As noted in my previous blog post, Chris (Photographic Logbook) and I planned on a meet up at Williamsport, KIPT. The wx was perfect and there were a few friends that joined in on the fun. Joe E (AOPA Forum)was right seat in Warrior 481 and I met up with Bob C at Brandywine, KOQN. After posting on Facebook Adam Z and Gary S decided to head north from Doylestown, KDYL and also meet up.
I remembered to turn on the engine heaters somewhere around 1am as I stumbled back to bed after my early morning nature stop. I sent a text message and 08Romeo was warming up. I guess I made it out the door around 6:30 after a burning hot wake up shower to loosen the sore muscles from yesterdays RV adventure. I cranked up the oldies and enjoyed the back roads to the airport making a stop at Wawa to hit the bank in the box for cash,a bottle of water and a pack of peanut butter crackers.
08Romeo was warm and ready to go. I went through my preflight, taking my time to get hands on everything, it's been a month since we last flew. With the hangar doors open, so much easier with out winters grip, 08Romeo was enjoying the sunshine. I tucked my freshly washed ML320 in the hangar, closed the doors and boarded 08R. It felt great in the left seat! It was a short lived excitement since I had to taxi for fuel but I needed to fill up.
I did file today from Brandywine (OQN), that was the plan since the hop was a short one from New Garden (N57). Bob was ready at the terminal and boarded from the rear with 08Romeos prop still turning. Apparently he was working on selling my plane and the guy working the desk was asking all kinds of questions on Unicom. Bob buckled in and we headed north for IPT. We didn't pick up our clearance, instead we enjoyed CAVU, VFR flying. The flight was perfect, except for XM wx showing a twenty knot headwind just off the nose, I should have taken a screen grab. Heading North we averaged between 98 and 102 knots ground speed. I will say it was smooth flying, adding just rudder inputs on occasion.
We did pick up flight following along the way. Philly road along with us for a bit then handed us off to Harrisburg who handed us off to Reading and they sent us off to New York Center. Center final handed us off to the tower as we crossed the end of the ridge line south of the airport and set up for a left base for two seven. I made an ok landing and taxied clear on Charlie for the terminal ramp parking. We met Chris and Joe inside, already seated, and Gary and Adam were only a few minutes behind us.
We enjoyed a very good breakfast at the Cloud 9 restaurant. Service was a little slow but the place was busy. The young lady taking our order moved us to a larger table to accommodate the six of us and did a great job with our orders and the final billing.Bob and I were the first to fire up and taxi out. Williamsport ground directed us to runway two seven via Alpha and Bravo. With my run up and checks complete we were on the roll. Something didn't sound right and I asked bob to recheck his door, it was partially open. I pulled the power, started my braking action and advised the tower we were aborting the take off. Aviate, navigate, communicate. I advised we had an open door and would be good to taxi back for another go. Once again cleared for departure 08Romeo was off and running. We climbed straight out until three thousand and turned south over the ridge line below, now pointing 08Romeo direct Elkton, MD and 58M.
The ride home was a much better pace. Very good tail winds were pushing us along between 122 and 128 knots. I tuned in approach in reverse order of our trip north and monitored. We listened to some music from XM and enjoyed the view. This leg was also hands in the lap with a few corrections with rudder inputs. As we let down for 58M it got bumpy. We entered the pattern in the crosswind for three one and made our calls. A quick look and we didn't see Bob's plane on the ramp on the north side of the hangar. After turning down wind we didn't see the plane on the south ramp either. Hmmm...09L is obviously still in the shop. I turned final and made a half hearted low pass, more like going missed as I crossed the runway end.
We climb back out to two thousand and road the bumps to New Garden. The home airport was now alive with activity. Gliders in the air, traffic in the pattern, it looked like a scene out of the Disney movie planes. Ok, it would have been perfect if we had a bunch of those fork lifts running around. I made my calls and turned base to final when the glider departing released early and made the impossible turn back to the runway. Ok, this was a new twist for me. I made a left 360 and advised doing so for the glider now inbound for runway 6. Once realigned on final for two four I made my call and advised traffic. Everything was looking good right up until the one mile final and a plane decides to depart two four. I advised Sundowner short final and the glider operation did the same. The aircraft immediately turned around and cleared the runway. I had slowed enough since I was getting ready to sidestep right and go around but instead was able to continue in and float 08Romeo in for the landing.
A good workout today after not flying in four weeks. A great time meeting folks on the forums and blogs that I follow. Always a fun time catching up with Bob, Gary and Adam. I miss the airport 'hangar flying' sessions we used to have at wings. Maybe I need to get the grill set up and pick back up on the hangar flying sessions at New Garden.