The battery minder purchased before Christmas arrived, so a trip to the airport was in order. I sent a text to Vince and he was available to fly, the plan was beginning to taking shape.
New Garden was quiet this morning so we took a leisurely drive around to scout out potential warm bodies that may be lurking about the airport, there were none. Ok, none that we could see. I parked the SUV and we opened up the hangar so we could tug 08Romeo out into the sunlight. I completed the pre-flight and Vince did his own, good practice for the future aviator. Vince waited for 08Romeo to start before closing the hangar doors, no sense pushing them around a second time for no good reason. I pulled the power back and as we briefed Vince would approach from the right side rear to board.
I pulled the heat right away so we could thaw and thanks to the Reiff heaters 08Romeo oil temps we well into the yellow just shy of the green operating range. We agreed that Vince would handle the radio work and I would do the take off and flying. With the run up completed we launched off of two-four. It wasn't a bad looking day from 2,800 feet above the earth. We crossed Wilmington's airspace (2600) and headed across the Delaware River for New Jersey. PCAS had one target that Vince called out at our three, same altitude and parallel course, it looked like a lear jet that we heard depart ILG. As the jet turned north heading towards Philly it was now converging, I descended to 2000 and we watched the jet pass in front of our nose a few miles out and now above our altitude. The flight was to knock off some rust and make a landing or two.
I entered the pattern at Millville, KMIV, and did one full stop on runway two-eight. I taxied back and handed controls to Vince for his take off. I would do the radios and he could get some flying in. He needed a bit more right rudder but overall a nice smooth climb out. Of course the standing joke is that Vince always gets to fly the headwind leg, he didn't complain, he just reminded me. Yes he had the headwind leg, I was enjoying 135 knot ground speeds and he was trudging along fighting a thirty knot headwind just off our nose and clipping along at 85 knots. Indicated airspeed was 115-120, and the Garmin 496 winds aloft confirmed the winds at three thousand.
We both picked out New Garden just inside of eight miles or so and I made the proper calls. I entered the pattern on a left base for two-four and made one of my best landings to date rolling 08Romeo on the deck so soft it felt like we were still flying. I'm finally getting the winds here and the hump in the runway, now if I could make the first turn off. We made a fuel stop and brought the total fuel to 42 gallons before heading to the hangar.
With 08Romeo tucked inside we covered up and plugged in the heaters then opened the BatteryMINDer box. It seemed pretty basic, a plug and play of sorts. I didn't get the rings in the shipment, apparently they no longer send those as part of the package. I had to open 08Romeos battery box, two snaps clips, and use the alligator clips. I brought along another extension cord and we eventually ran the cable through the vent window and set the batteryminder in the baggage compartment on the battery box lid. The original plan was to leave the unit outside the plane and run the cord through the baggage door but I didn't like the cord getting squeezed so tight and possibly damaging the unit. All the lights checked out and the unit went into the maintenance/ pulsed de-sulfation mode. I am going to order the ring set this evening so I don't have to open the battery compartment.