Friday, March 25, 2016

Reposition and Approaches

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.
SPECI KGED 251545Z AUTO 27005KT 2 1/2SM -RA BR OVC013 19/17 A2978

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 you don't...oh, there it is. It felt good getting back in IMC.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

First Timer, In A Long Time

The rest of the story...

After returning home from one of my flights earlier this month I asked the car rental guy at the Ocean City Terminal where he gets his cars worked on.  Don pointed me to Bridge Auto and Rob Perry. The garage is on the way home from the airport and on the same side, that works.  I wheeled the Mercedes SUV in, parked out front, and went in to look for Rob.  Rob came out and I let him know Don sent me his way...he laughed and said then you have money cause all Don's friends have money. I said I missed that memo...about having money.

We discussed the symptoms my ML320 was having and that I thought it might be as simple as trans fluid. FYI, The Mercedes does not come with a trans dip stick, I kid you not. I went on to explain I recently had it serviced when I moved to Maryland full time and soon there after it started to slip.  Just a bit at first then the last week it got worse.  No leaks anywhere, the garage floor is spotless.

Bridge Auto
Rob went in the garage and came back out with a MB dip stick. Sure enough, 2 quarts low on fluid. He topped me off, I took it for a test drive and it was good to go. I'm sure you're wondering where the heck this is all going and how does it relate to flying. Rob asked how I knew Don and I explained I used to rent cars from him when we flew into the airport on weekends. He asked if I had a plane and from there flying dominated the conversation.
Rob always wanted to fly, even gave some thought to taking lessons but never followed through. When we walked into the office so I could pay for the service he said I was good to go, I didn't owe him anything. What? I said your time and materials are worth something...he said take me for a ride sometime in your plane. We shook hands, done deal.
Rob at the control turning out over Cape Henlopen
The Flight...

This morning I collected or maybe he collected on that deal. We did a detailed preflight and I answered  many questions. Rob was really into every aspect of the plane, having me go into detail about control surfaces, pitot tube and static ports. Heck, I'm ready for my commercial test now!
The plan was to fly up the Maryland coastline into Delaware and follow the coast to Cape Henlopen. There we would turn back and fly south over the water so he could see the beach from a different perspective, he was all smiles. Rob gave flying a shot and made a perfect standard rate turn holding altitude perfect until we were pointed back down the beach. I think he was surprised how responsive the plane was and how easy the control inputs move the plane around.
Bridge Auto center of picture
We headed out to overfly his business along RT50 and then off to take a few pictures of his home. With a first flight in the book and I think mission accomplished we pointed for home. Winds had picked up and I advised it could be bumpy as we entered the pattern. The winds were twenty knots and gusting, seventy degrees off the nose. My base turn really pushed me out of position but I had turned early for the winds. I was centered up nice and added the last notch of flaps...wish I had not added them in.
getting the crab in on final!
I was now short final floating high and fast, then the winds shifted and I really had to dip the wing. I held it in line and touched left main down then the right. Right at that moment I felt the plane lurch forward and the mains came up blowing us to the right and what felt like wheel barrowing on the nose.  I went full power, kept the left wing down into the wind and climbed back into the air.  With positive rate of climb I took out each notch of flaps and searched for my seat cushion.  Rob asked was that what they call a touch and go? Once on the ground I explained what happened with the gusting winds.

Round two was much better with only a second notch of flaps for this approach to land. Again a noticeable dip into the wind and more side load push but when I felt the right main plant I quickly raised the flaps and felt 08Romeo stick to the runway.

Some excitement but Rob was still very happy he took the ride.  It was fun to see that perma-grin on a first timers face, brought back good memories of my first flights. I now have a new name for the ride list, I hope we can get back out and fly a bit longer.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Woodbine Breakfast Hop

Mary was feeling a bit better this morning so she headed to the club house to sign up for a yoga class. I decided to get some flying time in and posted on Facebook.  Jeff D responded that if I flew into Woodbine NJ, KOBI he would pick me up and we could go to the local favorite, Dionysus Restaurant.
It sounded like a excellent plan and OBI is far enough to count as a cross country flight. I turned on the preheats when I got up, knowing I was flying today so at least 08Romeo had a few hours to warm up the oil and cylinders. Soon I will be able to put the extension cords away for the spring and summer.
Cape Henlopen
It was another gorgeous day to fly! As I crossed the mouth of the Delaware Bay I could clearly see Salem's cooling tower billowing steam, fifty five miles up the bay. Approaching OBI, I entered the pattern midfiled for a left down wind runway three-one and made a nice landing, well...I did make a short skip then settled 08Romeo in.
Ferrys crossing just off Cape May
Jeff pulled up to the plane and we were off for some eats. This is a small town with a real comfort factor and the restaurant reflected that. Jeff and I were in airplane and airport mode when the Mayor walked in and joined our discussion, what a nice guy. Definitely something to be said for small town's what built this country.
We finished up and then headed back to the airport. Jeff had an early afternoon appointment and I wanted to get back home so Mary and I could run some errands. I did a quick preflight and got 08Romeo started.

I launched off of three-one and made a steady climb to six thousand five hundred pointing back towards the mouth of the Bay. I had a slight tail wind and enjoyed my view of the shipping traffic and ferry crossings. I made good landing back at Ocean City with a short taxi to the hangar. Another 1.6 in the log book and fun flying, I'm ready for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

08Romeo Spa Day

Ivan from C.A.V.U. Detailing is scheduled to treat 08Romeo to a much deserved spa day.  We met at the hangar around 8am and I got the VW out of the way and unplugged the preheats and battery minder.
Mary and I had to be in Salisbury this afternoon so off we went and left 08Romeo in the very capable hands of C.A.V.U. Detailing.
Once our business in Salisbury was complete we headed home to change and pick up Ziva, then headed to the airport. Ivan was just about finished up with dressing the prop and removing the last cleaner and wax from the exhaust stain area. 08Romeo looked great! It's really nice to see her shine.
I am having 08Romeo detailed once a year, in the spring to keep her looking good. Ivan busts his butt to do an excellent job. I highly recommend this man if you need detail work done.

I know his work saves my knees and pain from my torn tendon in my left foot. I don't even want to know how bad my back would feel after crawling around on the concrete hangar floor.

Thanks Ivan!!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Coming Out of Retirement

It's been almost one year since I retired, the official date was 3/31/2015. I didn't make the full year, instead, opting to take a consulting position with RK&K Engineers out of the Wilmington Delaware office.

Mary and I decided that since the updates on our home are complete and despite wanting to spend more time on the beach and traveling, I would take the offer. The retired fixed income has been very good, we still fly and still do a lot of things here in OCMD. The opportunity to stash extra cash for off the mainland vacations is hard to walk away from. I also want to bank for that STEC autopilot upgrade.
So, as I mentioned in a previous post I'll be the Project Administrator for the Lewes Transit Facility, located just into Delaware about a forty-five minute ride from home each way.

The project Phase I is 'scheduled' to be completed by October, I haven't had the chance to review the contractors schedule to confirm this target. Preconstruction is Tuesday and I'm heading to Dover Delaware to attend and officially sign on with the new company.

Friday, March 11, 2016

King Commercial Ground School

The process begins! Talk about bringing back memories...nights of ground school studies flash through my mind as I once again take advantage of the King school training. Not much has changed, still corny jokes but plenty of information. I knocked out the first four lesson blocks in very short order. It's been a fun review and I've relearned a few things that that have slipped away since my PPL training days.
Over the next few days I will knock out all the wx block. Always a good review but just so painful. I'm sure I'll pick up a few things to refresh my memory and proper terminology for wx happenings. I'm so spoiled by the weather images we use today in our flight planning and the onboard weather available in our aircraft.
Yes, I had to share Martha, you know you all miss listening to her and John.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Lunch Run to KWWD

It was a gorgeous day today! Mary and I had plans to meet up with friends from South Jersey regional airport, Dave and Lynn.  They took some time off from their very busy schedule to soak up some sun and head to the beach.

As Dave and Lynn were getting the plane ready, my lovely Bride felt sick...still.  This has been going on for three weeks, I'm thinking its me. So, at the last minute we cancel, I didn't want to be the third wheel spoil a great day for a special couple.  Thankfully they both understood.
With Mary needing dark and quiet I decided to at least get some air time.  I soon had 08Romeo warming up and ready to launch from runway two-zero.  It was so nice to see the airport come alive with all the sunshine.

I monitored Dover approach and then Atlantic city approach as I crossed the Delaware Bay.  The air was smooth and the tail winds enjoyable.  I entered the pattern on a forty-five for runway one-nine. A smooth landing and roll out for the main taxiway to the terminal, I had to add some power.
The Flight Deck was busy but I manage a seat at the counter.  There I enjoyed the local paper, catching up on the eagles, and placed my order.  A large raspberry ice tea and a grilled chees with pork roll, it was mighty good.

With the eats complete I looked around for former coworkers but didn't see anyone. I climbed aboard and taxied for runway one-nine and I heard Joe on CTAF say he didn't see me sneak in....I'm stealthy. Ok, I'm laughing at that notion, me and the sundowner, stealty .
It was a nice smooth climb out and I orbited on station at the Cape May ferry terminal until I had altitude to re-cross the Bay. One additional stop on the way home and that was to get a few photos of my new project for my new employer. With a few nice shots captured I pointed 08Romeo to home.
Lewes Ferry Terminal
Another nice landing in between the busy pattern. I took on fuel for tomorrows flight back to Wilmington and tucked 08Romeo in for the night once I wiped the leading edges clean of bugs.  Yes, the warm weather has already unleashed the bugs.

The middle property with the dirt looking parking area is my project
I did manage to time things just right and got to see Dave and Lynn off. We will get together another day.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

08Romeo - Oil Change

RT 50 into OCMD
I previously scheduled 08Romeo for an oil change today knowing that my consulting job will keep me busy through summer on the weekdays.  It looks like I start the project Monday the 14th. I figured get the change done and I'll be good till fall depending on our weekend travels.

I left the preheats on, although with the sudden change in temps I really didn't need to. Tugged out the VW Cabrio, the Sundowner then closed the hangar and conducted my preflight in the beautiful sunshine!  Everything looked great so I taxied out and launched for 58M, Claremont airport.
The ride was very smooth, hands in my lap, jammin' to the oldies. The head winds were there to greet me off the nose at 15 knots. I picked up flight following and road along with Dover until just north of the (ENO) Smyrna VOR. I made a few position calls for Claremont and set up for a straight in runway three-one.
33N new hangars (middle, right of runway)
Roger marshaled me in and I shut down in front of the hangar door. Stan was going to do the oil change and I did my best to get in the way. out with the old and in with the new, seven quarts of golden honey and 08Romeo was ready for the leak test. I climbed in and started up watching for pressure to build, looked good. I ran 08Romeo for a few minutes with high end of 2200 RPMs. Everything looked dry, so we finished up and squared away the bill.
Back aboard 08Romeo I was giving some thought to a breakfast run down to Cape May NJ and even started that way on departure. Giving it more thought and with Mary dealing with a migraine I thought it best not to be away from home any longer than I needed to be. I redid my flight plan and pointed towards home.
Another smooth ride and the added bonus of tail winds!  I was sailing along at 127 knots which made the ride so much more enjoyable than the 95 knots north bound.  I had some traffic to deal with and the ADS-B did very well with the alerts.
Ocean City was still pretty quiet so I made a straight in for runway one-four with a nice landing to wrap up the day.

By the way the filter looked pristine today, no carbon and no metal. I also talked to a pilot that flys for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, thanks to Roger.  There may be some mission flight time there in the near future, more to follow.