Friday, March 16, 2018

Bonfire then Waco, The Plan

Mary and I made plans for visiting Magnolia Markets in Waco Texas back in February 2017.  I had grand plans of shedding the last cast, doing my time in the 'moon' boot then full weight bearing by early April.  Yeah, right.  The doctor had other plans and I wasn't cleared to fly until May. Unfortunately we also missed last years Bonfire gathering in Olathe, Kansas. This year will be different.

The planning has begun, phone calls to FBO's and hotel reservations are in the books. I have been working through multiple flight plan routes, taking into consideration last years plan and working a new plan. Day one will not be an early morning departure from Ocean City, Mary has a doctors appointment first, and then we can head to the plane.

The tentative plan is as follows. Depart OXB for our first fuel stop at W22 - Upshur County Regional Airport located in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A gas and go then back in the air for our overnight stop at KIMS - Madison Municipal Airport located in
Madison, Indiana. I've already talked to the FBO manager and arranged potential transportation and there is a hotel close by with very good taxi service if needed. No big plans for checking out the town, although we may wander around after dinner if we rent or have the courtesy car.

Rise and shine for day two and we launch for our first fuel stop at KFTT - Elton Hensley Memorial Airport located in Fulton, Missouri. This knocks out another state for me and gets us topped off at less then $4 a gallon. From Hensley Airport it will be a rather short hop to our destination of KIXD -  New Century AirCenter Airport in Olathe, Kansas. We have a hotel booked for our stay and we are really looking forward to catching up with friends and fellow pilots at the Bonfire.

The next flight plan will take us from KIXD - Olathe to F10 - Henryetta Municipal Airport
in Henryetta, Oklahoma.  This will be a gas and go plus knock out another new state for me. We'll get back in the air and head to our destination of KACT -
Waco Regional Airport located in Waco, Texas. We have a room reserved and we are both really excited to finally see Magnolia Markets and some of the homes restored on the TV show Fixer Upper.

Mary and I will spend a few days visiting with friends; Sandra from Flights of the Mouse and Mark and Candy from the Beech Aero Club. At some point we will need to head home and hopefully have the tailwinds to speed up that portion of our trip.

We will depart Waco Regional and head for a quick stop at KIER - Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana.  This stop is only to knock out another new to me state and maybe get some eats if we skipped breakfast before departure. From Natchitoches we'll head north-east and make a fuel stop at 7M1 - McGehee Municipal Airport in Arkansas, another new state and $4 a gallon fuel. The last hop for the day will be to KDKX - Knoxville Downtown Island Airport in Tennessee. If we get in at a decent time we will do some snooping around town and find some dinner at a recommended local favorite. This will be our last overnight and hopefully we get a good nights sleep. At this point I think we'll be four to five hours out of Ocean City so we may get some additional sight seeing trips around town prior to our departure.

The last leg of our journey will be from Knoxville to Home, 442 miles, hopefully with tail winds. It's always a welcome sight crossing the Chesapeake Bay and seeing the outline of Ocean City come into view.

Stay tuned for the trip blog post !

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Procedure Turns

The retired life provides plenty of time to read. Here is another question posted on one of the flying forums that I often check into. What are your thoughts, is this PT required?

In the VOR approach for KSYI, if I'm coming in from the North on a heading of 180: (red Arrow)

Cleared for the approach. Not on vectors.

1. Do I need to pass over the SYI VOR first?
2. Do I always have to do the course reversal?

FAR Part 91
Section 91.175 Takeoff and landing under IFR.
(a)Instrument approaches to civil airports. Unless otherwise authorized by the FAA, when it is necessary to use an instrument approach to a civil airport, each person operating an aircraft must use a standard instrument approach procedure prescribed in part 97 of this chapter for that airport. This paragraph does not apply to United States military aircraft.
(j)Limitation on procedure turns. In the case of a radar vector to a final approach course or fix, a timed approach from a holding fix, or an approach for which the procedure specifies “No PT,” no pilot may make a procedure turn unless cleared to do so by ATC.
The AIM states:
5-4-6. Approach Clearance
4. If proceeding to an IAF with a published course reversal (procedure turn or hold­in­lieu of PT pattern), except when cleared for a straight in approach by ATC, the pilot must execute the procedure turn/hold­in­lieu of PT, and complete the approach.

5. If cleared to an IAF/IF via a NoPT route, or no procedure turn/hold­in­lieu of PT is published, continue with the published approach

6. In addition to the above, RNAV aircraft may be issued a clearance direct to the IAF/IF at intercept angles not greater than 90 degrees for both conventional and RNAV instrument approaches. Controllers may issue a heading or a course direct to a fix between the IF and FAF at intercept angles not greater than 30 degrees for both conventional and RNAV instrument approaches. In all cases, controllers will assign altitudes that ensure obstacle clearance and will permit a normal descent to the FAF. When clearing aircraft direct to the IF, ATC will radar monitor the aircraft until the IF and will advise the pilot to expect clearance direct to the IF at least 5 miles from the fix. ATC must issue a straight­in approach clearance when clearing an aircraft direct to an IAF/IF with a procedure turn or hold-in-lieu of a procedure turn, and ATC does not want the aircraft to execute the course reversal.

7. RNAV aircraft may be issued a clearance direct to the FAF that is also charted as an IAF, in which case the pilot is expected to execute the depicted procedure turn or hold­in­lieu of procedure turn. ATC will not issue a straight­in approach clearance. If the pilot desires a straight­in approach, they must request vectors to the final approach course outside of the FAF or fly a published “NoPT” route. When visual approaches are in use, ATC may clear an aircraft direct to the FAF.

Ok, if you read all the way through, thanks.  My thoughts on this subject are as follows. Yes, the procedure turn (PT) is required since not on vectors to final (VTF)and there is no, slice of the pie, for lack of a better description that states no PT.

Better Practice Approaches

I subscribed to IFR Focus and receive emails with their latest release. There is always good info for the IFR pilot to think about and I feel the more we read about safety and discuss our IFR procedures, we will become better pilots. I haven't posted their info in some time but I want to get back to sharing their story.

Please subscribe on the bottom of their page and get yourself in the loop. IFR FOCUS

IFR Focus #20

Better Practice Approaches

It’s easy to get in a rut practicing approaches around your home drome. You know the airports; you know the frequencies; you fly with the same buddy before stopping at the same airport diner for the same pastrami on rye. Or, maybe you don’t even practice approaches enough to have a “same.” Don’t feel bad; you’re not alone.

The winter months see more IFR practice than travel for many light GA pilots. So, amp up your practice—and make it more appealing to do on a regular basis. (Set aside the simulator discussion for now. Let’s just talk about real-world aircraft.)

The two best things you can do are making practice a habit and upping the stakes. The first part is pretty simple: Set a recurring day, say the second Saturday of each month, when you and a friend or two go bore holes in the IFR system for practice. Three people is better because two get to watch while one flies, and there’s still a party if one of the gang must take a day off.

Upping the ante on the experience can happen many ways. Here are a few suggestions:

* Have a focus. Each time you fly, have one thing that’s the core practice for the day. Maybe today it’s partial-panel approaches with an ILS or LPV. That’s all you do. You get to focus on exactly that skill and dial it in. Stick with items that make sense in the real world. If you were really partial-panel, you’d almost certainly find an ILS or LPV, so practicing partial panel without vertical guidance isn’t realistic—unless when you lose your PFD you have no vertical guidance. In that case, partial panel and non-precision would be a great thing to practice.

* Request the option. Rather than ending every flight with a missed approach, let your safety pilot make the call just as you reach minimums or a reasonable visual descent point. You’ll be ready for either. Also, having an option to land might force you to fly a more difficult approach for the runway in use, or fly to circling minimums and circle to the landing runway. Circling is a great skill even if you’d only use it with high ceilings and in daylight. Circle no lower than pattern altitude if you want, but practice maneuvering to land somewhere other than straight-in.

* Remove one thing. This could be a focus topic or something your safety pilot tosses in at random. Just lose one of the tools at your disposal and see what it does to your process. It could be the iPad, your second radio, electric trim, the MFD, flaps, etc. Remove just one thing, however. A variant on this is losing one part of the approach system at the last minute: no glideslope, no GPS position, only an approach with a tailwind available. The key is you don’t know what, or when, until it happens.

* Place a bet. Want to really make practice count? Rate the approaches and have the loser buy lunch. Or the avgas. Believe me, you’ll try harder. The safety pilot must watch for traffic, but if he also has an iPad or tablet, have him grab screenshots for proof. Ideally, the screenshot would show speed and altitude as well as position. ForeFlight or CloudAhoy recordings are great tools for this.

* Debrief. I’m as guilty of not debriefing my own practice as anyone else, even though the instructor in me knows the debrief is as important as the flight itself. Take notes on the other pilot’s flight and have that pilot take notes for you. Use those screenshots as you discuss what happened while you enjoy that lunch. Or beer.

The pilot flying does all the communicating with ATC, except for those requests and traffic calls. A good safety pilot can think ahead and ask for things like alternate missed approach instructions that get you going in the best direction for the next approach, or ask ATC for an impromptu hold to let you catch your breath if things start to fall apart.

Having the right safety pilot is key. You want someone who’s not only legal but knows your airplane and your avionics well enough to give feedback on how you did. If you’re swapping approaches, knowing the equipment is required. It’s helpful to have the safety pilot plan ahead for your next approach request. You also want someone you get along with … and won’t gloat too much when you have to pick up the tab.

I have to add....
Another very good read on IFR Focus. This brings back memories of flying with Mike B and the ever changing simulated IMC world he had me live in when we flew approaches. I miss that torture!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

St. Marys, 2W6 and Patuxent NAS Museum

A fly-in to St. Mary's, 2W6, was posted on the Beech Aero Club forum by Alan W, former mid-Atlantic region director and now in charge of the awesome newsletter for the club. Alan planned for a visit to the Patuxent Naval Air Museum followed by lunch at the Mission BBQ. The long range forecast was looking good so I signed up to attend the event.


The pre-heats for 08Romeo were on for a possible flight but Mary was up and wanting to get some grocery shopping done. So it was a no fly day and instead I drove to the market since my bride didn't feel safe enough to get behind the wheel. Once home and groceries put away I did make it to the hangar to top off my fuel load for the fly-in.  Ziva girl enjoyed running around and it was nice to catch up with hangar neighbor Ken who flies the local helicopter tours. I did manage to fiddle with the new camera and explore some potential set up locations for best viewing.


I was up early to check weather and NOTAMS after taking care of the zoo. My electronics were already charged, packed up, and waiting on the counter by the door to the garage. As a precaution I filled up a container with some ice and a frost Gatorade to wet my whistle on the west bound hop.
Temperature at the airport, as I rolled through the gate, was 35°. Brrr...chilly! I did my preflight in the hangar and shut the pre-heats off as the last step prior to exposing 08Romeo to the bright sun and cold temps. We were both ready to go. I taxied out to runway three-two and picked up my clearance with Potomac. It was more of a fifty questions game than a simple request and read back, but it all worked out.

Patuxent NAS
I launched, and once into controlled airspace turned to a 240° heading as instructed. Patuxent had given me direct since all restricted areas were cold, it saved some flight time and fuel.
I was handed off to another sector as I approached the Naval Air Station and continued the last few miles to St. Mary's. There was one aircraft in the downwind as I approached runway two-nine on short final. It wasn't a bad landing although a bit firm, I can do better.

The Parking Fiasco

Initially I parked at the Captain Walter Francis Duke terminal that looked like it was closed. I then noticed Alan at the gate from my view standing on the wing, motioning to another ramp.  Hmmm, I climbed back in and taxied up to the Piedmont Flight Center hangar/ramp near the self serve fuel island. Ok, I shut down again where I was directed and once again climbed out. I was then asked to move to another location so I climbed back in again and got the fan turning on 08Romeo. This round I start to taxi and I am directed to make a circle and once again park where I had just shut down and restarted from...think cheap carnival toy with those eyes that roll around and around. Yep, that's about what I feel like.

This is the last stop as I secure 08Romeo and install her cowl plugs to try and hold some warmth while I'm away. Of course as I walk in the door I ask if they are sure this is where they want me, in a sarcastic tone while rolling my eyes. My comment is received with a laugh and I was told I'm good where I'm at.  Alan and I await Johns arrival and he parks right next to 08Romeo on the ramp.

We're off to Patuxent Naval Air Station Museum! It's a short ride and Alan provides our transportation. The Museum, as we later find out, is a new building that was added to the facility and it borders the Naval Air Station property. I'm posting my pictures to provide a glimpse of what's there for your viewing.

The 'new' Museum and Gift Shop



The Outside Tour

Grumman A6 Intruders



 The Hangar Collection

The guide we spoke to said the museum is going to have a V22 Osprey and a C130 Cockpit added to the hangar collection. I was amazed at the drone technology, from the 50's T Hawk to the modern day Pegasus that has landed an taken off from a carrier and performed in flight refueling. If we can think it, we can make it happen.

We finished up our tour and headed over to Mission BBQ, which is on the way back to the airport.

I had the brisket with cheesy potatoes and baked beans...AWESOME! Alan had brisket that was a pulled type of consistency, John had turkey and brisket. Excellent service and exactly at noon they played the national anthem. It was refreshing to see everyone stand, hats removed, hand over hearts and viewing the flag, it gave me goose bumps.
We all decided it was time to head back to the airport, despite enjoying great conversation about flying, the club and the food. We posed for the club picture with the mid-Atlantic banner then said our goodbyes.
We each pre-flighted and climbed aboard. John needed fuel so he taxied across the ramp to the self serve while I taxied out for my run up. I made my call to Patuxent and they gave me another number to call for the clearance. A king air landed so I was number one ready to go but with no clearance as of yet. I coordinated with an aircraft that taxied up behind me, letting him pass for departure while I played the waiting game on the phone. The new audio panel worked great with Bluetooth connection with my iPhone. Finally I was given my void times and taxied out after announcing on CTAF. By this time John had taxied up behind me in his Sundowner.
I departed runway two-nine and climbed out to depart on the down wind leg. I heard a Comanche headed for the down wind and had him on ADS-B, but no visual yet. When I did see him he was off my right wing in a wide pattern entry. I communicated that had visual and that I would continue my climb and depart on the downwind. It worked out but somewhere between takeoff and turning cross wind and spotting the traffic I could have done a better job, maybe extending my upwind.
I switched over to Patuxent approach and road along for the eastbound flight home. Unfortunately I did not turn on the video and missed my clearance take off. I would have really loved to hear all our radio calls to help improve my departure and prevent the two of us so close in the pattern.
The ride was smooth and ATC seemed a bit busier than this morning. I had one call out for traffic which passed by just two miles off the left wing that I never did see. Thankfully, I watched the target pass by on ADS-B.
I eventually cancelled with Patuxent and let down for Ocean City. There was one plane that had just went missed so I was keeping an eye out for him as I positioned for a 45° entry to the left down wind runway three-two. The aircraft that went missed was now clearing the runway as I was entering the downwind and setting up for my landing. I flowed through my typical flap settings and GUMPS check abeam the numbers. Of course around the airport one is always 'head on a swivel'. Unfortunately, radio calls are not assured and ADS-B down low is no help. I say this because I caught a Cessna low on final not talking on the radio, I saw him as he passed over the shoreline. I announced turning base number two for landing, just in case he was listening and not talking.
I settled in and really had to slow down so the Cessna could clear the runway. On short final the winds gave me a toss when crossing Assateague Island and Sinepuxent Bay and the trees didn't help block as they usually do. I made my way over the numbers and kerplunked the mains on the runway, I wasn't happy.  I immediately went full power and climbed out for another go, better safe than sorry. The next loop was a bit better and I made an ok landing. Now I know why the first plane went around.
A fun day flying and another new to me airport added to the list. Now to work on the camera angles, I wasn't happy with any of the footage I recorded with the Activeon Gold. The video experiment will continue as I look to also upgrade my editing software.