Saturday, April 24, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Always fun at the airport and it was nice to have some help today. I hope to get Vince some air time. I just gave him the King DVD's for the private pilot study.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I happened to read about a Beech Aero Club (BAC) fly-in scheduled for this Saturday in Westfield, MA at the Barnes Municipal Airport. While checking out the attendee list I noticed our friends from Texas (Bo & Sandra) were in the air heading to the north east to join in the fun. They had quite a few stops planned as they swung east to lunch in Greenville, MS then overnight Gadsden, AL. Monday was lunch in Shelby, NC with an overnight in Edenton, NC. Tuesday a trip to the aviation mecca and lunch at Kitty Hawk followed by a short hop to Williamsburg, VA for dinner and a day of checking out the local attractions on Wednesday.
Ok, I think Mary and I could do Wednesday for a day trip to meet up as long as Bo & Sandra have some time available. I called Bo and we agreed to meet for lunch at Charly's inside the Williamsburg Jamestown Airport terminal. I would call prior to start up and advise of our ETA. The winds looked great for the trip south as I printed out the flight plan this morning. Mary and I made a stop for water and a box of fig newtons for the in flight snacks. Once at the plane we went through the pre-flight having a good laugh at my makeshift stabilator covers protecting us from the bird 'stuff'.
I made the call as planned and started 08Romeo for some warm up time. The sky was clear at Wilmington but I knew we would have some cloud layer to deal with heading south. We took off runway two seven to begin our day of fun. Once turning on a southerly course I could see the layer off in the distance south of Dover. I was cleared to change frequency with the tower and switched to Dover Approach. I always try to pick up flight following on our trips, it's an extra set of eyes and so much easier getting handed off to the next sector then having to look radio stuff up. Dover handed us off to Patuxent approach and I advised 4,500 climbing 6,500 when I checked in.
We rode along on top of the fluffy white carpet of clouds with short peeks of the ground below. I did manage to see Salisbury (KSBY) off my left side as I changed course for the next leg towards Cape Charles (CCV). We were listening to country music as we cruised along in smooth air enjoying the ride. Mary did comment how nice it was on top vs getting beat up under the layer, she is really starting to get this stuff. As we cruised south along the west edge of the the peninsula we could see clear sky ahead over the Chesapeake Bay and building clouds over the peninsula. I try to look ahead at 'what if' places to land if the need arises. One location was KMFV and it was covered by the layer along with a good many airports I would go to, if I had to. The top of the layer was between 5000 and 6000 with some building clouds dotting the 'white carpet'. Patuxent handed us off to Norfolk and they in turn handed us off to another sector. At this point we were maybe 10 miles north of Cape Charles VOR so I requested an altitude change to begin my descent into Williamsburg. Again, the bay was clear not a cloud in the sky but we had to get under the layer across the Chesapeake just west of Point Comfort. I reported the tops and turned west south west. It was a smooth let down and we ducked under the cloud layer with bases at 3,500-4,000 feet. I report the cloud base altitude to Approach as requested and continue towards the airport. Approach cancels flight following after advising no traffic in the area and thanked me for the reports. I switched the radio to the Williamsburg-Jamestown CTAF and announced my position and intentions.
I crossed midfield and entered a left down wind for runway three one. I had to slow it down and set approach flaps as we bounced a bit in the wind. I was keeping this one close as I added in a second notch of flaps and completed my base to final turn. I had to pull the power and slip a bit as I crossed the fence and added the last notch of flaps. I was a little fast and landed a bit flat with not much stall horn at all. We were on the ground and rolling out for the terminal.
Bo and Sandra were outside waving as we shut down. I parked next to our fellow Mouse and secured 08Romeo. It was so nice to see our friends! Of course it was hugs and handshakes around as the girls chatted and the men checked out 4Lima Bravo and 08Romeo. I ordered fuel when we taxied in and the truck was just about there to meet us. I wanted to top off to the slots to check fuel burn and our girl took on 14 gallons, not to shabby for a tick under 1.5 hours.
We eventually made our way into the terminal for some sit down chat and a great lunch. Charly's always makes their own bread and all the food is very good. I think we each ordered the 'half & half' which is a half a sandwich and a cup of soup. I ordered the tuna salad on Bavarian bread with a cup of chili, Mary and Sandra had chicken salad on bavarian with seafood bisque and Bo had a chicken salad on white with clam chowder. It was fun to catch up on all the flying stuff and home front things too. Just to provide some background; Bo & Sandra were there when we purchased 08Romeo in Texas. They made our experience an absolute pleasure and honestly helped us have fun and not stress over the airplane deal and planned trip home. Somethings you can never repay, it's best to just pay it forward as we go. Mary and I can't thank Bo & Sandra enough for their transportation help, southern hospitality and friendship.
After we each had to roll ourselves outdoors we hung out and chatted enjoying the gorgeous wx on the patio located on the airfield side of the terminal. I can't believe three hours had passed! Mary and I figured we best hit the road and let our friends get back to the Williamsburg tours. We all walked out to the planes as I sumped my tanks and completed a walk around. I still want to take Bo's cowling from his plane and have the same set up on ours. Each side of his mouses engine room opens for inspection with two simple latches. A great feature that my plane doesn't have. I also want to add the oil filter on my next change coming up in just seven tach hours.
We climbed in and got our Sundowner started for the trip north. With our run up completed we taxied out to runway one three and announced our intentions. We were soon climbing out for Cape Charles. Norfolk Approach gave us flight following as we climbed for 7,500. Half way across the bay I turned direct Salisbury and held that course picking up following with Washington Center. The Garmin 496 provides wx and traffic which is a great feature. Traffic sounded once for a real target as a turbo jet passed by our left wing overtaking us and heading into our next checkpoint. The Nexrad wx was showing winds aloft of 15-20 kts direct headwind going home at 6000 and 20+ at 9000. The cloud layer prevented me from 5,500 and 3,500 would have put us under the layer playing rodeo cowboy. I choose to plug along at 7,500 with the headwind allowing for a blistering ground speed of 99 kts (114 mph). Somehow that 128 kts (147 mph) from this morning just doesn't make me smile on the way home.
After Washington Center handed us off to Dover approach we picked up the Wilmington ATIS. Once just south of the C&D canal I canceled flight following and contacted Wilmington Tower for landing instructions. After reporting my position, altitude twice since I gave them 4,500 vs the correct 3,500 before they caught it, we were advised make left base for runway two seven. A smooth short landing clearing the runway at taxiway Mike. Mary and I secured 08Romeo for the night including the improvised special bird protection plan. We headed home to take care of the zoo and called it a day.
A special thanks to Ryan and Kathy for offering the use of their beautiful Benz. Mary and I can't say enough about the friends we made through flying. We stayed at the airport but the offer was very much appreciated. I hope to once again pay your kindness forward to other pilots coming into Wilmington.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The place was packed so we had a short wait for a seat. This worked in our favor since Bob Ciotti heard us coming in and asked about catching up. We had told him we were heading into Cambridge. Mary and I were seated and we ordered up a cup of soup for her and spicy chili for me. Bob and Craig walked in 20 minutes later and joined us. We enjoyed a nice lunch together as the place started to empty out. The locals really hit this place pretty good and Sunday's the church crowd invades.
We both launched for home and Bob trailed us by five to eight miles all the way north to Wilmington. We chatted on air to air which was also pretty busy. I had Dover approach tuned in and monitored all the way home. As I crossed the C&D canal I gave the tower a call with the current ATIS info and the typical inbound for full stop going to red eagle, descending through 3,300. The tower acknowledged and directed me to report a three mile left base for runway two seven. My landings of late have been a bit fast which makes long, never wants to stop flying, roll out forever to save brakes ugly adventures. So, I decided to hit the numbers on my speed and also shoot for the runway numbers. I was 80 knots on base with a turn to final at 70 knots actually adding a touch of power to make the numbers. Sweet, soft and held the nose off, I like that. We spent some time cleaning the plane and covering the tail. The birds have been having a field day and I am worried all that 'crap' will damage my paint. We washed everything down and I used a light polishing compound and paste wax to clean up stains 'they' left us. I am going to order a tail cover to take care of the nesting bird problems and come up with something to keep them off our tail and beacon.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Mike arrived first and strted to uncover 08Romeo. I rolled in and headed to the plane anxious to get the pre-flight started. Pre-flight completed I made the call to Wilmington ground for taxi instructions. Once airborne I picked up flight following with Philly and was handed off to another sector followed by a final hand offf to Harrisburg Approach. Once on with Harrisburg I asked for the GPS RWY 31 Approach for some practice. I asked for direct AYOSA and instead received vectors which worked out with no procedure turn. Mike said I shot a real nice approach and at 800 feet I looked up for the runway and continued in to land.
We parked 08Romeo out front of the Sensenich Propeller Service building and secured. It's a short walk to the SR20 hangar and the wx was great! Mike went through all his checks, ordered fuel and added oil to complete the pre-flight. We each climbed in, geezzzz I love this plane. Climbing into the SR20 cockpit is like slipping into my 90 vette, it feels good and the instrument set up is just waiting on your command. Dang, I really do miss my 81 and 90 vettes!
We were soon launching off of runway three one and man this baby sounds great. Plenty of power and a slight touch of the stick and we are climbing out. First up was the KTHV, York Airport GPS RWY 35 Approach. Mike had us pointed towards the XOPPA intersection and entered the procedure turn with a tear drop for a smooth transition down to the final approach fix YOKRI. I made additional traffic calls since there was a Cessna moving towards the hold short. As we crossed the two mile final point I made an additional call only to watch the Cessna roll on out on the runway. He did announce as he rolled through the hold short. I asked mike to come out from under the foggles and reposition and he did. After once again advising our position the jackass in the Cessna said he didn't see us on the two mile.......ahhhh....but he obviously heard us. I told Mike to relax we'll be reading about that smacked butt in an NTSB report soon enough.
After that exciting episode we headed on in to Harrisburg International, KMDT. Approach was really on it tonight as we requested the ILS RWY 31 Approach and quickly received vectors. Mike shot another flawless approach and ended with a touch and go followed by a climbing right turn to 050, 3000 feet. We ended the night with another GPS RWY 35 approach into Lancaster that ended in a full stop. It was a short taxi to the T-hangar and we tucked Cirrus 1Zulu Echo in for the night.
Always fun flying in the Cirrus! It was time to climb aboard 08Romeo for our ride home to Wilmington. Again, making the hop by plane is so much faster then the drive. It was a quick trip south east and we did see 120 knots at one point but the average was 115ish. I was soon calling the tower to provide our info and was directed to enter a right down wind for runway two seven. I have been trying to keep my patterns tight and this one was perfect. I was looking at .8 miles on the GPS stretching to my base of 1.3 miles. A decent landing in the book and a short taxi to red eagle.
Friday, April 02, 2010
The flight is 25 minutes each way and it beats the heck out of driving on the I-476 blue route with all the rush hour traffic. On each flight I received Bravo clearance from Philly Approach and it made for a nice ride on a direct route. Good food, Great friends and always fun flying.
Mike's friend arrived and there was a chance for Mike to hop a ride to Richmond, VA. I got a call asking if I could be in Richmond to give him a ride home on Friday. Heck yeah, you bet, I'm on holiday tomorrow and it's only 1.5 each way,what time do you need me there? Mike would call later with more details. I went into flight plan mode and started checking wx. I printed out an airport diagram for the intended destination and asked Mary if she wanted to go. She wasn't interested in the flight just to pick up and return so I decided to ask Vince if he would like the right seat. Vince obtained clearance from his Mom and the final part of the plan was set.
Somewhere in the middle of dreamland (2:30 am)my phone signaled a text message was received. Dang, Mike was home and the mission was scrubbed. I sent Vince a text advise him that he could sleep in, we could head out a bit later and run for breakfast. My phone rang soon after I was finished feeding the zoo and I traded text messages with Vince. The plan was to still meet at 7:30 but the trip was cut way short, a quick hop to Millville to sample the Flight Line cuisine would be today's run.
On the way to the airport I decided he and I both needed to get additional air time so I decided we would head to Georgetown, KGED instead. Vince did the pre-flight with me following along taking pictures and helping to get things ready for our flight. 08Romeo started up and we plugged in the course for today. I picked up the taxi clearance and we were on our way to fun flying in gorgeous wx.
The trip south was smooth, only a bit of brown yucky haze to deal with. I switched over to Dover Approach and after getting my call wrong a half dozen times I was alerted to traffic at my twelve o'clock same altitude, ten miles. Approach alerted the other traffic who jumped right in and advised descending to 4000. The traffic passed off our right side two to three miles no factor.I picked up then wx at Georgetown/Sussex County and cancelled my flight following. As is the norm I reported ten miles then five miles adding a three mile 45 for the left down wind runway four.I carried a bit of speed but set 08Romeo down with a long taxi to the last turn off not having to touch the brakes, we were the only one in the pattern. We taxied to the terminal passing the new Delaware State Police helicopter and a life flight helicopter. Unicom directed us to park as we passed by a few biz jets and finally picked a spot next to a very clean twin.
Breakfast was good and we had the place to ourselves, obviously we did get an earl;y start. As we finished up a few more planes and locals made the stop for good eats. Vince and I headed back out to 08Romeo and did the walk around. A quick fuel check in each tank for my start up choice and we climb aboard. Winds seem to favoring runway two two so we taxi for our run up. There is a helicopter turning base and I acknowledge Sundowner 08Romeo holding short two two, has the traffic on base. I could have just sat there and watched but I know I always like to hear the aircraft holding short advise they have me on base or final. It's a quick easy call that let's everyone know whats going on, besides, it's an easy safety check for all the players.
Our turn to play as I push the throttle forward and 08Romeo comes to life. We are wheels up and climbing out, heading for home. I didn't pick up flight following for the ride north but I did monitor Dover approach for situational awareness. We passed opposite direction of a KC135 taking off out of Dover heading over towards New Jersey as we made our way north. Vince wanted to take a few pictures of Summit airport and his Grandma's house so we adjusted the flight path to accommodate. Once positioned to cross well above Summit (KEVY) I switched frequency to the Wilmington tower. I had noted the ATIS information.
ATIS broadcasts contain essential information, such as wx, which runways are active, available approaches, and any other information required by the pilots. The report is given a letter designation (e.g. bravo).The letter progresses down the alphabet with every update and starts at Alpha each day. When contacting the control tower or ground station, a pilot will indicate he/she has "information" and the ATIS identification letter to let the controller know that the pilot is up to date with all current info.
Wilmington advised we would be following a Cessna for a right down wind runway one nine. I had the traffic in sight and followed it in. The Cessna was a training aircraft form the on field school and it took it's sweet time rolling down the runway before exiting, despite the tower giving the without delay. 08Romeo was on the ground and rolling, looking to make a right turn on runway two seven, right on taxiway Mike and left on Kilo. Sort of like following the yellow brick road back to our tie down. Vince helped secure the plane, leaving the cover off since Mary and I were headed back out this evening. A fun morning flying and a good breakfast!