I had given some thought to flying to Williamsburg with the North East Flyer's group but decided on a no-go due to potential storms for our afternoon return trip home. It would have been nice to catch up with our friend Susan and catch up with fellow pilot Ryan based at KJGG. While I sat here at the computer looking at wx and confirming our decision with Susan, my lovely Bride was still sleeping. As it turns out, not for long, as my very sleepy girl walks into the room with my cell phone that went off due to a text message. Jeff had sent a text asking if we were up for a breakfast run. After going back and forth Mary voted for Georgetown (KGED, Sussex County Airport). The airport restaurant offers very good food and service, and the line service provided is always top notch. Mary and I also wanted to make a run into Lewes for a few supplies. Mary's uncle wanted sticky buns from a special bakery shop off second street and he and her Mom both like the sausage sold in one small corner store on Main St.
The plans are set and we need to get moving. I took care of the zoo and did a quick flight plan along with the always important TFR check. I guess we headed out the door around 9am and I ordered fuel from AeroWays on the way to the airport. We rolled through the gate as the fuel truck finished up and started the preflight. Mary and I really flow through the routine as I pop cover clips and she pulls the nose plugs, nose wheel chock and pitot tube cover. I move to the preflight while Mary moves inside to remove the gust lock and set out our headsets. She opens the vent window flips on the battery and lights for my walk around checks. My last check is to sump the fresh fuel we just took on that brings us to the slots at 20 gal each wing. 40 gallons is 3 hours flying with a good half hour reserve but I keep it to a max of two hours of flight time and that depends on the winds.
08Romeo quickly starts and the oil doesn't take long to come up to operating temps. We are cleared to taxi for departure via taxiway Kilo, Kilo 5 to runway Nine. Run up completed I contact the tower and we are soon rolling. Wheels up and a right turn out approved we are overflying the Delaware River and passing by just east of Salem Nuke plant. Visibility is very good this morning as we make out the opening of the Delaware Bay some sixty plus miles away. I picked up flight following with Dover Approach and heard Jeff make his calls for a GPS approach for landing into Sussex County.
Jeff soon closed his IFR flight plan as we started our slow descent for the airport. It was so smooth flying this morning that I actually sat with my hands in my lap for most of the trip. Course correction required a gentle rudder touch on occasion so at least my feet were busy. As we approached pattern altitude for KGED the bumps were there, not bad, but had our attention. I announced at ten and five miles out of my intentions then entered the left down wind runway 4 for a nice landing and easy turn off for the ramp. We taxied in and parked right next to Jeff and his son Bryan. The ramp was packed when we taxied in but soon emptied out as we walked for the entrance.
As we sat eating breakfast MikeB came in with Frank, Jeff's instrument instructor, and I sent him a quick text as they walked across the ramp asking him if he was ready to fly. When they walked in he started to laugh and asked if we flew down in our plane. Yep, 08Romeo is on the ramp. We quickly made plans to catch up after we got home. Mike and Frank were taking Frank's twin back to 33N to pick up an instructor and Mike was going to head north to Wilmington to get some flying time in 3525Uniform. After our trip into town I would fly Mary back to Wilmington and she would take my SUV and Mike would pick me up at Red Eagle so we could head across the field for Atlantic Aviation and his plane. Yes, it was just as confusing hearing it live.
We said our goodbyes and went separate ways. Jeff and Bryan saddled up for 33N so he could wash and wax Niner Three Zulu and Mary and I signed out the crew car for the hop into Lewes. I guess it took us 15-20 minutes to get over to Lewes and yes we did pass the stinky farm that sells ice cream. Whew, this place was strong today, not sure how the adjacent homes survive that stuff. Our first stop was at the deli on the main drag into town. Speed limit is 25 and not a bit over, police were out in force. I kept the car running and Mary did the dash in and out. She emerged with multiple packages of Milton sausage in hand, part one of the mission completed. We continued into town and I made the dreaded left to cruise second street, the place loaded with every specialty shop and boutique to make any woman's heart skip a beat. I found parking across from the bakery and Mary was out the door crossing the street in a blink. This took a bit of time so I sat people watching from the car. This bakery was busy, a constant flow of people for coffee and those who were taking sweets to go. My Bride finally pops out the door and makes her way across the street to the waiting get away car, I mean her ride. We putz along as we make our way back to the main road and get pointed in the direction of the airport. I made a quick stop to top off the tank, the least we could do for the use of the free crew car, then headed to the terminal. Thanks to my Bride for no extra shopping request today....I owe her big time, she knew I really wanted to get some flying in.
We handed over the keys to the crew car and headed out on the ramp. 08Romeo comes to life and we are soon making our way for a runway 4 departure. Run up completed I announce and depart for home. As we climb out we cross just south of the baseball complex and I get a peek at all the kids on the field, it's good to see them enjoying the wx. It was a good flight home riding along with Dover Approach. We had one aircraft pass by us heading opposite direction maybe a mile out pass by our left side for the only traffic call. I canceled with Dover and called Wilmington to announce our position. As instructed we entered a left down wind runway one niner and made sure I kept the pattern tight just bumping the 1.3 mile mark on my down wind to base turn. I was already at 1500 RPM and adding a second notch of flaps as I was now turning final. Runway made I add the last notch of flaps and set 08Romeo down very soft with plenty of stall horn.
We secured the plane but did not cover since the plan was to fly with Mike in 25U then come back over for some night op's in 08Romeo. Mary headed home in the SUV and Mike and I headed to Atlantic. 25U was tugged out to the ramp and Mike started the preflight. I wandered around looking at this checking that obviously wanting to preflight just out of habit. Mike and I split up the crew resources as I copy the current ATIS and manage the communications. Mike is ready to roll and I follow up with picking up our taxi clearance with VFR intentions to the south. We taxi out to runway one four at foxtrot three and depart once cleared. Our first approach will be the ILS RWY 19 at Dover AFB. I contact Dover and request the practice approach, they seem busy. We are instructed that we will receive vectors for the approach. We take up the initial heading as directed but approach never turns us to intercept the ILS. A senior controller, who sounded like Darth Vader, came on and vectored us back followed by the original controller now providing info. Once switched to the tower I advised inbound on the ILS 19. We were advised to check gear down and cleared for the option. My first time into Dover but Mike reminds me there is no option, it's low pass only. Mike does a real nice job down the ILS and I call going missed at 250 feet. As we climb out we are handed back to approach and I request an ILS RWY 1 practice approach. Granted, we get vectors to take us out and around. As mike sets up the nav/comms for the new approach we get a nav flag on the HSI. Mike advised approach and they advised once the aircraft landing on 19 is clear they would switch on the ILS 1 for us. Good lesson learned, when in doubt ask.
Mike made another nice low approach followed by a climb out to the north. We thanked Dover for the help today and headed home. I asked Mike if he was going to shoot another approach and he did. First I flew west north west towards KEVY and once in a safe area I returned controls to Mike. He was working on a commercial maneuver and prepping for instructing, Eights On Pylons. Once I knock out the IR check ride I hope to start on my commercial. Ok, time to head back to KILG. I press Mike for one more approach, and he puts the foggles back on as we set up for a GPS RWY 9 approach into Wilmington. I contact Philly to request the practice approach and they coordinate with Wilmington. Winds favor runway one nine so we will circle to land. A few turns and we are cleared for the GPS 9 approach just outside BATRE the final approach fix. Philly hands us off to the tower and I advise we are inbound GPS 9. The crosswind was pretty strong but Mike dialed the crab in and my view was looking good. Once down to pattern altitude Wilmington wanted us to enter a right down wind for runway nine, I acknowledged. Mike landed 25Uniform long since the tower had another aircraft turning base and we were going to taxi off on delta, it worked out perfect. I haven't flown a few feet off the runway for that distance since my PPL training days.
Once the crap wx passes this week I'll get back up in 08Romeo and get ready for a stage check with my instructor. Hopefully I'll get signed off to schedule the check ride.