Friday, October 20, 2017

Sing It Till You Learn It...

♬...On the way to Cape May....♬

I sang that song every Friday when they played it on Oldies 98 as I drove to my airport project in Cape May. It's a catchy little ditty. Now..."sing it till you learn it!"
Cape Henlopen
Ferry leaving Lewes
This mornings flight to Cape May was going to be the start of a full flying day. After meeting up with friends Dave and Bob, Mary and I were going to fly to Wilmington. Mary didn't feel well so I made the solo breakfast run across the Delaware Bay.
Cape May Light House
 Winds were favoring runway three-two so off I taxied for my run-up. All checklists complete I launched for New Jersey. A smooth climb out with 08Romeo just galloping along at times wanting to climb at 1,100 fpm. I reined her back in and enjoyed the cruise climb to 5,500 feet. The crossing was smooth and the view spectacular, God I love flying along the beach.

Dave's Piper

I started to let down for the coast and aligned myself for a straight in runway one. As I dropped below 2,000 somebody put a quarter in the bumpy airplane ride machine. It was a pain bumping along but short lived as I crossed the fence and settled below the tree line.  With some rudder correction I made a nice landing and taxied clear.
 Dave and Bob weren't to far behind and it's a good thing, parking was filling up fast. We sat in line for a short time then we were seated inside. The outside tables in the lobby were full of people too. We each had breakfast and enjoyed conversations of flying, work and millennial's. 
Cape May Ferry Terminal
We finished up and headed back out to the ramp, it was starting to thin out. We each said our goodbyes, I thanked Bob for treating and did a quick walk around 08Romeo.  
I taxied out number two for departure. When it was my turn to shine 08Romeo once again climbed out, enjoying the cool air. I pointed 08Romeo for the Cape May ferry terminal and built up some altitude. I crossed while topping out my climb at six thousand then nosed over and made for the Delaware shore line in Lewes. I headed over to my job site and snapped a few shots to document the work phases the turned 08Romeo for home. 
Lewes Park and Ride
Rehoboth Beach
Indian River Inlet Bridge
Another smooth trip, this time at just 2,500 feet. I had some company flanking each side that showed up on ADS-B, I never saw either aircraft. I made my typical position calls and traded info with a flight of two Blackhawks just departing Ocean City.
Both birds passed left to right across the nose heading north as I continued west to cross for a midfield entry to three-two. I was high on approach but pulled the power and settled in for a decent landing.
I secured 08Romeo and topped off the tanks for the flight to Ocracoke North Carolina tomorrow morning. I am once again feeling proficient at flight, instrument flight is another story.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Brotherly Love

A quick but serious mission on tap for today, Ocean City Maryland to Middletown Delaware (KEVY). My brother had surgery Wednesday and had some complications that required an immediate visit to the hospital. Thankfully he returned home Thursday evening. After reading more about pulmonary aspiration I now understand how serious this could be.
With all this in mind Mary and I decided we would fly up to Middletown (40 minutes) vs drive (1.5 hours) first thing this morning. I reviewed TFR's and NOTAM's along with a final weather check, we were good to go. Hold the bus, Mary is feeling sick so she decides it's best to stay behind. I head to the airport solo to get 08Romeo ready.
Some observations; the paving operation is in full swing, with the base lift almost completed. I hope they top tomorrow so I can get back in the hangar this weekend.
With my pre-flight complete I get in and get 08Romeo started. The plan is to taxi out to runway three-two, complete my run up and launch. I didn't file but would pick up flight following with Dover approach. The flight was smooth, hands in my lap. The temps hung out at sixty degrees for my flight at three thousand. Dover turned me loose to squawk VFR once north of their airspace and I thanked them for their service today. I picked up the weather at Summit and decided on runway one-seven. I can't remember the last time I landed on that runway. I extended downwind a bit so I could turn base over the C&D canal and get the Summit bridge on the video. I made a nice landing and taxied back to the ramp.
I took on ten gallons to bring me back to fifty total for my return flight. I always like to buy some fuel if I can. I had sent a text to Janice that I was ten minutes out and they pulled up to the terminal building shortly after I walked outside. We headed out for a late breakfast at Bob Evans and enjoyed the eats and conversation. Joe seemed himself and looked good with just a slightly different sound to his voice. This too shall pass.
33N Delaware Airpark
We headed back to their house and sat around chatting for an hour plus. It's always good catching up, and I just wanted to see my brother after his ordeal. Some brothers fight others are estranged, we are thicker than thieves...hence the title, Brotherly Love. I'm confident he is in excellent hands with my sister-in-law, Janice. She's an RN, loves my brother and will keep him squared away, of that I have no doubt. You best listen to her Joe, she means business.
With my heart and mind feeling much better after our visit I thought it best to get pointed south. It's a short ride to the airport and I was soon heading out to 08Romeo. I squared up my fuel bill and completed the pre-flight. Everything was in order and I untied the wings and tail then climbed aboard. I once again did a quick check for TFR's and NOTAM's, then got the fan turning. I had to hold in my taxi spot so a Boeing CH47 could be tugged in across the ramp. Once clear I got a wave from the ground crew and flashed them a thumbs up, I was clear to taxi out.
I completed my run up and turned on my camera, not wanting to miss another take off. 08Romeo climbed out smoothly and I was soon turning cross wind then down wind for my departure. I made a last call then switched over to Dover Approach. I headed south for a bit enjoying the beautiful view and eventually requested flight following. Dover gave me a squawk code and we were on our way with extra eyes looking out for us.
I spotted some traffic that the ADS-B was displaying as I approached Dover's airspace. I watched a C5 take off runway one-nine and climb out, it was like slow motion. Once south of Dover the C5 made a climbing right turn to cross my flight path, it was awesome to see that giant smoothly transition towards Baltimore.
With the highlight of the flight now out of view I refocused on getting myself home. I made my typical calls at ten and five miles out as I approached home base. The winds favored runway two-zero and with the NOTAM in place I would have to back taxi to cross the other runway (14-32)and get to my hangar. I listened as another plane landed and he taxied off Hotel, it was open. Great! I followed with a smooth landing and long roll out to the end of two-zero, turning off and taking taxiway Hotel back to the main ramp.
A fun flight that put my mind at ease. I'm happy to be home with my Bride and we are planning for Ocracoke Island on Saturday. I did get a text from friends for a breakfast run to Cape May (KWWD) for tomorrow morning. Mary and I will be there followed by a hop to Wilmington to see the great nephew, Brennan, and Mary's brother Mark and his wife.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finally, After 31 Days

Finally, after 31 days I get back in the air! It's been a struggle to get in the air, after dashed plans to Boston and all the rain days here at the beach the sun decides to show its face.

Our home, located in the Parke in Ocean Pines.
With that big ball of fiery sunshine in the sky, I decided it was time to get 08Romeo and I some air time. This mornings mission started out with a run to the Chesapeake Surgery Center in order to have a laser cataract procedure done on Mary's left eye. The procedure went very well and Mary was released in just a couple of hours. My poor bride, I teased her on the way home about playing a pirate wench with her sporty patch and even offered to pick up a stuffed parrot for Halloween.  She rolled at least one eye, I couldn't see the other. All kidding aside, she is doing great, minimum pain, and we go back for a follow up in the morning.

After adding her noon time eye drops I decided to go fly.  Mary just wanted to sleep and Ziva was more than happy to keep her company. With everything in order, I was soon headed to the airport.
RT 50 looking east to the inlet at OCMD
I ordered fuel after sumping my tanks. With all the rain we've had I wanted to see how 08Romeo's caps fared. No water in either tank, I await the fuel truck. I completed the pre-flight and stowed the covers; plane, tail, nose plugs and pitot. Still no fuel truck....I locked the baggage door and climbed aboard. I went through my start up checks and 08Romeo was alive after a single blade, she's ready to fly. I waited for the oil temps to come up and just as I released the brakes to taxi the fuel truck drove up. I just waved him off and taxied out. I wasn't shutting down.

!OXB 10/004 OXB TWY H BTN APCH END RWY 02 AND RWY 14/32 CLSD DLY 1100-2200 

There was a NOTAM for taxiway H closure so I back taxied to runway two and when I got to the approach end I noticed the taxiway was open.  Oh well, I turned 08Romeo into the wind and launched. Of course I forgot to turn on the video(head slap). It was a fun flight, short, but it got the oil pumping and I managed to land 08Romeo without bending any metal.
Next flight will be Saturday morning. Mary and I head out for the Beech Aero Club fly-in at W95 - Ocracoke, North Carolina.

Scheduled Flights

Since I have recently assumed the position of the Mid-Atlantic Region Director for the Beech Aero Club (BAC), I have been working on a fly in schedule of events.

This position with BAC brings back memories of the North East Flyers group.  Those were fun times and Mary and I met so many people that have remained friends all these years. I hope the turn out is half as good as the North East group, we used to fill up restaurants in a hurry.

First up on the Beech Schedule will be a fly-in to Ocracoke, North Carolina, W95.

Date: October 21st
Time: On the ramp at Noon
Arrival airport: W95 - Ocracoke Island Airport - Ocracoke, NC

As we struggle to hold on to the last good temps of summer, what better way to enjoy some sun then visiting the Outter Banks.

The Fly-in is scheduled for Saturday, October 21st at NOON. There will be a free shuttle to our lunch location, Howards Pub. Good eats and good service. The pub will shuttle people back to the airport.

If you want to explore the island I have confirmed with Ocracoke Golf Carts that they will be open from 10-3 and can pick anyone up at Howards to shuttle to their office for a rental. A four passenger cart is $35 for two hours and $45 for three hours.

The local specialty and gift shops will be open for business.

The Ocracoke Preservation Society (OPS) museum, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Ocracoke Island's rich historical and cultural heritage will also be open for anyone to explore.

I'm working on a November fly-in but the details still need to be worked out. However, December is on the Beech Calendar and we are scheduled to visit Saint Michaels, Maryland.

Date: December 9th
Time: On the ramp by 9am
Arrival airport:  KESN - Easton, Maryland

Christmas in St. Michael's. Capture the Holiday magic in the Mid-Atlantic region.

 This will require an early arrival, aircraft should be on the ramp by 9am. Rental cars are available and I will secure transportation based on the number of attendees.

There are plenty of shops to explore and places to eat for the ladies and gents that attend this event.

Talbot street will close at 10:15 for the Holiday parade and reopen at noon.

Who doesn’t love a traditional Christmas parade complete with marching bands, antique cars and boats, fire engines, horses, kazoo bands and llamas. Perhaps you may even see a calliope or a penny farthing. And Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on an antique sleigh. Come early on Saturday morning to get a great spot along the parade route for the largest holiday parade on the Eastern Shore.

It will be nice to get back in the air on a consistent basis with a mission in mind.  I have a hard time just boring holes in the sky to putz around, but these flights should be fun.  I am working on fly-in locations for West Virginia and South Carolina. Virginia will most likely be Williamsburg for the first attempt at a fly-in. Who can resist eats at Charley's? Not me.

I hope to get some flight time in today. I really need to get 08Romeo's oil pumping, it's been a month! I also want to check on the project status of the taxiway paving. I hear the paving is scheduled to start today, maybe I'll be back in the hangar by the end of the week.

Saturday, October 07, 2017


08Romeo comes home from T31, McKinney Texas

This week marked eight years of airplane ownership. Mary and I purchased 08Romeo back in October of 2009. Hard to believe that much time has passed. We are also coming up on 08Romeo's birthday, yes, she will be 37 years young on October 27th. I think I'll get out and fly today!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

N/A Consulting Opportunity

I received a call from the company I did some work for in 2016, on a project located in Delaware. The phase II work is scheduled to get underway and the client requested me for the project management, I guess I did something right. There has been a slight shuffle in the schedule and along with a canopy there will be a passenger building added to this phase, previously scheduled for phase III.  Immediately following this work, two additional buildings will get underway, a bus garage and a drivers building along with fuel islands. I'm thinking I'll have work from October through the end of next year.

The canopy with helical piles shown below the surface
A random example of a helical pile (Photo from Certified Structure and Foundation, Inc.)

While the work will limit my weekly fly time it will provide extra play money for travel. The plans to purchase a motorhome to reposition in Florida are on hold since I'll be working this winter. I'll take some vacation time for our trip to Waco and as Mary and I discussed last night, we might take a few more days in Destin, Sanibel Island or the Keys before coming home.
So, its time to dust off the work gear and get my Ranger pick-up cleaned up and ready to go. I'm excited to dive back into construction plans and a new project. More reporting and I'm sure some overhead shots of progress will make it to the blog.

Monday, September 25, 2017

BACFest 2017

Mary and I were very excited about BACFest 2017. The event was held in New Bedford, Massachusetts - a new airport for the list and a new location to explore. Since we have family in the area we planed to head up early and visit with family, our friends Mike B and his wife Kim, and sneak a visit in with proud new parents Adam and Jeanine in New Hampshire. It was a great plan and we were excited to get in the air.

The planning was pretty straight forward, a simple IFR hop to New Bedford up the Jersey coast, across to JFK and out along the island before turning towards Providence and on to New Bedford. Watching the daily METAR reports I noticed New Bedford is much like Ocean City, early morning marine layer. This theory proves to be consistent the week prior to our departure and I schedule  our flight and arrival accordingly.

I will admit after just getting out before Irma hit Sint Maarten I'm a little bit weather gun shy. By the time we were to depart Irma had ravaged the eastern Caribbean and the state of Florida. Unfortunately, little brother Jose' was now piling on with destruction along the same path and now had turned up the east coast. We were lucky to get 08Romeo tucked into a hangar while Jose passed. Now I would have to contend with following that storm to New England.

September 21 Thursday - Arrival Day!

With the weather grounding our flight we made the decision to drive north. Mary and I rented a car from Enterprise Wednesday night and ground pounded for seven hours from home to New Bedford. We left Ocean City at 2:45am and pulled up to the Hampton Inn at 10:15.  Traffic was fine until we hit the George Washington Bridge, wow, New York drivers.  I haven't had much road time in the last few years so the ride was, exciting, to say the least.  I can best describe it as watching a game of Frogger unfold in front of you, in real time. We survived.

We have arrived!  Together we walked through the hotel front entrance and were immediately greeted by our friends from the Beech Aero Club.  Warm hugs and smiles made the long ground pound melt away.  We were so happy to see Candy, Mark, Susan and Doug along with the other members gathered in the lobby. The warm welcome really helped us both feel settled in, like being home again with good friends.  The group was soon off to explore, we still needed to check in.  I completed our check in and then asked about a place to eat breakfast since we only had some snacks along the way with my hot tea and Mary's coffee.  The folks at the desk suggested Jakes Diner, just up the street from the hotel.

I chug and plug on the iPhone and yes, it's only a few minutes of drive time. Jakes was busy so I figured the recommendation was spot on. We were quickly seated to the front right side of the diner and had a clear view of the parking area and highway, it's a busy town. It took a while to decipher the menu, so many different  new items.  Our waitress explained the that the diners menu highlights the Portuguese meats and spices, in particular the chourico hash. Chourico is a Portuguese pork sausage. I passed on the hash and stuck with eggs, home fries and bacon, so did my bride.
Since Mary forgot a jacket we needed to follow Bo's advice. "Once you leave home and forget something, buy it when you get there." We made a quick stop at Marshalls and Mary picked up a Calvin Klein jacket. Of course I took a picture for Sandra to see on Facebook, obviously Bo is with us in spirit.

We made our way back to the hotel and headed up to our room for hours of much needed  nap time.  

Me and my bride
We caught up with the group in the hospitality room for drinks and munchies later that evening and enjoyed the camaraderie. The spouses got to mingle, pilots did their hangar flying and as a group the Beech Aero Club came together as one.  BAC is like that friend you don't see every day but when you do catch up it seems like it was just yesterday.

There were two Sundowners (Chris and JP)and one Musketeer (Steve)that made it into New Bedford. Two Sierras made it to Hartford, Paul and Nelson along with Denis. Total head count for the event was 55!
Chris N (left) and JP (right)
Steve made it in at dusk.

September 22 Friday

We are up early and meet downstairs for the hotel provided breakfast.  Eggs and bacon for Mary and I along with some orange juice and toast.  The plan is to board a bus and two shuttle vans for Newport Rhode Island. There are shops to explore, museums to visit and the Breakers mansion.  Mary and I passed on the cliff walk tour and Breakers mansion, we'll visit another time. Instead, we decided on snooping in the shops along Thames Street and the Long Wharf Mall.  We dodged mist and showers through out the day but had fun. We checked out the Colony House at Washington Square, the Museum of Newport History and had lunch at the Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant.
Museum of Newport History
Colony House at the end of the street
Thames Street
Brick Alley Pub
The bus ride was the hardest part of the day, next time I'll board the shuttle.  We actually road on a school bus, it worked out well but the suspension was brutal on my back and foot, yes the roads were that bad in some areas. We safely returned to the hotel for some much needed nap time. Mary and I both crashed, we were beat, maybe still catching up from our early rise yesterday. 

Event Host Tom C and the shuttle
After a day of shopping, sightseeing and exploring we all headed to the New Bedford waterfront for dinner at 7pm. The restaurant of choice, Waterfront Grille, overlooks the boats in the fishing fleet.
It was raining
We had a buffet style dinner of Scrod, veggies, Chicken and potatoes, all very good. After dinner the group headed back to the Hampton Inn for another hospitality evening of fun, laughter and door prizes.

September 23 Saturday

Today was scheduled for tour day taking the group on a Cape Cod Canal tour via bus and vans. Multiple stops included Fort Phoenix,  a stroll on America’s largest stone structure, the hurricane barrier protecting New Bedford harbor,  Buzzards Bay railroad bridge and Bournevale village. 
The group visited the  Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center and Museum in Sandwich. Lunch was at Seafood Sam's Restaurant followed by a return to the hotel for a nap, safety seminar was starting at 3pm.

Mary and I missed todays tours, I was sick as a dog when I got up and as soon as I felt better Mary was feeling under the wx.

I did manage to attend the maintenance seminar relocated to the hospitality room instead of the airport. Our seminar covered survival gear for signaling. Included in our welcome bag was a signal kit and we discussed items that we felt were essential. Paul W also did a show and tell on other items to include; life vests, signal smoke and flares that he purchased through West Marine. All these items are great additions to ones survival gear.
4 - Handheld Red Signal FlaresBrightness: Up to 700 candela
Burn Time: Up to 3 minutes each
1 - SOLAS Approved Whistle w/Lanyard116db at 1 meter
1  - Handheld Orange Smoke SignalU. S. Coast Guard Approved Daytime Signal
Average burn time: Up to 1 minute each
1 - 1.5 oz. Mini Horn1-Signal MirrorNon-corrosive material
Includes view finder and lanyard
Neoprene Storage Case

I have a back pack survival kit purchased from Sportys and I am going to add the signal pack that was in our welcome bag along with the Orion signal kit and flotation vests since we often cross the Delaware and Chesapeake bays.  

Following the seminar the pilots had just enough time to shower and dress for the party and banquet.  At 5:30pm the shuttles left for the Wamsutta Mansion. The cocktail party was followed by the Annual Meeting and Banquet. To start the evening we toasted BAC members who have passed, my friend Bo Boggs was in my heart along with Brads wife Ann and Dan Kirby, great members that left lasting impressions on Mary and I.
Our dinner started with a caesar salad, followed by carved prime rib with au jus and horseradish, glazed carrots and mashed potatoes. Dessert was apple crisp and ice cream. Yours truly had to give out an award since I am the new mid-Atlantic director, I wasn't given advance notice so Mary busted up laughing when they called me up.  Susan reminded her that her laugh was NOT her inside voice and everyone got a good chuckle out of that. Congrats Bob P on your Mid-Atlantic Regional Directors Award.  Mary said I did fine and didn't sound like an idiot.

We enjoyed an excellent dinner and a fun time. Many club awards were handed out, memories shared and the evening was coming to a close seemingly as fast as it started. We all headed back to the hotel to enjoy some time for chat and sadly our goodbyes.  Some tears were shed and hugs were traded buy our traveling companions.
Mark and Candy
We vowed to catch up with Mark and Candy (Austin TX) when we head to Waco Texas and make a mini vacation of it. We also want to visit Charleston South Carolina and Jekyll Island Georgia so Susan and Doug (Atlanta GA) agreed to join us. Next years BACFest was announced and we will be flight planning for Louisville Kentucky!

Mary and I are planning on leaving early to once again get a jump on traffic. I wasn't sure of an exact time so my response when asked was when natured called in the early morning hours I would wake Mary and we would head out.

September 24 Sunday

Departure day.  Natured called at 3:30am. Mary and I were heading out the door at 4am. We bumped into Rap and Charlotte at the elevator heading for Providence to catch their flight. We said our goodbyes and loaded up our rental Dodge SUV.  I once again chugged and plugged for directions and the trip time was six hours and forty five minutes.  There wasn't much traffic as we made our way, stopping only for a fuel top off and some Dunkin' Donuts munchies. Mary stayed awake for the entire trip just like Thursdays run north. I did post some videos on Facebook of our return travels and got some laughs. I struggled to stay focused as we entered the last few hours once crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge into Delaware. I broke out the bag of Cape Cod chips and just kept eating to stay awake, munched on a few pieces of fudge too, it worked.  We dropped of the rental, headed home, and crawled straight into bed.  I did manage to watch some of the Eagles game and the entire Packers game.  Mary and I went out for dinner at Carrabbas and returned in time to watch the new Star Trek show.

Just over 900 miles traveled by car and I can't express enough how much I missed flying to BACFest. Next year we hope to fly 08Romeo. For now, we enjoy the memories made at this years event and treasure our friends that shared the experience with us.