Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Safety Pilot Time

Mike and I swapped text messages this afternoon and decided we would get some flight time in.  I headed home after work to pick up my flight bag and change into something comfortable.

Mary updated me up on the tree service scheduled for tomorrow and with that I thought I was off to the airport. We soon heard chain saws buzzing in the back yard, the crew working up the street decided to do the work today. I hung out until they finished cutting then headed out as my Bride supervised the clean up and payment.
Mike went through the pre-flight, I chatted it up with a co-worker/Op's person. I finally pitched in and sumped the fuel and checked oil.  The forecast called for a clear sky this evening and the AWOS confirmed, our eyeballs noted otherwise.
New area between MXE and KILG
A quick flight to shoot a couple of approaches so Mike could get some left seat time and I could safety pilot. Upon start up we noticed the Garmin 530 was now showing the updated Class Bravo at Philly. My Garmin 496 will need to be updated this evening.
The FAA has published a final rule modifying the Philadelphia Class B airspace area that took effect July 25th. The modified airspace configuration will align with the Washington, D.C., and the extended New York VFR charts.

Mike shot two approaches; GPS 17 and GPS 35 into KEVY along with a hold and a simulated engine out back into Wilmington. Steady approaches, smooth T&G's and all around good flying. We did get a chance to fly through some light rain, just enough to wash the bugs off the windscreen.
The Delaware River to our East
The C&D Canal to the Delaware River
Mike got a chuckle when he noticed me staring out the window checking out all ground movement and backyard pools as he had us in the left down wind for landing one nine.  No, he wasn't under the foggles at this time, we were headed back into Wilmington.  Mike commented that he hated to bother me, I looked like I could keep my mug plastered to the window.  He was right  :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Work Hop

Today my schedule was crazy.  I have some stone base issues on the taxiway project that needed immediate attention and then I had to be back in Wilmington in time for a 2pm dentist appointment.

General Aviation to the rescue!
I was in the air by 7am and on the ground, plane secured  and looking for wheels by 7:30.  The Op's folks at Cape May were kind enough to let me use an Explorer and when they needed the SUV back I got to drive our Kubota 4 WD buggy/pick up/ op's vehicle thingy.
With some of the stone base issues resolved I was closing in on my 12:45 departure time.  I returned the above pictured vehicle and pre-flighted 08Romeo.  Everything was good to go and with that I climbed aboard.  I launched off of runway two eight and climbed towards the Delaware Bay. The flight home was into a headwind and my ground speed was indicating 106-108, I miss this mornings 126-128 speeds.
A smooth landing into ILG with gusting winds and a quick taxi and tie down at red eagle.  I needed to be at the dentist by 2 pm and I still needed to take my pre-meds for my metal hip parts.  With a stop at McD's I gulped down 4 amoxicillin pills and pointed the SUV towards my appointment.
I should add in here that I am petrified of the dentist, I begged him to find the magic wand to fix my tooth and in return he can break any finger or arm that he chooses, broken bones don't hurt to bad, the simple thought of tooth pain floors me.  Today I was in luck, the office ran out of pins (used to anchor fillings) and I had to reschedule for Thursday. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Key West

Way back when (January 2011) Mary and I added Key West to our list of places to go. Well, the trip has resurfaced and I think it's a go for Mary's birthday. I'm reviewing my initial plans and working through some new routing to take better advantage of fuel prices.

The original plan was to stop at one of our favorites, Grand Strand, well that's out. The fuel at KCRE is now $6.64 a gallon.  With a little searching I found much better pricing thanks to AirNav.
So with the flight plans starting to take shape and my iPad updated for charts and plates it was time to look for a hotel.  On one of the Blogs I read, Family Flying, Geoff had posted about his flight to Key West. His family stayed at the Sheraton Key West and it's located right across the street from the beach.  The hotel also provided a free shuttle service down town so that's a plus. There will be more in depth investigation over the next week.

Sadly, I am also checking airfare. Fuel alone for the round trip can cost me up to $1,300.00 and airfare is looking like $700 round trip total for the both of us flying coach. Rooms are $230 a night so we'll factor all that info in and then decide on the best plan of attack.  I should mention that the flight to key west for me the pilot is priceless! Mary also added that we bought the plane to travel so let's use it. Easier said than done if we fly 8-9 hours in one day. More info on this excursion to follow.


Airline tickets secured, total cost round trip for the both of us...$699. Sorry 08Romeo, you're staying home on this trip.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Beach Weekend

Friday 7/26

I know of late my posts seem all the same but this is what my flying has become, routine. I'll spare all the typical details and post a few more photos. 
heading to ILG, stuck in traffic. 

IMC time
The flight was pretty straight forward, bumpy below the layer and inside the layer.  I got some IMC time while Mary and Ziva got some sleep time.
Mary and I wandered down to Assateague State Park to see Rob, Becky and the girls. They had a great camp site, maybe one hundred yards to the ocean and the best sea breeze ever. However, they did have some wild ponies to contend with.
Saturday 7/27
We started out the day with a fun round of golf. No humidity and we had a slight breeze on a few holes.  A few of the holes we battled slow greens and multiple attack flights of mosquitoes.
We headed back to pick up Ziva and loaded her up for a first swim. The Bay wasn't to bad and after doing the tip toe out to Mom she felt confident enough to back out then charge in full gallop.  I guess swimming is a learning process for the pups and after charging full speed into the water she submerged like a rock, she needed to adjust her dive plane. Mary and I watch her bubbles then she surfaced and came out of the water coughing up what she inhaled.  Round two she was charging back in, head now held up above the surface and having a blast.
We headed back to the motor home and gave Ziva a bath then she curled up in her kennel and passed out. We headed to the pool and spent some time bobbing like corks. When the swimming was completed we showered and took much deserved naps. 
I'm wet and sandy!  What's next??
Mary and I had plans to catch up with our friends, Pam & Ted, since they invited us for dinner.  I had to make a quick stop for two bottles of wine. Mary ran into our favorite little market and Ziva kept a look out for Mom to return. 
Ziva in our VW Cabrio Beach Buggy
 Dinner? The food was great, company even better and both our dogs got along just fine. It's always a fun time catching up with Pam & Ted.
Sunday 7/28
I watched some wx last night and updated early this morning while walking the dog.
TAF KILG 271733Z 2718/2818 17012KT P6SM BKN050
FM280200 18006KT P6SM BKN050 BKN120
FM281500 18011KT P6SM -SHRA SCT020 BKN035
We decided to head north early and beat the potential rains and the afternoon threat of boomers.  The flight home was smooth, cool temps and great tail winds.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ziva's First Flight

Thursday 7/18

I bagged work for Friday so Mary and I could launch for the beach tonight.  We had already packed the items we wanted to add to the coach inventory and added provisions for our new traveler, Ziva. I was out the door and high tailing it home  anxious to get to the plane and get in the air before any thunderstorms developed. Mary had set out the thermal inserts for the plane windows, I know I would have left with out them.
I'm happy, going for a ride.
Whoa, stop this bus! I'm going to be getting in a plane???
We were out the door and motoring south for ILG and 08Romeo. I unpacked the SUV and packed the baggage in the plane, I scooped up Ziva girl and set her inside while Mary ran the SUV out and secured it in the Red Eagle lot. I had completed the pre-flight and fuel sump before my Bride relocated the SUV so I climbed aboard to get some air flowing. I repositioned the aircraft adjacent to the Hangar at Red Eagle and blocked Mary's access unless she crawled under the wing.

The fan was indeed turning, most of you will poo poo this but Mary and I briefed prior to even me starting up. I had set Marys Bose headset out on the yoke and while climbing in and dealing with securing the door the headset fell to the floor and she stepped on the right ear cup.  Yep, snapped the bracket clean through in two places. I'll be calling Bose tomorrow for a repair estimate.

Finally secure, we advise Wilmington ground that we are ready to taxi. What's Ziva make of all this so far??? She was sound asleep.
The build ups had started and they were growing rapidly. I requested a thirty degree left change in course to flank the monsters and fly over the Delaware Bay in the clear. The thirty degrees turned into quite the end around. When I finally found a place to out climb the build ups I requested higher. Dover said they were going to give me four thousand shortly so I could descend now if I wanted to. That would work too, so we nosed over and finally turned back on course to Salisbury (SBY).
This ain't so bad.....ZZZzzzzzz
Dover approach handed me off to Patuxent and I checked in with level four thousand and I have current wx at Ocean City. Pax turned me direct Ocean City and off we went looking to make a visual contact. I guess I was maybe six to eight miles when I confirmed the field in sight and decided to cancel in the air at that time. I made an ok landing at OXB and taxied for a tie down.
Dad's got his head under the hood....rut ro...
We headed to the coach in the beach buggy, who's a/c decided not to work, more on this later.  It's a routine just like a pre-flight when it comes to opening the coach. Water on, side storage unlocked, awnings lowered, table and chairs uncovered and set up along with dog water bowl and leash and the most important, get the a/c cranked up. We hung out in the shade until the coach was comfortable.  Ziva went right in her kennel and passed out so we decided to head out for dinner at one of our favorites, Taylors. We also made a quick run to Frontier Town campground to surprise Rob, Becky and the girls.

Friday 7/19

Early morning beach buggy a/c investigation. I checked the fuse and gave it another try, nothing. I also noticed the wipers were dead. I checked that fuse and still nothing. This calls for under the hood testing. I unplugged and replugged the a/c and the wiper motor, gave it another test and everything came to life. A/c worked perfect and well the wipers wiped. I'm not asking how or why, I'm just happy everything is working.
Friday was beach day and we were excited to finally spend some time with the Schaffer's. The plan was to meet down by the inlet and park in the main lot behind the boardwalk. At 8:30 am the lot was pretty much empty and we had the beach to ourselves for a short time. The girls collected shells, yes my girl too. We all dipped our feet into the cold ocean but that was it for me. I did see Rob wade out there and get wet, Brrrr...noway.
We all met back at the coach and enjoyed pizza from Lombardi's for a fun lunch. The girls were looking tired, yes my girl too. I was ready for a nap myself. Rob, Becky and the girls headed back to their campground and we got a few winks in until Ziva wanted out. It's great, she knows to go to the door of the coach and sit when she wants out. Ok, this time she had to bark to wake us up. We hung out for a bit then went over to the park pool so we could bob like two corks. We had the pool to ourselves and loved it!

Saturday 7/20
We planned for another early beach run but then took a pass. Instead we decided on hitting the shops in Berlin, MD.  Mary had been there before with our friend Pam but it was a first visit for me.  I loved the main street with all the old brick buildings dating back over one hundred years. Mary and I made our way through a good many shops, it was an antique gold mine for just about anything you could dream up. We had some laughs seeing items that our parents each had when we were young.
We were getting hungry so we decided on a quick lunch at Si'culi, Rustic Italian Kitchen. The service was very good and the food excellent! We could not finish our order so we boxed it up for a late night snack back at the coach.
We hit a few more shops and called it a day. It's a short drive back and we soon settled in for a nap, hey, we're on vacation so naps are good. The plan was to hit the pool and then get showered and dressed up for dinner back in Berlin at the Atlantic Hotel.  We were meeting Mary's cousin and her husband, from Salisbury.
We made reservations while were shopping today and it was a good thing, the place was very busy. The Drummer's CafĂ© at the Atlantic Hotel has quite the history. Dinner was excellent, service was perfect. I had the 7oz filet with three huge scallops, baked potato, carrots and asparagus. Mary had the soft shell crabs and she said they were excellent.
We had a blast tonight and catching up with family made the night perfect. We are so looking forward to doing dinner at another new to us location.

Sunday 7/21

The plan was to depart Ocean City around 9am and for the most part we stuck to the schedule. Actually the wx looked better this morning than what was forecast. We decided to stay with the plan and head north early, beat the heat and have a chance to get a few things done round the house.
I filed and launched on a 270* heading as directed until radar contact was established with Patuxent.  Once they had me I was directed to SBY, not my original plan but what I was given by clearance delivery while on the ground. I did get some IMC climbing into a layer and riding along until cleared for higher.
Ziva was once again in doggie dream land and my lovely Bride was off in her own dream land too. The air was smooth and the view perfect as I made my way north.  Pax handed me off to Dover and they soon handed me off to Philly. I had to contend with the Mig that flies out of Wilmington as he was zipping around the area but I was eventually cleared for the visual 27.

As I started my descent and closed on the Wilmington pattern I had not been cut loose by Philly.  So, instead of waiting and getting jammed into the pattern I requested a switch over to the Wilmington tower. Philly thanked me and gave me the tower frequency 126.0 and I was handed off.  Wilmington cleared me for landing and had another aircraft in the pattern fall in line number two to land. I made a nice landing and tried to keep my speed up for the traffic behind me. I took advantage of the high speed taxiway, KIlo 5 and cleared the runway.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Three Hops and IMC

Text messages were traded between Mike, Vince and myself last night in order to plan for some flight time today.  Conditions were calling for IMC on our intended routes and no thunder storm activity, that was the big plus.
Climbing out of ILG
The plan was a go and the meet up time was scheduled for 9:30 am.  I picked up Vince on the way to the airport and we started to uncover 08Romeo as Mike walked across the ramp.  I had filed for our flight to KGED, Sussex County Airport in Georgetown Delaware. I contacted Wilmington ground and picked up my clearance.

Cleared - KGED
Route - RH V29 ENO direct
Altitude - 2000/4000 in ten
Frequency- 119.75
Transponder - 6631
Flying in the milk jug
We were soon climbing out of Wilmington and handed off to Philly.  Philly gave me four thousand and direct ENO (Smyrna) then handed me off to Dover. Dover called out multiple targets along the way and each time I had to respond 08Romeo is IMC. Once I reported having the wx info at KGED I was lowered to 2000, direct BOYSE cleared for the GPS 22 approach.  I acknowledged and added I would be doing the procedure turn as published, Dover confirmed.

Entering the PT at BOYSE
I did a real nice job tracking for the procedure turn and the approach. I even tied a bow on it with a smooth greaser of a landing.  I know its good when Mike is quiet and I think I heard him say "super". I was happy, it's always a good thing to impress the CFII.
Jeff flying Harv's Mooney
We enjoyed a great lunch at the new Arena's restaurant located in the terminal. I had Chili and a half BLT combo for around $8, Mike had a large bowl tuna salad that looked great and I think Vince also had a BLT.  As we walked out of the restaurant we bumped into the Woodbine bunch and had a few minutes to catch up with Jeff D.
Mike flying GED-OXB, extreme outside temps
We did a brief walk around and sumped fuel. 08Romeo was good to go and we taxied out for KOXB, Ocean City, MD in the high temps.  We filed while eating lunch just in case we needed the cloud clearance but ended up making out just fine.  Mike was left seat for this short hop and he did a nice job knocking out the GPS 14 approach.

The three amigo's decided on a trip to the boardwalk so we piled in our beach buggy, the VW Cabrio and headed east.  Of course we got the top down, at least for a few blocks. It was so stinking hot we decided to put the top back up and crank up the AC, we didn't even get off the airport property. :)
The boards were packed but we did manage a few stops. I picked up fudge for my Bride and Mike and Vince each got a Kohrs soft serve ice cream.  We strolled around for a bit then headed back to the car so I could show Mike and Vince the homes Mary and I are looking at. After the real estate tour we headed back to the airport and tucked the Cabrio back under cover for this weekends next visit.
Vince and his favorite jet at OXB
We filed for five thousand  for the ride home to Wilmington, KOXB ATR ENO DQO KILG. There was a cloud layer that was building, base around fifty five to six thousand and we didn't want to be stuck under it getting beat up. I called clearance/delivery from the ramp and noted the following info.

Cleared - KILG
Route - As Filed, fly heading of 270  upon entering controlled airspace
Altitude - 3000/5000 in ten
Frequency- 127.95
Transponder - 6525

That works, we were number one for the back taxi on one four and turned 08Romeo into the wind and launched. It was a smooth ride with some thirty degree deviations for build-ups as we worked north of Georgetown towards Dover.  Dover handed us off to Philly and I checked in with five thousand level, have wx at Wilmington. As we passed near the Salem nuke plant we were lowered to three thousand and with confirmation that we had the field I was turned over to the tower. Another smooth landing into Wilmington and the end of a fun day flying with friends.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dinner Hop

Sunset at KMQS
Mike and I swapped a few text messages and agreed to meet at the airport by 6pm for a dinner flight.  Mary wasn't feeling good so once she was settled in I headed to the airport for some flight time.
C17 on the old Boeing ramp
Speaking of flight time, I took a few minutes to review my year to date totals on, I'm not very happy.  So far I managed to squeak out 29 hours, yes, you read that right, just 29 hours.  This has been my least productive year. I'll blame it on the wx and hope that mother nature starts to cooperate so I can get back to my normal accumulation of hours and most important, experience.
Mike walked in just after I got started on the pre-flight having just taken on fuel from Atlantic.  The plan was for a quick hop, KILG-KMQS with a dinner break in between approaches.  I taxied out and flew 08R to New Garden, N57, while helping locate an ELT that was bleeding over the airways.  We reported in with Philly approach but they asked me to stand by. I switched back to Wilmington and gave them an updated report on the signal then continued on towards MQS.
Mike shot the ILS 29 and did a real nice job. Radio calls were hard to make out with the ELT blaring every time someone keyed the mic on the MQS CTAF, 122.7.  We made this a full stop and ate dinner at the Flying Machine Cafe'.

We saddled up for Wilmington and climbed out of Chester County pointing 08R south east. I decided to change my glasses to the clear version and tuck my flying sun shades away. Hmmm, I guess I forgot my clears. I passed on shooting an approach and instead informed Wilmington that I was nine out and inbound full stop with no ATIS info due to the ELT drowning it out. I confirmed the winds and altimeter setting along with acknowledging report three miles right base for two seven.
that's all I can show, it's a family blog!  :)
It was an ok landing at best, felt like I was dropping in from ten feet but managed to arrest the sink rate with some throttle in time to recover. We taxied off and decided to make sure it was not 08Romeos ELT.  In the process of removing the right rear fuselage ELT access panel I was attacked by mosquito's. I came home with eighteen bites just on my back!  No, my ELT was not the problem, at least it didn't change by switching my unit off and on.