Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Flight

Yikes!  Black Friday....

Well, there is no way I was going to shop at any mall today and thankfully Mary feels the same way. Instead, we decided to take advantage of the great wx and gave 08Romeo a little exercise. After compiling our list of places to go from suggestions I solicited on AOPA and POA forums, we decided to stick to our original plan.
We were off to Cape May, NJ. Mary invited our friend Jo Ann to go with us and she accepted. The plan was to meet around 10am at Red Eagle and launch from there. Our ride to the airport was not looking good as we motored along I-95 to the airport. I knew it was just a matter of time until we would see a spread in the dew point and temps.
 We finally got the fan turning and I picked up my clearance from the "clearance delivery" frequency at Wilmington. That was a switch, normally I call ground unless there is a frequency noted on the ATIS, there was none.  A slight change to my original plan but not much out of the way. Of course I mentioned the missing frequency on ATIS, this is me you're talking about.

I departed runway one niner and switched to the Philly Approach. Philly handed us off to Atlantic City and we road along, enjoying a tail wind and a smooth ride.  I was keeping an eye on the cloud layer and monitoring the Garmin 496 for updated wx at Cape May. Minimums for the RNAV 19 approach is 420', ceilings were still around two hundred but the report time was a bit long in the tooth. Atlantic City was reporting VFR conditions, Cape May had to be better.

 As the miles ticked off I could see a solid layer covering my flight path. As if I was thinking out loud AC Approach advises to expect the visual for one niner, what? I could not see land but I figured maybe the sun glare was playing tricks on me. As I got closer I requested the RNAV GPS 19 approach from AC Approach and felt better. I acknowledged direct KAGYS and chugged and plugged as directed.
 As we approached KAGYS and the waters edge along the Bay I could now see that the cloud layer covered the water but the land side was clear and visibility unlimited. I guess I should have felt like a dope but I always trust my gut and my view in the left seat is always better than the view from approach.I made a smooth landing and taxied to the FBO so we could arrange for ground transportation.
 There were NO rentals available so we had to take a cab. The one way ware fare was $17 but heck, we were in downtown cape may. The three of us wanted to try a new to us restaurant that we saw on Diners, Drive-Ins' and Dives. We made the lunch stop at Georges Place located on Beach Ave, overlooking the ocean. The place is small and you have to wait outside but the service and food make up for that. We each ordered and the food was out quickly. I ordered a Philly cheese steak, it was smokin' hot and really tasty, best roll I ever had. Mary had the Gyro and she said the lamb was very good and the cucumber sauce was perfect.
With full tummies we walked a few blocks to the Washington Street Gallery of Shops. The ladies hit the first store, who didn't see that coming, and I enjoyed some fresh air and sun.  We strolled along ducking in and out of shops and the ladies came out with a bag or two of treasured finds. We covered half the mall and decided on some cold beverages at one of the many watering holes. Our choice this afternoon was the Jackson Mountain Cafe'. The ladies enjoyed a cold one, I had a coke. We got right back to the mall shops and made our way in some sort of zig zag pattern hitting stores at random.
 We finally made it to the end of the mall and made our call for the cab to return. Mary and Jo Ann hit a few shops across from the mall and then we met back by the horse carriage rides to wait for our cab. It was a quick $17 back to the airport, but our driver did keep us entertained.
Once back at 08Romeo I did a pre-flight while the ladies boarded then I followed to complete my inside checks and flight plan. I decided on a VFR flight home, only monitoring the area as we passed by Millville and then switching to contact Wilmington and report 10 out from the south east. The setting sun was beautiful and the ride was smooth, perfect end to a fun flying day.
I entered the pattern for one niner as directed and made a really nice landing just on the numbers and taxied to the first right turn. We were home!
Mary and Jo are headed south for Jo Ann to get a few things then they are headed to our house. I am typing this while enjoying a double captain and Pepsi waiting on the ladies to return. We are going to have turkey sandwiches and a few adult beverages and maybe find a good movie to watch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

08Romeo Annual Completed!

Cecil Aero called Tuesday night to let me know 08Romeo was completed.  Run up and leak test passed, all buttoned up, she was ready to come home.  I made the hop today and brought our baby home.  I immediately saw cooler CHT temps on a steep 1000 fpm climb which made my day!

I contacted Wilmington just eight miles out with the current ATIS info and acknowledged to enter left base report three miles.  My landing was with a cross wind from the east as I settled over the numbers on runway 1.  The mains felt tight and the nose wheel did too, the new bushings made a difference.

I covered and secured the plane along with hauling out all my tools, jackets and sweatshirts that I stockpiled each day working in the shop.  I also had my Adlog binder and headset bag to pack up then headed home for the holiday weekend.

Annual 2012 by the numbers:

Annual 4 place aircraft $720
Credit Owner assist -$100
Consumable shop supplies $45
Additional Labor Remove and fab six Bushings 7 hours  $476
Additional Labor to replace all bushings 6 hours $408
Replace Engine Baffle 1.1 $75
MD sales tax $47
Bushings 6 @ $102   $612  (Beech wanted $600 each bushing $3600)
Misc; filters, screws, baffle seal $178

Friday, November 16, 2012

Annual 2012

Vince and his photo skill magic
My day started early to get Maggie breakfast and let her out.  I took it one more step and raced back upstairs while she lallygagged.  I hid behind the bedroom door and as the queen bee walked into the dark room I reached out and touched her back along with a loud Boo!  Poor girl just about jumped out of her fur.  I turned the light on and she was standing there looking at me with that boy what a jerk he is face. Mary gave me hell, I laughed and Maggie went over to her bed and with a big sigh settled in and gave me the stink eye while I got dressed.
Mary drove me to the airport and with some back and forth texting last night we met up with Vince.  Since Vince had the day off from school I asked if he wanted to help with the annual, he was excited.  We sat on the ramp from 7am to 9:30 waiting on the fog to lift at our destination.  The wx at Summit, KEVY was reporting 200 overcast and 1/4 visibility.  We checked every half hour and listened as the temp/dew point climbed in unison until about 9:15.  We climbed aboard and got the fan turning  to let the oil warm up.  Vince took the radios and I did the flying, we were off for 58M!
I was high on final as I maneuvered around the "few at 500" that were really sitting at 1000'.  The last jet into Wilmington was reporting a 27 knot headwind at 3000 as he was making the RNAV approach to runway one niner. I was high and fast so I went around and re-entered the left down wind and made a nice landing into 58M.

Baring her soul...
We positioned 08Romeo in the hangar and got the annual started. Vince opened up the inspection panels under each wing, main spar and gascolater cover.  I removed the tail cone and ELT access panels on each side. The Cecil Aero crew removed the cowling and got started on the power plant checks.  I have 30 hours left on my oil changed so it was just a filter removal for inspection.  After the oil the plugs were removed and I got to clean them up in the bead blaster.  Vince took a break from the screw gun and gave the bead blaster a go, he did very well.   Plugs were clean and ready for the anti-seize to be administered.  The compression checks were done and they were 77-78-78-77, total engine time was 375 hours.
Plugs looked really good, not much carbon build up

Vince and the bead blaster experience
cleaned and ready for installation with fresh anti-seize
 Tool used to grease bearings, we used to do this by hand!
 Wheel bearings, dust covers and retaining clips
Replacing the baggage door seal
Stan and Frank completed most of the power plant checks and we should be really close to getting the engine part of the inspection completed tomorrow.  Next Stan and Keith got the plane in the air and Vince helped.  Once 08Romeo was off the ground Stan walked us through the main gear removal and got us started on the bearing removal and installation process.
We did find some play in the left main gear during the reinstall (circled), more investigation to follow. It was time to call an end to day one as we all cleaned up and planned for tomorrows fun, er....I mean work.


Maggie has me up early as she paces the house so I figure I'll get up and work on yesterdays blog and pictures that Vince provided.  Mary joins me here in the office with a hot cup of English breakfast tea, my Bride is the best!
cutting open the oil filter for inspection
The plan is to make a stop and pick up Vince, yes, he is bagging a day of school with his Mom's permission to get some extra shop time.  Vince is taking courses at the local tech school on aircraft repair so this is sort of a hands on field trip providing a chance to dig in and get his hands dirty with work he hasn't done at school.
main gear knee pin inspection
After a mandatory stop at dunkin for donuts and hot beverages we headed to the airport. The crew was on a hold with finishing up the gear until we find the status of the knee pin and bushings on each  gear.  The knee pins revealed little to no deviation but the bushings were obviously shot.  Roger made a call for new bushings and they quoted him $600 for each bushing, that's right, EACH bushing.  Lets do the simple math, three gear, two bushings each makes it six bushings at six Franklin's each is (body shake) thirty six AMU's. Ok, what was the plan 'B'??
milling the bushing flange
milling the outside diameter (OD)
milling the inside diameter (ID)
Plan B was sounding good. The shop decided to mill stock bushings on a T&M basis.  I got in the way and asked many questions while the metal lathe machine was set up. I haven't run this type of stuff since working at a shop in my very early twenties. Yikes! that would be thirty years ago! Each bushing needed to have the outside diameter completed first followed by the inside diameter in order to keep the center line where the knee pin would ride true.  The final step would be milling the bushing flange. 
Vince giving the metal lathe a go
While the milling work was slowly moving forward Vince and Stan went through items remaining on the check list. The gascolater was checked and screen cleaned then reassembled. The electrical system was checked along with all flight controls, no problems here.  I am having the baffle system replaced with a stronger stiffer material to better help temperature control in the engine room. Not much planned for tomorrow until the remaining four bushings come in so I will head into work to catch up on my projects. I'll return to the airplane Thursday to help finish things up.


I am headed south with the hope that we can finish up 08Romeo.  Still on the list of things to do is engine baffle, front nose gear bushings, close up all the inspection plates, install the baggage door seal and finally clean up and wax.

I make my typical stop for a medium hot tea, black, extra sugar, then get back on the road. Everyone is getting started as I roll in and I jump right into the new seal install.  I had previously cleaned the door and all that remained today was coating the door surface with a 3M product specifically called out on the instructions and then add the same product to the seal itself right before I press it into place.

after the glue set on the door I glued the seal about 8 inches at a time

working my way around the door, making sure the placement was perfect
finished product!

Stan was working on the engine baffles and I am thinking that it will be completed tomorrow.  It's a long process removing the original rivets and staples, drilling then replacing with new rivets.
 I did manage to get most of the plane waxed today and my arms and shoulders are really letting me know.  Frank concentrated on the right main gear and nose gear before he got pulled away to work on a straight tail Cessna with some engine issues.
tucked under a wing with my trusty screw gun....
wing spar inspection panel
I got the ok to proceed with installing all the inspection plates that Vince had removed on day one.  Everything went back together smoothly except for the wing spar panel. I installed 46 of 48 screws only to find out that the last two, go figure, were missing clip lock nuts.

 Yes, I had to remove the screws I put in so I could attach the clip nuts on the metal bracket type brace in order to secure the panel.  My arms hate me for doing the screw gun deal twice. With the belly now clean after the install I will get some paint on the trailing edges of the spar panel.
That's about it for day 3. A short list of things to do include a little bit of engine baffle then finish up the nose wheel knee pin and bushing install. Tomorrow will be the run up and leak test then the log book updates.
Friday starts just like the rest, up early with Maggie then off to Cecil Aero with a dunkin stop for my tea. I thought we would finish up today but Roger decided that he did not like the look of the baffle having to "wrinkle" around the rounded portion of the engine baffle backplate.
left side rounded baffle backplate
new baffle right side
new baffle left side
The shop is doing a really nice job, all new rivets, no more of the staples to be found. I hope this helps my climb out temps that were running a little warmer than I like during the summer. Everything else is complete and 08Romeo will be off the jackstands today ready for her run up. 
I left the shop early today since Mary was sick and I wanted to be with her this afternoon.  I'll pick up the plane tuesday night or wednesday of next week.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

American Heroes

Thank-you to those who have served and to those who stand watch today. Thank-You for the very freedoms you provide my family every day.

Sky Manor Lunch Run

Mary and I traded AOPA form posts and phone calls with Ted and Susan trying to decided on a date and time to meet for lunch.  It's been a while since we last got together and we always look forwarding to spending time together when we can.  The plan was hatched to meet at N40, Sky Manor for lunch around noon today.  That worked out great, we got a few things done around the house and headed to the airport around 10:30.

I had ordered fuel this morning so I was ready with 30 gallons on board for the 35 minute trip north and 40-45 home in the 10-15 knot headwinds.  I filed today just to get some practice in the system. Contrary to my thought process of keeping it simple I ended up getting routed to Allentown (FJC)then direct N40.  What the heck, I had a tail wind the whole way looking at 128-132 knots.

As I approached Allentown Philly handed me off. Allentown advised they would turn me direct in a few miles which ended up working out ok. I turned direct just south of the Allentown class C airspace and descended at my discretion for the field.  I reported the field in sight about 8 miles out and cancelled my IFR plan.  I was directed to keep my squawk code until on the ground and acknowledged the instruction.
I switched over to CTAF and made the 8 mile call followed by a 5 mile call, I didn't hear a thing.  Hmmm.....I checked my knee board notes 126.975 and pulled up the airport info  to confirm.  Well duh........I had dialed in 126.475.  I made the correction and followed with an immediate call now three miles out on final for runway 7.  I made a nice landing and rolled out for the ramp located adjacent to the restaurant.

Good food and service sums it up and great company!  It was fun to catch up with Ted and Susan yet painful to hear what they went through after Hurricane Sandy. I'm glad they have power back and are getting things squared away.  We wrapped up lunch and talked about a tentative plan to get-away for a weekend before the holidays.  We had planned on Cape Cod but it took minimal effort to convince us to fly south.  More on the get-away south plan to follow.
Marshall and Treasure Island on the Delaware
Just to the north of Treasure Island lies Marshall Island (also known as Eagle Island). Marshall Island is connected to Treasure Island only by a small footbridge. Treasure Island is in New Jersey, whereas Marshall Island is in Pennsylvania. Treasure Island is a Boy Scout property located between Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania and Frenchtown, New Jersey, United States. The property is situated on two islands in the middle of the Delaware River and owned by the Cradle of Liberty Council. Treasure Island was the oldest continually operated Boy Scout Camp in the country and had been continuously associated with Scouting since 1913.

We said our goodbyes and saddled up for home.  I flew direct Modena (MXE) then KILG. I had 10-15 knot headwinds the whole way , I didn't bother with flight following or filing an instrument plan.  I just wanted to enjoy the air time and work on knocking off the rust.

We made the call to  to Wilmington tower just 8 miles to the north just as the TFR lifted, perfect timing!  I greased a landing and had to add power to make the first runway distance sign which was at the 6 thousand mark, I had planted 08Romeo on the numbers. We taxied in and shut down, it was  a fun day with friends.

08Romeo heads into annual tomorrow morning.  Tonight I will get my tools and log books ready. I'll be reporting on this years experience just like every year to date.  Oh how I will hate the sore body....