Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fun Flights and Current, Still

08Romeo, ready to fly
I was running out of time for instrument currency and I needed an approach to keep me legal flying in the system. I really need to take advantage of the wx days we get here in Ocean City and make the hop between GED and OXB to just knock out an approach when I can.
I posted on Facebook looking for a Safety Pilot.  Mike B is out of town and I do miss his torture in the air, not to mention just hanging out with a good friend for the day.  So since I posted I had hoped to hook up with someone I had flown with previously.  For the non-flyers reading this a safety pilot keeps eyes outside watching for traffic and the pilots overall conformance to the approach in other words don't screw up knocking the rust off.  Honestly I wasn't very rusty, shooting approaches is comfortable and flow pretty smooth.
flying south running the gauntlet
Once I posted on Facebook Jeff F from the Richmond area said he was free.  Excellent!!  I haven't flown with Jeff in ages.  Jeff was once hangared at 33N and we did get to fly a good bit together.  I helped Jeff get his  second plane, an Archer (93Zulu), home from Texas after his purchase.  We had some laughs over that flight today during lunch.  We both learned so much about cross country flying and how bad we both really needed to get the instrument rating.  I also flew in Jeff's first plane, a Cherokee (26Juliet) on my first trip to the aviation mecca, First Flight in Kill Devil Hills North Carolina.
crossing the Chesapeake bay, looking over my shoulder at the cloud build ups over the peninsula.
I guess what I'm getting at is a pilot only trusts certain people to be their safety pilot, well, at least I do. I would let my Bride fly with Jeff anytime, so trust is important.
I traded a text message or two and advised engine start and wheels up shortly.  I had filed a flight plan and pretty much got as filed with only a heading on departure that I would need to follow until picked up on radar. Easy peasy, I'm off to enjoy the gorgeous day.
Richmond, VA
I flew south along the Delmarva peninsula trying to avoid the build ups that were guarding the coast. I managed to deviate, as approved, then return to my initial course direct Cape Charles. Once clear of the Patuxent restricted space I was turned south west direct Richmond, thanks approach for the short cut!
On the ramp at KFCI

Smooth flying despite the build ups. I made my way for KFCI via Richmond and couldn't pick up the weather (AWOS), it was mentioned in the NOTAMS as 'unavailable' until June 2nd.  Approach had no NOTAM with that info. Based on the Richmond ATIS info I selected runway three-three. As I got closer I did finally hear the weather at Chesterfield County and advised Approach I wanted to change my approach to the RNAV GPS 15.
I was directed to turn direct DOCEV and expect vectors to final. I agreed and advised whatever is easier for approach. As directed I was turned to final and once established on the approach with the field in view I cancelled IFR.
Jeff's Saratoga
I made a good landing and turned off at the first taxiway. Jeff was at the terminal and pointed me to parking. I took on 17 gallons of fuel, thanks for your discount Jeff! Once I sumped the fuel we climbed in and hatched our plan for a couple of approaches. I would fly to KPTB, Dinwiddie County Airport in Petersburg, Virginia.
First up was the RNAV GPS 23. We were headed direct ONIKE for the procedure turn/holding pattern and then inbound. I made a nice approach with one drop below the altitude of 2000. Jeff quickly pointed it out as I was making a correction. Everything else looked good and I kept the needles centered.  This was a low approach only and was followed with a climb out pointing us back to KFCI for the ILS RWY 33.
1RW Panel
Another nice approach with a decent landing. We taxied in and secured 08Romeo so we could get some flying time in Jeff's Saratoga. We passed on lunch, instead choosing to fly then eat when we get back. Jeff pre-flighted 1Romeo Whiskey and used his neat tug to pull the plane out. I could not imagine pulling this aircraft out with a full belly of fuel.
Richmond Tower
I had to do some weird aerobic move to get my self in but had plenty of room once belted in. Getting in from the right side is hard on my hip and knee. Jeff fired up 1RW and she really purrs. I was amazed how quiet she was with such a big power plant up front. Of course once the air conditioning was on I was hooked. We taxied out and departed runway one five as I watched the fuel flow 'gulp' increase. 1RW climbed out and just ate up the ground below, a sweet climbing machine and Jeff only works her at 60% power. I loved the glass panel, everything was neat and well organized and Jeff made it just flow.
....and Terminal
First for Jeff was the KOFP, Hanover County Municipal Airport  RNAV GPS RWY 16 approach. Jeff worked with Potomac Approach and lined up a second approach into Richmond, KRIC. Jeff made a nice approach with the autopilot and flew it by hand from the Final Approach Fix. Low approach followed by a climb out for Richmond. Approach took us out and around with vectors to bring us back for a nice intercept for the RNAV GPS Z RWY 16. The 'Z' approach is for the airport that has two RNAV approaches to the same runway.
crossing the bay, south east view towards Norfolk
north view looking at the cloud build ups I'll once again cross.
This would terminate in a low approach followed by going missed and returning to Chesterfield. The tower gave us a 190* turn on climb out and it passed us right over the parallel taxiway, it looked and felt like a fly by the tower. I had a good laugh, negative ghost rider, the pattern is full.

I'll take that tail wind!
I got some stick time as we headed back to FCI. The Saratoga handles very well, I could feel the difference from the Sundowner.  She was responsive, didn't require much trim and just flew really nice, I could see why Jeff made this selection. We entered the pattern and turned final a tad high but Jeff said she floats like a rock. He made it look easy and set 1RW on her mains followed by the nose gear. This is where I really felt the weight difference, this is a big plane. 
taxi for departure rwy 15
Jeff took me out to lunch at a pizza place not far from the airport, I can't remember the name. The food and service was very good and it seemed as soon as we sat down we were heading back. 
doing that pilot stuff
It was a fun day flying and I am looking forward to making the trip again very soon. I saddled up for home and filed for this leg too. KFCI HCM JAMIE KOXB.  I was cleared as filed and soon cut loose for 7000.  The altitude selection was good, climbed above the build ups and only surfing my way through a few between Richmond and the Harcom VOR. Approach was excellent, they always do a great job in this area. I went feet wet and crossed the Chesapeake Bay headed for the peninsula and pointed directly at KMFV, Accomack airport. I turned north at the JAMIE intersection and enjoyed the view and ride to Ocean City.
Traffic was light at KOXB, I heard the jump plane and one aircraft inbound from the north. We coordinated and everything went smooth as I was number two to land behind the south bound traffic. I slowed down as I turned final so the jump plane could depart and as he climbed out I made another nice landing. 

08Romeo, back home
Overall a great day flying and once again I beat the instrument fairy to the prize....I'm good until the end of September!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

RWY 2/20, 14/32 CLSD

It's looking like a ground pounding type of day. No, not because of the wx forecast but instead both runways are closed at KOXB. :(
The thought process is to make a run to Helen's Sausage House for supplies, check out Summit Aviation at KEVY for fees and ground transportation and visit the Veterans Cemetery to visit Mary's parents.  We like to keep the plaque cleaned up and make sure Pop has a flag at all times.
It's 9am and we are heading out the door for today's adventure. I haven't made this run since the end of March, I don't miss it. We made good time with little traffic heading north bound. I made a stop at Helen's for a sandwich and we purchased 5 lbs of links for later use...yummy. Back on the road heading north north-east, I followed RT896 then RT71/301 to the Veterans Memorial. We made another quick stop for flowers and then made three right turns to the memorial.
The grounds are always immaculate, the ground crew does a fantastic job and I'm sure all the families appreciate the special care they provide. It gives me chills to see all the flags, so many men and women that have served our Country.
Our next stop was a six minute drive. We checked in at Summit Aviation, KEVY to inquire about a crew/courtesy car. They do have a car available, first come first serve. The remaining ride south was typical travel time, a bit more traffic than this morning but moving very well.
I'm looking forward to the next visit by plane, 40 minutes each way sure beats and hour and forty minutes of driving each way.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day - We Remember

We remember. Thank you to those that have served, those protecting this Nation today and the families that have sacrificed so much.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Back to the Valley

Wilkes-Barre, PA  -  Wyoming Valley, The Valley with a Heart!

I know I posted this info back in 2006 but I wanted to repost to once again expand on the title of the post. I was just 14 and the destruction I saw is still fresh in my minds eye today. It will be 43 years the end of June.

The Valley with a Heart, Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley was our destination today. Wyoming Valley got that tag back when a flood ravaged the area. On June 23, 1972, tropical storm Agnes swept through the area. In her wake, she left 18 inches of rain, 25,000 homes nearly destroyed, and $1 billion in damages. The river rose to 40.9 feet, 18.9 feet above flood stage, and 4 feet above the levees that were built after the flood of 1936, which crested at 33 feet. Although 2,278 businesses in Wilkes-Barre were damaged by the 9 feet of water that flooded the square, downtown Wilkes-Barre has been totally revitalized by the new businesses and buildings that have sprung up after the tragedy. I remember walking through the area and seeing houses gone, washed away. The devastation was almost unbelievable....but it was so real. The Valley with a heart vowed to come back and they did. Good hard working folks that care about each other and the place they call home.
I filed for our flight this morning just to keep working in the system and to help keep sharp with communications and flight planning. Patuxent Clearance and Delivery answered on my second call and we swapped all the required info. I was quickly released for departure.

R- ENO V29 As Filed, Depart on 270* heading
A- 3000/6000 in ten minutes
F- 127.95 (Pax)
T- 7064

What a gorgeous day, the sky was cloud free and the visibility was spectacular! I climbed out on a 270 heading and contacted approach. Pax cleared me to 6000 and direct EZIZI.  Of course I didn't have EZIZI in my flight plan, instead ENO.  No problem, I hit FLTPLN on the garmin 530 and scrolled down to ENO and dialed in EZIZI then direct. Pax changed my altitude to 5000 and I cut my climb short.

Blue Mountain

Lehigh Tunnels I-476

I was handed off to Dover, multiple Philly approaches, Allentown approach and finally Wilkes-Barre. Wilkes gave me a few vectors and I reported having the current weather followed by reporting the field in sight. Approach handed me off to the tower and I was cleared to land on runway 4. A bit of cross wind but a nice landing and roll out.
There is a new FBO at KAVP, Aviation Technologies. Customer service was perfect and the folks were just so friendly. We took on 17 gallons of fuel and used the courtesy car to make a run for flowers and mulch for the cemetery. Last person to use the car left an 1/8 of a tank, what a putz.  We  made a stop just outside the airport and put it a half tank so we could make our run. Flowers looked great and everything cleaned up nice.  I wish I had a wire brush to clean off around the headstone it had a sandy growth starting. Time to improvise...I used a river stone that was in the dirt and gave it a light rub, it turned out just fine.
I really miss my folks...At least I can keep Mom in flowers.  She loved pink !
Walking through the cemetery to say a prayer at the grand parents I bumped into my cousin Phillip from Florida and his Mom, my Aunt Lee, it was great to catch up.  They were doing the same thing Mary and I were doing, cleaning up the family plots for Memorial Day.

Keystone (my family's hometown)  just ahead on the left
We said our goodbyes and loaded the trash and tools in the car. After a quick stop to add to the dumpster we pointed the car for AVP. I paid for fuel and went out to sump before climbing in.  Mary was already getting things squared away in the plane. After a complete walk around and hands on inspection I climbed in the left seat. 08Romeo came to life and with a call to ground we were cleared to taxi.  No IFR plan this leg, instead I asked for flight following and got a squawk code, 1610.
I climbed out on runway 4 and once clear of the right side 'hills' I made a right turn on course as directed. Tower cut me loose for approach and I made my calls to check in. It was a super smooth ride at 6,500 and each hand off to a new sector was easy peasy.  Philly cleared me into the Bravo airspace and turned me direct Ocean City. It was a quiet ride with each approach while I was cranking up the country music in the plane.  Mary passed out and I moved my mic out of the way and was singing along, it was fun.
Thanks for the shortcut Philly Approach, cleared through the Bravo!
The Delaware memorial Bridges....I don't miss work at all!
I worked my way into OXB and was number two for the field. Another smooth landing and an easy roll out for the mid field taxiway. 08Romeo is tucked in for the rest of the weekend and depending if I can get out Friday before the runway work starts She may have to be relocated to KGED.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hop For Fuel

This morning Mary was going to head to the beach with our friend Pam.  That works for me, I'll get the main gear cleaned and painted and make the short hop to top off fuel for our Wilkes-Barre trip. I preflighted 08Romeo and launched for Georgetown, Sussex County, KGED. It was beautiful this morning so I pulled the power and chugged along taking a few pictures.

The Parke at Ocean Pines. Our house!
I did manage to work on steep turns and since there was only one other aircraft inbound for GED I did some slow flight.  With the headwind approaching GED and full flaps I think I flew backwards! Well I flew pretty darn slow listening to the stall horn then calling it quits.
Ocean Downs Casino
I entered the pattern on a left base for two-eight and made a nice landing. I'm once again hearing the stall horn, the horn thing as my Bride calls it. I taxied in and parked next to a King Air and placed my order for fuel.

I ordered to the slots plus six which would put me at 52 gallons. I figured a 4 gallon burn back to Ocean City so I would be sitting around 48 total for tomorrow's flight.
Selbyville, DE
I did have lunch at Arenas, a massive bacon monster BLT. Service was quick, food excellent and I got an additional ten cents a gallon off for eating there.  Couple that discount with the fuel tax rebate of twenty three cents a gallon at tax time and the fuel price per gallon works out to $4.42, not bad.
I made the quick hop back to OXB and taxied to the hangar. The wheels were next on my list for clean up so I did the degrease, wash and prep for paint. They turned out ok and at least look clean for our get-away.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wing Walk

Wait, you thought maybe I was going to wing walk?  LMAO! No, not a chance.  Instead, it's time to upgrade the wing walk area on 08Romeo.

Ok, the plan for this rainy beach day is to finish 08Romeo's detail by CAVU back on March 21st and get the wing walk areas looking just as good as Ivan left the rest of the plane. My plan of attack is to purchase a product made by Rustoleum or Krylon.  Not just paint but an anti-skid paint to dress up the existing wing walk product.
Step 1 - Painters tape and plenty of newspaper/detailers paper to protect the aircraft.
Step 2 - lightly wire brush existing area and clean with compressed air.
Step 3 - Shake the heck out of the can and get all that good grit moving.
Step 4 - Get the blue gloves on and cross my fingers that I apply the product smooth and even.
As I finished taping off the pilot/left side I realized I forgot to take pictures of the process...DUH!
I got the left side ready to wire brush and took a few shots. I also managed to shoot the non-slip paint on my steps. They look good and now have the extra grip for Mary and I when we climb aboard.
I did take a few of the right side between coats.  Here is the right side after the second coat was applied and then the final results after the paper and tape are removed.
Overall I think the results are fabulous! This job took some time to paper off and prep but overall much easier than the wing walk product and using rollers. One spray can did two coats on each side and it was easy to shoot since it was one of those cans you could hold in any direction. The product has very good texture and for under $7 it was worth the time and effort to complete 08Romeos spring detail.