Thursday, January 29, 2015

Flying Publications

I just renewed my IFR Refresher and decided to sign back up for Aviation Safety Magazine after a long absence. There are many Flying related publications available for us to indulge, what, if any, do you read and why?

I enjoy IFR Refresher, they review real world accidents, discuss IFR flights and break down portions of a flight that helps keep me current and open to new ideas.  IFRR helps review portions of my IFR flying that might not be a part of every flight and ties in the ATC process to help get pilots and controllers on the same page. I wish there were more pages!

As I mentioned, I also renewed my Aviation Safety subscription after a long lay off so I will report back once I get into reading it.  The 'about us' on their web page states the following;
Aviation Safety, the monthly journal of risk management and accident prevention, is packed with useful, timely information on basic and advanced technique, accident analysis and, most important, practical articles on how you can develop the judgment that will keep you in the air and out of the NTSB's files.

Additional Aviation related magazines:



So, what do you read and why?

Thursday, January 22, 2015



Talk about a quick turn.  We accepted an offer on our home and now the paper work trail begins.

Special thanks to Erik Hoferer and his Associastes at

Awesome job!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cold But Clear

I got things done around the house early this morning, including play time with Ziva at the dog park.  I also got wash done and received a furniture delivery for the office. It was time to fly!
East of KGED looking across the Delaware Bay to Cape May NJ
The original plan was to meet Mike at KILG around 10:00 and then hop in the Cirrus for a breakfast run.  Things fell apart when I remembered the furniture delivery schedule between 12 and 3.  Instead, Mike caught up with Vince and they made the hop to KESN, Easton Maryland.  Mike and Vince  would have made the hop to OCMD but Vince was running late and the plan changed.

I had the furniture in and the delivery guys gone by 11:45, I was headed to the airport!  I had left 08R plugged in overnight so she was warm and ready to go.  I swapped the cars around, took on 8 gallons of 100LL and got the fan turning.  I taxied out, number two for departure.  Run up was good to go and 08R climbed out just loving the cold temps.  I made the hop at three thousand and picked up flight following with Dover approach.  Dover once again changed approach frequencies, from 35.15 back to  32.42 .  I had made three calls and was starting to wonder if I had a radio problem. I rode along with Dover and they cut me loose VFR half way to ILG.
I made my call to Wilmington from 10 south with the current ATIS info and altitude.  I entered the left down wind runway one niner and followed with a landing on the numbers with hardly any roll out... Sweet!!

I picked up Mike and we taxied for runway one four.  I had to hold short while a falcon jet, piper Cheyenne and a Pitts landed.  Good Lord I'm ready to go a already!

Mike flew this leg and I worked the radio. There was traffic departing and two holding short, both launched as we continued inbound.  We taxied in and secured 08R including cowl plugs to try and hold some heat.  The Flying Machine Cafe' was busy but the service was excellent as always. Mike and I enjoyed lunch and caught up on our flying.

I pointed 08R into the wind and turned for Wilmington.  It was a quick flight and smooth landing at Wilmington. We taxied in and Mike jumped out without me shutting down, it's a quick turn and burn for home. I had checked fuel at MQS and guesstimated 18-20 gallons, the Garmin 530 displayed 18. With my taxi clearance acknowledged 08R was soon launched for the beach. I had hoped for a tailwind but instead had a seven knot quartering headwind to deal with. I kept a close eye on my fuel burn and ended up with eight gallons remaining, leaning is your friend.
I secured 08R and got her plugged in for the next trip, both battery maintainer and Reiff heaters set. It was a great day, flying and even more so enjoying the unlimited visibility. Temps were running between 20-25 degrees F, but 08Romeo's heater kept me toasty all day. I forgot to take the sunset picture inbound to OXB so I grabbed one on the road back to the house, its just not the same.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

N/A Home for Sale

Mary and I have listed our home for sale as we transition to our retirement at the beach!
This classic Brandywine Hundred home is in true move-in condition and is ready for new owners. From the moment you arrive, the curb appeal of this fine property will capture your attention. Upon entry, the many updates and obvious care this home has received continue to jump out at you. The large living and dining rooms are spacious and open, perfect for entertaining family and guests alike. The completely custom kitchen leaves nothing to be desired featuring granite tops, stainless steel appliances, and recessed lighting. The lower level family room offers the warmth of a gas burning brick fire place to keep you cozy on those chilly winter nights. Fresh paint and a décor that is neutral and ready to go top this outstanding package off. Situated on a large, level lot, you won't find a better real estate value in the area. Come see it today.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mother Nature is Cruel

Yes, Mother Nature is Cruel!
adjective: cruel;
willfully causing pain or suffering to others, or feeling no concern about it.
Back in August, during our OCMD photo shoot, Mary volunteered to help Laurie and Ted with their soon to arrive newborn twins and their son Robert, for a week.  I quickly ran the numbers and if Ted and I split the trip, meeting at some halfway point we would fly.
It would be hard for Ted to leave Laurie and the newborns for a day of flying and working the numbers it's just cheaper to fly on the spam can.  The other factor that we had to deal with is wx, a January flight would factor in the potential for ice and that's an automatic no go for me. Another key factor was Mary's health. Would it be a migraine week or a good week, there is no way to predict.
Here are the numbers crunched:

KOXB-W99-KOXB (4 Hr Round trip, 436 miles)
40 gallons x $5.50 = $220.00
Lets double that for the return trip to pick up my Bride, so I'm at $440.  Now that's strictly fuel burn, no fixed cost or reserves factored in.

If I was to make the entire round trip the fuel cost would be $880 and I would log just shy of nine hours. Unfortunately, sometimes the spam can wins when it comes to $$$.  I told Mary the one bright note is I could have had her out there in half the time the airlines did....sigh.
Flying out of Salisbury, KSBY is just a short hop for us by car, maybe twenty five minutes. The only flights will be a one stop, connecting in Charlotte-KCLT then on to Cincinnati-KCVG.
Of course on the day of departure Mother Nature sticks her tongue out at me at says check out this gorgeous weather. It was so nice I could have did the total trip if it weren't for the cost. At least Mary had a nice day flying even though I wasn't in the left seat.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Wx Planning

I faithfully read many blogs, see my list on this page.  Recently I read a post on Light Sport Aeronaut about Flight Planning. I left a comment and Dave from Light Sport Aeronaut replied.

"You bring up a good point about winds aloft. Extrapolate that out to weather planning. One of us should do a post on the timing and the weather products used in planning a trip. I nominate you."

I accept!

I monitor the weather (wx) a week in advance for my trips so that I have a rough idea if the flight will even happen. Once the extended forecast is looking good I will monitor a host of web sites that provide all the wx info a pilot could wish for.

I will check in with the AOPA wx pages and various other sites such as Duats, Vansairforce, Skew T diagrams, wx Underground, NOAA's Model Output Statistics  and Aero Weather TAF forecast on my iPhone. I have included a few of the graphics that I mentioned and use for planning.

I like to start out with the Wx Underground extended forecast for that overall long range plan.

I follow up with the AOPA wx links and review freezing levels, IFR conditions and turbulence. You can also update TAF info for your route and destination airport. This planning helps me put together plan B and C outs that I had to use this past Thanksgiving flight.
As I get closer to the day of my flight I'll review each of the links mentioned above and add in the DUATS link.
One of the best information pages for wx, a one stop shop, Vans Airforce wx page covers just about everything you will need for flight planning.
On the day of departure I will review Skew T diagrams for all my planned stops and my emergency outs (the plan B). If you haven't used this product I strongly suggest you try it. There are Skew T training CD's available and some online courses. If you experiment with the graphs you can also look down the list of Altitudes with temps/dew points, wind direction and wind speed.
 I have also added in the NOAA wx page that provides a look at ceilings, winds, precip, and other useful info.
This is just an overview. I click through each of these pages everyday starting a week out, prior to my overnight trips. I try to get a feel for the wx patterns, where to look for what's coming in to the destination airport and how to flight plan my emergency outs.
The flight planning portion was covered in a previous post I put together back in December 2007 and Dave's post, Flight Planning, details a more current look at the tools available to each pilot and the process.
As a fellow pilot and keeper of a flight journal put it, "Trepidation over planning a trip to a new airport? Understandable. Concern over flying into an uncontrolled field? Understandable. But is it a justification for not going? No more so than planning a dinner at a new eatery on the far side of town. Like eating any pizza, you have to do it one bite at a time." Another great quote from Flights of the Mouse.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Book Review: My Year As an Alaskan Bush Pilot

What can I say, I'm addicted to reading everything I can find on the Alaskan Bush Pilots.
Robert Brantner spent a year flying the Alaskan bush, he shares his look into the everyday life of a pilot. Overall a good read, one hundred sixty pages that keep you interested and wanting to just knock it out.
I enjoyed the flying and stories related to the everyday routines of the seasoned pilots as well as the newbies. The minimum condition wx related flights peaked my interest. Robert's flying the edge of the envelope and how it affected his decision making skills on future flights made for good reading.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

N/A Ocean City Fog

Mary and I wanted to get our grocery shopping done so we headed out before noon.  Today we decided to head towards Fenwick Island and shop at Harris Teeter.  Our normal stop is the Food Lion across from Ocean Pines but that store just lacks product, it serves as a good quick stop.
We headed north to RT90 and then headed east towards the ocean highway and Ocean City. As we crossed the bridge to the Isle of Wight I noticed there was no OC skyline. This was a first, I have never seen fog at the beach roll in a cover just the Peninsula. Mary and I pulled off the road and parked facing the Isle of Wight Bay (South) I snapped a few pictures for the record.
We left the park and headed across the final length of the bridge that meets the ocean highway. I snapped a few pictures that show the road ahead lost in the fog and looking to the north the buildings starting to break out.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

First Flight 2015's chilly!
I added an outside antenna for my switchbox unit so I can get cell service at Ocean City, KOXB.  I am pleased to report it's working perfect!

Mike B and I traded text messages new years eve and planned to meet up at Wilmington, KILG for some flight time and a possible breakfast run to start off the new year.  I was at the hangar and had 08Romeo ready to fly on Mike's new years day morning confirmation text.  Last item for preflight was to pull the cowl plugs and climb aboard, it was good to get out of the wind and cold temps.

KOXB 011353Z AUTO 25007KT 10SM CLR 01/M06 A3028

It was a decent ride north with some bumps along  the way as I maintained a good crab angle north west to maintain my northerly heading. I picked up flight  following with Dover approach and enjoyed the view. I did have a good view of the Pottstown cooling towers from just south of Dover, that's about sixty air miles. I noted Wilmingtons ATIS and once Dover turned me loose I monitored the towrr frequency to get a handle on traffic. It was pretty quiet as I contacted the tower from ten south with current info and intentions for landing and parking. I was directed to report a two mile left base for runway two-seven and I acknowledged the instructions.

KILG  011451Z  24013G19KT 10SM CLR. 03/M12 A3024

I made a nice landing and added power to make taxiway Mike.  I cleaned up the plane and taxied on familiar ground over to the red eagle ramp. I ordered fuel and buttoned up 08Romeo so Mike B and I could head out for breakfast.  The original plan was to 'fly' out but we couldn't find anyplace open. Instead, we opted for Crossroads on RT7 and Kirkwood highway. There was a long line but the wait was worth the eats! 

KOXB 011353Z AUTO 25007KT 10SM CLR 01/M06 A3028

The winds had picked up and 08Romeo had lost some warmth from the flight north despite turning away from the wind and installing cowl plugs when we tied down. my preflight completed, I climbed aboard and got the fan turning in hopes of feeling some heat out of the vents. ATIS noted and ground contacted for taxi clearance we were on our way. Departure from two-seven at Mike, just like old times. 08Romeo was off and climbing, approved for on course by the tower.

The ride south was like riding a young horse fresh to the bit. The winds were trying to pick up a wing or giving me that tail slide push, it was keeping the ride interesting. I once again picked up flight following with Dover, now sharing the frequency with Piedmont dash 8 flights from Salisbury. South of Georgetown,  KGED,  Dover cut me loose to squawk VFR.  I acknowledged and switched over to CTAF at OXB to monitor traffic.  I made for a straight in runway two-zero since there was another aircraft departing the same. I watched the piper climb out as I called short final, setting 08Romeo in smoothly with some steady stall horn.
It was fun flying and great to experience the seemingly endless visibility today. I sure miss the summer temps but not that nasty brown haze that comes with it.