Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flight Schedule Gets Busy

The Instrument ticket is getting a workout!

October looks to be a busy month, at least on our flight schedule. It is soooooo nice not having to fly lessons, burn fuel or wear those foggles!!! Mary and I have a few plans for the month ahead. First up this weekend is a possible trip to Vermont with Mike B. Mike will soon be flying 08Romeo once all the insurance and legal hoops are cleared and he wants to get some left seat time in the Sundowner, heck he flies it better than I do. Ok, back on track, this weekend may have us heading to KDDH - William H. Morse State Airport in Bennington, Vermont. It looks like a two hour hop according to the no winds flight plan. We will be returning the same day, at least that's the tentative plan.
Next up is my trip to Windwood Fly-In resort. Mary backed out after I made the reservation so she will have some girls weekend here at home....yes, that scares me. I am still going to attend since it will be a great time to talk airplanes with all the other big kids. Rob S will be flying with me and we will have one of his daughters (Ally) on board too. It should be a fun weekend get-away. Next on our schedule is a trip to Cape May NJ for the Sunset Wine Cruise aboard the Cape May lewes ferry. This will be our second wine cruise and I'm sure we will be just as happy as the last trip. There will be wine tasting provided by the Hawk Haven Winery and hors d’oeuvres by the Island Grill. The plan is to board the zoo and spend the night along the ocean front at the Palace Hotel.
Next on our travel agenda will be a family function near Boston. The plan is to fly into KOWD - Norwood Memorial Airport located in Norwood, MA. A car rental to get around town for the weekend and good times with Mary's side of the family. We are still working out accomodations but the Crown Plaza Newton looks to be the choice. A few of the Purple Board forum members want to meet up so that will also be a good time. Mary and I always look forward to catching up with Adam B and the folks in the North East.
I'll update as we complete our travels and I hope to provide many photo's. I am going to start doing the video thing too, maybe on the trip to West Virginia. By the time November rolls around 08Romeo will be ready for her annual inspection and a very well deserved oil change and wash & wax.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beach Time

The wx forecast was looking great, not a cloud in the sky and temps in the high seventies. It was decided that we would head to Ocean City, MD. for a day on the beach. Mary and I both were lazy this week and saved cleaning until Friday night. We went out to dinner with my brother and his wife to a place called Lemons & Capers. Great dinner (Chicken Picatta for me)and we all passed on dessert. Mary and I came home with full tummies and knocked out most of the cleaning, the price we pay to have the weekends free for fun and travel.

I updated my flight plans and did file for each leg of the trip. We were out of the house and on the way to the plane by 9:30ish. I had already called for fuel when I got up. I like the fuel to have time to settle out prior to my sump test. It's sort of like no going in the water after you eat when we were kids. I don't know, for some reason that popped into my head so I typed it out, it's late. The plan was to head southwest to KCGE-Cambridge-Dorchester Airport in Cambridge, Maryland for breakfast at Kays.

We launched out of Wilmington as per our clearance and contacted Philly. Philly bumped us up to six thousand and handed us off to Dover. The visibility was perfect and the ride was smooth. I am still working out what "works' for me in the cockpit when flying IFR. I can't get used to the knee board with all the pockets, it drives me nuts. Instead, I have been working with a spiral bound book I purchased that organizes the trip with all the approach plates. The charts are located securely between the back seats and in easy reach, as I would soon get to test. My plan was KILG ENO GARED KCGE, Dover gave me "direct CHOPS" as I was crossing the Smyrna VOR (ENO). I should have added the new intersection in my flight plan but I wanted to get turned on course and hit 'direct to' instead. No problems, dial it in hit enter and go. Once on course I went to the flight plan screen and made the entry along with activating the leg. What I wanted to do was find where in the heck CHOPS was located. By the looks of my flight path it too was on V16 just a bit north of GARED. I did not have my low enroute chart open and I grabbed the wrong chart the first time. I had to refold, reach for the correct chart and open it up. Ahhh...CHOPS is on V16 and where I thought. Lesson learned, keep the active chart open/folded to your flight plan and keep it handy.

Traffic around Cambridge was very busy. I crossed the field on the crosswind a thousand above pattern and extend out far enough to turn back in for a forty five entry and work into the spacing/landing sequence with the other traffic. A smooth landing even if it was a tad flat and a long roll out to the turn off for the taxiway. Mary and I secured the plane and headed inside. The place was packed but we did manage a seat by the windows. I had creamed chipped beef and my Bride had sausage gravy over biscuits. I had a mason jar size sweet tea and Mary had a large cup of coffee. We settled up the bill and headed back to 08Romeo. Mary had her bathing suit on with a dress over top, a sun dress I guess, can you tell I'm not the fashion king. Anywho, she situated herself on the wing and I got to take a few pictures, she was ready for the beach!

I got us started and taxied out to complete my run up. This was a short hop and I decided not to file for the thirty minute hop. We launched and flew the pattern departing to the east ducking under the restricted area R4006 that had a floor of 3,500. It was bumpy, but we raced along route 50 passing Salisbury (KSBY). I used the 496 to bring up SBY's communication info and called up the tower to request a transition through their airspace, now at about 3000 feet. I was cleared and given the Altimeter reading. We could see Ocean City in the distance as I switched frequencies to monitor traffic. Runway three two seemed to be the runway of choice today and I once again worked my way into the pattern working the radio and spotting traffic. Another nice landing and roll out to clear the runway, we were looking for parking. I found a spot right in front of the terminal, just the second tie down from the main doors.

We checked in and I ordered fuel for our flight home. Mary and I walked out the doors with beach chairs in hand and loaded into the taxi that was waiting. It was a short hop to the boardwalk but traffic was pretty busy. It was Delmarva bike week, motorcycles everywhere! It sounded like thunder as we rode along route 50 to the boards. Once at the boards it was just a short stroll to the beach. The sand was actually cool between the toes and the breeze was really pretty cool too, almost a chill. We staked out our spot and set up camp. I set up the umbrella, chairs and stored or small soft sided cooler pack along with the bag for towels, books, iPods and munchies. Mary checked out the water, I took a pass. She greased up for the tan and I stuck out my white sticks far enough for sun to help color my blinding legs.

It was very relaxing with our toes in the sand, Mary and I really enjoyed the quiet time together. The tide started pushing the waves close and we had to relocate one time. I didn't set up the umbrella this go round since the breeze had really picked up and I was trying to warm up in the sun. We decided it was time to head back to the airport now that it was passing by 3:45. Delmarva taxi was there to meet us at the boardwalk arch as agreed to when I called. We loaded up and climbed aboard for the ride back to 08Romeo. Once again we tried to check out all the bikes along our route, we were moving to quickly and there were way to many to focus on just one.

We walked out to 08Romeo and packed up then headed back inside to freshen up for the ride home. I settled up the fuel bill and thanked everyone for their service, we really like this airport. I sumped the fuel and completed my pre-flight for the trip home. I filed out of here the last time and learned a lesson or two. This time I was going to taxi to the runway but stay clear for VFR traffic to depart while I did my run up. I heard jumpers away over the airport so while we waited for them to get on the ground I reviewed the plan and plugged it into the garmin 496. I contacted Clearance Delivery to pick up the clearance and advised number one to go runway one four. I was given a void time of eight minutes 2048z and told have a great flight. While I was picking up my clearance I heard two aircraft landing. I waited for them both and at 2044z announced our departure. We climbed out to the shore line followed by a crosswind and down wind leg with a last call on unicom to advise traffic I was departing to the north. I contacted patuxent approach and we were on our way.

I was cleared to 5,000 and kept the climb going as we enjoyed the view looking out towards Lewes DE, Cape Henlopen and all the way to Cape May, NJ. Pax handed us off to Dover for the ride north and traffic was busy around us. There was a Cessna that was off to our left lower altitude making good speed and I was plugging along into a 15 knot headwind at 5,000. I should have asked for lower. Dover handed us off to Philly and Philly to Wilmington. I was directed to report a midfield right down wind for runway one four and acknowledged. I was number two or three to land and I had traffic parallel on the opposite down wind, I never saw them. The tower called my base and I announced on final as instructed. I now had the traffic call out on the runway rolling for a touch and go. I made a nice landing and despite directed to turn off right next taxiway then changed to continue straight ahead and looking like a drunk driver I manged to get to our tie down just fine. A great day of flying and beach time with my Bride. 3 hours in the book and three landings.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

KEDE- Edenton, NC

It was a later than our usual start but we decided to make a day trip to KEDE-Edenton, NC. Highlighted by the banks of the Albemarle Sound, Historic Edenton was the first Colonial Capitol of North Carolina. Edenton was incorporated in 1722 and is the second oldest town in the State.

08Romeo needed some fuel for today's flight and Aeroways was just finishing up when we arrived at the airport. I completed the pre-flight and Mary had everything set up inside, ready to go. I filed an IFR flight plan today just to be in the system and picked up our clearance. We were soon launching off runway two seven and calling up Philly. The air was smooth and temps at six thousand were hovering around forty five degrees. One could easily pick out the tip of New Jersey at Cape May and across the Delaware Bay to Cape Henlopen to our left. To our right we could see The top of the Chesapeake Bay, just beautiful with no brown haze layer.
Philly handed us off to Dover and in turn they handed us off to Patuxent, two Norfolk controllers and finally Washington Center. As we crossed over the Chesapeake the batteries died on the camera, I forgot to check them. We watched Tangier Island pass by on our right and the Fisherman's Island and the Bay Bridge Tunnel on our left as we now had passed Cape Charles VOR. The Bay was busy with tanker traffic but there were quite a few weekend boaters having fun too.

We crossed over Norfolk and counted an endless number of cranes on the waterfront for loading/unloading containers. The area is very densely populated but once south of Norfolk it turns back into wide open green space. We could see the open spot along the water and called the airport in site. I was stepped down to three thousand feet and once we were within ten miles and had the updated traffic from center I canceled IFR. Over to the CTAF and make the appropriate calls to enter the pattern. Winds had been shifting back and forth enough to warrant runway one, but had now went calm so I dialed in the GPS 19 approach, selected vectors to final and intercepted the extended final on the altitudes noted on the approach plate. I can't log it but it's nice to run through the process with the Garmin 530.

Once the plane was secure we headed inside the terminal to check on a courtesy car. We were in luck, they had one available! The man working the counter was really nice and gave me detailed directions for town. Mary reminded me that her new GPS was sitting in her car, we could have tried it out today. The terminal was very clean and everything seemed to be in perfect order.

The directions were perfect and we made our way to town with the first order of business finding something to eat. Remember we didn't leave Wilmington until around ten and had not made a breakfast stop along the way. I did have a bottle of water and Mary had some bottled ice coffee drink. We turned left off of RT32 (Church St) on to Broad St and could see the main street stores. It was a posted 25mph and taking no chances I followed that exactly, besides, it was nice to check out all the places along the way. Just about to the waterfront we made a right on, you got it, water street and found Cheros on our right. The place was busy with customers lining up at the buffet. We found a table and got settled ordering something cold to drink and planning on the buffet.

The food was very good, it's worth the stop. Mary made a salad and sampled the BBQ chicken, roast beef and a few other items. I did the BBQ chicken that just fell off the bones, mac and cheese, smashed potato's and some how managed to fit green beans on the plate. The sweet tea was endless and hit the spot, I was a full puppy. We settled up the bill and decided to take a tour of the town. The first stop was across the street from Cheros at an antique shop. Mary and I found crystal candle holders by Villeroy & Boch that we both really liked and yes, they came home with us. It was time to check out the town and possible place to stay for future weekend get-aways. We made the rounds looking over the Bed and Breakfast locations then traveled just out of town, a whole two miles, and found the Hampton Inn. The North end of town seemed to be more commercial with all the fast food places and chain stores while the downtown remained more Main streetish small town, specialty stores in the old buildings that provide a nice walk and beautiful scenery.

We covered town east and west of Broad street from the Chowan hospital and old cemetery's to the fire department and my favorite, Dairy Queen. It was time to put some fuel in the courtesy car and head back to the airport. We made our way to the airport checking out the cotton and tobacco fields along the way. What a perfect day to fly and explore, I'm glad we took the opportunity to visit this lovely town.

Once the car was returned I needed to amend my IFR flight plan for the trip home. We were leaving earlier than what I had filed. A quick call to Flight Service and the new time was noted along with a TFR update for my route. I received a text message that stated the intended route. I completed a pre-flight then taxied over to the self serve fuel. I wanted to take on enough fuel to have at least twenty gallons a side and ended up taking on maybe twenty five a side. I restarted and taxied for runway one nine and called for my release. It took awhile but I was finally given a void if not off time and cleared to depart. I made my calls on the local CTAF and thanked the guys for their hospitality on climb out.

The sky had changed during our stay and we were looking at a layer around seven thousand, our intended flight level north east. Mary was soon asleep and I was taking us home. We climbed through some big puffy clouds and leveled off skimming through the cloud tops. A few times between Edenton and Norfolk it was Solid IMC but only for brief moments as I broke out of one cloud bank and entered the next. I checked the XM wx on the Garmin 496 and it was looking like the cloud layer would be gone by the time we were to cross the Chesapeake Bay, just north of Norfolk. Right on cue I broke out and had a clear view across the bay and all points north, it was fun while it lasted.

The remainder of the trip was uneventful and that's the way it should be. Mary continued to snooze waking up only to ask for some cabin heat. I closed the vents and did add some heat until she was comfortable and back in dreamland. I like to scroll ahead on the 496 and check METARs on my route. While doing so I now noticed that Wilmington had a TFR in effect, so much for the flight service call. I hit enter and read the info and it was opened at 11am and would be over by 1:30ish or so on Monday. Thankfully with the VP's TFR I can get into Wilmington IF on an IFR plan. The new rating has paid dividends twice already due to TFR's. Philly handed me off to Wilmington advising us to expect a visual for runway two seven. Wilmington cleared us to land as we followed the Delaware river and set up for a left base entry for two seven. A nice landing in the book and another adventures comes to a close.