Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Great Plan, No Flight :(

The plan was to fly to Wilkes-Barre, KAVP. We planned on taking advantage of the crew car or rent a car in order to make the cross valley drive to Forty-Fort.  This was going to be the annual trip to take care of my parents cemetery plot.  I like to plant flowers and mulch so everything looks great for spring and the typical visitation on memorial day by family.

We loaded up Ziva and headed to the airport.  I took on fuel to bring us to 50 gallons and pulled 08Romeo out in the sun.  We were ready to go and had garden hand tools, a doggie bag for water and treats and my iPad stowed.

As I was shutting the hangar door Mary had asked me for something, as I reach to hand it to her I dropped my iPhone 6.  SPLAT!  it hit the metal drain that runs in front of the hangar...the screen was shattered.  Ughhh...Strike 1.
08Romeo started as her usual, seven shots of prime and a blade or two then she comes to life.  Oil was warmed from the overnight preheat and I chugged and plugged the flight plan in the 530 then saved it. We taxied out to runway three-two and did our run up. Hmmm...left mag drops way off, not fifty or a hundred off , I mean drop of the tach. I tried to clear the plugs three times on that mag but no luck.  Just for kicks I tried the right mag but still couldn't clear the plugs. I figured it had to be the left mag took a vacation. I turned us around and taxied back to the ramp. Strike 2.

Ocean Aviation was able to take a look right away. I chatted with the guy for a short time but I could tell he wanted no assistance from me. Not a problem, some shops are that way.  The guy was very nice and gave me a run down of the troubleshooting process. With that I walked over to the terminal and waited. We were not really locked into a time schedule but I did want to be home by 3pm if I could. If the car shop called that's doing my inspection on the Cabrio I wanted to be able to pick it up before closing.  All part of a plan to get two of the three cars retitled tomorrow and get our new drivers license for Maryland.
Looking at the clock as I paid the bill it was 11:40ish. Doing some quick time calcs I figure two hours north (2pm) then an hour and a half to/from the cemetery and gardening (3:30) followed by the flight home and getting 08Romeo back in the hangar another two hours (5:30).  The shop closes at 5pm so instead of pushing the schedule and hauling butt across the valley and back I called Strike 3 for timing.

I taxied 08Romeo back to her hangar and tucked her in. Mary and I will give this flight thing another try Saturday with the flight to Hatteras, NC (KHSE) to meet up with Beech Aero Club members.  We will reschedule the flight to KAVP next week sometime, after my oil change at 58M.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Visiting former co-workers

Not much to do around the house today with Mary in bed with a migraine so I decided to fly.  A short hop, Ocean City (KOXB) to Millville (KMIV). I figured I would grab some breakfast then catch up with my friends. I had the pets squared away, Ziva fed and out. The cats were fed, box cleaned and I listened to them yap at me for locking them out of our bedroom last night, they were not happy.  Since we've been home from Key West the cats feel they should be allowed to jump on and off the bed all during the night while the humans try and sleep. Let me just say that in the dark I'm not sure they all land on their feet while they get tossed off.

After the rant quieted down I checked on my bride and made sure she had her meds, something cool to drink and that the room was quiet and dark. Quiet equals NO cats.
OC MD  RT90 Bridge
I headed to the hangar and once I opened the door I think 08Romeo had to squint. It's been twenty days since my last flight. I tried to start the Cabrio but it just clicked, I guess it does not like to be neglected.  Since it is tucked under the wing I had to push it out in order to jump start the thing...GRrrrr.  All the vehicles were clear, the Cabrio running and my truck parked and locked, it was finally time to pull 08Romeo out.
KOXB 221153Z AUTO 23008KT 10SM CLR 14/08 A2984

I did a very detailed pre-flight and decided with the short hop I wouldn't need fuel. Runway 14-32 is closed for sealing and striping so runway 20 was the choice.  This worked out perfect since the windsock was pointing in favor of my selection. 08Romeo climbed out turning east over the beach and then north just inland of the beach towns.  Ocean City, Fenwick, Bethany and Rehoboth all passed under my right wing as I climbed and settled at 7,500 for my Delaware Bay crossing.
The AWOS at Millville was not working so the 496 was my wx outlet for the latest METAR and forecast. I selected runway 28 and made my calls as I descended for the pattern. No traffic today, very quiet and for the very first time Millville radio did not make a peep.  I have a history with them....nuf' said.

KMIV 221554Z AUTO 20008G15KT 10SM CLR 20/04 A2969

I taxied in and parked at the restaurant, I was the only aircraft on the ramp. Verna's Flight Line was busy with locals but I grabbed a seat at the counter and was served very quickly.  The owner said she hadn't  seen me in, in a while, where have I been.  Oh man, she served that one right up and with a big grin I said, I'm retired.  Yes, breakfast tasted just a bit better knowing I didn't have to walk out of there and deal with contract issues, I just had to saddle up and fly home.
I did get to meet up with Tim from operations, he is a fellow pilot and also a CFII.  I told him I would like to catch up and check out the new sim that Big Sky installed, he said that would be great.  We swapped pone numbers since I lost all my contacts when my former employer shut off my email and server access. I thought they were already backed up on icloud but,  that didn't happen.

I climbed aboard and got 08Romeo started, I'm not sure who feels stranger, me or the plane, with this flying midweek stuff. I think we could both get used to it.  The hop is only thirty minutes, give or take and I had twelve gallons showing on the Garmin 530. That would leave me seven and the 530 does not account for leaning or time on the ground, it counts a ten gallon and hour burn from start to stop so there is a safety cushion.
Cape May Ferry Terminal
I decided to taxi out and head for Georgetown, KGED, the fuel is cheap and you can get a twenty-three cent a gallon rebate with the fuel tax. Once I climbed out the fantastic tail wind was now a brutal headwind with moderate turbulence in the area.  I didn't want to cross the Delaware Bay until I reached 6,500 so I flew to the coast climbing and watching the ETE to GED. To close for comfort, I diverted to Cape May to take on fuel, fuel tax rebate be damned.
Rehoboth Beach
Dewey Beach
Better safe than my friends reading about me not making the field due to no fuel. I did get to meet up with Joe C, our cape may Op's guy. Always great to see Joe.  We swapped some numbers and yukked it up about projects and me being retired.  I do feel bad, the airports in NJ will not see the dedication I gave to them. For the new engineers it's just another job and there are no pilots on the revamped staff.
Indian River Bridge, South coastal view
I said my goodbyes and reminded Joe to call on his day off, we'll go fly.  I taxied 08Romeo out to runway one-niner and launched for home.

KACY 221454Z 20011KT 10SM CLR 20/03 A2974

I lingered over the Cape May ferry terminal long enough to climb to 4,500 then pointed for the Bay.  I crossed at 6,500 and shadowed the ferry as it was crossing. I flew right over Cape Henlopen and managed a few pictures of the coast line heading south from the Indian River bridge. Smooth flying at altitude but as soon as I started to let down for Ocean City it was moderate turbulence all the way, yee haww!

KOXB 221653Z AUTO 20011G21KT 10SM CLR 17/08 A2972

I made my calls for Ocean City traffic and set up for a straight in for runway two-zero. I didn't hear stall horn but I felt the mains followed by the nose wheel. I really need to work on that landing configuration. With the taxiway closed I made a U-turn and back taxied for the hangar. All tucked in and bugs cleaned off 08Romeo is ready to go for her next mission.
Cabrio CPR!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Marathon Florida Vacation

Once again, just like the Key West trip Mary and I went back and forth if we should fly 08Romeo or fly commercial. With such cheap flights it's a push when it comes to fuel for our plane vs the ride along. We decided to fly commercial, no worries about weather, check in and check out, get on a plane and sleep. More on this sleep thought later.

Sunday 4/12/15

Mary and I dropped the pets off last night so we could sleep in this morning, then get a few things done before heading to Salisbury Airport, KSBY. We were already packed and ready to go so there was no stress.  I was thinking to myself we would be in the air already if we were flying 08Romeo. I loaded up the SUV and we headed out for breakfast. Our scheduled departure was around noon so we arrived at the airport around 10am. Salisbury is so easy, check the bags and take a seat while you wait for TSA to open. Once TSA opened we got in line like good little cattle and went through the metal detectors. Mary is always no problem, good to go.  Yours truly on the other hand, always gets the pat down because it just never stops beeping due to my total right hip. I know, stand on the footprints, arms extended palms up and lets give you a grope.  Actually the agent was very professional and he sent me on my way in short order.
The ride to Charlotte, KCLT was a DHC 8-300 Dash 8 painted in the new merger paint scheme for US Air/American. My first time in a Dash 8 and I have to say it was comfortable. Plenty of leg room and with the center arm rest stowed it was very comfortable for the shoulder to shoulder zone.  Then they started up, it was really loud, everything vibrated and I was not liking this. I forgot to bring my iPhone headset plugs and had no ear plugs.  I hoped it would quiet down in flight. We did have a service dog on board, his name was Parker. He was a very good boy, settled in and slept under the seat just as if his owner was stowing a carry on bag, except furry.
We taxied out and departed with no wait time, I sure don't miss the Philly conga line and sitting on the taxiway. The noise was very bad and the overheads vibrated. It was like sitting on and old riding mower with a bent blade and wearing a metal box over you to increase the sound and vibration.  Thankfully it was only an hour and forty-five minute flight.  There was no sleepy time on this flight.
Once on the ground at Charlotte we crossed terminals from  our arriving at E and made our way to the departing gate in C.  Easy walk with the people movers and always fun to people watch.  We had a two hour layover so we grabbed lunch and waited it out.
It was time to board so we each flashed the boarding pass and walked on the plane. The seating in the Embraer E175 was a bit tighter than the Dash 8.  Leg room was good and the noise was no where near as bad as the Dash. Our flight crew did a nice job getting us safely on the ground at Key West.  We're on vacation!!!
short final key west


Mary and I spent two days on the beach, broiled in the sun and slept more hours than one can imagine. After cooking the bodies all day on the beach we would come back to the room, shower, nap then get ready for dinner. We ate at the resorts main restaurant, Alma's for two nights and did room service two nights, all the food was fantastic!!
This guy was pretty Iguana?
Pelicans fly by

Wednesday 4/15/15

We decided to change things up a bit and use the rental car for a trip south to Key West.  It's a boring drive but the water view is beautiful along the way.  I enjoyed checking out the old bridge structures along our route, not much left but a skeleton of their past life.  I guess it was about an hour and twenty minute ride to and from.  We found a great parking space just off Duval street on Caroline street, a block and a half walk.
St. Peters
We decided to walk the east side and made our way to Southard St before crossing to the west side and heading back. We made our way back north stopping to take some pictures of St. Peters Church now with a better view. We continued on checking out shops and local hot spots. We decided on grabbing a few specials from Sloppy Joe's and decided to cool off at the bar while we waited for our food. We managed to snap a shot of ourselves on their web cam too!
Can you find us?
Mary bumped into her friend from work, what are the chances?
We headed back to Hawks Cay resort munching on fries and enjoying a cool drink. I made good time and Mary took a nap.  It was really warm and the humidity was taking its toll on us both.  I did find a McDonalds and made a quick stop for an ice cream sundae for each of us. Once back at the room we cleaned up and took a nap. This nap thing seems to be a common theme on this vacation and I'm liking it.
Boat channel to the Marina
We actually decided on Hawks Cay because it was away from everything and honestly there really isn't a wide selection of activities in Duck Key. I didn't feel like driving back to Marathon so we enjoyed our rest and relaxation.  This vacation was about R&R.  After dealing with the sale of the north house, the purchase of the beach house and my retirement we just wanted quiet down time.

Thursday- 4/16/15

Thursday was a carbon copy of Monday and Tuesday, Beach and R&R time. We enjoyed a fabulous baked lobster dinner at Alma's to close out the day. We packed everything up so we would be ready to go in the morning and just hunt out some breakfast eats.

Friday 4/17/15

Friday morning we headed out for a last breakfast at the resort.  Excellent food and service once again to close out our stay. I will say that the staff is excellent, very friendly and they really work hard.  Mary and I noticed that most of the staff works their morning shift then they are back for the afternoon evening shift. As busy as they were they always had a smile on their face and went out of their way to make conversation.

Most of the folks work as many double shifts as possible during the busy season since the off season is so slow. I give them a lot of credit, on their feet all day putting up with people and still have that smile and great attitude. As one of our waiters said "there's a price for living in paradise".

We loaded up the rental and pointed towards key west for the airport.  A nice drive with the a/c cranked up and the radio knocking out some oldies, good stuff!  We returned the rental then made our way back out to the parking garage to take an elevator up one floor to check in.  We already had our boarding passes printed out from Thursday afternoon at the resort, this would prove valuable later on.
Ok Mary goes through the regular doorway type scanner and I chose to blind some poor gal/guy in the back room as I walk into the full body scanner. Easy peasy right?  Sir, can you step over here please, I'll need to pat down your right leg and left ankle area.  Ah, ok have at it, I have a total right hip so I get that but no clue about the left ankle.  He does his thing and I'm cleared to proceed to the gate. We take the escalator down to the departure terminal and the place is packed with people. Our gate agent is asking for anyone to exchange their flight for a later flight for a $400 flight credit. We're not getting into this, we want to get on the plane.  The issue is strictly a weight and balance problem due to the heat/density altitude and short runway.

As we walk out to the plane we are told that if your carry on does not fit in the overhead or under your seat you will not be on the flight. I guess this worked because some folks got booted.  We were soon fired up and  ready to taxi out. The Embraer E175 was a quiet ride and Mary and I did nod off on the ride to Charlotte. 
Once we got off the plane we had a four hour layover, yes, four hours. Now all you pilot friends reading this know for a fact I was calculating my flight times, in my head, if we took our Sundowner.  My planned route would have been MTH-MLB-CHS-OXB.  We sat down for dinner at Dale Jr's, Whiskey River Wings and Beer.  I enjoyed a beef brisket and Mary had the grilled salmon, both dishes were excellent.
Lets get back to my flight plan...If we left at 8am from Marathon We would be in Melbourne around 10:30 fueled and back in the air by 11am at the latest, so 3 hours. From MLB we would launch for Charleston CHS and that would be another 3.5 to 4 hours.  So far we are theoretically sitting around 3pm.  Our last leg would be CHS to OXB so figure 4 hours. A quick calculation and a double check of my mickey watch says we would be on the ground at Ocean City around 7pm.  We didn't get off the ground at CLT until 8pm and didn't get into Salisbury SBY until 9:45.
We picked up our bags pretty quick and hustled out to the parking lot to get the bags in the SUV.  Drive time home was a half hour or so and we got home at 10:20. Even though I explained the time savings with the Sundowner my lovely Bride once again told me to go get a faster plane so we can do this ourselves even quicker. Sigh.....

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Beech to the Beach

 Beech Aero Club will join the VA/NC Pilots Assoc and Fly-In to Cape Hatteras' Billy Mitchell Airport (KHSE) on May 2 at noon. The beach is within walking distance and there will be arrangements to get to the lighthouse for those that are interested. Also, you may leave that afternoon or camp out on the beach. The campground is in easy walking distance of the airport. 
 The flight from Ocean City (KOXB) to Billy Mitchell (KHSE) will be under two hours so a day meeting up with fellow BAC members will be fun. Mary does not do camping so we will either fly home that evening or make arrangements to overnight just north in Nags Heads. One of our favorite stops is Dare County(KMQI) close to good eats and places to stay. HSE to MQI is just a twenty minute hop and there is always the temptation to head a bit farther south to Ocracoke! Maybe this will be an extended weekend four day get-away, we shall see how the wx plays out.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Kayla's Foster Flight

Its been almost three years since our last Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue (MAESSR) flight.  Since Mary and I are both retired we decided to jump back into rescue flights.  The first email was for a transport to Kayla's new foster home in Goochland VA.  My pick up location was coordinated to meet up in Wilmington, Delaware (KILG).
Kayla is a 15 month old princess who rides well in a car, does the crate thing (not happy about it)and is happy on a tether too. The plan is for a 8am departure from Ocean City ,Maryland (KOXB) and meet at Aero Ways FBO at Wilmington around 9am.
A group of us were involved in pulling this transport together on such short notice. Carolyn, Eva and Joan all managed to coordinate the drop off, I'll I had to do was show up with the plane. Debbie met me at the plane in Hanover.
I decided not to pick up my clearance on the ground, instead, I would pick it up in the air with Dover Approach. The sky was gorgeous and other than providing arrival info at the FBO I really didn't need to file at all. It was a smooth ride at 5000, hands in my lap enjoying the view. I made it a point today to verbalize all my checks and each process or phase of flight. Philly approach dropped me down to 3000 and had me fly a right down wind for runway one niner, this seemed odd. Then as I was cruising by midfield still at 3000 I figured they forgot about me. Sure enough. I contacted Philly and asked if they would like me to cancel or were they going to hand me off.  The controller responded, ahhh...didn't I turn you over to the tower.  No sir, but I'll cancel in the air with you now.  He thanked me. 
Joan arrived at Aero Ways and we walked, no Kayla drug us out on the ramp.  This girl was in a hurry, right up until she got up to the plane then she locked up the brakes.  The line guys at Aero Ways were very helpful with getting the kennel in the plane, Thanks guys!!

I picked up my clearance with Wilmington ground and taxied out for departure.

C KOFP  Hanover
R RV to join V29 ENO V16 RIC Direct
A 2000/6000
F 119.75 (Philly)
T 11xx

Upon receiving my clearance for take off I was instructed fly runway heading climb 2000.  No problem I was rolling, Kayla was sitting in her kennel just staring at me as we climbed away from Wilmington. I was handed off to Philly and they gave me a vector or two then turned me direct ENO Smyrna.
NAS Patuxent River
I felt back in the saddle, it felt good. Hand offs to each sector flying south went smoothly.  I held course and altitude well and managed pictures along the way. It looked beautiful crossing the bay and seeing all the familiar landmarks. I broke out a Gatorade and some crackers for me, a dog biscuit for Kayla. She didn't want it or a piece of my Toast Chee cracker. I canceled with Potomac and made my way into OFP. As I descended through 3000 the winds really kicked in, it was an interesting ride to landing.

KOFP 021554Z AUTO 19011G22KT 10SM CLR 17/M01 A3027

Kayla was happy to be out of the kennel. She wanted to drag me into the FBO but halfway there Debbie met us.  Kayla was very excited to see her then I handed off the leash, the honeymoon was over.  All of a sudden the dog who just stared at me was now my best buddy, tail wagging and wanting to climb in my lap.  I helped Debbie with the kennel and after swapping out hugs I headed for home.

I was hoping the head winds I fought getting here were now going to help me home. After riding the bucking horse through 3000 I hit smooth air and watched the airspeed climb. As I climbed through 5000 I contacted Potomac Approach and requested flight following.  I gave my planned course, present position JAMIE SWL KOXB and en route altitude as 7500. Yes I said present position,  the controller said let me find you as he chuckled.  I quickly responded with xx miles north east of Richmond as I fought back laughing at myself. Approach advised radar contact and off we went.  What a brain fart, I thought it and it just came out as I was looking at the 'nearest' screen with the info.
The tail winds were great as I cruised along in the 125-130 range. Once handed off to Norfolk they gave me a short cut that would take me through R4006 and R6609.
The Norfolk controller changed his mind as I approached and gave me two vectors to keep me just on the fringe.  I guess it was a wash and it's always good practice.

KOXB 021653Z AUTO 21014G24KT 10SM CLR 13/01 A3027

I canceled flight following around twenty miles out and thanked him for his service today. I switched over to CTAF at OXB and listened to the jump plane taking off.  We stayed in contact and I entered the pattern as the 4 minutes to jumpers away rang out. I made another nice landing with gusty winds. A fun day with a real mission! Mary and I are looking forward to more rescue flights in our future.

Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Organization is a 501c3 stand alone organization that is not affiliated with any other rescue organization.  MAESSR is devoted to the rescue and placement of stray, abandoned, relinquished or impounded English Springer Spaniels.  Our Primary focus is on the Mid-Atlantic Region covering Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.