Friday, September 15, 2017

Flight Time and Family

I was up early, thanks to the zoo, and decided I would make some breakfast then check weather and NOTAM's for some potential flight time.

I made bacon, eggs and hash browns with a toasted english muffin, substituting for my typical rye toast. As I pulled up my chair to the desk I thought I could enjoy my breakfast, check weather, and update the path of tropical storm Jose. This storm forced the change of our Boston flight along with family rescheduling visit time due to a kitchen remodel.  My planned Saturday departure was scrubbed and I reconfigured for a Tuesday morning flight. With Jose looming and the weather forecast for KOXB looking crappy I figured we would instead hunker down, seek shelter for 08Romeo and regroup. All this weather does not make my breakfast enjoyable at all.

Isle of Wight (middle right) and Assawoman Bay
(I am not making this up)  top right
My bride emerges from our bedroom like sleeping beauty, it's now just past 10:00. My princess, would you care for some breakfast? I ask this with a touch of sarcasm. Grumble...good morning, no thank-you. Mary sits on the office couch, trying to wake up and inquires about today's plans. We initially wanted to grocery shop but I suggested some flight time, maybe to Cape May (KWWD) to enjoy strolling along the shops and to get some exercise and sun. My Bride mentions she would like to see Brennan, our great nephew, the plans are changed.
Just getting out from the dark clouds
Dover AFB and the next layer ahead
I'm back online to recheck weather and NOTAM's for Wilmington, KILG. Everything looks good, with a chance of showers mentioned in the local forecast for the beach. I pack up my electronics, Mary gets dressed and lets Ziva out one more time, we're ready to go.

The airport seems quiet except for the construction vehicles, pushing stone with a grader, dozer and a roller following behind. One of the machines has a defective back up beeper and it sounds like a transformer size bumble bee, it's loud and annoying. We turn our attention to 08Romeo and concentrate on the pre-flight. Mary and I both grumble about having to uncover and we each comment on the layer of dirt on the wings, it's gross. With the outside tasks completed we climb aboard, and we escape the large bumble bee!

Ah, quiet, very good. Inside checks completed and we are ready for start-up. 08Romeo quickly comes to life, she's ready to get away from the dirt and noise too. I didn't file today, instead I would pick up flight following with Dover. I launch off runway one-four and climb out to the north. There is a cloud layer ahead and some of it is dark and ugly. Mary suggests that it's ok if I want to turn around.
State Police helicopter around me again
I descend from three thousand to two and ride below the layer. The ride isn't to bad and we clear the uglies as we approach Dover.  The ride gets bumpy but tolerable as we continue north. Dover cuts us loose to squawk VFR and I switch over to the Wilmington tower for a quick listen before dialing in Philly approach. Once we get about fifteen miles out I'll switch back to the tower at ILG.
Wilmington is busy with traffic as I announce and work my way in as directed. I'm making a straight in, and will be reporting a three mile final as directed. There is a Bonanza shooting the GPS Runway 1 approach and he will pass behind me, I will be following an Archer that is left downwind for runway one turning left base in front of me.  I'm number two to land and cleared as I watch the Archer over the numbers, I'm now just inside three miles. I land and roll out clearing the runway with a right turn on taxiway Kilo, then switching to ground. As I taxi across runway 9-27 on taxiway Bravo, I watch the Bonanza roll out on runway one, good job tower making things flow. I taxi back to the other end of the field to Flyadvanced and shut down in front of their hangar.
Since this would be a short visit we secured the courtesy car, a Ford explorer, and headed out the gate. We are immediately reminded why we don't miss Wilmington, TRAFFIC.  With all the ongoing construction we sat in lines, slowly making our way to Mary's brothers place. I even took the back roads, they were backed up too with lane restrictions.
Mary got to hold Brennan and we were happy to visit with Mark and Lynn. Mark is looking much better after his surgery and with the ongoing PT I think he is walking better too. We hung out for a couple of hours and then decided we should get the courtesy car back to the FBO. Travel by general aviation makes this an easy trip.
Mary and I made a quick stop at Johnnies Dog House, a favorite of ours, for a fast tasty lunch. I also had to stop for fuel since the last person to drive the courtesy car left it almost empty. The computer said we had 70 miles to empty when we left the airport. Why are some people so cheap? I made a quick stop and put $20 in, just under half tank, was that really so hard. We motor south and I-95 is backed up so I take an exit to cut through down town. I know, you're thinking I'm crazy but honestly it was faster than parking on the highway.

I square up my fuel bill for 08Romeo and head out to the plane. A did a quick walk around for a control surface check and removal of the sunshades. Mary was aboard and ready to go and I quickly followed. I picked up the current ATIS info and taxied for the hold short to contact Wilmington ground. I am cleared to taxi to runway 19 on Bravo and hold short runway two seven. Once cleared to cross two seven I taxi to the very end, all 7012 feet. Mary asked where we were going...usually we get one of the closer taxiways and if its not hot I'll accept.
08Romeo is climbing out and we are cleared on course. The sky has cleared so we climb to 3.000 feet and cruise along. I do pick up flight following with Dover since we are once again crossing their airspace. As I approach Delaware Coastal (KGED) Dover asks my intentions since the last two planes going into OXB diverted. Say what? I checked weather it's VFR and the most recent weather is showing winds south-south west at 3 knots switching to winds variable, ceiling broken 10,000.  Great, my old nemesis the marine layer creeping in. Since OXB sits on the Sinepaxent Bay with a narrow island (Assateague)separating the bay from the ocean, we are prime for the marine layer condition.
I advise Dover I will continue for Ocean City and once again update the weather. As I approach, now about twenty miles out, I can see the coast AND that layer just off shore lurking. It doesn't seem that bad, actually looking more clear south of Fenwick towards Ocean City and Assateague than north up towards the Delaware shore line. We continue to make our way and switch over to Ocean City once Dover requests flight conditions and turns us loose. I make my position calls at ten and five miles noting a twin Cessna's position calling in with position and a request for fuel.  UNICOM responds fuel is closed for the day but self serve is available. The Cessna responds that he will look elsewhere. I continue my descent for runway two-zero and make a nice landing.
As we taxi back I hear the twin Cessna announcing his position, now on short final for runway one-four. I advise the Cessna I am holding short of 14-32 for his arrival and watch him land. We cross 14-32 and turn for the temporary tie down and the Cessna turns for the main ramp at the terminal. I so want to key the mic...Dude, they are closed. I just laugh and pass on giving him directions to the self serve. As we secure 08Romeo we hear the Cessna fire up and taxi out to runway three-two. Ok, he must have his shorts in a wad since he's now taking off with a tail wind and screams up and out. The pilot makes a steep bank left then right on departure and flies off. Bizarre...

A fun day of flying and visiting family in Wilmington. I'll be focused on the weather for the next few days as I plan our revised departure date for Boston.


Chris said...

Ah! So we both made VFR family visits this weekend! Learn to fly for the fun of it, stick around for the utility! (when conditions are right, the distance is in that sweet spot, the airplane is working OK, and other disclaimers that might apply.) :-)

And, really, if you're going to reference placenames like "Assawoman Bay", you need to include the standard Dave Barry disclaimer ("I am not making this up!"). Otherwise, people might accuse you of making these things up. I mean, not me. I would never do that. Nor would I hop on Google to see if Assawoman Bay is a real place or merely an unfortunate typo. Nope, not me. Never.

Sorry that your Boston plans were scuttled.

Gary said...

lol, so did you find it on the internet? Thanks for the good laugh. I will add the disclaimer from now on. I want to know what nit wit came up with that name and what officials ran with it.

Chris said...

Maybe it was an assahat, Gary!

Gary said...

Chris, Yes, good call. :)