Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Current Once Again

Today started out like any other day, get up at 5am, find my way to the kitchen with Ziva girl, clean the cat box, get a scoop of food for Ziva and feed her, refill her water bowl.  Today I added feed the cats since Mary wasn't feeling good.  Once the zoo is squared away I get on the computer and update our banking and pop in on facebook while the accounts update. Once that task is complete I get cleaned up and dressed for work.

I wish I could say work was normal....but, I was contacted by the client and advised there are changes to the plans.  Great....our concrete footers have already been placed and we are getting ready to make another day of it placing concrete to finish up the foundation walls. Ughhh...insert screeching car tires....crash and an eyeroll.

The steel guys are inserting hollo bolts (expansion bolts for steel members) for the roof members, and I can check torque numbers tomorrow. The concrete crew is stuck in a holding pattern, no pun intended, so they are pretty much done for the day.  I'm outta here, time to head home, find a safety pilot and go fly.

Time to Fly

I sent Chet K a text and he was available for some flight time. We agreed to meet up at the airport and off I went, iPad in hand, ready to see how much rust had really built up on the instrument skill set. I was a little tense about work but I knew flying would clear my mind and focusing on the approaches would melt the rest of the world away.  I called for fuel and brought 08Romeo back to fifty gallons, check that off my list.  I finished up my pre-flight and the hangar was now windy and cold with the door open. I waited to pull the preheat extension cord and blankets until my last task before tugging the plane on the ramp. 

Chet hopped a ride from the terminal with the fuel truck which made for a few laughs.  All tenants have a card to come through the gates but he always parks in the terminal lot. I'll have to get him to come inside and park. I uncovered and Chet pulled the nose plugs as I hooked up the tow bar and tugged the plane out.  
traffic inbound on the GPS 14 approach
I should mention I turned the preheats on this morning so we didn't have any wait time for engine warm up. I picked up the latest weather and taxied out. Chet and I discussed the plan of attack; three approaches at Ocean city then a couple at Delaware coastal followed by the return home for two more. In that plan I would do a turn or two in the hold and mix in vectors to final as a change up to the typical GPS, fly by the numbers.
Departing on runway two-zero I climbed out for the initial approach fix GOBYO on the RNAV GPS 32 approach. Over the ocean at two thousand feet I follow on course, hold steady altitude, simulating breaking out of the clag at six hundred feet vs the decision height of two sixty one.

I powered up, climbing out to the designated missed approach fix, PFAIR. After knocking out the hold requirement I shot the RNAV GPS 14 approach to minimums, seven hundred feet. Surprisingly I didn't feel rusty at all.  Following the approach for GPS 14, I climbed out to  the south and the initial approach fix CIRAN for the procedure turn for RNAV GPS 2.
Trying to change it up, we pointed 08Romeo towards Delaware Coastal. I mixed in with the state police helicopter also shooting approaches, and was number two on the RNAV GPS 22 approach. I wanted to do another round but decided on two more back at ocean city. I set up for the GPS 14 but changed it up by role playing ATC and using vectors to final. Another low pass and a climb out for the GPS 2 approach set me up for another round of VTF and a fun approach resulting in an entry for the left down wind two-zero. 
I managed a smooth landing to close out today's flying and taxied clear, now headed to the hangar.  Special thanks to Chet for his safety pilot services!  It feels great to be current again!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Chester County, KMQS

I woke up this morning with an upset stomach but it settled down when I had a few Club crackers and hot tea.  Mary showed me the new feeding routine for the cats and I manage to get the boys fed without screwing it up. Our George boy is on a diet, he really blew up when we were forced to feed Inky a special diet of DM dry food to deal with his diabetes. Jake is taking a pill, crushed into dust, for his thyroid issues.  Our fur babies are getting up in age, they are all 14 this year. After Ziva was fed I decided to do some wash and then get my gear together to fly.
The weather looks great and 08Romeos pre-heats have been on since Friday afternoon, it's time to fly. I posted on Facebook and Adam Z was a go to meet up for breakfast. We swapped phone calls and a final confirmation around 10am as I was heading out of Ocean Pines for the airport. The winds were blowing as I opened the hangar door, removed both moving blankets and nose plugs to tug the plane out. I closed the hangar door and with my preflight checks completed climbed aboard 08Romeo.
The plan was a straight shot to Chester County, picking up flight following if it seemed busy. The ride on climb out was bumpy but in cruise at four thousand five hundred it was hands in my lap smooth. I gave some thought to sirus radio for some sing along time but instead made my call to Dover Approach for flight following. With my position confirmed I continued north enjoying the view. Dover called me to change my squawk code from 22 something to 5 something, odd, I cant remember the last time my transponder code was changed with the same approach control. Traffic picked up north of Dover with a few DSU planes in the training area and crossing my flight path. Once clear Dover handed me off to Philly.
I switched to Philly approach and waited for a break in the action, it was busy. Before I could jump in ATC was giving one aircraft instruction and rolled right into calling me to see if I was up (on frequency). I responded and continued on for MQS.  Once clear of Wilmington and the outer ring of Philly's class Bravo I cancelled flight following.  I was ten minutes out from my destination so I started down, the ride certainly got interesting.  The video shows some of the rolling action but it doesn't show the few times the bottom dropped out and my seat and I separated.
The pattern was busy at Chester County and in that buzz of position reports I heard Adam check in.  I followed with my position report and worked my plan of entry. Since there was Adam in his Bonanza and a cirrus I would be at least number three for the airport. Instead of entering the down wind at midfield I decided to turn away from the airport, circle and then re-enter on a 45 for the left down wind runway two-nine. The plan worked out perfect, the spacing was the right call and I fell in line behind the cirrus. As the cirrus passed my left side,on final, I made my base turn and followed them to the runway. 
KEVY - Summit
Now turning final myself I watch the cirrus roll out clearing the runway. I added the last notch of flaps, despite the wind gusts, and continued for the numbers.  Gusting winds are from the left side on runway two-nine. The thought is to plant my left main on the runway followed by the right and then hope to ride it out and get the nose wheel down.  As soon as I rolled the left main on I felt a gust lift the left wing as the right main felt like it started to side load. I added some power to salvage the landing and get enough air to try rolling it on again only to bounce it in. I immediately went full power so I didn't plant the nose wheel and start the downhill slide of a porpoise to an ugly ending. Grrr...last week my landings were most excellent, today, I paid for them.  I announce going around and make one more lap in the pattern for a second try.  Attempt number two was back to normal and I rolled it on, oh the life of a pilot.
Adam and I walked into the terminal only to find out that the Flying Machine cafĂ© is closed. Closed as in out of business.  The line guys seem to think someone will reopen, I hope so. At least for today we caught a ride with the FBO line guys to the airport entrance on RT30 and enjoyed breakfast at the Lincoln Diner.  Service was excellent and the food was good too.  It was great to catch up with Adam and talk flying. We finished up and headed back to the airport with another ride from the FBO line guys.
Delaware river and Salem nuke plant in NJ
We each did a walk around and climbed aboard our aircraft. Adam was headed to Reading for a few more landings and I was going straight home. I did consider making a side trip over Lewes to take a few job photos but didn't want to deal with the winds. I launched and climbed out riding the bucking horse once again until above three thousand five hundred, and settling in at five thousand five hundred for the cruise home.
I eventually picked up flight following with Dover and worked my way south. Once clear of Delaware Coastal (KGED) I canceled flight following and let down to clear the scattered to few cloud layer at four thousand. Delaware coastal is only a ten minute hop home so how bad could it be.  Well buckle up cowboy the ride is on. The gusty winds are still hanging out below three and those last few miles were game on.  I made my position calls and set up for a straight in on runway two zero, I had the airport to myself.  I ended the day with an ok landing and taxied back to the hangar. Overall, a good day flying despite the rough ride and blown landing at MQS.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

First Flights 2018

Finally, I log my first flight time of 2018. With yesterday's Pittsburgh flight scrubbed and the Annapolis exploration by ground, I needed to break the seal on 2018.

I think Mary and I rattled off five or six potential destinations to head off to. We considered everywhere from Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania to Richmond Virginia. The final decision was made to keep it local and off we went for breakfast at Kay's in Cambridge Maryland.
It was a straight forward hop with 10-12 knot headwinds but an overall smooth ride. I made my position calls and was soon turning  final with approach flaps selected. I quickly added the last two notches of flaps and settled into a very strange feeling. It was like slow motion, as if the life time line expanded and almost suspended. Zero Eight Romeo kissed the runway soft and smooth, then,  just as quickly as it seemed to slow, I was now back to speed and rolling out. Maybe I need to eat a little something before flying.
The ramp was loaded with aircraft, I've never seen Cambridge this busy. I secured the plane while Mary went in to get in line.  I quickly followed and once inside noticed the line wasn't that bad. Most of the pilots were in a separate room, maybe some sort of fly-in or meeting. Mary and I were seated and we placed our food order. I had creamed chipped beef with a side of scrapple, cooked on the grill not deep fried, Mary had eggs benedict with a hollandaise sauce. The food and service was excellent. Since it was the Eagles football NFC championship game we decided to each grab a slice of our favorite homemade cake to take home. I ordered up a big slice of coconut cake and Mary had Chocolate cake. This dessert would follow Mary's most excellent chili already waiting for us at home.
When we went out to the plane the ramp had cleared. There were only a handful of planes tied down and Zero Eight Romeo was all alone on the back row. I pulled the chocks and nose plugs as I did a walk-around, everything looked in order. The winds had shifted ever so slightly and one-six was now the active runway. I taxied out and completed my run up then launched for the Delaware coast line at Lewes Delaware.
 Once again a smooth flight with a bit of a tail wind. I was showing indicated around 100 with ground speeds from 110 - 122 knots. I climbed between 3,500-3,800 to clear the Delaware Coastal bee hive of activity. Our timing was perfect as we approached the airport, and one by one planes landed and cleared our ADS-B screen of traffic.

I located the Lowes store on RT 1 and pointed just south in order to circle my job site. I made a loop around taking a few pictures then climbed away for home. With such a smooth ride today I decided to turn due east and head for the cost. Once crossing the beach I provide a beautiful view of the shore line for Mary and I to enjoy. My view was nothing but ocean with a tug pushing a barge, Mary's side revealed the quiet beach towns in the off season.
The clouds reflected off the bay and tributaries that provided beautiful scenery. We made our way past each beach town, picking out the pastel color townhomes in Fenwick and our friends condo building in Ocean City.
We eventually made a turn for Ocean City Airport and entered on a three mile forty-five degree approach for left down wind runway one-four. I added approach flaps abeam the numbers and pulled the remaining power. Adding the second notch of flaps on my base turn and following with the last notch on final. Once again time seems to almost stop as Zero Eight Romeo soon rolls on the runway with a chirp of the stall horn. It was a bizarre sensation, maybe everything is just clicking and I'm flying the numbers spot on. Maybe it was landing without the typical crosswind or gust factors normally associated with the beach, who knows.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Road Trip to Annapolis

Despite the heaters being plugged in and Zero Eight Romeo full of fuel, the plane sat in the hangar today.  The initial plan was to do a rescue flight for MAESSR. However, the Mid Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue flight would have had us dealing with gusting winds and wind shear, the ground team would have to cover this one.

So, Mary and I gave some thought to flying over to Annapolis to check out the shops and local airport. Lee field (KANP) is 2500 feet long and 48 feet wide, and is tucked inside the SFRA. A typical flight for me would be to file IFR and make the flight without special handling or out of the ordinary clearance. With me not being current I would have to make the flight VFR, honestly, I wasn't sure what I needed to do. 
I went on the AOPA web page and located the SFRA course, having previously taken it and passed, I wanted to review the VFR procedure.  Besides the typical weather and NOTAM  search I would have to file a flight plan, easy peasy in ForeFlight.

Instead of selecting VFR or IFR I would click on the VFR (DC SFRA) choice. This alerts ATC of the flight plan and once in the air inbound for KANP I would contact Potomac approach and obtain my transponder code. Now my flight plan is a bit strange and would read KOXB PALEO, with PALEO being the gate or access area for my flight. I would still note Annapolis KANP with SFRA flight in my flight plan notes.
After contacting the Annapolis airport we found there are no courtesy cars and the rentals all close at 2pm. We had a late start so this wouldn't work, besides, if we didn't get the car back to the rental company by 2pm they would charge us an additional day until they pick it up. That doesn't work for us. We decided to drive.
We had a fun drive checking out the different towns and antique markets along the way. We really didn't bother with any pictures, not even taking advantage of our new camera, instead we just enjoyed the time together. Thanks to the internet, pictures are provided.

We found our way into town only to find main street down to the marina area closed. I found my way through a few side streets, one dead end alley that I had to turn around and back out of but finally to the intended destination, the docks.
Trying to find a parking spot was brutal and some how I slowed for traffic around the circle and an SUV pulled out from a curbside spot, I pulled right in. clean living or just good timing, either way works, I had a spot.  Mary and I walked a very short distance and ordered dogs at Pips Dock Street Dogs.  The place was packed and for good reason. The dogs were excellent, we had cheese and kraut on ours along with an order of fries.

We didn't walk around much because the streets were very busy with the Women's March 2018. Marchers flowed through the streets with a police escort, orderly and peaceful, but their chant was like nails on a chalk board. We drove along the brick paved streets noting all the shops while making many stops for people crossing the road. I wouldn't do another Saturday, I would rather do a mid week visit and hope the traffic and people are fewer in number.
We eventually made our way back to RT. 50 and retraced our path from this morning making one stop at the Bay Bridge airport for some snooping around. The airport manager was really nice to chat with and I look forward to making a return trip, by air.

Monday, January 15, 2018

N6708Romeo, T's for a Cause

Buy a N6708R Flying Adventure 'T' and help support the Mid Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue. ALL proceeds are donated to MAESSR.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Winter Storm Grayson

Ocean city Maryland gets hit with a winter storm, a weather bomb cyclone. A bombogenisis to be exact.
A bombogenisis is a popular term used by meteorologists, this occurs when a storm rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. Grayson did just that, and then some. This 'bomb' can see cyclone speed winds and OC was pounded with 40-50 mph, the peninsula saw speeds of 62 mph.
I did manage some shoveling this morning but decided to wait out the high winds. Tomorrow I'll clean up the sidewalks while anxiously awaiting the home owners association company of choice that plows snow. At some point I'll head to the airport and check on the plane and runway conditions. For now, we sit tight and keep warm.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

With 2017 in the rear view mirror it's time to look forward to the new year. So much to reflect on, but, it's time to focus on what's new and exciting for 2018. Mary and I wish all our readers a happy and safe new year.

Here at the Mascelli home we are looking forward to more travels by air. This year we want to make more of an effort to connect with family and friends and entertain more.

Wishing you all the very best of health, happiness and special memories in this new year.