With the thoughts of a hangar dancing around in my head Mike and I traded text messages that we should at least fly to the airport for the initial once over. We both agreed to meet at 08Romeo. I did remember my headset and keys today, that's an improvement.
As I finished up my pre-flight Mike walked across the ramp and as is the custom followed with his own abbreviated pre-flight. We saddled up and taxied for runway niner at Wilmington. The tower cleared me for a 'right turn' on course to the 'west'...he said what? The controller was busy with the Air Guard flights so once he cleared me to take off I requested a left turn on course and left it at that, the tower acknowledged.
I made my way to MODENA (MXE) and decided to try the only approach into New Garden (N57) the potential new home. A review of the airport notes take off minimums.
NEW GARDEN (N57)
AMDT 1 95033 (FAA)
TAKEOFF MINIMUMS: Rwy 6, 300-1.
DEPARTURE PROCEDURE: Rwys 6,24, climb runway heading to 900 before turning on course.
It was a cool night and the air was smooth as glass. I was plus/minus 150' on my approach to the procedure turn, flying like a discovery flight newbie. Mike roll played ATC and I made mention of removing my head from its current location and getting it in the forward facing upright position and fly the darn plane. With all my parts now properly located and functioning as normal I took a good bite out of the procedure turn and made a nice tear drop entry.
It's pretty basic, decision height based on the Wilmington altimeter setting allows for 1020'. Not quite the selection that I have at Wilmington but for now this may have to do. There are plans for a runway extension and GPS approaches, one can only hope. As I settled in on the VOR approach I recrossed MXE and turned to a 230* heading removing the foggles at DH and searching for the airport. Wow, it's tiny and tucked along the tress. With the evening sun and shadows from the surrounding trees it took a few seconds to locate the runway, especially since your not aligned on final. Not a problem, fly the needles and they will get you there. I make an ok landing and rumble along the bumpy runway to my turn off.
Mike and I taxi along checking out the new hangars on the south end of the field and the older T's on the north end. What really caught my attention was people, yes life at an airport, what a change from Wilmington.
We decided on dinner at Flying Machine Cafe' located at Chester County, KMQS. I launched for MQS and shot the GPS 11 approach. I was much better this go round after knocking some rust off on the last approach.
I dialed in for direct DOVPY and was on my way. Mike switched it up and gave me vectors and as I was getting close to intercept he pointed at the GPS. I gave a look over, nothing registered and I went back to tracking. Mike pointed again and asked how I was going to get established when I didn't make the switch to 'vectors to final' Ughhh...insert head slap. with a few quick strokes I was set up and turned final without a problem, I would have flown through it.
We enjoyed hot turkey and hot roast beef sandwiches at Chester County then saddled up for home. I needed a couple more take off and landings to be night current so Mike said we will do them until I am proficient.
I made two into and out of Wilmington in between flights of the C-130's and I am once again current.