Sunday, May 20, 2012


I finally got the chance to meet up with Jack after an arranged meeting through my friend Steve. Jack is an instrument rated fixed wing and instrument rated helicopter pilot.  Jack hasn't flown in a few years and has let his medical lapse. At one time he had a cardinal, often making the trip to Florida, so yes, he's the real deal. Former military service in his background and just a really nice guy.
South view down the Delaware bay.  Looking at the line of clouds crossing into delaware covering our intended destination
We pre-flighted 08Romeo and got the fan turning. The plan was to head south VFR to Georgetown. We launched out of Wilmington and soon picked up flight following with Dover. I offered Jack the controls and without hesitation he moved his seat forward, checked rudder controls and acknowledged my plane. I confirmed your plane and went back to my radio work with Dover. It may have been a few years since he was flying fixed wing but Jack sure didn't miss a beat. The cloud layer was starting to squeeze us lower and with a call to Dover we began our descent to maintain cloud clearence. We started at three thousand and by the time I dropped flight following and made my ten mile call to Georgetown we were at two thousand.
Cloud layer closing down on us about 15 north of GED
We swapped controls maybe five miles out and I set us up for our landing. With the gusty winds 08Romeo did move a round a bit but settled in nicely as she finally quit flying and the mains touched down. We taxied in and secured the plane noting we were the only ones on the ramp.
What needs to said?
The rest of the breakfast bunch wandered in and joined us as we were finishing up. It was good airplane talk (hangar flying)and I think Jack enjoyed the group. Conditions never did get much better and the ceiling was sitting at 13-1500. We all said our goodbyes and headed out to our planes.  I decided to file with my iPhone and as long as Jack was ok with it, get some instrument time in.
SR1 Bridge on the left and the RT13 Bridge on the right.  Both bridges, new and old, crossing the C&D canal
I picked up my clearance with Dover after my run up and advised number one for departure. We were soon launching followed by getting into the clouds at 1300. Dover gave us direct Waterloo (ATR VOR), climb to 3000, upon reaching 1700 direct Wilmington. I acknowledged and was on instruments. I did sneak a few peaks at Jack and I think he was really loving the clouds and light misty rain.

We finally broke out north of Dover and I acknowledged ground contact just before Jack advised the Delaware coastline in sight. The wx cleared but the winds picked up. Now in the clear I asked if Jack wanted more stick time. Once again we transferred control and  Jack took us to the 3 mile right base for runway nine as Wilmington tower directed. I set 08Romeo down on runway nine despite the gusty winds, they were mostly down the runway.

Thanks Jack for a great time! I am looking forward to you flying as my safety pilot. Despite your claims of being rusty you sure had smooth stick and rudder skills. Also, THANKS for breakfast, I got the next round.


Chris said...

I am always amazed at the skill level retained by lapsed pilots. It was great of you to get Jack back into his element!

Gary said...

It really was a fun day flying. Best part, I have another potential safety pilot to help keep me current.

Steve said...

Safety piloting is great on both ends. Even though I'm a ways away from going after the IR (simply don't have the $$ right now) it's nice to have the chance to tag along with friends from time to time. You always pick up something new and any time in the air is a good time for learning, in my opinion.

Glad to see you got some good bacon and a new right seater! ;-)