Today was perfect for some actual, scattered cloud cover sitting around three thousand, overcast was maybe seven or eight thousand. I swapped text messages with Jeff and he wanted to shoot approaches today too. The plan was for me to fly 08Romeo to 33N, pick up Jeff and fly my check ride approaches. Following my practice ride we would switch planes and go shoot a few approaches in 93Zulu.
I was soon entering the pattern at Delaware Airpark and turning base to final a bit hot. I cut the power and with a slip got to the runway bleeding off speed and touched down not quite half way. Retracted the flaps and let 08Romeo roll for the last turn off, always saving brakes. I need to add some fuel so I taxied to the pumps and shut down.
Jeff and I talked about the wx and he wasn't comfortable flying in potential IMC in my plane since he is not familiar with it. Fair enough, we changed our plans to fly his Archer then come back and take my Sundowner out once the layer lifted. We saddled up and headed towards New Jersey planning to shoot the ILS 10 then the VOR A into Millville. It was good to see it unfold without the foggles and helped me see position with regard to the localizer and glide slope tracking. We broke the VOR A off early and entered the left base for one four and a full stop landing.
It was early and conditions were starting to get better. We decided on a lunch run then we would come back to fly 08Romeo. Jeff filed for York, PA - KTHV and we sat and waited to pick up our clearance. Atlantic city switched us back to Millville radio and they in turn sent us back over to Atlantic city. Finally we had the clearance and were ready to get in the air. We were cleared to THV and the route was as follows; LEEAH VCN V184 OOD DQO DQO306r V184 DELRO Direct. It was a great ride! I haven't passed over KILG at altitude in a long time and it sure was a different look. Soon after passing Wilmington we went into Solid IMC. Jeff did a great job, rock solid needles as steady as could be. I only have 1.3 of actual but this stuff was solid. It was like flying around in a sky of milk. Philly handed us off to Harrisburg and Jeff shot the GPS 35 approach. It was very cool breaking out around 1000 feet and seeing the airport off the nose, right where it's supposed to be! Jeff made a nice landing and we rolled out to the terminal taxiway.
With 93Zulu secure we headed in for lunch. We each had breakfast, yes I know I said lunch stop. Jeff and i enjoyed some eggs and bacon while discussing the return trip to 33N. Jeff filed with his iPad and phone for blue tooth. So many gadgets that make flying safer. Jeff had used the iPad for the approach plates and it was easy to read and sat right on the knee board. A cool future tool for my flight bag! We finished up a great meal and headed back to the plane. The bottom layer was sitting around 1400 so we would be in it shortly after take off. METAR KTHV 151553Z AUTO 20004KT 10SM OVC014 23/21 A3001.
Jeff's clearance was a bit odd as it had us backtracking to Harrisburg then on course to 33N. Once announcing our departure from York we switched to approach to advise position and altitude. Harrisburg quickly gave us a heading to intercept the V469 airway that ran between the HAR and DQO VOR's. Once again we were in solid IMC seemingly flying around in a sky full of milk. What I found really odd was not seeing the sun but it being so bright that I had to hold my hand up like a visor when looking at the instruments. It was a good feeling being in the system, yet so very odd flying along and not seeing anything but the plane. The GPS at least provides a sense of where the heck you are in relation to the world below.
With some storm cells showing on the 496 approach turned us to avoid any off the yellow cells. Hey that worked for us as we continued on our way. We passed over Summit, KEVY and the C&D canal, at least according to the Garmin 430 GPS. Philly had us begin our descent and handed us off to Dover. We broke out around 3,500 if my memory serves me correct. Jeff was planning on the GPS 9 approach but canceled IFR and entered on a left base into the pattern. Another nice landing and we are safe on the ground at Delaware Airpark.
The rain was moving in and the cells we could see on the 496 were confirmed by eye. Instead of us flying 08Romeo I launched for home solo. The best thing about my friends that are Pilots is that we can say things to each other and not take it out of context but out of concern and wanting us all to be safe. Jeff did not hesitate to advise not taking a chance running back to ILG, if it's not looking good just put it back on the ground here at 33N and he would drive me home. Advise well taken but I felt the visibility was good enough and if the rains held off I would be fine.
I launched off of two seven and climbed for home. I turned north and could see the rain moving from the west with the cells showing up on the 496. I had one small rain shower over the nose and turned west to end around it. It's so strange watching the rain cell move across your path and being able to see around it. The cell had just passed over Summit, KEVY and was moving east following the C&D canal to the Delaware river. I passed behind it and then turned north east, heading for Wilmington. I could see wx moving from the west and was good to go knowing I would be on the ground getting wet while securing the plane, that was ok, maybe the rain would clean off a few dead bugs. I had an awesome tail wind and was clocking 140 knots into ILG. I entered a right base for runway one four as directed and made a nice landing in the gusty winds. As I taxied clear the light rain started to wet the windscreen.
I secured 08Romeo and headed to the SUV, I had a fun day even though I didn't get to do much flying. It was now starting to rain as left 08Romeo and the airport, a good feeling to be on the ground.