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.