Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reading Lunch Run

The wx was perfect for flying! Mary and I planned on attending the first North East Flyers event for 2010, scheduled for KRDG - Reading, PA. My Bride was not feeling good at the end of the week and it carried over to this morning. I had a back up plan and that was to invite a relative newbie along for the ride. Vincent is a member of the Wilmington CAP squadron and yes, like many of us that take to the sky he has been bitten by the aviation bug. Vince tracked me down by my tail number, youtube videos and my blog then followed up with a first email on Friday January 15th. Just reading his first email I had a good feeling and thought this is worth a follow up. I responded and said I would be up for a meet up and lunch run if his Mom approved.

Fast forward to Friday January 22nd. Mary said she was most likely a no go for Saturday so I sent an email to Vince. If Mary did feel better we had plenty of useful load for the three of us to attend, as noted above, she didn't make it. My email to Vince;

Vincent, If you’re available…… It’s your lucky day! My lovely Bride is not feeling very good and she is not going to attend the Reading Fly-In and Museum tour tomorrow. I am offering you the right seat for the trip to Reading for lunch and a walk through the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum. Have your parents give me call so we can set up a meet time at the Wilmington airport. Gary

Vincent responded just before 8pm and was indeed going to make the flight. I went through my typical flight plan and decided to hold off on the morning pre-flight until my right seater was there. Mary, Vince's Mom pulled into the parking lot early and I walked over to introduce myself. I assured Mary that I would make sure her son called when we were on the ground at Reading and have him call again on start up and once returning to Wilmington.

We chatted as we walked to the plane and in just a few minutes his enthusiasm was contagious. I felt like it was my first week of flying. We completed the pre-flight together and we talked about responsibility to yourself and passengers. I told him no matter who he flies with verify fuel and ask questions, if it bothers someone that your asking, walk away. We climbed aboard 08Romeo and worked through the checklists. Once started and the avionics were switched on Vince chugged and plugged the Garmin 530 as if he's been flying with it for years. Nice job! I told him my Bride does not touch anything and usually sleeps within five minutes of wheels up.

Wilmington had us taxi to runway niner at kilo5 intersection. Once I completed the run up and waited for traffic landing we were cleared to depart. 08R was on the roll, airspeed alive and gauges green, we're a go. I had a shallow climb holding five hundred feet a minute and keeping mindful of the TFR just five miles north of the DuPont (DQO) VOR. Once clear of the Wilmington Airspace I contacted Philly approach for flight following. I was quickly handed off to the next sector and we were squawking and talking. Vince was all over any traffic call outs, youth is a great thing. He spotted traffic I never did see, amazing, oh to be young again.
Philly handed us off to Reading approach and we were directed to report the field in sight. Vince flew for just a short bit and wanted to spot traffic instead. We each saw the field and I advised reading, they handed us off to the Reading Tower. The tower had us enter a left base for three one and report turning final, we acknowledged. My landing was ok at best, flared to soon and even had a bit of balloon then settled in for a short moan of the stall horn followed by chirps. We taxied clear and headed towards the terminal.
First to arrive is always a good thing, you can get photos of all the arrivals and you always get the best parking spot. Ok, truth be told there isn't anyone around to judge your landings too, there I said it. First in was Bill in the cardinal followed by an aircraft that had the ARF emergency vehicles rolling. The pilot, not with our group, had a fuel leak outside the cockpit, he was cleared to land immediately. He was in a bright yellow, immaculate T34 and touching down with the ARF rolling out to meet him. Everything worked out, he got the problem squared away and was soon back in the air. In between Jerry from Orange County, NY landed in his gorgeous Maule. From this point on the parade of planes was steady, Vince was clicking off pictures and I was trying to check in with as many attendees as I could.
The group took up at least three tables that the Malibooz Bar and Grill staff had set up for us. We all made our way in and ordered refreshments and the lunch orders soon followed. There were still planes arriving and hold times reported of eight to ten minutes before being cleared to land by the Reading tower. Here are a few pictures of the group. Thanks to everyone who did take shots since I left the SD ram card out of my camera.

Sorry folks, some of the table shots were deleted. I was asked not to post avi8tor4fn 's pictures without his permission, my apologies.

As we finished up lunch we made our way to the planes in waves. The tower had called the restaurant and inquired as to what time we were all leaving. The waitress came over and asked, "are you in charge?, The tower wants to know." Hey, at least I didn't get a number to call! We said our goodbyes and filter out to look at planes and snap a few more shots. We finally saddled up and got 08Romeo started for the flight home. I think were were third or fourth in line for departure off runway three one. Once cleared to take off I throttled up and had 08Romeo rolling for home. I had added one notch of flaps just to get up and clear as fast as possible, I've been experimenting with the use of one notch on all take offs.

Once trimmed for cruise I handed the controls over to Vince. At thirteen years old I must say he had a steady hand and held altitude plus or minus a hundred feet usually less, and on the money. I did all the radio work and spotted traffic while he enjoyed the flight time. Philly turned us loose when we had Wilmington in sight and we squawked VFR (1200) and contacted the tower with our position, intentions and current ATIS info. I did manage to snap a few shots of Vince in action while he was hard at it. We transferred control back to me and I set up for a nice landing on runway one niner. A tad fast on final and my roll out required a quick short u-turn and taxi back to taxiway kilo. We flipped over to ground control and taxied to Red Eagle, our fun day coming to an end.

Vince got a good laugh while I pushed 08Romeo into place, at least three times. He joked about adding that video and I said do not video this....we both laughed. I promised another flight and after I get night current again I'll take him up for that special view too. Vince's Mom was right on time and surprised me with a bottle of wine for Mary and I, very thoughtful and appreciated. As I told Vince's Mom he is very well mannered young man, a joy to have with me flying and he is welcome to fly with Mary and i anytime. If this is what General Aviation has to look forward to, we're in good hands.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Safety Pilot for Jeff

Mary and I were out shopping for a new power cord 'part' for her HP lap top. HP really screwed up on this one. The stinkin' lil adapter cable constantly needs to be replaced, it's really getting old. While out trying to fix the problem I received a text from Jeff F (33N) asking if I was available to safety pilot. I was available and as always excited to fly. I had to head home from our last stop, Radio Shack, where I tried in vain to pull off some magic with a power cable end adapter, it was a no go.

The plan was to meet Jeff around 1:45ish on the ramp at Red Eagle. I walked through the gate and heard Jeff call the tower reporting 14 south inbound for full stop. This meant I had a few minutes to walk across the ramp towards Boeing and say hello to a friend that had is plane, a Cherokee, started but still secured. Bill acknowledged my wave and soon shut down. I asked what was up and he was doing a test since an aircraft tagged his spinner and put a good ding in it and left some paint on the prop, a very light rub. He is going to fly it to the shop I go to to have things checked out in greater detail. Jeff taxied in as we finished up so I waited for him to turn around so I could safely climb aboard.

I tried a new approach to climbing in right seat toady. I stepped in left foot first while holding on top of the plane and sort of slid in with a wiggle and sat my butt in the seat. Huh, that worked pretty good, I'll have to try that again. As we sat at idle Jeff went through today's plan of attack. First up was an ILS approach into KMIV, Millvile NJ, immediately followed by the VOR A approach since the VOR is the hold for the ILS it would work out nice. Following the VOR A, we would head back across the Delaware River and shoot the GPS 35 into KEVY, Summit Airport and finally back into Wilmington shooting the ILS.

The tower had us departing runway two seven with a strong cross wind but Jeff did very well while I snapped a few pictures. I'm ticked I missed the wind sock but I was to slow. Left turn on course approved we were on our way. Jeff set up for the ILS approach and we decided to roll play ATC for vectors instead of bothering with Atlantic city approach. Least we forget there is always the dreaded Millville Radio to mess with us. I guess I should come clean, Millville radio, pains me to say this, Millville radio was really good today, short sweet advisories and they kept the radio open for traffic, there, I said it. Pardon me while I go wash my mouth out with soap.

Jeff was rock solid today as he flowed through all his checks, approach briefs and one would have thought the needles were stuck on his CDI since they barely moved. I role played ATC today and as I vectored Jeff to the ILS I made the angle a bit harder than a normal thirty degree intercept one would receive. No problems, he called out localizer alive and went to work, very business like in his flying. I had to spot a few aircraft landing on runway three two so we went missed without getting to low for an extra safety margin between us and other potential targets. We flew the published missed which had us direct to Cedar Lake VOR. While Jeff was setting up for the VOR A approach I spotted traffic off our eleven o' clock maybe four to five hundred feet high. This one was close and while I normally would call out the traffic I made the instant decision to call my plane and took evasive action. Nothing major here but I did bank right to give some room and make sure he passed, the red and white Cessna also banked right which provided ample separation. Now clear it was once again Jeff's plane and he picked right back up and set up for his procedure turn.

The VOR A approach was proceeding along smoothly and Jeff took advantage of the autopilot and a chance to get comfortable with its operation. A call to Millville radio to report our position and inquire about the Cherokee on final for three two has us just about to our minimum descent altitude. Millville was busy today with pilots taking advantage of the clear skys. Jeff handled all the traffic very well and with the thought of maintaining good separation from inbound traffic we went missed and climbed away from the airport towards the Delaware Bay. A follow up call to Millville radio reporting we are headed west north west towards our next target, Summit Airport, KEVY. No flight following today with all the quick in and outs but we did monitor Dover approach heading back towards Delaware and Wilmington tower once crossing the Delaware river through their ILS one approach. Jeff completed the brief for the GPS 35 approach and was set up and tracking. I just shot this approach the other night with Mike and it's a long run to the final approach fix and what seems like another day of travel to the runway. Once again we have traffic inbound and end up number two to land. Jeff makes a real nice crosswind landing into Summit and we taxi back and get ready for the short hop to Wilmington.

For the final hop back to Wilmington we will call Philly approach for vectors to the ILS 1 approach into ILG. We announce and start our roll on three five. The runway at Summit really needs some striping, it's in very poor condition. We're up and away making left traffic with a down wind departure. I ask Jeff if he he would like me to make the call to Philly but he had it covered. Approach gave us one vector and then almost blew us through the localizer, nice save Jeff. As instructed we switched over to the tower frequency and announced our position on the ILS with the current ATIS info. Jeff advises the tower we would land long to help expedite the traffic holding short for our arrival. Another cross wind landing has Jeff gently setting the left main down followed by the right and nose with noticeable delay for each touch. I think we both gave a Yeah! Wooo Hooo! at the same time....had to be there. Thanks Jeff for the 1.5 hours of safety pilot time. It's been a great weekend starting with safety pilot time with Mike, a day trip to Richmond with my Bride, a fun flight with Rob and today with our flight.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Flying with Rob

It was one of those days today, still on a high from yesterdays flight and finished chores. I told Mary I was bored, needed to do something so I mopped the kitchen, front and back door and powder room floors. Mary said go fly, I was getting on her nerves, I could tell. I sent a text message to RobS (Robs Flying Adventures) and asked if he was flying today, he responded, you? He makes me laugh. Well we can, I'll bring 08Romeo up to Wings and we could go play. The text messages ended and Rob called, the plan was to text him when I started the plane, done deal!

I got to Wilmington and went through my pre-flight and 08R was down almost a full quart of oil. I had a few spares in the plane but left the funnel out in my truck. I strolled back out the gate and returned funnel in hand. I met some new ramp neighbors, which is always fun. I added the quart, the first in about 20 hours then saddled up for Wings. A quick call to ground and I was cleared for taxi. The oil temp looked good soon after start up so I didn't have to long a wait. I launched off two seven and was approved for a right turn on course. I was going to call Philly but I decided on some quiet fly time tracking the Modena VOR then direct Wings, KLOM. I followed the PA Turnpike to the "second" quarry then turned for the 45* entry to the left down wind for two four. I was settled in with good numbers when the other shoe dropped, that's right, all the greasers of late came to an end. I did what I call the hippity hop, up and down, worse then just ballooning and even had some good wing roll along with drifting left of center when I touched down. It wasn't pretty but 08Romeo survived, I wish my pilot pride could say the same.

Rob was waiting as I rolled up to the terminal and throttled back so he could climb in. I'll mention here that I would not do that with most people but Rob flys enough to be safe around aircraft but most of all I trust him. We loaded up and taxied out for some fun in the haze. I have a rattle coming from the instrument panel that I can't find, it started yesterday on the take off from Wilmington. I'll have to track it down, it's driving me crazy. I climbed out of Wings and into the yucky haze following Rob's direction. I'm not very familiar with the practice area or any of the area for that matter. Once leveled out at 2,500 we transferred control. Rob handled 08Romeo like he's know her as long or longer then me. He did some clearing turns, steep turns and some fun flying. The haze was thick and even worse when we faced the sun, trying to spot traffic was difficult. My PCAS by Zaon keeps looking at my plane and giving me warnings so I shut it off, not a good day to be up without traffic in the cockpit. We headed towards Pottstown (KPTW) then Quakertown (KUKT), Pennridge (KCKZ), Lake Nockamixon and eventually back to Wings. After Rob brought us over the airport we transferred control and positioned to land. The normal routine for folks based there is to cross the airport then the turnpike and start a right turn to set up for a 45* to left down wind on two four, the same entry I used when I came in. I followed with base to final and an ok landing again left of center. We taxied clear and headed towards the terminal. There was this strange lineman marshaling us in with some exotic maneuvers, where the heck was my camera! The wanna be lineman was AdamZ, he came out to the airport to catch up, it was good stuff. I did get to see DaveH and his V-Tail Bonanza but he was heading out to get some left seat time.

I was ready to head back to Wilmington. Once off of runway two four I called up Philly for flight following. The haze was just to much and I wanted the extra eyes watching. I dialed in my squawk code and was directed to proceed for the Modena (MXE)VOR. Philly would turn me on course when traffic was no factor. Sounded good but I still didn't hear those magic class bravo words, "cleared into the Bravo" airspace. I was handed off to the next sector and they turned me direct wilmington, cleared through the bravo. Ok, that's what I wanted to hear! I chugged along towards Wilmington and could just barely make out the outline of the Delaware Memorial twin bridges at six miles, I could not see the airport at all. I guess around four miles out I advised field in sight and with current ATIS info, philly cut me loose. I picked up with the tower and was number two to land behind a Piper I never saw at just 2 miles off the nose. I was about ready to ask about the traffic when I turned final but the tower gave me an update. I made an ok landing on center but a tad longer then normal. It's good to be home and out of the soup.

All in all a fun afternoon with good friends. I look forward to the next time we can catch up and fly. Thanks Rob for the fuel sneaked one by me.....I owe you!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Richmond, VA

Mary and I needed some fun time together so we planned for a day trip of flying and exploration. Any chance of heading north was out, if it's colder then where we're at, I don't want to go there. Ok, with that in mind we turned our attention to the south. We decided on Richmond VA, KFCI Chesterfield County Airport with temps forecast in the 50's, it's a done deal. I worked on my flight plan and checked the wx last night, it was looking like a go. I got up early this morning and got the zoo squared away then worked the flight plan and updated wx. I also managed to cook some breakfast, cranking out some english muffins with sausage egg and cheese, The Gary version of the Egg McNuthin'.

Mary's Mom called and said she couldn't make the flight today, she wasn't feeling up to speed, but said she would go again another time. Not a problem, Mom is always welcome. We locked up the small critter (Rudder) and gave Maggie orders for no couch time, she's been good since we put the shock pad on the leather furniture. Temps looked great this morning as we walked through the airport gate. I ordered fuel last night so all I had to do was sump. I completed my pre-flight while Mary sat inside then I climbed aboard and secured the office doors. I set up the 496 and showed Mary where we are installing it in the panel and what equipment is coming out. Eight shots of primer and 08Romeo comes to life. I chug and plug the course for today which is KILG-PXT-TAPPA-RIC-KFCI. I am going to fly over the restricted area at Patuxent (top is 5000) and I'll be tooling along at 6,500. We were directed to taxi to two seven via Kilo, no Mike intersection. As we are taxing down Kilo I see a jet on final so I take a few seconds to give it a glance, it's VP Bidens jet, Air Force 2 (although he was not on board and they used a different call) doing T&G's at Wilmington. Sheesh..for a second I thought a TFR had popped up. Air Force Two is the air traffic control call sign used by any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the Vice President, but not the President. The term is often associated with the Boeing C-32, a modified 757 which is most commonly used as the Vice President's transport.
I asked for the intersection Mike departure but was advised I would be holding for wake turbulence for three minutes there or continue on and be able to go from Kilo at two seven. Ok then, I'll continue to taxi. I finished my run up and saw the 757 coming around for another go so I announced ready to go. I was cleared for "immediate" departure, huh, that's a new one, and I was advised of the 757 turning base. Obviously the tower newbie was excited, heck I was burning fuel, that's not exciting at least not while on the ground. I moved the throttle forward and continued through my turn and launched. Keeping in mind the 757 is doing T&G's, I figured he's going to run me over in short order. At 500 feet I am about to hit the PTT and the tower asked me to turn on course when able, I acknowledge and bank left turning to the south. The plan for 6,500 was on hold as we tucked under the cloud layer sitting above us at 5000. There were no holes to climb through, the forecast scatterd was now broken.
I picked up flight following with Dover, then got handed off to Potomac who switched my squawk code. Once we had the code dialed in I requested 6,500. Approached cleared us for the climb and I acknowledged leaving 4,500 climbing 6,500. Eventually we were handed off to Patuxent and he was not very easy to understand. He asked me to report when I had the wx and field in sight. Hmmmm.....I was 40 plus miles out, I'm not thinking these 52 year old eyes can see that far. I acknowledged and did have Chesterfields AWOS tuned but didn't pick it up for a few more miles and even then I had the volume cranked way up. I had a few traffic call outs , about average for this area based on past flights. As we approached Richmond KRIC I was going to be passing off the approach end of two zero, the active. I was now back down at 4,500 keeping a watchful eye for traffic. We did see two jets pass well under us as they descended through final. I was turned south for a few miles before we passed through the final approach path and I thought ATC would keep me there and then turn me back on course to overfly Richmond midfield, but he turned us loose to resume on course to Chesterfield right away. I was cleared to maintain VFR at or above 2,500 and I acknowledged along with I had the wx and field in sight. Approach cut me loose and I cleared the Richmond class C then descended for pattern altitude.

There was some traffic at Chesterfield but I worked my way in, entering left down wind from midfield and making my calls. Base to final has 08Romeo on the numbers and I add another greaser to the string of very good landings. We taxi in and secure the plane then head for the Terminal. I ordered fuel, checked out all the school info and FBO info then strolled over to the restaurant. We thought about renting a car but since Mary's Mom didn't make the trip we figured we would eat and get back in the air. We each had the buffet at King's Korner. The service was quick, the sweet tea perfect and the food was good, yeah good is all I can give it. I would have rather made the lunch stop at KJGG - Charly's, much better. The chicken was tasty but dry, all the sides were excellent and the rice pudding was maybe the best I've had. If any of you are in the area, stop in and let me know what you think.

We passed on taking a local sightseeing trip and instead got back in the air. The line service at Dominion Aviation Services was top notch! As I was getting ready to sump my fuel a young man came up in a golf cart and untied the plane, I told him that's ok I'll get it, he kept right on going. The staff working the desk were very friendly too, good folks. I finally completed a walk around and climbed aboard. 08Romeo started right up and was ready to go play, we all were. We departed runway three three and made a left turn out to avoid the class charlie Richmond space and enjoy some of the scenery. Once we were climbing through 4000 for 5,500 I gave approach a call and advised 10 east of Richmond leaving 4,000 climbing 5,500. We were given a squawk code and heading north. I wanted to over fly JGG and as we passed by and snapped a shot or two (they came out blurry) approach asked for my on course heading to Wilmington. Yikes, it was 060 degrees to Cape Charles then 035 to Salisbury followed by 010 to Wilmington, all this running through my head since we took a different route home then the original plan. I hit the PTT and said 010. He responded that would take me into the restricted zone, what heading. Cape Charles, Salisbury and ILG. He acknowledged. Another controller came on and asked if I was familiar with the jamie intersection, I acknowledged affirmative, she turned me direct. Jamie intersection is north of cape Charles on the Victor 1 airway and a bit of a short cut, it works.

We had some call outs for traffic along the way, one off the nose and low 500 feet and another aircraft heading north at our one o' clock same altitude and five miles. Saw the guy pass low and off our right heading south and the other aircraft we only caught a glimpse of. It was funny, the approach controller gave me an updated position report on the north bound and had to pause so he could remember what type it was, I responded Cessna 150...He said yes, that's it,the Cessna 150.

We passed over Salisbury and eventually was handed off to Dover, this is where the fun started. I guess every newbie controller has to start somewhere and today was our lucky day, he was at Dover. This poor kid had calls messed up, squawk codes every which way and almost had me confused. There was a senior guy there and he jumped in a few times answering requests. One pilot, obviously being a dope acknowledged yes ma'am to the newbie, his voice wasn't that high pitched, I think the pilot was busting his stones since he got his call screwed up a few time.

I cancelled flight following as I was about to be handed off to Philly, I rather hear whats going on from the Wilmington tower when I'm so close. I had the ATIS so I called in to report. After the initial exchange I advised 15 south, inbound full stop , information romeo and 3000 level. I was advised to report 3mile left base runway two seven. Sweet, I'm heading north so it's a simple left turn to base. Best laid plans....I was soon directed to follow a Cessna turning base, I was now number two to land. I slowed down and added in flaps, two notches which had me flying at 80 knots. The Cessna turned final while I just made base and I slowed a bit more. I am now on final and the Cessna is touching down, I pull more power and add the last notch of flaps. The Cessna rolls to just about a complete stop! Oh crap! I start to step right as the tower calls 08Romeo go around step right go around, I acknowledge. I add full power wait to see positive climb on the VSI then take out a notch. Climb looking good I retract the next two notches a step at a time with continued positive climb. The tower direct me to make right closed traffic, I acknowledge and break right not even to midfield. I check power, my position and the where abouts of the Cessna pilot. I'm cleared to land and pull off another good landing even with the added excitement. I plan on stopping by the tower tomorrow and getting their take on what happened. I know most of the crew there and would like to hear what they have to say. A fun day, almost uneventful, but a good day flying none the less.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Flying Fix

Ahhhhh...I went up for a second day in a row, this time flying 08Romeo. I've come to the conclusion that us pilot folk are a strange bunch when it comes to our airplanes. 08Romeo and I are finally getting to know each other. I know sounds crazy, but I walked out to the ramp today and felt this tug, I really had to fly and Juliet was the partner. My lovely Bride for the first time, out loud anyway, a week or so ago actually said she thinks I love the "other woman" more, at times. No, nothing will take Mary's place but Juliet is there for the both of us to explore and travel to new places and enjoy our time together, just the the two of us. ;)

OK, enough crazy talk, time for the flight. I finally got the POH back in the plane, heck it's been since December 27th since we flew the girl. It felt good climbing in and getting buckled up. I went through a lengthy pre-flight, sumped the fuel and even gave Juliet a second walk around just admiring how well she really looks. Mary and I did very well and the buyers remorse, well that finally has subsided. Once my in cockpit checks were completed I gave six shots of primer for my start. Hmmmm...she cranked away turning maybe ten blades or so, not the typical start. I usually give eight or nine shots so I gave three extra for nine total and turned the key. She came to life begrudgingly or so it seemed but idled smooth as could be at 900 RPM. Oil pressure looked great but oil temps were very low. I sat at idle for a bit and as I saw some temp movement I raised the rpms to 1000 and held there. I set up my avionics, copied my ATIS and gave everything on the checklist a once over.

Wilmington Ground cleared me to taxi to runway niner via Kilo and Kilo5, hold short. I acknowledged and off I went. I completed my run up and called the tower, they directed me to make a 180 back taxi on Kilo to taxiway Mike and hold short, the winds have changed. Holy smoke, whats a few knots tailwind on a 7000 foot runway, I get turned around and make my way to Mike. Ok, Tower 08Romeo is ready to go, runway two seven at Mike. I'm cleared for take off and a right turn on course approved, we're rolling. I tracked the Modena VOR then broke off early to pass between the water towers that sets up for a perfect 45* entry to runway two seven at Brandywine, KOQN. I picked up the wx, listened for traffic and made my position/intentions call. Two Cessna's in the pattern, a Grumman ten to the north to cross midfield and enter down wind and one other plane farther out, got em' all sorted out and looking for traffic. I am about to enter the left down wind and the one Cessna advises they will extend the upwind and follow me number two, I pass along a thanks banking away from each other as I enter the down wind.

Turning base I add the second notch of flaps wait for my speed to settle in at 80 knots and look to turn final. I make my calls, turn left to final and with the runway made add the last notch of flaps. No touch on the trim as 08Romeo settles at 70 knots. I cross the fence cut the power and hear the stall horn moan, another greaser. I clear the runway and the Cessna lands, everyone played nice. I taxi back for a short hop to Chester County KMQS. The Grumman lands and clears so I announce and depart. I really have a handle on the climb out, holding steady at 500 ft a minute keeps my CHT's well under 400 degrees.

The sun glare is pretty bad and there seems to be a slight mist/haze close to the ground. I am cruising along at 2,500 listening to 122.7 unicom for Chester County as I reposition for a left base entry to runway two niner. As I call turning final a Cessna announces entering on the cross wind, I glance up and spot him through the glare. Another smooth round of flaps and airspeed's as I hear the stall horn followed by the wheels rolling, not even a chirp. I taxi back for another launch, this time for home. I pull off in the run up area and set up to track the DQO VOR back home, I also chug & plug KILG into the Garmin 530. I had to hold short for an aircraft landing then announced and launched. On the upwind the helicopter place just off my left side past the end of the runway has three birds rotors turning and one announcing he is taking off. Whoa there fling winger, I want to be out of the way. The noise abatement calls for the turn to cross wind past the water tower so I was crossing over the helipad and still climbing. I broke it off and headed more to the south, I just wanted top be safe. I also made another call with my position on upwind and intentions. My last landing was another smoothie, I'm liking this plane! 1.3 in the book and some fun flying while trying to keep sharp on a shorter narrow runway compared to ILG's 7000x150 monsters.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Night Flight Safety PIlot

Mike and I swapped text messages, once he got his cell phone charged, and planned for some night flight approaches. The wx was a bit nip but overall not to bad. Work has picked up for me and I know Mike has been busy so a chance to get in the air is a welcome treat for us both.

We agreed on a 6pm departure out of Atlantic at Wilmington Airport. Heading southbound at 5pm has got to be the very worst time of the day. It was bumper to bumper and I still needed to stop by 08Romeo to pick up the antenna for the Garmin 496 so we could have wx. We both agreed that after our independent wx briefs we were good to go but having the added back up is what it's all about, especially at night.

Mike arrived ahead of me and was already out at 25Uniform. I walked out and across the busy ramp watching a Westwind get tugged by and a Gulfstream waiting to go. The sounds just invade you, I hear the Delaware ANG C130's landing on runway 14-32 straight ahead taking advantage of the Assault Landing Zone Lighting (ALZ), the Gulfstream I mentioned and a jet taxing to runway one. The smell of Jet A and the sounds of an active airport, great stuff! Please insert as many Tim the Tool Man Taylor grunts as you deem necessary.

3525Uniform was air tight and the heater was working just fine, always a positive. We were cleared to depart runway three two and after completing the run up we launched into the clear night sky. I know, where's the pictures, they're all tucked neatly away in my brain. Yeah I'll rub it in a bit, it was so crystal clear out that I could make out the Salem Nuclear plant belching smoke enough to judge wind direction.....sweeeet.

First up was the GPS 35 approach into KEVY, Summit Airport in Middletown, Delaware. Mike went under the foggles and I was on watch. Mike role played ATC and I should have done my share but I have to admit I was a happy passenger looking for traffic, sorry Mike. Mike said he was rusty and didn't seem to happy with the procedure turn at the Initial Approach Fix WENDS, but in his defense we had 25 knot winds at three thousand feet and by two thousand they changed again. I got to cheat a bit dialing in the winds aloft on the 496. We made a second lap at WENDS, I think he just wanted to punish himself then headed in to complete the approach. It was fun to watch the crab angle locating the beacon for EVY while moving toward the final target at our almost two O' clock. There is something to be said for watching the view outside and getting the chance to compare to the needles your flying, it helps develop the mental picture, well at least for me.

I made the calls alerting any traffic of our intentions and position with the approach terminating in a missed approach. Mike climbed 25U up to two thousand and direct to EPKAW at our 355* heading. We held for one lap then headed south. I got to fly the plane while Mike took a break and went through his plates for the GPS 27 approach into Wilmington.

It felt good flying tonight as I passed over 58M, easier to see at night then looking for it during the day. We skirted along the Chesapeake Bay to our west then I turned east towards 33N and the Delaware Bay. The plan was to contact Philly and ask for a practice approach. We transferred control of the plane once Mike was under the foggles. I worked the radio and fit my call in when I could, Philly was hopping tonight.

After obtaining a squawk code and confirming location Mike followed vectors as assigned. We were still at 3000 approaching the outter (4000)ring and heading north east at 055 degrees. We received vectors for a 035* heading, Mike suggested alerting Approach that we will descend VFR 2,500. Philly started to acknowledge then said maintain 3000, cleared into bravo. Cool!! Despite being very busy Philly cleared us into the bravo airspace for the practice approach. Good radio work gets you clearance, we were on it tonight.

I acknowledged our next turn to 360* and Mike flowed through the final checks. Philly was pointing us to intercept between the final approach fix GUSTE and KAHOE. Mike had already briefed the approach but gave it another once over. I was eyes out then decided to switch the Garmin 496 GPS to a direct KILG so I could read off distance. At the same exact moment Philly gave us a final turn to 300*, cleared GPS 27, contact Wilmington at 126.0, needless to say I missed the call, gave Mike a poke in the ribs and he hit the PTT and acknowledged. Thanks for the save! A smooth landing and roll out on runway two seven, obviously Mike just thinks he's rusty, he's on the money still. Thanks Mike for a fun flight and 1.5 of safety time!!

GPS TRACK (will post on Thursday night)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

The start of a new year! I'm not sure how 2009 slipped by so quickly we are in 2010. Mary and I went out to dinner with my family and then made a stop at my brother's house. I guess we ended up getting home around 10:30 and yes, we crawled into bed to watch the ball drop. I'll be honest I was watching at 11:59 and gave Mary a nudge and she said I'm watching......yeah right, through her eyelids maybe. I then proceeded to pass out, I missed the ball drop and woke up immediately following only to see the confetti falling and everyone hugging and kissing. Oh well, I'll make another attempt next year. It's time for my annual year in review and a look forward to some new goals for 2010.

2009 in Review
Ratings: Didn't complete my IR check of the things to do list in 2010.
Aircraft: I got to fly (right seat) in a Cirrus SR20 and SR22, Beech C23 and the real biggie; Mary and I bought an airplane!
Medical : Had my hip surgery, Off three months from flying, back in the saddle in July
Flights: Longest cross country to date, we brought our new plane home T31 McKinney Texas to Davis, WV (WV62) - We took a vacation to Stoneington , ME (93B) - Two trips to Texas, one for Jeff's plane purchase and one for our new plane - Christmas in St. Michaels - Wings FlyBQ (KLOM) - Windwood Resort, Davis WV (WV62)
Favorite flight of the year: Well vacation flights are always fun but in August I asked Mary if she wanted to do dinner in Cape May, pretty much a last minute decision. I flight planned while she got ready then I got ready and off we went, The Oyster bay, one of our favorites!
New Airports: 44N, KAVP, KIPT, KPSN, T31, WV62, KHFD, 93B, KHZD, KLCI, KDDH, W99, KIOB, KDWH,KUTA, KMSL, N68, KRKD
New States: ME, NH, VT, CT, WV, TX, KY, TN, MS, AL
First Time Flyers: My sister Denise and her husband Dave, Pam and Teds neighbor Trevor.
Flight Time: 104.3 hours
Notes: Mary and I shared fun times with all our flying friends and we got to meet Bo & Sandra Boggs in McKinney, TX. When I first started flying I read Bo's blog, Flights of the Mouse, it got me hooked on keeping a journal and someday owning a plane to see the country...."the magic carpet" was a good nicname Bo attached to the aircraft we fly!

2010 Goals

Schedule and pass the IR check ride!!!! A MUST DO
Break the 500 flight hours mark (I'll need 125 this year)
Enjoy the new plane and not $pend on new toys this first year...this is not going to be easy
Take some long trips and enjoy the new ride with my Bride!