms. The food was good and the service too. Thanks Jamie for picking up the tab, that was very nice of you. I'm glad you at least let the men leave the tip. About now our day sounds like it was winding down, or should be, right? Ho Ho Ho, not so fast my readers there is still the south side of the street and a bunch more shops. That's right the ladies knocked them out one by one as Rob and I searched for the sun like two stray cats trying to keep warm. Note to self, shop in reverse next year so we have the sun late in the afternoon instead of the shadows of the buildings.
The end was in sight, yes the last few shops were finally at hand. The men went to get the van and of course we wanted to have it nice and warm for the girls. We cut through the church parking lot and got our ride warmed up and repositioned on the main drag just a few shops up from the last known location of the shopping whirl wind trio. While we sat in the warm van these three gals came by and asked us for a lift, we gave it some thought, then let them climb in. It was a fun day and time well spent with friends. Mary and I are looking forward to the next time we can all get together.
We made our way back to the airport and you guessed it, I made a wrong turn. Yes, we made it back and while the men pre-flighted the birds the ladies sat and chatted in the airport terminal. Rob made a call for an updated briefing and I stood by listening, I was interested in any pop up TFR's but we were good to go. A few pictures were taken on the flight line then we loaded up for home. Rob called for his taxi clearance and I followed. We had to hold short of runway six - two four for a twin engine FAA Flight Check aircraft making a low pass. I did my run up while waiting since my six was clear. Each of us were now cleared to cross the runway and proceed to the run up area. I went around Rob since he still had to complete his run up. I had to hold short for a Cessna aircraft on short final then I was cleared for takeoff. The video was pretty crappy until I was almost to Dover but the audio was good. I noticed I had the zoom cranked up and that caused the blur while in flight. Some where around the 5:20 mark or the start of the second video clip I notice the problem, the zoom that is, and finally get it squared away. I hope you enjoy the audio/video and the photo's from our fun day! Check Out Robs Flying Adventures web page for more photo's and his write up. Part I is best for audio only, Part II picks up in flight west of Dover Delaware and has our landing into Wilmington captured. You can pick up Rob's radio work with ATC, he is flying Cessna 569er.
Mary and I were glad to be home. We were going to attend a Christmas party this evening but we both were beat. The Bride actually hit they hay around 8:30 and following my blog update I followed suit. My brother and his wife called, said they were out and about and thought of stopping in. I had to say the two old farts were headed up to bed. I haven't heard the last of this, I'm sure.