Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Rest Of The Story

The rest of the flight story....

Once landing at KLHZ we saddled up for the trip north.  I had taken on enough fuel to bring me to fifty gallons, 08Romeos belly was full. Flight plan was showing two hours fifty-three minutes....close, but the headwinds ate up some additional time and fuel.
I picked up my clearance with Clearance and Delivery on the 800 number then launched for the north.  The sky was beautiful and smooth. My routing was BEXGO LVL RIC TAPPA PXT ENO DQO N57, (313 Miles). Approach hand-offs were seamless and the flight was hands in the lap take pictures and enjoy.

Monday 9/22

Monday was a busy day with our return flight finally getting off the ground at 3:50. Approved route; DQO V29 ENO V16 PXT V213 HPW V615 MEYER (319 miles). Once again a smooth flight and great comm work with multiple approaches. I turned up the 70's hits and, after moving my mic, sang along with the tunes. Once we landed I had the tanks filled back to an on board total of fifty gallons.
Time was passing quickly and I was I faced with the decision of a night flight to KOXB, Ocean City. Most pilots say no problem, what's the issue.  Well, I haven't been night current since November 2013.  Now I know that means no passengers and I could make the flight and even knock out the three full stops and once again be safe from turning into a pumpkin.
I admit, I am Mr. Conservative and a I have a few issues; flying over or shooting an approach or going missed over water at night presents the black hole effect, the lighting on 14-32 is not the greatest but 2-20 is new,  and the real stopper for me is no night landings since August 2013, over a year ago.  I decided to pass on the flight and button 08Romeo up for the night.

Tuesday 9/23

It's a cool morning and the sky looks good for my hop. I flight plan for the just shy of two hour flight to Ocean City at five thousand, keeping ahead of what's crawling up the coast. I pick up my clearance; DUFFI FKN CCV SWL  and launch to the north east.

The fleet at Norfolk
The Atlantic
Fisherman Island off the tip of the Delmarva peninsula
It was a good flight, clear for pictures and smooth. Patuxent Approach stepped me down and I canceled when I had the wx and field in sight.
Actual view
xm wx view
There were two aircraft to coordinate with in the pattern and one inbound behind me as we all worked our way in. This was going to be an afternoon with my Bride and then a hop home to N57 later in the day.

Tuesday late afternoon and all our errands are complete. Mary took me out to lunch so I was set until dinner back at the north home. I hate leaving, it stinks. We said our goodbyes and I took the airport car back to the hangar for storage until Friday. 08Romeo was ready to fly but once again no Bride in the right seat. I didn't file for this hop, instead I enjoyed my flight time.
I took the time to reflect on the weekend events. I am truly thankful for my family and friends. Interesting insights the last few days on family and how they did for others quietly, under the radar. These things I know because they have been paid forward and people have stepped up to acknowledge. I also know it's important that my generation should carry that thought process forward, I see that they do, each one of us in our own way. I am truly blessed.


Steve said...

Certainly not a bad decision. Can't say I've heard many flying stories where folks intentionally blow through their comfort level end all that well. It's been weird for me to maintain a reasonably consistent level of night currency for over a year; before that, I'd gone 3-4 years without logging even 0.1 on the Hobbs past sunset!

Your routings always leave me with two conflicting thoughts... a) it's sure handy to point direct and go VFR and b) procedures aside, it sure would be helpful to have my IR right about now! Hopefully I can get to that in the next year or so, once Gina's done with her Master's.

Gary said...

I was pretty tired and it was a tough few days. I was flying my cousin north to my house so she could meet her brother at fox chase Monday morning. He is facing a battle with cancer.

Add that to the mix and I just didn't think it was a smart move to make that hop.

I really do need to stay night current, especially this time of year.