Monday, September 17, 2018

VLOG Update

Just a quick update to keep the VLOG active on YouTube.  I sure miss posting flying videos!
I dug out the only remaining video camera I have left after the accident. I am using the Activeon CX Gold and the audio portion pretty much stinks. I will have to either secure a mic or figure some way to provide better audio.

I also added "Our Favorite Trips" under the Favorite Links section.  We are still looking through all of our posts and adding as we find special travels that provide so many great memories.  Check them out!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Urge to Flight Plan

Despite working through recovery and not knowing our future with flying, I still had the urge to weather watch and work my flight plan.  Back in September I was working the plan for Sanibel Island Florida and BACFest in Louisville Kentucky. (September Plans)

I didn't grab a screen shot of our would be departure day weather, Wednesday the 12th, but I do know it was 300' overcast here in Ocean City for the better part of the early morning. If memory serves me correct, we would have been able to head west before noon. This would have worked out very nice since KJVY would have been VFR, which always makes it easier.
Departure day in Louisville (today) would be an early start. Weather is looking good, winds 070 at 11 knots, overcast at 20k. Ocean City is once again IFR this morning but it looks to clearing around 11am.
The flight would be a three hour hop to KCKB, Clarksburg facing 17 knot headwinds. A stop and go for fuel then the last hop home of two hours and forty minutes to Ocean City.
I only wish I was flight planning for real and us actually heading home after a great time with our BAC Family. We are not sure what the future holds but for now it's one day at a time, together with my Bride.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Finally, A Positive Visit

My latest doctors appointment finally produced some positive news. After the ceremonial cutting off of the bandages, the weekly routine, we all got a look at the troublesome incision. The incision on the back of the leg healed up just fine.
The Doc was quite impressed, I even detected a bit of a smile. The last five stitches, under the yellow cover, were removed and once everything was cleaned up the whole incision was covered with new sterri-strips. I used the alcohol wipes to rub all the itchy spots and really clean up the rest of my leg.

One big positive note, no splint required. I had nothing but the sterri-strips and some sort of pad type bandage covered in two rolls of cotton type material and two ace bandages.
Docs orders, I can move to partial weight bearing. I had to confirm that and ask if that means flat foot for balance or actual partial weight. It was work up to partial weight bearing and working the ankle. Finally after two and a half months I can start to put weight on the leg. I also had x-rays taken and doc said the fracture lines are getting harder to see, which means things are healing.

It's been a long painful process. The emotional swings when I'm hurting really can drag me down but the small victory like today helps get me refocused. My back pain has increased with all the walker work and that is concerning, but I'll push through that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

BACFest Memories

It's that time of year, yes, time for the gathering of mice at BACFest

Unfortunately, Mary and I will not make it this year. What was to be a busy month of flying the Debonair with a vacation to Sanibel Island in Florida, then BACFest in Louisville Kentucky, has instead turned into a, tongue in cheek, stay vacation.  OK, honestly more like serving time.

Enough of the what if's, let's look back at all the fun we had attending the previous BACFests with a few pictures and comments.
September 2011

Our first BACFest was in Ithaca New York.  Our house was crazy busy as we were going through a kitchen remodel and the weather was not playing nice for our departure or return days. We actually gave thought to driving. Pray harder to the weather Gods!

The weather did relent and we were able to depart on schedule after dropping our Mastiff (Maggie) off at the boarding kennel. Flight conditions were clear and we made the flight in 1 hour and 40 minutes.

We had a great time with our BAC friends. The Farmers Market on lake Cayuga was fun and exploring the goodies at Life's So Sweet Chocolates made the day. Great memories of fun times and getting a chance to visit Toughannock Falls was a blast.
On departure day the weather was not playing so nice.  Temps were in the forty's when we left and the freezing level was at eight thousand.
It was a fun ride home noting almost two hours of IMC. I broke out just as I passed over the twin bridges and made a nice landing back at home.

September 2012

Bacfest 2012, what an adventure!  We had a blast making this trip and really taking advantage of the Sundowner, our magic carpet.

Our first leg was KILG to KTTA, Raleigh Executive.  Three and a half hours of VFR conditions with a quick gas and go to head for stop number two.

Our next stop was KPXE in Perry Georgia.  This leg was strange, I was given a clearance of just five miles...I still remember the "what the heck" moment as I chugged and plugged. The limited clearance was due to an inbound Cirrus on a practice approach at fifteen hundred  feet, I had been cleared to three thousand. As we passed I was cleared for the remainder of my route, as filed. This was a great flight, 3.2 hours of smooth as could be with us enjoying the tunes through XM.
Our last leg was for KJKA, Gulf Shores. This leg we saw the biggest cloud build ups EVER! It reminded us of driving through NYC and all the tall buildings. We dodged and weaved our way finally arriving at Gulf Shores.
This BACFest was all about beach time. Mary and I spent our time on the beach and in the water.
The ride home was another long day in the saddle. I monitored wx along our route and when I was closing in on our first stop, Tullahoma KTHA, I made the decision to divert to Smyrna, KMQY. Leg one was 3.6 hours.
We topped off our fuel and made a quick turn around for the next stop KCRW, Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV. This leg was 2.8 hours.
Our last leg was busy with altitude changes and hand-offs for traffic.  We also had to dodge a few build ups. It was a welcome sight seeing the twin bridges as we arrived home with a beautiful sunset view.
September 2015
After the Gulf Shores trip we were ready to stretch our wings, this was going to be the longest trip to date in 08Romeo.
Mary and I had big plans.  We wanted to fly to Dubuque Iowa, then while that far west we wanted to visit Mt Rushmore.  The trip gets better, after Rapid City we pointed to Kansas City to visit our friends before finally point 08Romeo for home.  Great memories that will last a life time! 
Our first leg was scheduled for KCDI, Cambridge Ohio.  The winds had changed and I would be dealing with headwinds and IMC conditions. When I launched off runway one-four at Ocean City I did feel anxious climbing out, right up until we entered the clag. Once on the instruments it was all business and everything felt natural.
Our next leg was to KVPZ, Valparaiso, Indiana. This was a smooth flight VFR conditions and ended with a nice landing. We spent the night and had a great dinner at Kelseys.
Thursday morning, October 1st had us departing Valparaiso for Dubuque. It was a smooth fast flight to KDBQ.
We had a beautiful waterfront view from our room at the Grand Harbor Resort overlooking the Mississippi River. Mary and I enjoy some us time walking the riverfront.
This BACFest had excellent workshops for the board and our member meeting along with maintenance clinics. We all enjoyed a riverboat cruise for dinner to close out the events.
On Sunday we continued west for Rapid City SD and Mt. Rushmore.
September 2017
BacFest 2017, what an adventure. We had just returned home from Sint Maarten on September 2nd, ahead of Hurricane Irma slamming the islands.
With the house and pets back to normal we were once again ready to travel. The plan was to fly to New Bedford, MA but weather had other ideas. Hurricane Jose was terrorizing the east coast and of course continued on ahead of us to the North East. We had great plans of visiting Mike B and his wife Kim along with our friends Adam and Jeanine and their newborn son Declan. We were also looking forward to catching up with family.
I waited out the weather and we decided that if we were going it was going to be by ground transportation. And so it goes, the pilot and his bride are driving to BACFest. The couple of hour flight was now an eight hour drive. Ughhh.
We had fun with our BAC friends as we explored Thames Street and a few museums. The annual banquet was excellent and we had a blast.
Mary and I are still recovering here at home, but this week our hearts our with our BAC family as they gather in Louisville Kentucky for BACFest 2018. I will be tracking multiple flights and watching Hurricane Florence as she moves towards the east coast.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Random Thoughts During Recovery

The Physical Challenge

Mary and I have been through so much. The physical challenges have been non-stop since the day of the accident, but, we are making progress.  A simple task of putting my pants on is such an accomplishment...insert my typical eye roll... Trying to feed the dog and cats or clean a litter box with bending, lifting and twisting restrictions has been a real pain for Mary. Cat litter boxes are beyond her allowed weight restriction so it takes coordination with neighbors to perform this simple task.  Let's not forget she still can't drive and my bride has to deal with yours truly 24/7. It's never easy for people to ask for help and we are no exception, its been a very humbling experience.

Last night was the first night I slept in our bed since June 28th. We are having the hospital bed removed today.  Sounds pretty simple, right?  I have looked at our bed since I came home from the hospital, every single time, all three times. I finally conquered that hurdle. The simple things mean so much as we try and put our lives back together.

The Mental Challenge

The emotional part of all this is like the boogeyman, floating around in both our heads but not a topic for discussion at this time. We understand our lives have changed, forever, as well as our lifestyle and passion for travel. I know at some point the accident will be addressed and it will be good for the both of us to let it all out. I'm not sure when this will happen, but as of yet, it has not been the right time. 

One morning...

Mary and I were going over our daily ritual of quicken updates now that I can wheel in to the office. As we sat discussing something my computers screen saver kicked in and right before us pictures of our many destinations flashed.  Our conversation stopped, not a word was said, as we fixated on the screen. When we looked at each other we were both in hit home that for us life has drastically changed. We hugged, both acknowledging how much we enjoyed our travels by way of our magic carpet.

Our life will keep moving forward, and we are both very thankful for that. As to flying again, not a clue where that will go and honestly we could care less at this time. We have forged friendships even deeper and made new friends along this journey. We will continue to appreciate the time we have together.

Ever since I was a child I learned many life lessons. From my years playing baseball, throughout my school years and even over my work career, there was always something to learn and carry forward. This experience is the same, although I am struggling with what it is I need to take away from it all. I do have an even deeper love for my bride and know there is nothing we can not rise above, together. Maybe it's the lesson of accepting help from others so that we may give more to others when we are healthy. Maybe I'm just trying to solve a life puzzle that is still missing a few pieces.

Our journey will continue moving forward. Mary and I look forward to the day we can once again travel to new destinations and enjoy exploring and meeting new people. For now we heal, enjoy our own company, and our family and friends that surround us. Life is good.

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Good Times...

This reminder came up on Facebook from August 2014. I surely miss those simple days.

Sunrise over Cape Henlopen. Dinner date night with my Bride in Ocean City. Flew home to Wilmington for work this morning.

Here is the link to my blog entry for that "date night" flight. Date Night, GA Style

Sunday, August 12, 2018

More Surgery and Sent Home

Friday, July 27th

I did manage to enjoy a short four day stay at home after my release from Health South Rehab. Unfortunately, I headed back to Peninsula Regional for a second round of surgery on my right leg. More plates and screws were needed to complete the realignment and length restoration.  Mary and my brother Joe along with our guardian angel Candy sat patiently as the three and a half hours clicked off.  My Doctor came out to let them know everything went very well.
(starting at the top) ankle, shin and knee
I was moved to a private room for recovery. Unlike the first leg surgery that wasn't too painful this round was excruciating. I needed pain meds to help me function like a human.

During this surgery the doctor also fixed up my left big toe that I beat into submission over the last year, it also had an abscess. This abscess was cleaned out and I was given  strong antibiotics to clear up the infection.

While recovering at PRMC I did develop a bacteria infection in my blood so that forced me to stay longer until all tests, and I mean many blood samples, were deemed clear after 48 hours.

Wednesday August 1st

I was released for more rehab at Health South on Wednesday. It was like old home week. I had the same nurses and nurse assistants along with the gang at Physical and Occupational Therapy. They took very good care of me AND worked me pretty hard.

Wednesday August 8th

I made progress and was finally released on Wednesday. Occupation Therapy wiz Stewart rigged up a device that secured my right ankle and provided a way to lift and swing my right leg into and out of bed. He is a genius!
The contraption worked like a charm. Remember those days back in elementary school, making chain links out of construction paper?  Same concept, except we used heavy duty velco.

This sling type device was critical.  Mary, fresh off back surgery was not allowed to bend, lift or twist, so she could not help me. I needed to be able to get in and out of bed and get my leg raised in the wheel chair. Mission accomplished.

Sunday, August 12th

Mary's back is coming along. My bride has a doctors appointment on Tuesday that will require x-rays prior to arriving. Mary has been wearing her brace and following doctors orders. My bride has taken care of me, supported me, and has been the guiding light for me to keep focused. I don't know how she does it.

I need blood work prior to my next appointment on Wednesday. I'll use the local wheel chair transportation system available to us. It's still too difficult to get in and out of the SUV and then be stuck with the wheel chair in the back that neither Mary nor I could lift at this time.

More updates to follow, hopefully getting out of this big splint device and into a smaller cast.  I also hope to report on Mary's progress and that she will be released to drive.

Many thanks to family, friends and neighbors for their support and meals. A special thanks to Candy and Mark G for being our guardian angels for the last six weeks, we are left without words trying to express our gratitude. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018


I wanted to update my  blog with a few notes dealing with our recovery, for both Mary and I.  Despite the many stories, theories and bits and pieces of the facts, I will provide some medical insight.

 Friday June 29

Immediately following the accident Mary was helped out of the plane by a couple that was traveling on Route 611 . The gentleman that helped Mary came back and helped pull me out of the plane . I understand that it took a second man who jumped in to help pull me free of the cockpit .
Mary was amazing, with all the noise going on around me as I laid on the ground I could hear her taking command of the situation. My amazing bride directed people to the fire extinguisher and alerted the ground personnel (first responders) of full fuel tanks in each wing.

 Ocean City fire department was on scene almost immediately . Maryland State police and their helicopter was there just as fast . Mary's injuries were assessed and she was taken by ambulance to Peninsula regional medical center . My medical condition was assessed and I was immediately airlifted to Peninsula regional medical center .

What I remember is a lot of faces asking a lot of questions along with being poked and prodded while being shifted from stretcher to table .  I wanted to see Mary to make sure she was safe and the nurses finally wheeled her in to see me. Mary had fractured L1 in her back and was being put in a brace, along with some bruising and scrapes.  Yours truly had a back fracture in L3 and L4 , fractured sternum , three ribs , fractured skull at my sinus cavity and a fractured eye socket . I think I took about 45 stitches to close up all the cuts around my eye and forehead. My worst injury was a fractured tibia fibula in my right leg .
Mary's brother and sister-in-law were already on the road to come down to Ocean City to pick Mary up . The decision was made that I needed to be airlifted to a trauma center. Mary and I decided that that Christiana Medical Center would be best for transportation and she would be close to our families.

 Saturday, June 30

 I spent my first night in Christiana in a trauma unit .  Mind you I had nothing to eat since Thursday nights dinner except for some toothpaste and water Friday morning.  Christiana wanted me to prep for surgery so I couldn't even get ice chips let alone real food , okay , hospital food .  Mary along with my sister Denise sat with me well into the early morning hours . No sooner than they left I was moved up to the next trauma unit and had a room .  I was prepped for surgery and said goodbye to Mary as they wheeled me off . I honestly don't remember much once I got that first shot .  No idea how long surgery was but I was finally out and was moved in the trauma surgery step down unit.

 Sunday, July 1 - Monday July 9

 It was a long week of nurses and doctors along with roommates and all the hospital distractions one can imagine. Thankfully I was supported by my bride , family members , and friends . I settled into the routine of breakfast, physical torture, doctor visits, hospital lunch, the saving grace of visitors and hospital dinners. I was finally scheduled for release on Monday evening and was shipped out to health South in Salisbury Maryland.  Health South is an acute rehab center. Acute rehab means 3 to 4 hours of bust ass physical torture every day.

 Tuesday, July 10 to Tuesday July 17

Today it gets real . This place has a regiment and they follow it.  I will say for a hospital type facility the food is not bad. After breakfast it's time to clean up and then get to physical therapy or occupational therapy, as the schedule sometimes changes. It's a tough first day and my body hurts but the first ones in the book.

 Wednesday, July 18

Today starts out early with the meds dispensed and an early breakfast. Today I'm heading north to Middletown Delaware to have a follow-up with my surgeon that did my initial leg repairs . I'm transported via ambulance for two hours one way . Let me just say the roads in lower Delaware, suck !

 Mary cannot make the ride because of her back there's no way she could tolerate that . My brother Joe and his wife Janice were waiting for me when I got to the orthopedics office . Mary and I both were very appreciative of my brother and his wife being there to support me and hear what the doctor had to say . Janice has a medical background and she speaks all that medical-ease, always a big plus.
All the bandages were removed from what I call the elephant leg . Staples were removed, Steri-Strips were added and a new ace bandage covered everything back up . The doctor wanted me to start moving the ankle and bending at the knee . The news I dreaded hearing was delivered, I would need more surgery to further repair my broken leg . Not only was my heart broken to hear this but my spirit damaged as well.  I was devastated .

 Thursday, July 19

I think last night was my worst nights sleep . With the bulk of the pain coming from my Sternum, back and my ribs, last night my leg break let it be known that it was here to also annoy me.
A few new scares and a big dent
I talked with Mary, she has been my rock . Our friend Candy drove Mary over early this morning so that we can come up with a plan to manage the pain and deal with this new surgery .

 Candy and her husband Mark are friends of ours that we met through the beech aero club . We are so blessed to have such fantastic friends. Candy hopped a flight and has been here to help Mary.

The first week, Mary's sister-in-law, Lynn helped get Mary settled back at our house. Lynn provided meals, transportation and company that Mary needed to get back on her feet.

 The original surgeon handed off my case to a local orthopedic trauma surgeon located in Salisbury. My new doctor called to let me know I was headed for CT scans on Friday the 20th and set up our first visit for July 25 . As much as I hate to say it, or think it, I just want to get the surgery done .

 So recoveries continue for Mary and I as we work through this latest adventure , or is that misadventure . Mary has surgery scheduled for her L1 fracture August 3 . This procedure will clean out any loose fragments and be replaced with a cement type material .

 Special thanks to our friends Candy and Mark for all their help . Thanks to Mary's family and my family for the support, love and prayers.

Friday, July 20 - Sunday, July 22

 Friday and Saturday follow the typical routine meds , bath , PT and OT . I had to make up some time that I had missed while company was visiting so the schedule was extended on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 Saturday was my toughest day since I got here . I did an extended PT session that included being assessed for my release date . This included extra weight on my leg reps, extended distance and walking with a walker and doing what I call the Bunny-hop . We also worked on transfers for the car, bed and extending my time to be able to stand up . Mary and Candy were here when I got back to the room Saturday and I have to tell you I was totally gassed . Once the therapy people got me back in bed I couldn't even lift my arms or my head I was that wiped out . That's a very scary feeling .  It was a restless night but I did manage to get some sleep .

 Sunday was also added PT and OT my schedule . PT was pretty much transfers in and out of bed by myself and trying to extend the range of doing my so-called Bunny-hop on the Walker. I think I made it to sixty foot, twice.  Following PT I went over to the occupational therapy for what I thought would be my typical upper body strengthening work . I was pleasantly surprised when they asked if I wanted to take a shower instead . The therapist helped get me set up by wrapping up my leg in a big bag and helping me get all my clothes and things needed to take a very nice hot shower even though it was sitting in a shower chair .  It felt good to be cleaned up again and back in bed to relax .

 My family came to visit, which made my day.  my brother Joe and his wife Janice along with my sister Denise and her husband Dave. Mary's first cousin Maureen and her daughter Lauren also stopped in to see me , it was a full house .  Everyone had headed out and buy 4 o'clock it was just me.  Mary and Candy had a busy day finishing up their errands in preparation for my coming home. They both came to visit me about 5:30, just in time for dinner.

 Mary's back was starting to bother her so her and Candy finally headed to the house. The countdown was on, I should be out of here Monday morning or early afternoon . Tentative target time 2 PM .

 More on my release and the trip home in my next blog entry .

Thank you for all the readers who have sent text messages , emails , phone calls and for all your Facebook posts that have kept me laughing .

 Special thanks to Mark  and Candy G from Texas , true friends that have taken on a big project. providing transportation, helping with our zoo, being there to listen  and making sure Mary and I follow the recovery plan.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Flying Update

Mary and I are doing fine, we are on the path to recovery thanks to great doctors, nurses, family and friends.   

Thank You all

Monday, June 25, 2018

Cape May = Fun Day

With nothing on our schedule Mary and I decided we would finally get her some right seat time.  Mary hasn't flown in our 'new to us' plane. She has sat in it, but that's it.  Today we were determined to change that.

We gave some thought to heading to Summit-KEVY to catch up with my brother and sister-in-law but they have a busy day planned as they get ready to head to Yellowstone.  I can't wait to hear about their trip. We called Mary's brother to see if they had their grandson with them today. They did not, schools out and since Amy is a teacher she is home for the summer.

Hmmm...Maybe Williamsburg, nah, we're headed there with the Beech Aero Club in July. We gave some thought to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - KAVP so we could visit my parents grave and get some mulch down and flowers planted, but it was too late of a start.

We finally decided on Cape May, NJ.  We called the FBO to confirm a rental car is available, and it was. The last time there we took a taxi and he hit us up for thirty bucks each way to Mammas Junk Company, that's a ten mile hop each direction. Today we rented and had our choice of where to go and how long to stay.

We climbed out of ocean city and turned on course for Cape May. Mary was following the check list and thankfully reminded me to switch the gear up. I'm not sure why I don't do that, I notice the difference in the numbers as I climb out and then retract the gear. Very bizarre. The remainder of the flight went smoothly and we were soon letting down for runway one at Cape May. We taxied to Flight Level Aviation and ordered fuel to top off. Once the plane was secure we jumped in our ride and hit the highway.
Of course we headed to Mamas Junk Company first, but they were closed.  Mary was not a happy girl. No problem, point the little blue Kia rental towards Cape May and off we went, down the Garden State Parkway. We passed by one of our favorite restaurants, The Oyster Bay, confirming they open at 5pm. We will be headed back one evening for dinner. This makes for a great date night.

It was just a block or two to the Washington Street Mall and we quickly found parking in the lot next to the grocery store, across from the church, and it only ended up costing us three dollars.
We strolled along enjoying the gorgeous weather. The temps were perfect and there was a nice cool breeze to keep things comfortable. We decided on a lunch stop at Delaney's Pub.
Mary and I each ordered a lobster roll, and it was perfect.  Not all that mayo and extra stuff packed in, just plenty of lump lobster in a perfect seasoning and served with really hot melted butter. It was fantastic!  I washed it down with a sweet tea, that was more watered than sweet or tea. Mary had The BOG: Cranberry Shandy by Cape May Brewing Company.
The BOG: Cranberry Shandy - A tart, cranberry wheat beer blended with lemonade to create an uber-drinkable summer shandy. Perfect to enjoy on those sweltering days, this beer is light and refreshing while still packing tons of flavor.

We walked off lunch for a short while then decided to head back to the airport. Mary wanted to make a quick stop at the Cape May Brewing Company, along the main entrance to the airport.

With our cargo loaded, one 64oz growler of The Bog, we were ready to climb aboard.
45Yankee had plenty of time to cool so I did the normal start procedure. I had no issue and we were soon on our way to runway one for departure. With the run up complete we rolled out on runway one and launched for home. This time I did not move my hand above the throttle quadrant with out tapping the brakes and retracting the gear. I ran 45Yankee pretty much as I have been, 20MP/24RPM and with the slight tail wind watched speeds of 150 knots.

I crossed the Delaware Bay and climbed above a layer blocking my path, topping out just around six thousand feet. My plan was to hop over the layer and let down for OXB. As I crossed the layer I checked my location and I was already just ten miles north-east of the airport. Crap! I didn't want to shock cool so I pulled power and adjusted my approach towards runway one-four.
The original plan was to enter a left base maybe three miles out from the runway and turn final, not happening.  I was too fast and high so I pointed towards the beach and entered a normal left down wind for one-four. Once at recommended gear speed I lowered the gear, providing some anchors to help slow down. 

The winds provided some crosswind action and I really wanted to test my skills. I stuck with runway one-four instead of switching to runway 2, and planted the left main into the wind and rolled 45Yankee on the runway. I was very pleased. 

Next up Tullahoma, Tennessee!

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.