Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Multiple VOR A Approaches

Jeff sent me a text last night about the potential to fly today. The plan was to catch up at Red Eagle and go out and commit aviation, we did, it works for me. Jeff wanted to spend some time flying multiple VOR Alpha approaches and maybe a GPS or two since he is hard at it working on the Instrument rating. Rob and I also traded text messages and he was heading out in the Diamond DA20 and would make a stop at KILG to catch up with Jeff and I. Sounds like a plan to me now we need mother nature to cooperate.

Rob and Ally were first to contact the Wilmington tower as they approached from the north west over New Garden Airport, N57. Tower directed a left downwind two seven and Rob acknowledged. I saw them fly down wind, base and final and he made it looking real smooth. Rob was working on reaching the 100 hour milestone in his flying career. Rob and Ally climbed out of the Diamond and in order to keep warm I brought the SUV on the ramp. It was much more comfortable with the heat on then standing out in the cold.

I had a handheld radio to monitor for Jeff's arrival and we heard him announce fourteen south inbound for full stop which put him just south of the C&D Canal. 93Z was directed to make a straight in for runway one report three mile final, Jeff acknowledged and continued north. Once niner three zulu taxied in Jeff climbed out and walked across the ramp wanting to meet Rob and check out the Diamond DA20. What a cool plane, with very good panel that included a Garmin 430 and it had traffic on board too. I'm not to sure if I could get my butt out of that bird IF I could even get in.

It was time to fly, Rob and Ally were headed north back towards Wings Field and Jeff and I were headed south east. After I parked the SUV outside the gate we saddled up and reviewed the plan of attack out of the cold and in the confines of niner three zulu. I thought maybe we would stay in the area and shot the VOR approaches off of Modena but Jeff had a fun afternoon of flying plotted out. The first approach would be into Millville followed by the Woodbine and Cape May VOR Alpha approaches. The plan was to shoot a GPS approach back into Millville then head home for Wilmington and knock out an approach there also. Atlantic City Approach was very helpful today as we cycled though each approach. I was safety pilot today and other then spotting traffic remained pretty quiet. It was fun to watch Jeff go through the flow. It also gave me a look at where I was when I started out on the quest for the instrument rating. I must say he did pretty good chuggin' and pluggin' with the 430, going through the five T's and keeping ahead of the plane. I always say it's a learning tool to fly safety pilot. I see things I should do better, note things I may do that should be corrected and you get an overall picture of what the plane is doing and its position with regard to the avionics on board.

It was a busy couple of hours for Jeff under the foggles but he did well. It's my opinion that if someone can fly multiple approaches back to back rapid fire without much time to set up in between then you should be much more prepared when it comes to shooting the approach and potential missed when it's the real deal.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lunch Run and Sun

Gorgeous day to be flying! Mary and I got up early, ok, around 9am then headed over to her parents. We hauled over the new computer desk they got from Santa and a new flat screen monitor. We assembled the desk and hauled away the cardboard box to complete our planned mission.

We made a quick stop back at the house to let the dogs out and pick up my flight bag (two headsets and Garmin 496). We were headed south for Wilmington Airport and a day to enjoy the sunshine. The plan, a final decision made enroute to head to Kay's for a late lunch. No pre-heat today, it was almost 50 degrees! We uncovered, pre-flighted the bird and saddled up. A call to Wilmington ground had us taxi all the way to the end of kilo which is a change from our normal intersection departure point. Not a problem since it gives extra warm up time for the oil. Run up was good to go and the tower cleared us to take off on two seven left turn on course approved along with a heads up for traffic that just departed in front of us.
The sky was clear and approach seemed busy at Dover and even busier once on board with Potomac. I cancelled flight following about 15 north of Cambridge so I could flip over to CTAF jot down the AWOS wx report and get a feel for traffic around the area. It was busy as I made my ten to the north call and stated our intentions. I made a five mile call and each leg of the pattern as I greased a landing in 08R. To date this was the best, stall horn moaning as I rode the edge followed by a super soft touchdown with not even a chirp...SWEeeeet.

Hmmmm...Kay's was closed up tighter then Dicks hat band. We loaded up and headed east towards KGED Sussex County Airport. This was a short hop under Restricted area R 4008 with a base of 25,000.....yeah, I'm thinking we're good to go. This was a short hop, maybe 36 miles, heck that's not long enough to even readjust the seat belts. I heard traffic landing on runway two two and two eight seemingly swapping as they came in, alternating like clock work. Winds were 260 at 3 knots and IO should have entered the down wind for two eight but instead entered on the left crosswind for two two and continued on. As I turned final, maybe a mile, I heard a call for final on two eight. Great......I may be going around, and that's ok since that's the plan each landing attempt with the actual landing a bonus in my opinion. I called out half mile final and the other aircraft said he would land and hold short. I acknowledged and continued in. I had a visual on the other plane and we communicated. I was on the ground with another greaser and off by the first taxi way to my right well short of 10/28. We pulled in and found a spot in front of the restaurant and ordered up some fuel. Mary and I had a great lunch and enjoyed the day out in the sun. We passed on dessert and headed back out to the plane. This place was really busy today, everyone was flying! I started up and taxied out for our runway four departure. I'm really feeling at ease flying 08R with the sight picture and handling. I cruised climbed out of Sussex County and turned 08Romeo north bound. I picked up with Dover approach maybe eight miles west of the Waterloo VOR and they acknowledged. We watched a heavy head down the Jersey coast direct Sea Isle VOR. We could also see Salem from just off of Sussex County, had to be 50 miles.
Dover kicked us loose and I rang up the Wilmington Tower with my position, intentions, altitude and advising I had the current ATIS information. Enter left down wind two seven, I acknowledged and kept the nose pointed north. I wondered why he gave me that entry, it would have been so much easier to just enter a left base for two seven and follow up the Delaware river, makes no difference he changed me over to straight in runway One. Life is good, so I dialed up the ILS runway one and shot the approach following the needles in my scan and watching for birds at the end of the runway. I was adding the last notch of flaps as I crossed the fence and 08R settled in with another greaser, it must be clean living.

2.5 hours in the book and a fun day out with Mary enjoying the sky and time for just us, no pets, no phones, just me my Bride and the plane.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style

Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.
When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.A voice clearly heard over static and snow,Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,I’d have sworn that the call sign he used was “St. Nick”.I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,“St. Nicholas One, turnin’ left onto final.”And what to my wondering eyes should appear,But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!
With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:“Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!On Comet! On Cupid!” What pills was he takin’?

While controllers were sittin’, and scratchin’ their head,They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,The message they left was both urgent and dour:“When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower.”

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,Then I heard “Left at Charlie,” and “Taxi to parking.”He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh And stopped on the ramp with a “Ho, ho-ho-ho. ”

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn’t inhale.His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,His boots were as black as a cropduster’s belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,And he asked me to “fill it, with hundred low-lead.”He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,I knew he was anxious for drainin’ the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, “Clear!”

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.“Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,Turn right three-two-zero at pilot’s discretion”

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,“Your traffic’s a Grumman, inbound from the west.”Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,“Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight.”

Author unknown

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Clear the Snow

I went to the airport to clean off 08Romeo twice today. On the first run I couldn't make it up the driveway to the landside parking lot. Obviously the plow had come to clear out the Boeing lot only. I made attempt number two late in the afternoon so that I could be back in time to watch the Eagles football game. You can see the tracks around the far side, the snow was only maybe 4-5 inches deep. For the very first time I was thankful for mother nature and the gusty winds! Juliet is clean and ready to go, now I need to clear a path for each of the three landing gear. Maybe over the next few days or the Christmas Holiday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Flight Fix

The wx forecast was calling for some serious snow accumulation starting overnight Friday all day Saturday and into Sunday. As I sat in my office looking out the window I knew I had to get some flight time in. The winds were calm, the sun shining, Juliet was calling my name. I sent an email out to MikeB and advised I was headed to the airport at 11:30 to pre-heat for a flight. He responded quickly and said he would be available. I cleared off the remaining items on my to do list and only had to run off a few copies of a hydrographic condition survey print for my dredging project in Cape May, NJ.

I had packed the propane tank and red dragon heater in the SUV when I left the house this morning. I had hopes of making the flight line and getting in the air for a few hours. I pulled through the gates and got the pre-heat set up then proceeded to work through my pre-flight. I had ordered fuel from AeroWays since Dassault wouldn't have a lineman available to come to the plane but said I could taxi to them, what a pain. I completed my pre-flight and had sumped the fuel, the flight was a go. I placed my knee board and flight bag in 08Romeo complete with updated approach plates, airport printouts and my baseball gloves in case it gets nip in the cockpit. I shut down the red dragon heater, disconnected the propane and when cool loaded everything up in the SUV. I positioned the truck outside the gate, walked back in and climbed aboard. I received a text from Mike and he was on the road. I decided to get Juliet started and let the oil warm up. The preheat did a really nice job as noted by the oil temp in the yellow when I turned on the master.

08Romeo starts up with the typical seven shots of primer on a cold start and low idles around 7-800 rpm. Oil pressure is in the green and CHT's are coming up. I pull the cabin heat on and take advantage of the cabin blower fan to warm things up, the outside temps are just about freezing.The oil temp soon reaches the mid yellow zone so I taxi towards the gate adjacent to Red Eagle. While I wait I copy the current ATIS info and set up the Garmin 530. I didn't bring the 496 today, have no clue why other than I just plain forgot it. I checked for TFR's before leaving work and our wx looked great at all the planned stops.

Mike walked through the gate and I pulled the throttle back to a very low idle and he climbed aboard. I was nice and toasty he was all bundled up. He soon shed the coat,hat and buckled in, he jumped right in checking the 530 flight plan and radio stack set up. I contacted Wilmington ground and despite the ATIS stating that 14-32 and 9-27 were closed he cleared us to runway 27 via kilo and hold short at Mike. Run up completed and a review of the checklist confirms all items are go. A quick call to the tower and we are cleared to takeoff on two seven and left turn on course approved. 08Romeo was on the roll, airspeed alive and soon climbing out. I am getting better at managing her rate of climb and the sight picture as we left Wilmington behind us. Left turn on course and we are off to Cape May. I monitored Dover approach and then flipped to Atlantic City approach to monitor for traffic while we configured the plane for various stages of flight for an instrument approach.

Cruise Descent Flaps 0* RPM 2100 Speed 100 Knots
Level Flight, Approach Flaps 10* RPM 2200 Speed 90 Knots
500 fpm Descent Precision Flaps 10* RPM 1900 Speed 90 Knots
800 fpm Descent Non-Precision Flaps 10* RPM 1700 Speed 90 Knots

Back to the radio role play as I am instructed to proceed direct KAGYS for my first approach, LOC RWY 19, into KWWD, Cape May Wildwood. I had briefed the approach and at three miles from KAGYS I configured for the approach. I held my altitude and slowed for the first notch of flaps then adjusted power for 2200 rpm. The numbers do work, I was level at 90 knots with approach flaps. I ran through my landing checks and was now on the localizer and descending for KIMBA and 1700 feet. I have to loose 800 feet in 6.6 miles so I pull the power for the pre-determined precision 1900 rpm and off we go, speed and rate of descent (500fpm) look great. At 1800 I set my power back to 2200 rpm for level flight and 08Romeo settles out at 1700 feet, very nice. As I cross KIMBA I pull the power to 1700 rpm and start my descent to the decision height of 420 feet, I'm 5 miles out. At 500 I glance up and announce I have the runway and complete my landing.

It's a brief stop in Cape May as we taxi back for departure to Georgetown, KGED and another approach. Once we took off a cloud layer was moving in off the ocean/shoreline and it's edge was along the airport not quite to the Delaware Bay side. We headed up the Bay along the Jersey coast to build some altitude before we crossed the Delaware Bay for KGED. At 4,500 I pointed the nose towards Delaware. We both commented on how cold that water must be, thankfully there was a DRBA ferry crossing for Cape May below us. I was set up for the RNAV (GPS) RWY 22 approach with EQUEGO as my initial fix. I descended to 2000 feet as I reached the initial fix and turned right on course 315˚ to BOYSE, no PT required. From BOYSE a left turn to 225˚ and descend to 1500 feet. I was tracking nice and holding my altitude with the new settings drilled into my mind. Having the "numbers" figured out so you can set it and forget it frees up brain cells for other things and gives you the chance to stay a few steps ahead of the plane. Once crossing UMBLE the final fix I was looking to descend to my minimum descent altitude of 480 feet. A tad bit of a quartering tail wind for two two but I get 08Romeo on the ground (with a bit of a skip/hop)and taxi off for a late lunch break at the Lighthouse Landing restaurant.

I added fuel since you get a ten cent a gallon discount if you eat at the restaurant and I brought my total fuel back to 40 gallons. Lunch was excellent, I had a hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy, Mike had a healthy choice tuna or chicken salad on wheat, but he did get fries. No wonder I can't loose weight, to many places to eat and I have to report on each and every location, it's my duty. It was time to get back out in the cold as we walked out to do an abbreviated pre-flight and sump the tanks. Everything looked fine and we climbed aboard to get out of the cold. Checks completed I call clear prop and get 08Romeo started. Thank God for the cabin blower as I pull the cabin heat on full while we warm up. I forgot to put the nose plugs in to help hold some temp but our stay was not that long.

Mike and I both had checked the wx in the pilot room prior to walking out and you could see the winter storm was getting closer. The sky had a different look to it and the ASOS advised clear below twelve thousand but it looked much closer. We taxied out and completed the run then launched off of runway four. A smooth takeoff and some avoidance for birds has us turning north a bit early on climb out.

I ask Mike if he would like to fly and we transfer controls. Mike summed it up when he said I just love to fly and it shows, I was happy to look out the window and take in the sights. We each spotted traffic, one off our right wing and I had a heavy going into Dover at our ten. Mike contacted Dover to see if we could shoot an approach but Dover advised they had severe bird activity, in short, not today boys. Fine, we continued north towards Wilmington and I set up for the ILS RWY 1 approach.

On check in with Wilmington I gave the who what where and ATIS information, then requested a practice ILS 1 approach. The tower advised reporting HADIN inbound and inquired how the approach would end. I responded report HADIN inbound and we would go missed and reposition for a GPS RWY 19 Approach, they confirmed. Mike and I role played the radio again as I responded to vectors to intercept the ILS. We reported HADIN inbound as directed went missed above the decision height once at the missed approach point. I was a dot or two off center line but glide was good and the needle was steady.

We climbed out and repositioned for runway one niner. I turned in from north west of the Initial approach fix JIGUP and followed that with a right turn on course 195˚ towards the final fix CUBBE. I was at 1900 feet looking for 480 feet as I made my way in. Tracking nice and looking up at 500 feet I add in another notch of flaps and slip in for my landing. I could use some short field work so I want to make the first turn off at Kilo. I'm on the ground and taking out flaps to help with braking and without much effort slow down in time for my right turn on Kilo. I stayed with the tower as we taxied in to Red Eagle.

A fun couple of hours playing with the plane, learning how she handles and what the real numbers are for instrument flight. Special thanks to Mike for all his help and for his safety pilot skills. I got to log four approaches, cross country time and this flight took me over the 100 hour mark for 2009. Now back to reality and the fact of 8-12 inches of snow is in the forecast......the snow blower is ready but I know it won't be as much fun as time spent with 08Romeo.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

St. Michaels 2009

It looks like the wx is going to cooperate today, blue skies, a bit nip but a gorgeous day to fly. The final decision to go was held until I woke up this morning (that's a good start) and if I was feeling up to snuff. The chest felt clear and the sinus/sore throat was feeling much better, maybe it was the chance to fly that made for the miracle cure.

Most of the parade shots are pretty bad since we were stuck in traffic trying to steal a glance or picture when we could from such a poor vantage point.

I was up and ready to get started around 7am and Mary soon followed. I grabbed a shower, layered up the clothes and double checked my bag before heading out the door. Mary was going to pick up her Mom and then meet me around 8:30- 8:45 at the plane for a 9am departure. Well, the plan sounded good. Mary was nice enough to stop at Dunkin Donut for my favorite hot tea with extra sugar and an everything bagel with cream cheese. My co-pilot and passenger walked through the gate past 9am. While Mary made the pick up and donut stop I had the plane untied, uncovered, preflight completed and the Red Dragon heater blowing hot air under the cowl. Temps were close to freezing this morning but without all the wind from the last few days it didn't feel to bad. I kept a close eye on the bottom cowl where the duct was venting hot air and opened up the oil door to check the top end. I gave the Red dragon a good thirty minutes and then shut it down so it could cool enough to lock up in the back of the SUV. I pulled the dip stick and the oil was running off the end so I felt she was ready to go.

I climbed aboard 08Romeo and completed my cockpit preflight and primed for a start. Eight squirts of primer, full rich mixture and just crack the throttle open and in a spin Julie roars to life. Wow, I should get started so easy on a cold morning. Oil pressure looked fine and the oil temp was just up in the yellow, not to bad. I sat at low idle maybe 700 RPM watching the Cylinder Head Temps (CHT) and when they all held a steady temp I taxied to the front of Red Eagle, close to the gate where Mary would come in. I copied the ATIS, thought about hooking up the XM radio but passed and got the cockpit squared away. Mary and her Mom came through the gate and I shut down so they could climb aboard. I forgot to mention I had the heat on in the cabin, the Sundowner has a blower for ground Op's, it makes it toasty.

Ok everyone is buckled in and I call for taxi instructions. Winds are 280 at 8 knots so I am ready for runway two seven. As expected taxi to runway two seven via Kilo hold short at Mike. Done deal, we're off. After my run up and final checks we are cleared to take off. Good power today in the cold air and I really wanted to concentrate on holding my climb to just under 500 ft/mn. I am still learning the sight picture on this plane and each flight I feel more in tune. I picked up flight following with Dover approach then got the hand off to Potomac Approach. Today Potomac asked me what my final destination was going to be. Approach final destination is Echo Sierra November, Easton, zero eight Romeo. The return from approach was where are you stopping first. What did he just ask? Approach one stop only, final destination Echo Sierra November, zero eight Romeo. This time he got it....he must have been busy I guess.

Once we had the field in sight I was told to squawk VFR and so we did. I made contact with the Easton Tower advising seven north east, inbound for full stop, with information Charlie. I was directed to enter and report a three mile right base runway three three. Acknowledged. There was a red Pitts flying in the area and he was number two to land and made a 360 degree turn for spacing, heck he was having fun out there. Ok back to my landing, short final, runway made and I add in the last notch of flaps. A tad high, some float but a smooth touchdown and long roll out and even longer taxi back to Maryland Air at the Terminal.

Let the adventure begin. We walked inside and you could smell the restaurant cooking up breakfast, oh yeah it smelled great. I secured the rental car for around $55 since the taxi was a bit more when you add up each way and a tip not to mention having to wait. We loaded up and headed into town trying to beat the 10:30 road closure for the Parade. I didn't miss a single turn, I swear I don't remember all the signs being there last year, well, it's my story and I'm sticking to it. We passed the flashing message board that said ROAD CLOSED - 10:30 -11:30, it was 10:26 and we still ahd a few miles to go. We made it to within maybe 5-8 cars and had to sit in traffic for one hour, I was not walking into and back out of town.

Once we were allowed in we made our way to last years parking area behind the PNC bank in the Church parking lot, a great spot. We walked up one side and down the other side of Talbut street taking in all the sights and sounds of Christmas in St. Michael's. There was a pretty good size crowd and even after the parade the shoppers had turned out to take advantage of the wx and posted sales. Bee's to honey just add the magic word sale and they all come. Mary and her Mom hit all the favorites and I kept a watchful eye outside soaking up the sun and looking for anyone with an AOPA hat or something else related to flying. I bumped into Doug and Beth from Millville, NJ (Owners of Big Sky at MIV and WWD)they were out enjoying the wx and had their son tucked away nice and snug in a stroller, great to see them! We passed last year's lunch stop and continued on when I bumped into Lee(fellow POA forum member) and his wife Lynn. They too were making the rounds in and out of each store and enjoying the wx.

We finished off the north side of the street in pretty good time and with out any lapse crossed the street and picked back up on the south side. Our first stop on the south side is Flying Fred's dog shop, everything for any dog from treats to collars, sweaters, stickers, you name it, they got it. I must report a bit of sad news, the store mascot (Fred - Jack Russell) passed this year at the age of 15 while on vacation in Vermont, he was cute lil bugger. The owners now share their home and store with Fifi Larue a Schnauzer/poodle mix.

There is no rest when ladies are shopping, we were soon off to the next store back on track. I didn't want to break the momentum they had going but I have to say I was getting hungry, it was closing in on 1pm and I had but a bagel and hot tea. Both Mary and her Mom decided it was time to look for eats and I was in agreement. We made our way up the street and decided to try Characters Cafe' located at 200 North Talbot Street. The place was packed so we kept looking for a spot. We made our way east and headed back towards the center of town and even gave the Carpenter Street Saloon a glance. Music way to loud and the place was packed with all the parade folks, we kept looking. We gave the Harbor Inn a thought but it too was full. It was time to load up and drive, we would find someplace to have lunch.

We headed west towards Tilghman Island and found the Chesapeake Landing, they had seating and we were hungry, a perfect match. We each order cold drinks and had the Crab dip appetizer, plenty of old bay on this one, it was salty but we cleaned the dish. I ordered the crab cake lunch platter, Mary had the fried oyster sandwich and Mom had a Turkey club, all very good. No desert this trip I was full. Mary took a pass too and hinted that she would be doing the just fed puppy nap on the flight home, I had no doubt. We made our way back to the airport and turned in the rental.

I went out to preflight and waved to the ladies waiting in the warm terminal, the temps were starting to dip. I once again forgot to install the cowl plugs when we got in, not sure if they would have helped all that much but next time I'll make note to use them. I packed away the booty from today's trip and helped both of my favorite ladies up on the wing and into the plane. It was great, I walked around the other side, opened MY door and climbed in, I like it. I completed my in cockpit preflight and got 08Romeo started. It took a few minutes for the oil temps to come up but I wasn't in any rush. I noted the ATIS and tuned the radios along with plugging in the flight plan in the Garmin 530 and 496. The easy way home was dialing in the DuPont VOR and just tracking that. The Collins Nav radio has a neat little feature for an oldie but once in the air you dial in the VOR and can flip to either the TO or FROM setting to check the radial. The 530 also provides the radial info on screen along with the DME.

We were cleared to take off runway two two and make right turn on course, acknowledged and complete, we're on our way home. No flight following today on the way home although I did have Potomac and Dover dialed in so I could monitor. About 15 out of Wilmington I picked up the ATIS report and made my call about 10 south as I crossed the C&D canal. Visibility was almost endless today so it made for a nice hop. Wilmington directed me to report 3 mile left base runway Three Two and I continued in. I made my call to report and was cleared to land adding the second notch of flaps as I turned final. Speed looked good and I had the runway made so I pulled in the last notch of falps and looked down the runway. I got a little slow as I settled in and as I started to flair ( all be it late) I kerplunked one in flat. Yikes! I hate that and in the same instant held the yoke back and wheelied a bit then sat it back down. No, that surely was no save but I was rolling out on center. We taxied off and made it over to red Eagle to get 08Romeo secured. A good days work and a fun flight.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas Lights

Mary and I went out for my birthday dinner, why cook. After dinner we had to make a stop for dog food and kitty my Bride said, and I quote, "They use the s*^t out of that stuff, we both laughed. As you can tell she has spent to much time around me and I think I am rubbing off. Anywho, after riding around looking at various homes all decked out with lights and the blow up display stuff we headed to the areas BEST display. I only had my cell phone so here you go.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Breakfast Run CGE

Mary and I headed to the airport early in hopes of getting some flying time in 08Romeo. It had snowed here Saturday and we figured we would have to deice and preheat. When we headed south the snow seemed to cut off at I-95. Wilmington looked like it had rained and I think we were one of the few cars that had snow on the hood and roof.

We rolled through the gate and down the ramp a bit to our new tie down location. The plane looked clean except for some frost a a few frozen water droplets that looked like gumdrops trying to hang on. The temp was around 40* and I was ready to preheat. I first checked the oil on the dipstick and it was flowing just fine and sitting at seven quarts. I decided not to preheat. I hooked up the tow bar and pulled 08Romeo out of the tie down to position for the full effect of the sun on the wing surface. Since it was the first flight since annual I had to reinstall the Zaon traffic and my Garmin 496 RAM mount. Mary parked the truck then walked back over to the plane and climbed in. It felt great going through the check list and getting the engine started. I kept the RPM's low and confirmed good oil pressure as I closely monitored the oil temp.

Temps came up, the cabin blower is a great thing and we were all toasty. I noted the ATIS and contacted Ground for our taxi instructions. Ahhhh...the recently paved runway, taxi to runway two seven via kilo and mike hold short, I acknowledged. With the run up completed and everything looking good we were cleared for take off. 08R rolled down the runway and lifted off around 70 knots and cruise climbed out to 2500 feet. About ten miles south of Wilmington, as we crossed the C&D canal I called Dover Approach for flight following, they acknowledged and we had our squawk code dialed in.

I was handed of to Potomac then Patuxent then cut loose to maintain Visual Flight Rules (VFR). I changed to Cambridge having already dialed in the radio on the standby frequency position and announced my position and intentions. It was quiet, a first for this place. I entered the pattern and extended the down wind for a plane getting ready to depart then made a nice landing and roll out for the Terminal. There was one other plane on the ramp, a V Tail Bonanza and now our baby Beech. We secured the plane and headed in to find a packed house. The locals really fill this place up quickly. As Mary and I ordered I noticed a Tiger taxi in and verified it was Ron L from the POA forum, good timing. Ron joined us for breakfast even though he immediately gave me up letting Mary know I posted on the forum earlier that the "princess" was almost ready to go. We had good eats as always, crab omelets for each of us and Ron had the skillet omelet with salsa and steak. We sat and talked for a good hour with Ron before heading out to the planes.

I did an abbreviated preflight looking over the control surfaces and checking fuel. I kicked out the chocks and Mary climbed in. I walked over to see how Ron mounted his new Garmin Aera 510. He had a new bracket that attached to the windscreen frame and it had a T off of it with a flat plate to attach the unit, it looked very secure and sat in a good location without obstructing view of instruments or the outside scan. I eventually made it back to the plane and started up for home. Ground speeds home were around 110 knots unlike the the 125 knots we saw heading down. Wilmington directed us to report a 3 mile final for runway one in response to my initial call up as we crossed the canal. I dialed in the ILS runway 1 approach on the garmin 530 and clicked on vectors, I figured why not get some time on the unit. The localizer was alive as I made my final turn to intercept, very smooth. I also wanted to work on configuration for my approaches but I didn't dwell on that to much.

First notch of flaps added as I was heading towards the Final Approach Fix. Ok, one notch flaps, RPM's 2200 and trim for 90 knots, 500 feet per minute descent. The Sundowner is steady and I'm looking to intercept the glide slope. On course, coming to the glideslope, numbers looked good. I'm eyes out just trying to steel a peak in when I can. I cross at the outer marker HADIN and down the chute we go. HADIN is just over 5 miles out so I am ready to call my 3 mile final when Wilmington advises clear to land runway one. I acknowledge and continue inbound. I see the needles are centered and looking good as I focus on landing the plane. Short final and passing through 500 feet I add the second notch of flaps. Across the fence, power out and the last notch added I flare and hold it as we sink towards the runway. Hold it off, mains chirp followed almost immediately by the nose wheel, just a tad flat but smooth.

We taxi off to Red Eagle and shut down, another adventure with 08Romeo complete. Our ground skills are still pretty sharp as we secure 08R and get her covered. 2.2 hours in the log today gets me to 95.5 for the year and 364.8 total. If the wx holds and we head to NC this coming weekend the 100 mark looks obtainable for the second straight year in a row.