Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fun Flying, MD & DE

I headed to the airport early so I could clean any oil residue off 08Romeo's belly. I have annual coming up the second week in November and wanted to make sure I didn't have to deal with working on a dirty plane. I traded some text messages with Mike B on Friday about flying and the wx is looking great. The only concern is the Presidents TFR in Philly airspace.  Wilmington falls in the outer or 30 mile ring. Wilmington falls under the following Operating Restriction.

B. For operations within the airspace between the 10 nmr and 30 nmr area(s) listed above, known as the outer ring(s): All aircraft operating within the outer ring(s) listed above are limited to aircraft arriving or departing local airfields, and workload permitting, ATC may authorize transit operations. Aircraft may not loiter. All aircraft must be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan with a discrete code assigned by an air traffic control (ATC) facility. Aircraft must be squawking the discrete code prior to departure and at all times while in the TFR and must remain in two-way radio communications with ATC.

All aircraft must be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan with a discrete code assigned by an air traffic control (ATC) facility. Seems pretty simple yet some people don't get it.  While I was pre-flighting a man came over to ask me if I was doing pattern work,no introduction just a question.  I said my name and asked why. He tried to explain the TFR but clearly did not understand it or check for it before driving to the airport. I explained the inner and outter ring requirements and the time restraints associated with each. What he didn't get is why it reaches to KILG if it's based on the Woodstown VOR.  What? The rings location is defined by the VOR as in the example of Mondays TFR over ILG for our VP.

Area A
Airspace Definition:
Center: DUPONT VORTAC(DQO) (Latitude: 39º40'41"N, Longitude: 75º36'25"W)
Radius: 3 nautical miles
Altitude: From the surface up to but not including 3000 feet AGL
Effective Date(s):
From November 01, 2010 at 1830 UTC (November 01, 2010 at 1430 EDT)
To November 01, 2010 at 2045 UTC (November 01, 2010 at 1645 EDT)
Area B
Airspace Definition:
Center: On the DUPONT VORTAC (DQO) 039 degree radial at 5.5 nautical miles. (Latitude: 39º45'32"N, Longitude: 75º32'58"W)
Radius: 3 nautical miles
Altitude: From the surface up to but not including 3000 feet AGL

At least he wasn't going to fly today and that was a plus, good thing Wilmington has a tower to provide control, at least in this case.

Mike arrived and did his own pre-flight as he gets accustomed to the Sundowner. Mike was flying and I was working radios today. I was going to use only the iPAD today but by the time I copied the clearance the screen was full. I had to erase it to continue and I rather have that info on hand at all times. I instantly went back to the knee board and paper. The normal route to KESN is Radar vectors to V29 ENO Direct ESN. With the TFR today we got the long way around via Baltimore.

A 20/40-10
F 119.75
T 3312

Ok, we are launching off runway two seven and climbing to 2,000. Handed over to Philly Approach and cleared to climb to 3,000 then 4,000.  Handed off to Potomac and a good controller for our ride. We got a short cut and turned south early along with another hand off to another Potomac sector. This controller was not quite up to speed as the first young lady. While his Michael Clarke Duncan like voice commanded respect he was a bit scattered with directions. Mike and I worked on some CRM skills with the radio and GPS which really makes the workload flow. This will be very helpful when in IMC.

The magenta course line is the route assigned, the red would have been a direct flight and the green is the typical route for this flight. Mike set up for the RNAV (GPS) RWY 22 approach into Easton. We had traffic pass close by to us that the potomac controller never advised us of, great job, NOT.  I advised the Easton tower of the traffic that was clearly in their airspace and not talking or obviously squawking.  The one traffic call out from the tower was an aircraft on the right downwind number two to land after us. Mike made a real nice landing with a taxi back to the terminal.

Easton does have a restaurant open again! Sugar Buns bake shop from St. Michaels re-opened the restaurant at the terminal. The food and service were very good. I had the Lobster roll and it was perfect! What could be better than a touch of New England lobster roll downed with a splash of southern sweet is good.

Mike and I decided to make the short hop to Georgetown, Sussex County (KGED) so we could head into town and check things out.  Actually we were on a mission for 2nd street bakery sticky buns. We didn't file for this hop instead took advantage f the perfect day and enjoyed the flight. We swapped info with an aircraft shooting the GPS 22, planing on going missed so we entered on a left down wind.  We taxied in after a super smooth landing by Mike and arranged for the crew car.

With the mission accomplished we saddled up for home. I was going to fly from the right seat on the way home and attempt my first landing from the right side also.  My on center taxi skills needed some work but I worked that out as I positioned myself for the run up. I launched for home climbing out steady and updating my 'direct to' for KILG. Mike commented that I fly better from the right then the left...not sure if that's a good thing or not. The winds had picked up at Wilmington (210@11with gusts)as I turned base to final and I asked Mike to be ready hands on just in case. My landing was going ok then got kind of squirrely as I side loaded pretty good. I made taxi way M and headed into red eagle, even my parking alignment was off when I shut down.

A fun day flying and adding new layers to my skill set.  I'll need more right seat landings to even consider myself proficient.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leaf Peep & Flower Run

Mary and I made plans during the week to head to Wilkes-Barre, PA to take care of my parents grave. I gave my sister Denise a call and asked her if she wanted to join us, thinking Dave (brother-in-law) was riding the motorcycle on Saturday. The scheduling worked out since Denise and Dave were off at the beach all week and Dave did plan on attending a run Saturday.

Friday night and Mary gets a call from her Mom that she would like her help with a few things around the condo, Mary drops out from the flight. Denise is still on so we make plans to head to the airport around 9:30. Winds were 30-35 knots out of the north west so it was obviously going to extend my flight time north, I called for extra fuel. We arrived at the plane as the fuel truck was finishing up. The fuel guy filled to the slot in each tank plus five gallons. which gave me a total load of fifty.

I completed my pre-flight and we saddled up for the first leg. I saw speeds of only 100-105 knots heading north but I knew i would ride the wind coming south this afternoon. Not much traffic today with maybe two or three call outs with one Cessna passing by within 500 feet high 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock (east to west) with a call out updated by ATC. Philly handed me off to Allentown approach and they handed me off to the Wilkes-Barre Approach and they in turn to the tower when I reported the field in sight and the current ATIS information.

I did get one strange change to my flight plan while south of Pottstown. Philly ATC gave me direct Solberg SBJ VOR (the change is in red). I extended the view on my iPad and had an idea of the location but not the direct heading. With a quick scan I picked up the VOR identifier SBJ and the frequency. I plugged it in the 530 and was turning north east. As I was explaining to Denise about the odd flight plan change ATC came back on and asked if I was heading from new york. I responded, negative, India Lima Gulf, destination Alpha Victor Pappa, Wilkes-Bare, PA. The sound of brief confusion then a "standby 08Romeo". "08Romeo direct RITTY, that's in your clearance?" Affirmative direct RITTY, 08Romeo. We were back on track, the green track.

The leaves had already changed so we missed the peak time but the colors still looked great. I had the chance with my routing to fly over the Pocono Race track and I did manage a shot or two with my cell phone. That's about it for photos, we both forgot our cameras. Over to the tower and a smooth landing on runway two two. Once on the ground at AVP I taxied to Saker Aviation (formerly First Flight). I took on ten gallons and secured the use of the courtesy van. It was a short hop over to thye flower market and the cemetery. The mums were planted, the leaves cleaned up and few silent prayers said along with my favorite Mom and dad comments. Heck, for that matter I spewed out a few comments from all the family buried in the adjacent plots. I really think the family planned this so they could have one hell of a party all in the same row. I miss them all and they are in my thoughts, I can hear each one and they bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.

I decided to take advantage of the tail winds and gorgeous day and just fly VFR home. I launched off of Wilkes-Barre with a squawk code dialed in for flight following and climbed over the wind turbines on my path south. We had a few traffic call outs but it was pretty much smooth sailing home at 6,500 holding 125 to 130 knots. Once I descended to 3,500 entering the Philly Bravo airspace the ride got bumpy. Denise did pretty good and I asked her if she gets motion sickness. As if I should expect any less of an answer from my family she said "I guess we'll see." Well let's hope you don't since I have to land and if you yak I'll follow suit....everyone was fine. A fun day and a chance to pay respects to my parents. I'll make this trip again in May 2011 to clean up and plant flowers for memorial day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Annual Inspection

08Romeo is scheduled for annual on November 8th at Cecil Aero. I will turn in a leave slip for three days and I have Veterans Day off. That makes for four days to get the plane completed and if I really need to, I can add Friday as a day off too.


I have considered upgrading to wing tip lights that will also pulse. At the very least I will add an additional light to the left leading edge and I may add the right leading edge lights too, however, this will require cutting into a perfectly good wing...... I just got that body shiver.

I will remove the wet compass and replace with a vertical card compass that also has a working light!

Replace the existing Collins VHF251 with a working unit that does not have feedback in the sidetones. I would really like to find a KX165 to replace the Collins Equipment all together.

I will do an evaluation on the Auto Pilot while the interior is opened for inspection. Depending on what I find I will schedule in the following weeks with Penn Avionics at Brandywine airport to get the AP issue resolved.


The only squawk I have is the slight feedback on Comm 2. I would also like to change the right main tire to match the new Air Hawk tire just replaced on the left side, but it still has good tread.

I guess the A/P is a squawk but I never use it anyway, or at least didn't require it until now flying IFR. It will come in handy when the work load gets busy.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I broke down and joined the ranks of iPad owners. I wanted to have all my low enroute charts, VFR sectionals and approach plates handy without having to maintain a subscription along with the ability to brief and file flight plans. I think of it as going green, yep, saving paper thus saving trees! I had been taking my mini Dell on all our trips and it worked great, the only problem was I could not read the plates or charts very easy. Even though it is small it was still awkward with the flip up screen. I will continue to use the mini Dell around the house since it does the Wi-Fi thing very well.

OK, on to the new toy. I purchased the 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G unit at Best Buy along with the Zagg anti-glare screen and the rubber grip protective cover. I figured Happy birthday and Merry Christmas to me but Mary said Santa may still have other thoughts.
The applications are indeed endless! I hooked up with Jeff last night on the phone and he walked me through most of the apps and showed me some very good shortcuts. I purchased ForeFlight and it truly is an amazing application. The information available is almost endless. Click on the link, take a tour with the videos provided and just take a look what this thing can do.

I also downloaded all my regular weather favorites, AOPA version 2, Skyvector, my favorite forums (it's an addiction) and to name a few. I did not activate 3G, I am working off the Wi-Fi only. I hope to provide an in flight video of the iPad in action very soon.

Boston Trip Scrubbed

We scrubbed our Boston trip. 50mph winds along the route and high winds at our intended destination,KOWD - Norwood, MA., makes for no fun. There is also a presidential TFR starting at 1:30 and we would be in the 10 mile ring which is a no fly for us. That all means there is not a lot of wiggle room with getting the dogs boarded (after 8:30) and getting to the plane, preflight, picking up our clearance and getting in the air. Add to that dealing with headwinds and a bumpy ride for just an overnight trip. There will always be another time to fly. Mary laughed and said she is pulling the veto card, it's not worth the bumps or having *get-there-itis....she went back up to bed.
It's the tendency of pilots to ignore potential trouble -- say, marginal weather or conditions and poor nighttime visibility -- to get where they need to go.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Keeping Current

Mary and I are planning an overnight to the Boston area and I thought it would be a good idea to knock out a few approaches for practice. I haven't flown an approach in actual or simulated instrument conditions since my check ride the end of August. The phrase "use it or loose it" really applies to the IFR ticket. Anyone can keep current but being proficient is the key to being safe.

I got word form Mike B this past Tuesday that he passed the CFII ride! CONGRATS MIKE !!!!!

Mike is always available for safety pilot time and it's greatly appreciated. Whenever we fly together shooting approaches he keeps me on the needles and always thinking ahead. I have to start stepping up on my end when I'm in the right seat, in other words try and torture him a bit more. Last night we caught up after work so I could get some practice in. It was a gorgeous night and I was going to waste it under the foggles. The plan was to depart Wilmington and head north west to KMQS, Chester County then to KEVY, Summit and finally back home to KILG.

The Garmin 496 GPS was illuminated with yellow rings and hash marks around Philadelphia and Wilmington for the scheduled TFR's due to the Presidential activity scheduled for Friday. However, our VP decided he was bugging out of town and had an impromptu departure in the works. Peter in the tower gave me a heads up as we were departing runway nine about the TFR within the hour. Great, I climbed out and pointed towards MQS.

I was in simulated instrument conditions at six hundred feet turning left on course and setting up the Garmin 530 for the ILS 29 approach. I was given (role play ATC by Mike)direct CERTS at two thousand five hundred and was on my way. Once approaching CERTS I was directed to expect vector for the ILS 29. I was rusty, it showed, but I managed to find my way and get to the runway. At this point I went missed and climbed back out to the MXE-Modena VOR. Round two was better and this one ended in a full stop so we could re-evaluate the TFR situation at Wilmington. I once again made a call to flight service and checked the FAA TFR web page, everything was showing exactly as I had noted prior to our flight. I even made a quick call to our Op's vehicle to confirm the TFR since Flight Service didn't get any info or have any additional to share.

We passed on a dinner stop at Chester County and agreed on a few more approaches then dinner at EATS, it's become a tradition. We soon launched into the night sky and proceeded to Summit. I had filed while on the ground so we would have a back up plan if I needed to get into Wilmington, a "just in case" tool in the box. I followed vectors from Mike as we listened to Air Force 2 climb out of Wilmington on the Comm 2 radio and pick up with Philly Approach. Mike tossed everything but the kitchen sink at me making my workload very busy.

I shot the GPS 17 approach into Summit and went missed climbing out for a few laps in the hold at WENDS. Mike increased my workload by giving me an amended clearance to copy (a long one) as I was busy turning in the hold. I was making notes working the scan and at the point of overload when Mike reminded me who the Pilot In Charge (PIC)was. Mike suggested to advise ATC to standby, fly the plane, then copy the clearance when your ready. Good point, well taken and added to my "learning" process. I intercepted the inbound heading and made a few laps in the hold and was pleased with the work.

Next up I plugged in direct KILG and entered the GPS 27 approach. I was now heading north east and contacted Philly approach (for real, not role play). I provided my info and requested the GPS 27 approach. Philly provided a squawk code and advised direct Woodstown (OOD) at 2,500. I actually had my first true scare flying. Yep, a real pucker factor and that flash pain that rips through you. 08Romeo dropped out then went up and the wings rocked pretty hard....I honestly froze for a second then held the yoke steady and did a hard scan of instruments and gauges. We were in the green, right side up, all the big parts where they should be and back on the smooth ride to Woodstown. Heck, I thought maybe we had flown through someones jet wash but Mike hadn't said a word about traffic. I was still under the foggles and at that point Mike explained where we flew (directly over the cooling tower)and I confirmed on the GPS with the tip of the Salem Nuclear power plant property having just passed beneath us. Fun stuff huh? Ok, what happened to my seat cushion?

The rest of the flight was uneventful as I acknowledged Philly approach maintaining at or above 2,100 at Woodstown, cleared GPS 27 into Wilmington. I flew the needles centered and felt back on my game having knocked off the rust from two months. I made an ok landing but struggled with the lack of landing lights on the Sundowner. I am looking into adding another wing tip landing/taxi light on the right wing or at the very least an additional light in the left wing tip. I sure would like an LED landing light or some type of nose wheel light or light in the cowling.

2.2 hours
1.8 simulated
4 approaches
2 night landings
Tracking and a Hold

Saturday, October 09, 2010

WWD Wine Festival

Mary and I made reservations for an overnight stay in Cape May, NJ to investigate the Cape May Wine Festival. We anxiously made it through the work week looking forward to bugging out of town and boarding the pups for some "us" time. Saturday is here and the wx looks great! We head to the normal place that we board our dogs and I have to listen to the vet tech tell me they need a wellness exam (to the tune of $85). I said your kidding right?, no they were serious. The dogs needed a "Kennel cough" shot since it's been a while and I was ok with that, but an exam to make sure they were healthy and could get the shot???? Gezzzz put a mask on at least if you want to steal my money.
Needless to say,in my typical hard headed you ain't taking my money attitude, I proceeded to call our regular vet and ask if they had room. When the tech heard the call (that I made at the counter) she said we can talk with the on call vet. Our regular vet had room for our furry monsters and I said thanks but no thanks to the boarding place and walked out, both dogs in tow. It was a few miles out of our way and we had to double back the same route to head to the airport. What a way to start things off.
We were finally on our way to the airport and we both felt good about our pups boarding with our vet. We rolled through the gates and the airport was packed with cars. Apparently there was a static airshow hosted by Red Eagle and we had no clue. While it was neat to see the ramp busy, I wasn't all that keen on people walking down the line of aircraft tied down and snooping in windows. Maybe by this time I just had an attitude on this morning and was looking for a bone to pick. Mary and I hadn't lost a beat when it came down to uncovering and getting ready to fly. It went as smooth as a nascar pit stop, the cover and plugs, bags unloaded and reloaded into the plane, the truck taken out to the parking lot and my preflight finishing up when Mary walked back in.
I had filed a flight plan for KWWD but it was just to nice out to be in the system when we could listen for traffic with Philly, Dover, Millville and Atlantic City. It was a short hop anyway and in 25 minutes we were rolling to a stop in front of the FBO, Big Sky. Ace Sharper had our rental car brought out to the ramp and we transferred bags and covered the aircraft. 08Romeo was safe and secure parked right out front of the Big Sky office and Clarance is top shelf when it comes to service and running the place, we had no worries.
Our rental was a white Hyundai Sonata, it was roomy and had a big trunk for all our bags and two folding chairs for the Festival. We gave some thought about checking in at the hotel first but it was to early. Instead we made our way to the Cape May Ferry Terminal and got in line to park. It was getting busy and we made the right call to stop here first. It was a short stroll from the admin parking lot to the terminal and the place was buzzing! We checked on my employee discount and got that squared away for the cruise ticket purchase and Mary picked up new sunglasses since hers got scratched. With all that taken care off we went out to hear the band and grab lunch.
We passed on purchasing tickets for the wine tasting since we were coming back for the sunset cruise and wine tasting event around 5pm. There were many tents set up for various wineries and different crafts. The craft tents had a few jewelry tables, various specialty cheese shops and a few olive oil type dipping sauce stuff, a pasta shop with every type of pasta you can imagine, yes, we even saw pumpkin pasta. I found my way to the eats and ordered an Italian sausage with onions and peppers, Mary had a lamb gyro, both sandwiches were great! We checked out as much as we could then decided to head to the hotel for check in and to freshen up for this evening.
I tried to be adventurous and took a new route to town. I was clueless but we had fun picking our way through the streets. Heck, once you cross one of the main bridges you can't go to far with out going into the ocean or the bay. We found our way to the Palace hotel and parking was brutal. Apparently there were two weddings booked for the weekend so the lots were full. I did find a place under cover of the building which made for an easy schlep of the bags to the front desk. Paperwork complete, keys in hand and we are on the elevator for the 4th floor, ocean view. Well we sort of had an ocean view, that is if you went out on the balcony which is on the side of the building but you could technically "see" the ocean, whatever, it worked for the overnight accommodations. We each took a short nap and then got freshened up for the cruise.
Once again on the road, back to the ferry terminal. We overheard a few folks talking in the elevator and they said the wedding reception would end around ten, good timing we figured, we would have a shot at some parking before they all got back, at least we had a plan. The festival activities were ending at 5pm as we drove back on the property. We headed directly to the terminal and the foot passenger parking and somehow managed to find a parking spot three cars in from the front doors, clean living I guess. We could see the ferry on its way in from Lewes Delaware and wandered our way up to the second floor for the walk on passenger loading tube. Mary and I were on the boat and heading upstairs to the "Crows Nest lounge" to pick out a table that faced west for the best sunset viewing, we were working the plan here. The room quickly filled up and another couple were seated next to us and Mary invited them to join us, they obliged.
Barbie and Don both from Cape May or he will be soon. Recently married this past July 4th. Don is working in new York and Barbie is working in Cape May at least for the next year or so....yikes!...and the price of gas for all that traveling. We had an absolute blast with our new found friends and it made the evening pass by very quickly. Mary and I had a great time, she sampled the wine and I enjoyed the hors d'oeuvre's and together I think we laughed all night. The hors d'oeuvres were duck wrapped in a light crispy/crunchy pastry dough, Lobster with some vege in there and a reduction sauce, chocolate truffles with nuts and sage and last, Rockford blue cheese with poached pears in a pear reduction sauce. That last combination required the all down the hatch at once to make it work, the cheese was really strong and had a bite to it but the pear offset it just enough to make it taste very good....go figure. Mary's favorite wine this evening was the Pinot Greggio and I did give the Riesling a shot and it was ok. Mary does not like red wine so she passed on those samples but was able to "sample" more of her favorite. I really don't like wine but I knew it would be a fun night out for the both of us and it turned out perfect.
We said our goodbyes and swapped info with Barbie and Don. Barbie wanted us to get in touch the next time in town so we can all get together....we all had a blast. Thankfully our parking spot was close and we had a short walk to the car. It was very cool out tonight and the breeze had a chill coming off the water. I took the normal route back to the hotel but we had a few laps to do for a parking space. There were none available at the building so I had to park on the street at a meter. I dumped in a few quarters to get us past the magic hour when the locals stop patrolling.
Sunday, October 10
It was soooooo nice to sleep in and NOT have to let the dogs out or feed them. The plan for today was to eventually get out of bed and head back to the airport. We talked about having breakfast local but instead took advantage of 08Romeo and flight planned for KCGE, Cambridge Maryland. We returned the rental, loaded the plane and got started. I did not open my IFR plan since it was so beautiful and we wanted to enjoy the ride together. We launched out of Cape May and circled the lighthouse and ferry terminal so we could gain some altitude for the Delaware Bay crossing. once satisfied with my altitude we pointed towards the waterloo VOR (just north of Lewes DE)and went feet wet....we crossed the Bay. It was a short hop maybe 30 minutes and I was announcing my position to enter the pattern at Cambridge. Traffic was light this morning and I entered midfield crosswind for the left down wind three four approach. A super smooth landing with plenty of stall horn as I held it off for most of the runway to save taxi time. I rolled with no brakes and made the last turn off in front of Kays restaurant.
Kays was packed as always with the locals and a few of us pilot folk. There was a V tail Bo on the ramp and a straight tail Cessna on floats too. It didn't take long for us to be seated and put our order in for breakfast. Mary had sausage and gravy, I had two over medium with crispy scrapple and grits. Food and service was excellent and we were ready to head home with full tummys. Mary said she felt like a full puppy, ready to take a nice nap, what a surprise.....NOT. I was in the air flying VFR home to Wilmington but had filed just in case I needed to pick up clearance in the air due to the presidential TFR over Philly. I was pretty sure we could be on the ground prior to 3:30pm. Mary, yeah she was out in no time with her little neck pillow in place. She woke up when I contacted Wilmington tower, about ten miles out.
It was a fun trip, a short hop and having the plane made it so easy. The thirty minute hop for breakfast by plane would have taken us about three and a half hours by car, no traffic. The trip from home to Cape May is two and a half hours by car and it took us twenty five ramp to ramp. We love flying and taking advantage of the time savings!!!!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Windwood Resort - WV

Special thanks to Rob Schaffer for all his photos....

Today was the scheduled arrival date for the Pilots of America fly-in to (WV62) Windwood Resort in Davis, WV. 08Romeo was ready and my bags were packed, it was now in the hands of Mother Nature. I guess this would have been a great time to take advantage of my new rating but the thought of flying solid IMC even for a half hour with little actual time in the log book did not sit well. There will be plenty of opportunity to get my ticket wet under supervision and conditions with a better safety factor.

The cell phones were busy as I traded text messages with Adam and Rob along with private messages with the group on the POA forum. Rob was thinking of driving if he could not fly with me and I was watching the clock and weather. I set a hard time of 3pm as my latest window for launch. The wx at Wilmington started to break and the sun was now peaking through. Meanwhile, it was starting to rain at Wings field, they were all stuck. Rob and Ally decided to drive to Wilmington to meet me and together Rob and I were comfortable with the wx after a review to launch for Windwood.

Mother Nature had other ideas and after teasing us with some glimpses of blue sky and Sunshine she decided to roll in a layer around 3,000 feet. VFR conditions, of course, but that altitude was not going to get us across the mountains to Windwood. Rob and I regrouped and together decided on a plan of attack. We would launch out of KILG, VFR (visual flight rules) and climb for best altitude as possible. With the ceilings looking much better west of the Susquehanna River we felt very comfortable crossing under three thousand. We soon launched on a gusty crosswind take off from Wilmington. It was an exciting crab angle to say the least!

Despite the 25 to 30 knot winds that required a 15-17 degree crab on the way out to Windwood the ride was fairly smooth. Of course crossing any of the ridge lines provided thumps (more than bumps) but the sky was opening up and visibility was great. Rob and I split the crew duties, he had radios and nav, I flew the plane. I get to work radios and nav on the flight home. Rob announced our position for Windwood once we canceled flight following. Washington Center had advised they lost radar contact (due to surrounding mountains).

The winds were kicking pretty good in the valley and it was almost a direct cross wind for either runway 24/6. We were set up for a perfect left down wind for 6 but I needed to loose some altitude. I did a 360 degree turn to get down to pattern altitude and together we decided on runway two four. I was now on a long final and figuring out the winds knowing I had to hold a good crab angle. I gave it left rudder to bring the nose on center line and feel what rudder I would have left once over the trees, there wasn't much. I added in the second notch of flaps and Rob watched our over 50' obstacles (trees).
There is a displaced threshold so I wanted to just carry enough to get there once over the numbers. I set it down for what was looking like a great landing then it went to hell in a hand basket. I was a bit hot and the chirps of the stall horn were not from my flair but gusting winds. I porpoised when I landed and went for an immediate go around. This is why I choose runway two four, it was clear for the go round if we had to go around on runway six I would have had to out climb those large trees we just came over. It was a slow climb out from the field elevation of 3200 feet.

METAR KW99 012042Z AUTO 31012G20KT 10SM CLR 22/05 A2990

My second attempt was better, holding it off past the stone driveway (now paved) and set 08Romeo down with a long roll out for the turnaround at the end of the runway. It was good to be on the ground, I was getting hungry and my early morning start in the basement was now catching up with me. Some of the folks who drove in met us at the ramp to help tie down and get our bags to the hotel. I made sure 08Romeo was secure and quietly thanked her for a good ride and keeping me safe.

It didn't take long for the grilling to begin. Charcoal rolled from the bag and the flameage started as Rob, our designated chef, filled the air with those favorite summer time cookout smells. Burgers, dogs and plenty of slasa, chips, cookies and snacks filled the table in the upstairs game room, which seems to be our place to hangar fly. It was so nice to catch up with everyone as we all sat and chatted. I eventually ran out of gas and had to turn in. My day started at 3am and it had finally come to collect,I was beat. I said my goodnights and headed to the room where I decided to try and capture today's events here on my blog. It's late my eyes are tired and that king size bed is calling my name. I'm looking forward to more arrivals tomorrow, and not having to get up and feed the dogs!

Saturday October 2nd

Breakfast at the hotel restaurant was my first order of business. I showered, got my room squared away and headed downstairs. Rob and Ally was having breakfast with the Joe (the owner)and I didn't see any other POA folks seated. I picked a table facing the front windows and watched the fog roll through across the deck. Service is always fast and the food excellent at Amelia's. Two over medium, bacon, home fries with cheese and onions and a large OJ and hot tea, it all hit the spot. As I finished up a few more pilots and spouses were picking their tables and getting settled. It was a slow morning and we awaited word from Adam Z, the event organizer, on any update for his arrival. Chris from Atlanta had canceled yesterday afternoon and a to/from flight for Saturday only did not make any sense. Adam and Lee sent word they would not make it today either. The round trip one day flight so as to not have to deal with the forecast wx for Sunday really limits your time and activities. Everyone made good decision no matter how painful they are to deal with. We pilots tend to beat ourselves up on every go/no go decision that we make.
Ok, I did manage to upload a few pictures....
I was taught to weigh the options, know the escape routes and then decide. I used to beat myself up, now, I decide and move on, it is what it is and I'm always available to fly another day.There was plenty of fog in the valley and I guess it burned off between 9:30 and 10:00. I walked down to the ramp and took advantage of the morning dew on the plane to wipe off the bugs on the leading edges and clean the windows.
A few folks walked down to see Dan arriving in his 1940 Aeronca Chief. It was nice to hear his engine purr break the silence of the valley. He set the Chief down and taxied to the ramp at the approach end of two four. What a fun flying machine, and in very good shape. Dan did mention it was his first time on pavement in awhile and he tried landing on two four but wasn't happy with the airspeed once he had cleared the trees. He went around for a landing on runway six. Dan's comment, "the worst landing of the year with a bit of bounce quickly dampened with lots of up elevator", again pilots being hard on ourselves, it looked good from the ramp!
Hangar flying was in full swing and the day was shaping up very nice. Tim gave Dan a hop back to the lodge in his Miada and the rest of the crew headed back. I caught a ride back with Rob and Michael on Joe's 4 wheeler. The group was deciding on a Black falls excursion (pictured above)and was working out the transportation. I took a pass on the hiking adventure and instead hung out with Dan and another guest who flies a 1947 Piper Clipper. As any proud owner she provide a few pictures of her aircraft from her cell phone and Dan and I checked them out. The Clipper resembled a Pacer and after more discussion the production was switched to that aircraft.
In 1949, the Clipper sold for $2995. The average four place airplane on the market at that time cost over $5000. Only 736 Clippers were built in the one year of production. Pan Am Airlines, who traditionally called its famous luxury airliners "Clippers", took offense at Piper using the name for their light aircraft. As a result of this pressure Piper further refined the model, adding wing flaps, further fuel tanks and replaced the control sticks with yokes. A more powerful Lycoming O-290, 125 hp engine was installed and this model became the Piper PA-20 Pacer. Dan decided to head out and I walked down to the ramp with him to observe the hand prop start. The Chief came to life and Dan taxied out to runway six. The winds had picked up and he would have a crosswind to deal with. The Chief was off the ground very quickly and tracked over the ramp area to clear the approach end of two four and the tree obstacles, he was on his way. I watched as he flew out of view and the purr of his engine could no longer be heard, that looks like fun flying. I walked back to the lodge and decided to check wx and take a nap, hey, it's sort of vacation.Rob called from some point on the group excursion and we briefly talked about the wx moving in. We planned to have a late lunch when the group returned and make our decision about launching for home a day early. The wx forecast did not look good combined with the morning fog and the thought of being stuck on the ground required an exit plan. I tracked the wx and plotted a flight home to include a hop over the mountains to Grant County for fuel. The route would be the same as last years trip home; W99 ESL MRB EMI DQO KILG, and so I filed for a 4:30 departure just to be safe.
The group returned after hiking to various locations and exploring the Falls. It was decided to have a group late lunch and launch for home afterward. Michael and his Bride decided to pass on lunch and launch for home in Ohio with the thought of beating the storm to their home base before it got there. I read Michael's post once I got home and thought I would share. I will follow up on their arrival home along with tracking Ed's flight. We're stuck in Zanesville Ohio, having encountered the frontal system before we hit our destination. Good sense won out over my adventurous spirit, and I pulled the plug short of our destination. Our takeoff from WV62 was eventful, as I thought it might be. The aircraft didn't have its usual oompf that high and that hot. But we got away without any untoward debris in the gear. The flight was lovely until we hit central Ohio, and then the aforementioned frontal system. Wish us luck tomorrow. One of these days I need the IR.
Rob and I loaded the plane said our goodbyes and launched for Grant County (W99). It was a smooth ride over the mountain unlike last years rodeo experience. There was one aircraft, a Cessna 182 CAP flight, inbound ahead of us and landing on runway one three. We came over the mountain at 5,000 feet and had some altitude to loose to get to pattern altitude of 1,750 feet. Rob spotted the traffic and called it out while I positioned to enter the pattern. My landing was ok at best but we were on the ground and looking for the fuel pumps.
We took on 22 gallons I think or there abouts and saddled up for home. There was no Clearance delivery frequency or a remote communication frequency so we taxied out to complete the run up. Once the run up was completed I called the 800 Clearance Delivery number with the blue tooth in the lightspeed Zulu headset. I was put on hold and had the obnoxious music pumped into my ears, wow, they really need to change that stuff. This was not a good sign sitting on hold and I knew we were going to get some changes to the previously "expected" route I was texted. Sure enough, ESL V166 DQO was history, instead we received ESL V377 TOMAC V438 HGR V377 HAR V210 BUNTS DQO. Ok it was time to chug and plug but keep a watch on the void time for departure. I had most of the flight plan updated and launched for home. Departure procedure from runway six calls for a climb visually so as to cross airport at or above 2400 thence continue climb to 5000 northeast on heading 033° to intercept ESL R-213 direct to ESL. It was VFR conditions and I would not have radar contact with Washington Center for a few thousand feet so we departed and maintained visual for terrain avoidance.

Once climbing out and turning to ESL I turned over the flying duty to Rob. It was severe clear out and I had a good chance to concentrate on the 530 and 496 buttonology. I handled all the comm work and navigation. As you can see the intended route (black) and the amended route (red). I guess ATC wanted to keep us clear of the expanded P40 Presidential TFR. Once we crossed TOMAC we were directed to fly direct SCAPE eliminating the jog to the Hagerstown VOR. Rob was on the needles and doing a great job. Listening to the calls and flying in the system will advance his instrument training, besides he has great stick and rudder skills. Once approaching SCAPE Harrisburg approach helped us out and gave us a direct PADRE direct DQO (DuPont- Home), the blue highlighted route. We were handed off to Philly approach then again as we crossed into another sector. Finally with Wilmington in site and the current wx noted we were handed off to the Tower. Cleared visual two seven, cleared to land. Rob set me up in the right down wind and we transferred the controls for my base to final leg and landing. Once again, an ok at best landing followed by our short taxi to parking. I fetched the SUV for additional lighting on the ramp and Rob helped cover and tie down 08Romeo. An abbreviated get-away but a good decision to beat out the wx and arrive home safely.