My friend Frank (AirDorrin) is still waiting on his hangar to be repaired from one of the recent wind events at KGED. Frank did find temporary shelter for 8 Delta Fox at another airfield and recently got an opening at KESN. We traded a few text messages and both studied the weather for our flights this morning.
I filed for the short hop to Easton since the sky was looking dark to the south. Just in case the weather took a drastic change I would be in the system and ready to shoot an approach if needed. The sky was looking good at Ocean City when I taxied for runway two-zero. Potomac Clearance Delivery had me hold for release for traffic into and out of Salisbury. My plan of an 8am departure was history, I was on the ground holding in excess of thirty minutes. While I sat singing to myself and waiting for Potomac I watched the airport weather flag on my Garmin 496 turn green for Minimum VFR conditions at KGED,Delaware Coastal.
Finally, Potomac cuts me loose with the added bonus of direct Easton since the restricted area R-4006 is cold. I'll take it! I am in the air and climbing out riding along at four thousand, just above the layer, with no IMC this leg unless Easton closes in. Handed off to Patuxent they descend me to two thousand and after reporting the field in sight they turn me over to the tower. I made an ok landing and taxied for the terminal ramp.
I saw Franks Twin Comanche on the ramp and he was standing there waiting for me to shut down. We decided on breakfast and Frank bought, thanks Frank. We enjoyed good eats at the Sugar Buns Airport Cafe' mixed in with airplane and flying chat, always fun.
We decided it was time to saddle up and head over to KGED, Delaware Coastal and get Frank back to his wheels. We climbed out for five thousand and I got some IMC time. The last real IMC I had was in February, about a half hour while heading north to KILG. I definitely had some rust to shed and it really showed. Not bad on course headings but just way to busy chasing altitude, playing with trim and trying to brief the plate. I think I ran just shy of plus two hundred feet, not pretty. Granted it was windy and the there was thermal activity but there's no excuse for not getting it done to standards. Thinking back I also should have briefed the plate while sitting in the restaurant...more signs of rust and my decision process.
Once on the RNAV GPS 22 approach I seemed to settle in. We were direct HUVOX and I turned outbound for the procedure turn. Once inbound I held on course solid and followed the approach for the LPV DA of 299'. We broke out somewhere between thirteen and fifteen hundred feet. I added flaps and made another ok landing. I tied down 08Romeo since the winds had picked up and went inside to plan for my hop home and wait out the passing weather. Frank joined me and we each had something to drink while enjoying more aircraft and flying chat.
While we sat the rains came and really gave everything a good wash. We watched the storm cells pass by and even got to see the sun peek out. Frank went on his way north and I saddled up for home. The wax job on 08Romeo was showing, there were little water droplets beading up on all surfaces.
I had filed for this last hop and had to call Dover's clearance delivery since the ground communications was a no-go. I had filed for direct but that was changed to the following; direct ATR Waterloo, direct SBY Salisbury and then direct Ocean City. What??? Ughhh....I didn't have a big choice here so I accepted and being number one ready to go, launched for home.
As soon as Dover had radar identification they turned me direct Salisbury and soon handed me off to Patuxent Approach. Pax and I road along and the controller asked what approach I would like. I hadn't picked up the weather yet so I advised RNAV GPS 32 which has the lowest decision altitude to get in. I then picked up the weather and with the gusting winds that favored two-zero I requested the RNAV GPS 14 with a circle to land two-zero.
I was locked in on course and altitude. The rust was gone and I felt better with my approach. I was turned direct PFAIR, maintain at or above three thousand cleared for the RNAV GPS 14 approach. I crossed PFAIR for the procedure turn then descending inbound for the airport. Somewhere along that portion Pax terminated radar services. At two miles I did not have the field, it was covered with a light mist, that was fast moving, almost a swirling motion. Runway one-four comes into view and I made a call on CTAF to announce my circle to land runway two-zero.
I have the entire field in view crossing two-zero to enter a tight left downwind circle to land. As I look back over my shoulder I see that fast moving mist cover the approach...crap! I'm thinking I will need to go missed and continue my circle towards final, holding seven hundred feet. As I look for the numbers they come into view as I was just ready to power up and climb runway heading where it's safe and call a missed to Patuxent. Instead I cancel IFR with patuxent, add flaps and cut the remaining power to get 08Romeo on the ground with a good landing. What a crazy approach! It was one of those now you see it....now you don't...oh, there it is. It felt good getting back in IMC.