Saturday, July 08, 2017

Air Time

08Romeo, ready to go
It feels like I haven't been in the air in months.  Sadly, the flying fire in me has diminished and I just can't seem to get myself motivated to pull the plane out of the hangar. I am out of currency for the first time since I completed my instrument rating (August 2010). It's not a good feeling and it's strange but I'm not upset. With all this in mind I decided I would get up and fly first thing this morning, before the heat kicked in. Well, I didn't get out to the airport until almost 10am.  So much for trying to keep it cool.
Keeping the rides cool in the shade
It is a gorgeous blue sky with eleven knot winds out of the west. Runway three-two seems to be the active. It's busy today with the jump plane, school planes and transient traffic, the ramp is cluttered with aircraft. These are all positive signs for a healthy airport.

I did my pre-flight checks and tugged 08Romeo out into the sun, apologizing for the down time between our flights. Everything looked good to go so I closed up the hangar and climbed aboard. It's not the same feeling as it once was, but it felt good to be back in the left seat. I made a last check for TFR's and followed with several pumps of prime to get the fan turning. 08Romeo quickly fired up and smoothly idled at 1000 rpm, not a trace of sitting, she was ready to work.
Ocean Downs Casino and race track
I taxied out to three-two, completed my run up and announced holding for the jumpers. The jump plane pilot advised he is at ten thousand feet and they just exited, crazy people. He said you're good to go so I gave another look and without delay departed Ocean City.
North and South beach views at RT90
I flew north to RT 90 then made a turn to the east to follow the busy road to the beach. Once at the beach I turned north and followed along until reaching Fenwick Island. I guess this was more of a follow the roads flight since I now turned west to trace the path of RT. 54.
Fenwick Island
I was starting to feel at home again in the left seat. 08Romeo purred along responding to each control input, we were back in sync. I enjoyed the quiet flight time despite the radio chatter on Ocean City's CTAF. I remembered why I loved flying, the view, number one reason is the view. In the air there are no rude drivers, no traffic jams and no one to cut you off. It's peaceful and calm, yet requires your attention to every detail.

I tuned 08Romeo south, tracking towards the airport. I descended to 1500 feet and looked at the cars and people busy with their daily routines. Here I am free as a bird playing in the air, with no schedule or deadline to meet. I forced myself to concentrate on the pilot mode and worked my plan to enter the pattern at Ocean City. I swung 08Romeo well past the airport and circled back to enter on a four mile forty-five for the left down wind pattern for runway three-two.  I made my calls, fell in line and set up for landing. The Cessna in front of me landed and took a while to roll out as I was now on short final. The Cessna advised he thought he blew a tire and might not make it off the runway. I advised no problem I'm going around and will rejoin the pattern at mid-field for the left down wind. The jump plane called a minute to jumpers away, as I was now turning final, a bit high. I added the last notch of flaps and slipped 08Romeo to the numbers, we were flying as one, just like old times.
I taxied to my hangar, passing the Cessna that thought he had a flat.  I called him on the radio to let him know the tires all looked good. I shut 08Romeo down and didn't see any movement from the man sitting in the plane. I climbed down the wing and hurried over to the Cessna, ok, as fast as my still sore foot would carry me. "hey buddy, you ok"?  He slowly lifted his head and said "I'm fine, thanks". His tires did look good and we chatted for a bit about the recent crack seal work that feels like worn rumble strips. I assured him I felt the same thing but I'm used to it. He thanked me for checking and the chat, then I headed back to tuck 08Romeo back in her hangar.
As always I clean the wings, nose and stabilator of any bug guts. I closed up the hangar after updating my dry erase board with the new GPS data date, and a new VOR check. After repositioning the Ranger pick-up I headed home. It felt great to be back in the air and I think I will try and head out early after I feed the zoo in the morning. No sense going back to bed at 5:30 in the morning when I'm wide awake.

4 comments:

Jim and Sandie said...

Good to hear that you got back into sync with 08Romeo. I know that sore foot stuff makes you frustrated but it will get better and better with time.

Gary said...

Sandie,

I think things will come together. I am flying out early tomorrow morning to meet up with a friend, we'll shoot approaches then stop for breakfast.

I hope you and Jim are safe with all the rumblings. Have you felt any after shocks?

Jim Rowe said...

Welcome back, Gary! Great to see you in the air again.

Gary said...

Thanks, Jim. It did feel good to be flying again. I hope we can catch up and get you some Sundowner time.