Sunday, November 04, 2012

Much Needed Flight Time

With hurricane Sandy in the record books and 08Romeo returned to her normal tie down it's time for us to get some flight time.

Yesterday I got most of the motor home ready for her winter slumber. Mary and I took a last run and filled the propane tanks then cleaned up the inside.  This morning I emptied out some clothes I had left in the closets and stored the items we left sitting on the bed when we traveled north from the beach.
The view across the field this morning with the sunlight beaming through
Today is airplane day! I was thinking about getting night current this evening but even with the time switch I'm not sure if I feel like heading back to the airport and uncovering.....that hangar sure was nice.  I headed to the airport early with the hope of catching up with the breakfast bunch out of Woodbine or Quakertown.   First on my list was some wash/wax all to take care of a few bird deposits and to clean the windows, I was lazy and put 08Romeo away without cleaning them. I at least did all the leading edges, including the main and nose gear after the the BAC Fest trip the end of September.  September, wow, it's been a month since I last flew!

I swapped Facebook posts with Jeff from Woodbine and he confirmed that the group was heading to the Georgetown Airport, KGED for the Sunday buffet.  I grabbed my flight bag and headed to the plane. It was good to see 08Romeo and spend some time cleaning up and doing a very comprehensive pre-flight.  Everything looked great and I climbed aboard for an 8:30 start up time. 08Roameo came to life, she had to be needing the flying fix as bad as I was.  I taxi out to the Red Eagle ramp and sat so my oil temps could come up. I plugged in my flight plan and tuned the vor for some tracking today.  I did notice that I lost the number display in the collins vor, the last digit to the right. I did order a spare when I replaced the nav radio display that went dark not long after purchase.

Another new voice in the tower today and the broken english is pretty bad but I can understand her.  I am directed to taxi all the way across the field for the runway heading into the wind, runway three two.  Please, the cross wind for two seven is six knots, I can handle that and save fuel. As I reach to key the mic the tower comes right back and gives me two seven at Mike via Kilo, that's more like it.
08Romeo climbs out at 1200 feet/minute, she's feeling frisky in the cool air. I play along and we enjoy the climb to our cruise altitude of three thousand today. The sky didn't look to good but the forecast was telling me it was going to clear, I road along south.  The tops were sitting at three thousand eight and I had some bumps along the way.  I decided to pick up flight following with Dover approach since they seemed busy launching heavies this morning.  I didn't want to be a bug splat on a C-5.
I dropped flight following about ten north of Georgetown and switched to CTAF.  I made my position calls and crossed midfield for the left down wind entry for runway two two.  I was looking at a good crosswind componet but I needed the practice.  I'm sure anyone watching would have compared this landing to a kid dipping one toe in the water at a time as I felt for the runway with my right main.  I ballooned a bit and dipped the toe in again, up a tad then slowly sinking with touchdown.  I made for a short roll followed by the left main and nose immediatly following.  I was down and making the turn off to the ramp relieved to get the first one in the book after a month off.
The Woodbine bunch made their way first Joe from Cape May then Jeff.  I did get a shot of Jeff banking to enter left base to downwind for two eight. About the time Jeff taxied in a Guard Blackhawk started up and taxied out, I was glad he was not going to taxi past my plane. With everyone here we grabbed a table and enjoyed a great breakfast in the terminal. Plenty of food on the buffet and the service was perfect as always.  I had taken on some fuel so I had 08Romeo filled back to the tabs, especially since you get a discount if you eat at the restaurant.
The sky had cleared but the layer had moved north.  This was what I was looking at heading home. Tops were reported at three thousand eight and I once again road along under the layer, not enjoying the bumps.  The good speeds enjoyed heading south were paid for with headwinds the whole way home. I was only making 106 to 110 knots ground speed with 120 indicated. As always I enjoy the time in the left seat and taking in all the sights below so time really didn't matter.
As you can see the winds were pretty strong as I passed by Salem nuke plant  approaching Wilmington. I made my position call with ATIS info and was directed to enter a left base for two seven. I acknowledged and made ready for landing. There was a blackhawk landing, an experimental heading in on the opposite down wind number two behind me and I was looking to grease this landing.  I needed to slip to get there and add a touch of power to hold off the sink rate but it ended with a smooth roll on to the runway, no squeak, no bounce just the hum of the wheels rolling.
I buttoned 08Romeo up and wiped down the leading edges. It felt GREAT to be back flying.  As I was locking up a Falcon jet landed, a Guard C130 took off and a CAP Cessna landed.  A busy airport this morning.


Chris said...

Thanks for letting the rest of us live vicariously through you, Gary! Congratulations on a much needed return to the air.

Ed said...

Glad to hear you (and your plane) weathered the storm.

Gary said...

Chris- It sure didn't seem like a month between flights. It was fun to get back in the left seat and knock off some rust.

Ed - Thanks. We made out fine despite three round trips to the airport to finally get in a T-Hangar.