Mary and I took to the sky this morning arriving at Wilmington Airport around 9:30 and wheels up at 10:20. We were snuggled in the plane by 10:07 (I looked at the on board clock) pre-flight complete and sitting at idle waiting on oil temps to come up. The ATIS was noted and contact with ground completed as we taxied for runway one via taxiway kilo. Once our run up was complete we had to hold short for two aircraft landing then back taxi for departure.
679er roared down the runway and waggled her way into the air despite a 14 knot sixty degree crosswind with gusts pushing it up to 23 knots (26 mph). We actually weathervaned down the runway heading and turned on course as we passed through five hundred feet. We had a TFR (temporary flight restriction) to deal with just north of Wilmington that was in place for our new Vice President Biden. I pointed a bit farther west to skirt the edge and was at 2,500 feet prior to passing the designated three mile ring. We bucked a good headwind going to reading but the ride was relatively smooth. I contacted Reading Approach about 20 south and requested advisories and dialed in my squawk code. I received a traffic alert on my new Zaon XRX and was then alerted by approach to look for Ryan & Kathy's Bellanca at my nine thirty position. I had no visual but did have him on the PCAS. Reading vectored me north east then turned me inbound for runway three one. I had the current ATIS and the runway in site. I was switched to the tower and cleared to land. Mary commented that this mornings landing was one of my best. Slow, soft and not even a chirp of the tires. I wish my throttle work seemed so effortless dealing with the gusting headwinds!
Ten of the planned seventeen attendees made the trip. The group made our way to the restaurant and were seated at a reserved table. It was great to catch up with friends from previous fly-in's and really nice to meet some new folks. Ryan and Kathy in the Bellanca take the farthest traveled coming from Williamsburg, VA. Steve from NJ, Gil and Sue from NY and Bob, Rudy and Dave from NJ. Lunch was very good and the service was too, pictured is our Waiter Flynn, who had us cracking up as he worked the group. I'm thinking he may have been on comedy central but can't seem to confirm this.
After lunch the group taxied over to the museum. No, not the car taxi, I mean fire up the birds, call the tower and taxi across the airfield. Rudy lead the way in the Cirrus as he alerted the tower that he would have two additional in tow, one Bellanca and one Archer. Ryan was next in line and I was bringing up the rear. Steve was heading back to Jersey and Gill & Sue decided to pass on the museum and visit family in Allentown, just a short hop north.
Once again shut down and secure we headed to the museum entrance. We each paid our $6 dollar donation and checked out all the souvenir shop goodies. Mary and I got to play with Flaps the cat and all of us read the sign not to let the cat out, he did not escape on our watch. After looking through all the goodies and checking out some of the airline memorabilia we headed to the hangar. There was some guys
I made the rounds through the hangar and decided to see if Mary was ready to saddle up and head south. What a good sport hanging out in the gift shop while I checked out all the aircraft. We said our goodbyes and headed out to 679er. A few shots of primer and she fired up, wanting to get the fluids going and generate some heat as much as we did. I contacted Reading ground and received taxi instructions for departure. Run up completed and tower advised ready to go we were soon cleared to take off on runway three one. Headwinds are still strong as the Archer charged down the runway, we were off. Someone was shooting the ILS runway one three so we turned out at five hundred feet and pointed for home. We switched over to Departure when instructed, dialed in the new squawk code and tightened the seat belts for the bumpy ride home. It was like riding a young horse just broke with just enough buck to let you know they were there but not enough to make the ride terribly uncomfortable. Reading handed us off to Philly and they asked if I was aware of the TFR. Insert [rolls eyes] here, affirmative Philly I have the TFR information. I was vectored further south in order to avoid "clipping" the edge of the designated area. I was a bit ticked the controller made that statement but decided to let it pass for now as to not tie up the radio. I was west of the TFR with Wilmington in plain view as I was waiting for a clear moment to cancel flight following. Philly rolled my call right into his last and gave me the direction of the airport,report in sight and the TFR was about a half mile to my nine o'clock.
OoooooK, now I want to say something but I want to be smart not a dipstick. In my best pilot voice, calm and collected, I respond with; Have Wilmington in sight, clear of the TFR at two thousand five hundred, its ceiling is one thousand five hundred, thanks, contact Wilmington tower at two six point zero. I then switch to the tower and as instructed report downwind runway one. The winds were gusting from 17 to 26 knots from 310*. I came in with my left wing dipped into the crosswind and holding just left of the center line. As I am about to touch down I relax the left wing down and blow across to my right now touching down with the right main first and right of center. Smooth but not a happy camper after holding so nice and steady. Yes, I heard my flight instructors voice telling me fly it till you tie it all the way to my turn off to taxiway kilo.
With the aircraft secured and covered, we bug out of there and head for home. A fun day meeting new friends and catching up with our friends from fly-in's past. Windy and a bit bumpy but still a fun day overall. We did get to fly through snow showers and that was really cool. So, 1.8 in the log book and my flying fix is now good for a few weeks.