Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hangar Time

I was too lazy to get out early this morning and fly.  By the time I got rolling the rain and thunderstorms were moving in and I decided to just take Ziva and head to the hangar. I wanted to pull the lens off the rotating beacon and see about removing the 'patched' or blocked area.  I also wanted to note the bulb type so I can replace it with an LED. The patch is not coming off, the bulb will be replaced with an LED.
I putzed around, playing with Ziva then finally got to work. Ok, work is a strong word maybe just tinkering, yea, I like that.

I finished up, closing the hangar and heading to the terminal. I wanted to have Ziva visit with Nola, she loves dogs.  Nola wasn't working today so I kept the visit very short and decided to head for home.
Picture provided by an internet source
As I was walking out the door I heard the folks at the counter mention two AH-1 Cobras inbound. Hmmm...I would love to see those birds.  I did take some video, it was really bad, I never used the zoom. However, as mean as it is, I did get to see them and they were bad to the bone!
Mary and I are on standby for a English Springer Spaniel rescue for Sunday. The ground transport is scheduled for Saturday but we are on deck if needed.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Approach Clearance - Crossing Altitudes

While reading through the many forums I frequent, I came across an excellent what if scenario. The pilot is a friend of mine and I always appreciate his insight to flying/teaching moments. I thought I would share.

Here is his post...

I was taking advantage of a rare chance to get in some actual today in Central Texas today. I did an IFR flight from KEDC (Austin Exec) to KLHB (Hearne). It wasn't a ton of actual but it was bumpy enough to work at it so I hand flew the approaches.

An interesting IFR question came out of this though. My approach clearance to the KLHB RNAV Rwy 18 approach was issued about 5 nm from CORAB

I had been cleared direct CORAB at 3000 prior to this. The clearance was "...cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, cross CORAB at or above _2000_ feet."

The leg following CORAB has a minimum of 2600' and the MSA on the plate is 2300'. Can I descend to 2000 at CORAB and continue until I hit the descent path?

I think this was the intent but I can't seem to find anything online on this. In this case I just flew the approach as published (it wasn't a challenge to loose 800 feet in 17 miles).

BTW - bonus point question. Looking at that plate - what does the grey shading between the VDP and the runway threshold mean.

My thoughts...

Once cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, like my friend, I would have stayed at 2600', flying the approach per the plate from there.

I watched a similar scenario unfold on a video of an aircraft given the "at or above" which the crew followed and triggered a terrain alert. I will continue to follow the approach plates unless breaking out and flying the remainder of the approach VFR.

By the way, I got the bonus question, ok partial credit because I took a shot.  I knew what it had to deal with but wasn't 100% positive until looking it up after the fact.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Sandbox

An odd title, but, after watching most of the FlyLikeThePros videos I am going to adopt a few of their tips for my flying now that I have the 530W and 430W in the Debonair.

The first tip that really peaked my interest was the 'Sandbox'. Flying with a two Garmin system this practice provides a way to secondary flight plan, have a dedicated DME or initiate your 'back up' plan without clearing your current flight plan.

The first step to accomplish this is to set up the cross fill operation. This can be accomplished on the active FPL page or NAV page one. I am going to keep the 'autofill' from the 530 to the 430 but switch the 430 to manual. This will allow the additional flight planning feature without disrupting my working flight plan on the 530.
I really enjoy learning new procedures about flying and implementing them in my flight routine. I have been given instructions by ATC that left me scratching my head on how to set up what they want. The worst case, I ask for an initial heading as I work through the issue.

Knowing your systems and practicing all the crazy what if's when with a safety pilot or your CFI reinforces what we need to do. I am grateful for the instructors I flew with and for all the bust my stone flights with Mike B. When in training, drinking from the fire hose seems crazy, until you need those skills in the real world. I can still hear my father reminding me how we play on game day just like we practice. This holds true in everything flying.

What are your thoughts on setting up the sandbox? If you took the time to watch the FlyingLikeThePros videos have you learned anything new, and if so will you add them to your flying.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Learning The S-Tec 50

This morning I was trying to stay ahead of the heat while getting some air time prior to the Ocean City airspace closing for a TFR at 2pm.  Today is practice day for the airshow and I am looking forward to hearing and viewing the Thunderbirds in action.
I headed over to the hangar early and tugged 45Yankee out into the sun, yes, that big shiny thing in the sky. The plan was to launch and fly the GPS 32 approach followed by the GPS 14 approach in order to get some autopilot practice. I completed my preflight and closed up the hangar.
Following my run up I made my call for departing runway three-two and was quickly in the air and retracting the gear. I ran through the take-off checklist prior to rolling for the runway to reinforce the target airspeeds and as a reminder to retract the gear.
I entered the GPS 32 approach and pointed 45Yankee for GOBYO. As I crossed the shore line I remembered that my vest was still in baggage and I hate being low, two thousand feet, over the water and five miles offshore. I made a U-turn and reset for the RNAV GPS 14 approach instead.
I wasn't sure why, when in approach mode, the autopilot turned me slightly to the right. Instead, I disconnected and turned to the outbound heading of 325° in order to perform a parallel entry. Once on the proper heading I switched back to the autopilot heading mode and continued my procedure turn. I was outbound for four miles, then with a turn of the heading bug, completed my procedure turn and was tracking inbound on the 145° heading.

I also worked on my power setting for approaches, noting manifold pressure, RPM's and degree of up or down with my trim setting. Having the chart completed and memorizing it will make my flying more precise. 

Some notes on the S-Tec 50

NAV – Navigation Mode
Before using the NAV mode, you must manually place aircraft within 10 degrees of the desired course. AP will NOT make large course
adjustments in NAV mode.
APR – Approach Mode
This mode is exactly like the NAV mode with one exception: It tracks the CDI with much greater authority, as you would want to do if you were flying a localizer approach.

It was fun to get in the air, however, it would have been better with another pilot in the right seat so I could focus more on learning the AP.  I did manage to work through some simple steps as if shooting approaches and still be mindful of traffic and radio chatter.

Monday, June 11, 2018

VTF, Don't Do It!

Since I'm stuck in the house keeping dry I like to search the internet for training tips and what if situations that spark my interest enough to fire up the simulator.

Today, while looking for answers on winds aloft, I stumbled upon this video from FlyingLikeThePros.
How many times have you be bitten by this Vector To Final scenario? Come on, fess up.  I have, twice. I no longer need to touch the burner on the stove to know it's hot and it will hurt. I have posted about this subject before but these guys do a great job with the video and I wanted to share.

Pay close attention to the last few minutes, they provide a new trick to add to the tool chest. In a busy airport environment you may get vectors extending your downwind on an approach. Since we have learned, some of us the hard way, that ATC does switch up, especially on hand-offs it's best to load a full approach.

If you need to extend or stretch the final approach a bit longer FlyingLikeThePros suggests the 'direct' to the last fix, entering the heading to extend the centerline.  It's sort of like using the OBS function and dialing in the final approach course on the CDI to extend the magenta line on those new to you airports that you're trying to find in VFR conditions. In the mean time you have an extended centerline to help.
Lets take a look at my recent trip to KCXY, Capital City in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I was directed to expect vectors to the ILS RWY 8. If you look closely I did select VTF, only because it was VFR and I had no issue getting into CXY. This scenario still provides a good look at the benefit of loading the full approach.
On the sim TIVNE is LATLE due to the ancient version. However, the red arrow shows the extended centerline/approach and if there are step downs like the video this tip can really be helpful when flying single pilot IFR.

The next issue, as mentioned above, is winds aloft and lack of display on my iPad/Foreflight. I decided to dig into my avionics that I have in 45Yankee. I have tried to find in flight winds aloft, but can't seem to find the info displayed on my iPad/Foreflight. I sent Foreflight an email yesterday (Sunday)and I really didn't like the response, despite it being quick and thorough.

Winds aloft through ADS-B reception only shows winds for airports that report them. That is, the winds are viewable in the airports tab for that specific point.

Winds as a layer is not available through ADS-B because they don't send that information.

You can pack for a trip and have the estimated winds aloft data stored. The Pack feature creates an "envelope" around your planned route and checks to see which items need to be downloaded. The envelope covers 25nm either side of the enroute course and within a 50nm radius around the destination and departure airports. Pack will always check for the latest METARs, TAFs, AIR/SIGMETS, TFRs, Fuel Prices, NOTAMs, Documents, Airport Database, and Obstacles.

You can set up which type of chart and map data that you want Pack to check for by going to MORE > DOWNLOADS > UNITED STATES or CANADA, and select options such as IFR Low, Terminal Procedures, or VFR Charts. Pack only offers downloads for those items that are not already downloaded to your device.

The information that is downloaded using Pack is accessed during the normal use of ForeFlight. Weather can be found from Map overlays and on the Airports Page. Terminal Procedures can be found from within the Airports Page or by searching for them on the Plates Page. NOTAMS are displayed within the Airports Page.

You can view which states are downloaded by Pack and delete unwanted states by going to MORE > DOWNLOADS. If packed data is not part of your normal downloads, when the data expires it will be deleted from the system automatically.

If your route is changed, use the pack feature to re-evaluate the downloads and re-alert the you of any available downloads. Every 10 mins Pack can be used to recheck the current route for new weather and NOTAMs.

For more on Pack, please see our Pilot's Guide:

I really miss the Garmin 496 and xm weather, I may be looking to add a unit to the Debonair.  Does anyone have a suggestion for winds aloft?

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Bits and Pieces

The Supervisor
Off to the airport this morning to get a few odd jobs done at the hangar.  I received my color coded toggle covers last week and they just didn't fit.  That will not be the end of this want. I brought along a hair dryer and heated each cap until I could stretch it over the toggle. It took some coaxing but I completed the project.

Next on my list was the install of LED navigation lights. I really liked the LED's I installed on 08Romeo so I used the same product and completed that task. I forgot to take pictures. Here is a shot from the online catalog of the LED's and clear lenses I also installed. 
Once finished up with the plane, I loaded up Ziva girl for the ride home.  I did give some thought to an ice cream stop but figured I would wait and ask the ladies if they wanted some after dinner. With everything picked up and the Batteryminder plugged back in I headed home. 
Got up to see the Pilatus PC12 roll out
When I arrived I saw a few packages sitting on the steps, two for Mary and one for me.  My new grease fitting caps were here.  Tomorrows project!

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

US Kennels

I have been volunteering my time with US Kennels in Salisbury, Maryland. I was introduced to Chris Hardy, Executive Director, and we immediately hit it off. I have always enjoyed 'training' my dogs but I'm no pro. Chris is a pro, and an excellent teacher, I believe in his program. Anything associated with dogs, especially rescues, and giving something back to our Veterans is a win win for me. Check out US Kennels at the following two links.

US Kennels on Facebook
U.S Kennels Incorporated
Some info on US Kennels...
U.S Kennels Incorporated is a 501(c3) non profit organization. We provide trained service dogs, as well as supplies, to our combat wounded veterans who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injuries and affiliated physical disabilities. Our program is available to deliver free support to our veterans while at the same time saving lives of shelter dogs waiting for someone to give them another chance at life. Every veteran will be helped to find a dog which fits their personality and disability.

A dog will be rescued, rehabilitated, trained in advanced obedience, and advanced medical tasks. Our program is created in such way that everyone wins, multiple lives are saved. Veterans lives will greatly improve with the medical assistance and by the healing power of their new canine partner.

After the veteran has been accepted into the training program, the next step is to define the tasks, and skills needed to best assist the veteran with his/her disability Veterans are being scheduled to meet with the trainer, so can he understand their needs, and begin to identify potential dogs in the shelters which might be suitable. All the dogs match with veterans based on strength level, temperament, the Veteran’s needs, personality, and life style. Once the dog/dogs who meet the requirement are identified the process of adoptions begins followed by the obedience training.
I hope you will take the time to check out the home page and feel free to donate to a worthy cause.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Solo Requirement Completed

The Debonair came home to Ocean City on Thursday, May 24th.  Since that trip home I only managed a half hour of flight time due to daily fog, rain showers and three hundred foot ceilings. Mother Nature needs to cut me some slack!

With the forecast calling for early morning Low IFR, I flight planned for a 9:30 departure. My flight plan for today has me heading south to Coastal Carolina Airport, KEWN.  Winds aloft look to be providing a few knots of tail wind and once clear of Ocean City's early overcast sky, conditions look great.

Prior to start up I tried to add the toggle switch color caps for added ease of identification, they didn't fit. The gust lock 'remove before flight' streamer arrived so that was added and stowed in the glove box.
It's time to get 45Yankee started and knock out the last 3.7 hours of solo time. I've managed the cold start procedure very well and 45Yankee comes to life, I do love the rumble of the six cylinder continental. Reminder, I still need work on the hot start procedures. I may have jinxed myself.

The airport ASOS just prior to 7am is as follows.

041053Z AUTO 34011KT 10SM OVC007 14/14 A2978

I wait for the oil temps to come up and then taxi for runway three-two. It's now 10:15 and the sky is starting to clear.

SPECI KOXB 041410Z AUTO 34012G19KT 10SM SCT012 17/14 A2979

I picked up my clearance from Potomac once my run up was completed. I'm trying to get used to my new checklist, running it from memory then reviewing. I always use the CRAFT mnemonic. CRAFT stands for Clearance, Route, Altitude, Frequency, Transponder.
C - KEWN, Coastal Carolina, New Bern, VA
R - AF (as filed) on departure fly 270°
A - 3000/expect 8000
F - 127.95 (Patuxent approach)
T - 4604 (Squawk code)
I took off on three-two climbing out at 90 knots until clear of the runway environment then cruise climbed at 104 knots. Patuxent identified me and then gave me climb and maintain eight thousand. That climb was short lived and I was briefly held at six thousand then allowed to continue my climb.
I was handed off to two Norfolk sectors and then Washington Center before the final hand off to Cherry Point approach.

Layer broke up as I approached the south side of the Chesapeake
I went through my checks and lowered the gear below 120kts which slows the plane down to flap speed at 104 kts. I reported the right downwind as directed, was cleared to land and acknowledged, then made a very nice landing. Dave, the previous owner, reminded me to fly the numbers and she will treat me well. I repeat that in my head while in the pattern in between my GUMPS checks.
I climbed out and headed into the FBO at New Bern, Tidewater Air. Quick friendly service and a very clean facility made for a positive experience. I headed back out to 45Yankee and checked fuel, followed by a quick walk around.  I was ready to give the hot start a try. The following is what I remember of the hot start procedure from Dave. They say the memory is the first thing to go.

Throttle HALF
Mixture LEAN - all the way out
Battery/Alternator ON
Auxiliary fuel pump ON for around 30 seconds then...Pump OFF
Start - adding throttle and mixture as needed

W R O N G, nope, nadda, she ain't starting

I texted Dave and he walked me through the CORRECT hot start procedure. Thank God he's a patient man.

Throttle OFF/OUT
Mixture Lean/OUT
Battery/Alternator  ON
Auxiliary Pump ON full 30 seconds then OFF
Throttle full IN
Start - As the plane starts add mixture pull out some throttle and use the Auxiliary pump if she starts to sputter.

DING DING DING We have a winner!

Dave if you're reading this, THANK YOU!

Now if you read through the correct procedure you may figure that you need a third hand or be darn quick if the Aux Pump is needed. This will take practice but I have the secret, now written down, and added to my check list.

Thankfully I didn't have to sit in Virginia, I was able to point north for home. I picked up my clearance with New Bern Ground and taxied for departure.

C - KOXB Ocean City
R - AF, on departure runway heading
A - 2000/7000
F - 119.35 Cherry Point approach
T - 5334
Once switched over to the tower I was cleared to take off runway three-two. 45Yankee was off the ground and climbing out and I was concentrating on my airspeed and setting up my RPM and Manifold Pressure. Hmmm...not climbing as she normally does, check list reveals I forgot to raise the gear. Duh!

Ok, much better and the numbers are good to go. I used the heading mode for a bit then hand flew the rest of the way home. 45Yankee trims out just as sweet as 08Romeo did, set it and forget it.

Norfolk, VA
I was handed off to multiple sectors along my route home as I enjoyed the afternoon ride. This is a sweet plane, I am starting to understand her and her numbers, hopefully she is tolerating me.

I cancelled with Patuxent approach and made my position calls for Ocean City. I was number two behind a school plane and happily made my way to the pattern. As I approach I went through my first GUMPS check, confirming Gas on the fullest tank, Gear down and confirmed, mixture full rich and prop set for go around. I added approach flaps on downwind and the second notch on base. It was a smooth ride on final adding the last notch of flaps and coming over the numbers at 70 knots. I felt the mains roll on as I held off the nose, gently letting it touch the runway as my speed decreased. I didn't use any brakes, instead I rolled to the last taxiway closest to my hangar and turned off.
It was a fun day flying and completing the insurance solo time requirements. Mary and I can now use the plane, together, and have some fun exploring. We are free to move about the country.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

New Items

I spent most of yesterday morning doing touch ups and opening boxes of the items I ordered for 45Yankee. It was like Christmas, new cowl plugs, pitot cover, spare oil and LED NAV lights.  I'm waiting for a few more items.
I am going to try and repurpose 08Romeo's original cover from Kenyon.  The previous owner tore holes for the antenna that will have to be restitched and some sort of doubler added around the opening.  The old thermometer was on the pilot side and 45Yankee has it located in the center support of the windscreen.  I'll mess with it for a little while and if it works I'll move forward, if not, I'll by a new cover.
I did experiment with the orbital buffer and some swirl free cleaner wax made by Meguiars. The few areas I tried came out gorgeous, so 45Yankee is going to get a spa day, I'll have to call CAVU.

That's it for now.  I'm getting ready to order the Alpha shoulder harness belts and get their install scheduled. I hope to knock out the last few hours needed for insurance. I need a total of five solo and I have .8 completed. If the weather clears I will try and finish up this week.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Transition Training


The original plan was to rent a car, one way, and fly 45Y home at the end of my transition training.

After a bit more thought I decided to ask my hangar neighbor, Chet, if he could give me a lift to KILG -Wilmington.  Perfect timing, Chet wanted to go to Red Eagle and have his VFR cert done.  I called and coordinated with Joanne in the office at Red Eagle and we were soon climbing aboard 8Bravo Whiskey.
Chet picked up flight following with Dover approach and we road along together until just north of the Smyrna VOR.  Once dropped from Dover we contacted Wilmington tower and reported a four mile final runway  one, as directed.
My rental was waiting at fly advanced and the line guys asked me "where's my plane, the Sundowner", I responded, it's in California.  I just sold her.

They look puzzled until I explained that I was here to train in my new to me plane, a 63' Debonair.

Chet taxied his plane to Red Eagle and I drove around the airport.  I was pulling into the parking lot just ahead of the Warrior 8Bravo Whisky shutting down at the hangar.  Dave came in on his day off to do the cert and everything checked out just fine.  Once the plane was parked out on the ramp, Chet and I drove over to the IHOP for breakfast.

We returned to the airport and I dropped Chet off on the ramp, at his  plane and then headed for the west T hangars to see our new  plane.  I climbed aboard and went through the motions of a GUMPS check and reaching for each control until it felt comfortable. I'm trying to get familiar with switches and breakers, flaps and gear.

I decided I should get checked into my hotel, the Hilton in Christiana.  My former CFII and friend Mike B is in town for business and he is also checked in this hotel.  We are going to catch up for dinner and of course go see the plane.

Mike really liked the plane and crawled around it, examining every detail. Once in the cockpit he checked out the avionics stack and each instrument.  Mike did note the  fuel tank switch would be much easier for me than 08Romeos set up.

Dave was at the hangar, apparently he was closing a deal on its sale too.  We all chatted for a bit then Mike and I headed out for dinner.  I invited Dave to join us but he declined.

It was a short drive to Firebirds and we were quickly seated.  Catching Up with Mike was great, I really miss flying with him.  After we ordered dinner we reviewed the different procedures between the two planes. Basic airmanship, power on and off stalls but now with gear and thoughts on creating the basic numbers for all phases of flight.

Things are going to be different as I fly the Debonair. It's not going to be as easy as deciding how much altitude to loose dividing by two for the number of minutes out from my destination, like I did in the Sundowner.  With the speed increase Mike suggested a simple formula for staying ahead of the plane.  The altitude difference, times three, plus seven.....say what?

Destination pattern 1000'
Flight altitude say 8000'

I need to loose 7000'.  So,  Times three is 21, plus seven is 28.  Start your descent 28 miles out which controls any chance of shock cooling and gives plenty of time for speed control, you don't want any slam dunks by ATC.  Mike reminded me to learn and fly the numbers, be precise, it will be work to stay ahead at first but things will slow down and feel proactive instead of reactive.


The weather is not looking to play nice today, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

Despite no pets, I was still wide awake a 5am.  I figured since I was up, I would shower and get ready to head out for breakfast.  I managed to select the same place as yesterday, IHOP.  The place was empty but by the time I finished eating it started to fill up .

It's a short drive back to the airport and the west T hangars. My security card issue is squared away and I pass through the gate just like a regular tenant. The plan is to stow my equipment on board and sync my iPad after relocating it to where I want it. After taking the bracket apart and moving it closer to the pilot side yoke, I find it doesn't provide enough clearance for my right hand on the yoke.
Obviously there is a reason Dave had his iPad mounted where he did. With everything now switched back exactly like I found  it, I reconnected my mounting plate and guess what, it was perfect. Next,I toggled the battery switch to on and synced the PMA 8000BT and attempted to do the same for the Flight Stream 210 to my iPad...easy peasy for the audio panel, not so much for the 210.
My instructor came by the hangar and handed off another set of questions for me to review and answer.  I decided to head back to the hotel, work through the questions and then relax, we are going to shoot for 2pm.
I returned for the 2pm meet but the rain poured down and the threat of thunderstorms were moving in. I decided to call it a day and returned  to the hotel. I am not a happy camper being stuck away from my bride and not accomplishing a thing.  I skipped dinner and instead grabbed some Pringles and Carmel peanut crunch along with a Fanta orange soda. Comfort food munchies to the rescue.

I read the study materials again and glanced over the emergency procedures in the POH.  I'm taking the rest of the night off, watching some NCIS then calling it a night.


I did manage to sleep in a bit later than normal. I rolled out of bed at 6:19 and immediately turned on Action News.  What's the action news deal you wonder...just the best darn news around.  I really miss the 6ABC  news team since we retired to Ocean City.

I decided on breakfast here at the hotel then searched the area for colored toggle caps. I made multiple stops at electrical supply companies, and automotive suppliers before waving the white flag. I'll order from Aircraft Spruce or Sporty's.
It was time to preflight and tug 45Yankee out into the sun for some us time.  I carefully did my preflight and then loaded my stuff in the baggage compartment.  Vince stopped by and checked out the plane, I think he really likes it.  I took my time and did a temporary video set up, connecting the audio cables too.  This video set up will take some planning before selecting the final spot.

Al was right on time and together we did a walk around with me explaining my process.  There was a cotter pin that needed to be bent over so a person doing the preflight wouldn't catch their hand or finger.  45Yankee drew first blood and despite her objection, the cotter pin is squared away.
We climbed aboard and discussed our plan for today's flight.  I followed Dave's start up procedure to the letter and 45Yankee came alive.  To say  I was nervous was an understatement. My knees had a bit of a shake going on but that disappeared once I hit the PTT button to call for taxi clearance.

I completed my run up and everything looked good, I was ready to log my first takeoff in 45Yankee.  Once cleared for take off I rolled on to the runway and unleashed the beast.  The big bore continental roared as I smoothly increased throttle while on the roll.  I was quickly off the runway and climbing  out of Wilmington. I called out positive climb, and with a tap of the brakes, and a flip of the switch the gear was coming up.
I flew steep turns, power on and off stalls, slow flight, an ILS approach into Chester County and an engine out or two.  We spent time in the practice area then headed for 33N, Delaware Airpark. The winds were gusty and this would be my first attempt at landing the Debonair. My approach felt stable and my numbers were spot on, I was on the runway.  I taxied back for another go and departed once again for some pattern work. Al changed the plan on departure and we instead headed to KEVY - Summit.  Instead of staying configured in gear down pattern work we climbed out to the north. I made the configuration change to gear up but my brain had my hands return the gear lever to what I thought was a middle detent position.
FYI, there is no middle detent position, I had immediately recycled the gear to the down position. I got distracted, confirmed I heard the gear in transit but didn't confirm the gear up light. I didn't make this mistake a second time. I quickly realized that my fly the numbers wasn't producing the book speeds and regrouped. I checked flap position, all good, checked gear up light, green, not good. I cycled the gear, confirmed red light, gears up, and watched the numbers fall into place. 45Yankee was teaching me. Al was patiently watching me recheck my numbers and let me find the problem, a good teaching moment.

We made a few landings at KEVY - Summit and then pushed farther north to KMQS - Chester County. Along the way I put the foggles on and planned for the ILS RWY 29 approach.  For the first approach it went very well.  Not having my numbers chart set up yet, 45Yankee was well behaved and quickly settled in for a stabilized descent to the runway.

Next up I was headed to KLNS - Lancaster. While I thought I had time to chug and plug the info (no iPad Garmin connection) and get my frequencies set up I was already hitting the ten mile out mark. Thankfully I was listening to the weather (ATIS) and checked in with the tower. I was high and fast but cleared to land number two which gave me time to drop the anchors, my gear, and descend keeping temps in good shape. I made a nice landing holding off the nose gear and made my way to the west ramp.

It was time for refreshments! I was soaked in sweat and needed a break.  We had been at this for two and a half hours.  Once in Fiorintino's we were seated and  I started drinking down raspberry ice teas, three of them. It was a good time to cool off and review our air work to this point.
One last hop for today, home to Wilmington, or so I thought.  After receiving my taxi instructions I headed for runway three-one. With my run-up completed I called the tower and was cleared to takeoff with a left turn on course approved.  45Yankee was really smooth and stable as I flowed through my checks and pointing us home. Al and I talked about staying ahead of the plane and always looking for an out, a plan B.

My pucker moment happened when Al advised we had an oil pressure issue.....what! I have been checking my gauges faithfully. I checked again and said numbers look great. Al replied no, it's a simulated engine issue...well duh, obviously I'm clueless. I quickly assessed the situation and pointed for N57- New Garden located about my ten o'clock position. I made the runway but I should have held off a bit longer dropping the gear.

We taxed back for departure and once again pointed for home. I was perfectly aligned for runway three two down wind entry and confirmed the towers direction for a left entry. There were two C130's ready for departure on runway two-seven so the tower had us enter a right down wind for three-two instead. I finished up with another good landing and was happy with my overall performance during today's flight training.  I'll be back at it tomorrow for the last hour and a half of dual, starting at 12:30.


It's a new day!  I hope to  finish up and get me and the plane home to Ocean City. Somehow I manage to skip breakfast and instead run a few errands. I'm still looking for color toggle caps, but came up empty. I'll have to call Sporty's or Aircraft Spruce and see what they have to offer.

I decided to return my rental early and catch a ride with a lineman back to the west T's.  I had to wait for my CFII, scheduled for 12:30, so I kept busy cleaning gear and and getting my bags stowed.
Vince stopped by to chat and he offered to help clean. I said I wanted to pair my iPad with the Flight Stream 210 so we both climbed aboard. Last night I read through the pairing sequence for the Garmin 345 bluetooth transponder and the Garmin 530W.  I thought I was ready for the task, Miss Deb had other ideas.

First things first, iPad on and in discovery mode. Next, 45Yankee battery on...battery on...ahhh, battery on. What the heck! The panel is dead, not a single instrument light or gyro spinning up.

Let's see, Missy Deb draws first blood yesterday and today she refuses to power up.  Missy Deb fits the spoiled little girl she is. Obviously she doesn't want to leave Dave, or Wilmington.

I'm sure she will eventually come to learn that I will care for her like her previous owner has done for many years and she will get plenty of exercise while visiting new places. But for now she continues to test me.

I called Dave to see if he had any ideas, he came right to the hangar. Dave knows the Deb as well as I knew the Sundowner, it's very obvious. Vince borrowed a battery charger and removed the Concorde battery for a top off.  Vince was my life line, he provided wheels, mechanical skills, a charger and support.  Thank you!
The determination is made that the battery/master solenoid has, for lack of a better term and my frustration, shit the bed. I made a quick call to Cecil Aero and they had one unit in stock. Josh at Cecil Aero asked me to try a quick test to confirm. Remain clear of the prop, battery switch on and tap the solenoid.  We followed his instructions and with the battery switch hot a simple tap had power flowing to the panel. Battery switch off, then back on and the panel was dead again.  Rinse and repeat a few times with the same results.

Al, my instructor volunteered his Cessna 182 for the parts run. I was instructed to fly left seat, Vince climbed in the back and Al was right seat.  Uh...Al? I haven't flown a Cessna in many years and never a 182.  "If you can fly the Debonair you can fly the 182, climb aboard", okie dokie.
The 182 felt solid when we taxied, just like the Deb. With the run up completed we were cleared to take off runway one-four, and off we went.  Al did radio work until we were released from Wilmington and he programed the 430W while I just flew the plane. Al laughed and said, "you really don't need any GPS as well as I knew the area", I was good to go for 58M, Claremont.

I made my position calls and made a nice landing on runway three-one. Like the Deb, you have to hold off the nose with all that weight out front and let her just gently settle in. Trim is your friend. This isn't the Sundowner anymore, these aircraft need a bit more attention when touching down. The three of us jumped out and walked into the shop. Josh was ready for us and had the part, so it was a quick grab and go. We passed Stan in the shop and chatted for a bit then climbed aboard the 182 for the mission at hand.
I made another nice landing back into Wilmington, missing the first taxiway (F) but making the turn off on runway one-four as instructed by the tower. We put he Cessna 182 to bed and headed back to  over to the Deb, time to reinstall.
With the new battery/master solenoid installed we gave it a test.  Vince climbed aboard and called clear, then hit the battery switch, the panel came to life.  Thumbs up! Battery switch cold, time to close up the plane.  Vince and I ran to get water, ice tea and burgers at the Kings place then returned to the airport.  Vince had to head into work so I thanked him for all his help and promised to get back to ILG and take him for some flight time in the Deb. I think all this motivated him even more to finish up his PPL.

I hung out drinking my huge ice tea and eating the cheeseburger. I just needed to take a breath and calm down. I was going to finish the transition training today and head south, if daylight permitted.  Al showed up after his other lesson finished up and I had 45Yankee ready to go. We both climbed aboard for the last 1.5 hours of training.

training flight and my flight home
Following the taxi and run up we launched from runway nine. Ground asked if I could accept an intersection departure and I requested full runway instead. I guess I ticked him off because he taxied a twin from the other end of the field and made me wait until they passed.  Fine, some sin bin time, if it made him feel better, great.

We climbed out and headed towards Summit, KEVY.  Along the way we did more slow flight and stalls. Power on and off and in climbing turns. No problems, things were moving right along. I did an emergency gear extension, wow that's a lot of turning to drop the gear, around 52 turns. I flowed through all the procedures and emergency situations without an issue.  Finally the words I wanted to hear, take us to Wilmington. I made another nice landing and taxied back to the hangar to complete the paper work.

The Recap: 

PIC in a Complex Airplane
High Performance Airplane
Flight Review endorsement
Time to finally head home. Can I hot start like I did in Lancaster the other day? The answer was no, I had 45Yankee running and leaned a bit to quickly and didn't put in enough throttle. I tried two more times, no start. Girl, we are going to Ocean City if I have to push, tow or truck you there, get with the program. Dave walked over and gave me much needed advice and I tried it again, he has the magic touch. 45Y fired up and we taxied out.

After completing my run up, solo, I sat waiting for take off clearance, it was getting warm in the plane. Finally, it was my turn and I rolled for departure like I have been flying this plane for years. A smooth climb out on Daves suggested numbers and she took to it, I think we were both having fun.

In a blink I was clear of Wilmington and crossing the C&D canal. I picked up flight following with Dover approach and enjoyed the ride. I actually used the S-Tech 50 autopilot, taking advantage of the heading mode and altitude features. I monitored gauges and the traffic, finally settling in, in the new plane.
I arrived at Ocean City just at sunset and made a nice landing. We were home.  I was tired and soaked in sweat as I pushed Missy Deb into the nest.  It's going to be a very good relationship and I will take care of her like I did the Sundowner. I think she'll come around to the new diggs and pilot.

Special thanks to Dave for ALL his help and words of wisdom flying the Deb. I promise to take care of 45Yankee as you did and I know she will treat Mary and I right.

Vince, thank you for all your help. You were my life line. I'm looking forward to flight time with you and you finally getting that PPL.

I am tired and need a's good to be home.