Monday, December 06, 2021

Switchbox out, SwitcheOn in

I have used the Switchbox unit for just about eight years and it recently quit working.  It still switches, I can hear it click, but something toasted inside, I can smell it. The unit no longer provides the ability to toggle power on or off. 
Time for an upgrade. I decided to purchase the SwitcheOn two outlet unit. The SwitcheOn does not require refilling a sim card, that's a relief. It's an annual charge of $50 for the service. I just downloaded the App and I'll get the unit hooked up as soon as it arrives. There seems to be much more control; including temp sensors, on-off set by date, times, temp, or a simple flip of the switch on the app. I like the simple flip the switch.

Install and Activation

With booster shots scheduled I was on a tight time line. Mary and I had a short list of things to do while we were out.  First stop, the airport.  I had my drill ready in case I needed to start a pilot hole for one of the two screws needed to secure the Switcheon.  I used one of the previous holes from the switchbox install, and as I figured, I needed one new location. Easy peasy, hole drilled, box mounted. I plugged in the power and then the extension cord to the plane for the Reiff pre-heats. It worked like a charm, as advertised. A simple scan of the QR code and the app is communicating to the box. 3 Tango Charlie is ready for winter operations.

We did make it to the designated location for our booster shots, on time. We also managed to hit a hardware store for a flag pole, the grocery store for cookie baking items, and the FedEx store to ship a few boxes. I'm ready for lunch and a nap. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Garmin 480 - Destination with Approach

 

I took a short flight today to work through a Garmin 480 scenario that was posted as a comment/question on one of my YouTube videos. 

The question:

"Say I am flying VFR and have a direct to airport course in the unit, no FP, is there a way to setup and activate an approach or do I have to put a FP in first?"

I departed KOXB Ocean City and pointed towards KGED - Delaware Coastal.  No initial flight plan on the Garmin 480. I then selected direct to KGED and the magenta line appeared on the map page.  At this point I tried to select a procedure, no go, no "destination".  But I was direct KGED...no flight plan or destination, no approach. Try again. 

Ok, lets work through this. I selected Direct then on the sub menu I selected Destination (DEST), selected database (DB) entered KGED then ENTER.  Next I went back into Procedures (PROC) and there was KGED, ready for me to select an approach. 
I get to refresh my GPS skills working through other pilots questions and it gives me a reason to log some flight time.  Thanks for your question, Allan. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Pilots of America, Williamsburg Lunch Run

John - Frank - Allen - George - Me

POA member GeorgeC posted on the forum; "JGG, noon, Saturday, 11/20?".  There were a couple pilots unable to attend but a few of us were on board with the impromptu fly-in. RDUPilot - Frank, Pugs -Allen, and DeeLee - John, were all good to go. 
I decided to turn on my pre-heats for 3 Tango Charlie, Friday late afternoon. Unfortunately I received no text message conformation from my Switchbox. I waited and tried again, still no luck. I decided to head over to the airport and check out what was going on and Mary came along for the ride. My bride was happy to grab a few of the storage containers for the Christmas decorations to keep herself busy while I'm doing that pilot stuff tomorrow. When I arrived I checked all the connections, they were good. 

I reset the GFI outlet and gave the Switchbox antenna connection a quick test to make sure it was tight. As I was checking the antenna my phone alerted me to two messages received, confirming the Switchbox was now on. I did a quick visual, peeking behind the cowl plug to see that the extension chord plug was indeed glowing. Success!

We must celebrate these milestones so a trip to Dairy Queen was in order. I had a hot fudge sundae with Spanish peanuts and Mary had the caramel sundae with the same toping. The spoils of victory sure tasted good.

Departure Saturday 11/20

The plan was to depart between 10:30 and 10:45 AM. 3 Tango Charlie was toasty warm and I finished my preflight before opening the hangar door.

Winds favored runway two so once I got the fan turning I taxied out and completed my run-up. I rolled onto the runway, set for full power and was off in less than one thousand feet. 

Delmarva Peninsula

The ride was smooth at 6,500 and approach control was excellent as always. I picked up flight following with Patuxent then was handed off to two sectors of Norfolk before I finally canceled and switched to Williamsburg's CTAF.

Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles
I crossed midfield and entered the right down wind for runway one-three. I made an ok landing and made my way to the ramp.

My Commander 112A
Once 3 Tango Charlie was secure I worked my way out and was met by fellow POA member DeeLee, John.  John flew a Piper Archer and was first to arrive. We chatted with a guy that flew a Piper Tripacer as the rest of the group arrived. Pugs , Allen, in a Piper Archer, RDUPilot, Frank, in a beautiful Bonanza, and finally GeorgeC in his gorgeous 1950 Cessna 140.

John’s Arrow

Franks Bonanza

George's Cessna 140

The weather was beautiful so we decided to eat outdoors. The food was excellent and the conversations entertaining. I hope we continue to meet up for breakfast or lunch in the future. 

Once we finished up, Allen wanted to sit in my commander. Allen is looking to purchase an aircraft and the Commander 114’s are on his short list. 

Heading Home

We all saddled up for our flight home and I think I was last in the conga line. I was setting up cameras and should have swapped for charged batteries but didn’t bother. I finished my run up and lined up on one-three as John climbed out in his Arrow.  As I departed I turned NE and followed the James River. Busch gardens passed by on my right side as I pointed for the Chesapeake Bay. 

I did pick up flight following with Norfolk as I went feet wet. There was a scattered layer at three thousand and I passed overhead, leveling off at five thousand five hundred. At least the ride was smooth just like the south bound flight. I was handed off to Patuxent and eventually canceled as I let down for ocean city. 
There was an inbound Cessna from the north and after trading position reports I would be number one for the field. I made a straight in for runway two  clearing as I crossed runway fourteen-thirty two. 

I had a fun time meeting up with fellow forum members and getting some air time in our Commander.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Boston, Family Visit

Mary and I have planned this trip a few times, only to have chosen the no-go due to weather or winds.  On our last attempt the weather was clear but headwinds were peaking just over fifty knots, it would not have been a fun ride in our Sundowner.
Once again we penciled in a plan to visit family in Boston and squeeze in a visit with our friends Mike B and his bride Kim. If you follow this blog you know Mike B is also a CFII known for torture sessions, working to keep me proficient.  It sounds crazy, but I really miss those workouts and flying with Mike.

The Weather Look Ahead


Mary and I took Ziva to the airport on Tuesday for some play time while I topped off the fuel in 3 Tango Charlie for our flight. I also broke out the moving blankets and plugged in the pre-heater since our temps overnight Thursday will be hovering around forty degrees.

I'll head over on Thursday to do my preflight and sump fuel so everything is completed and ready to go for Friday morning. 

Departure Day

The presidential TFR will not go hot until 4pm today so we are good to fly our original flight plan. I will still pick up an IFR clearance for the trip north. I also made a quick call to 1-800-WX-BRIEF, a first for me since IFR training days to confirm the TFR times. 

Crossing the Bay
Winds favored runway three-two and once my run up was completed I called Patuxent for my clearance. No response. Not a problem, I picked up the clearance with Patuxent approach in the air.

Cape May, NJ
Pax handed me off to Dover and once across the Delaware Bay I was handed off to Atlantic City. AC cleared me direct Coyle VOR (CYN) then eventually handed me off to McGuire Approach. McGuire passed me off to Kennedy Approach. 

As we crossed the Lower Bay, closing in on JFK, Kennedy approach amended my route. 

JFK V299 HFD FOSTY WOONS KOWD

This route followed the north side of long island and had me cross the Long Island Sound to Bridgeport. 

Cold Spring & Oyster Bay harbors
Once in Connecticut I was given direct Hartford (HFD)then destination. Since this was my first time at Norwood (KOWD) I have to say it was hard to spot. I was expecting a bigger airport. 

I was number two to land following a piper to  runway three-five. I made a nice landing and taxied clear on Delta, straight into the Flight Level FBO. I took on thirty gallons of fuel and secured the plane for her two night slumber in a heated hangar, to the tune of $100 a night.

We secured our rental from Avis, located in the same building a few steps from the check in counter at the FBO.  Our ride is a new black Jeep Grand Cherokee, loaded. It was a nice ride.

It’s a good twenty minutes to the Marriott hotel in Newton, but we find our way along I95 north. After we checked in we schlepped the bags to the room.  Holy smokes! The room was at the far right end of the building, second room from the end, I thought I walked a mile. 

Room view of Charles River
No sooner we settled in my leg pain hit me.  I forgot to take an Advil this morning, not good. I got the chills and crawled into bed after downing two Advils. Mary covered me with both of our jackets along with the bathroom towels and my sweatshirt. It took forty minutes for the chills to stop and pain to subside.

We had arrived at the room around 2:30 and we were ready to head out the door by 4pm to visit with Mike and Kim. I brought my cane this trip, just in case. Glad I did.

Dinner with Mike & Kim 

Thanks to the map option on my phone we had directions locked in for Mike and Kim. We could take I95 or follow local roads through town, we decided on the local views. The time difference was just a few minutes. 

This was our first visit to their new home, it was absolutely beautiful. It has been quite a while since we have been together but as it is with friends we seemed to pick right up where we previously left off. We sat and chatted, enjoyed a magnificent dinner and awesome deserts.
Somewhere around 10pm we decided we should head back to the hotel and give our hosts a break. We had fun conversations, many good laughs, and a delicious dinner. Now I needed to sleep off my food induced coma. 

I retraced my path to find our way to the Marriott, enjoying the lack of traffic and business hustle of the town, now in after hours mode.

Visiting with Family

We each showered then planned for breakfast. I should add as I got dressed I walked into a chair, with no shoes on. Yikes! This was my toe twenty four hours later. Yes, I think it’s broken.

We made our way downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast. Gimpy with a bad right leg and now a tad bit tender on the left foot with a toe that still feels like it was hit with a hammer.

We were quickly seated and had a nice view of the Charles River. I had a ham and cheddar omelet and Mary had eggs Benedict. The food got an ok rating, the service was excellent.

Once we returned to the room, with full tummys, we kicked back and relaxed. Mary exchanged text messages with her cousin, and we awaited Shelaghs arrival. Today we were going to take a tour of the Boston sites. We passed on the duck tour, I’m not comfortable with their safety record. Instead we did a driving tour. Here are the pictures with what I remember of the locations. 
Cheers
State Capital, front
State Capital, back
Harvard
More Harvard 
Old South Church
More Old South Church
MIT
MIT Museum
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church
Gas prices!
Charles River, North View
Public Garden
Samuel Eliot Morrison
Commonwealth Ave Mal
l
Library
Tom Brady’s 2nd floor condo, he’s since moved
We drove through the North end, the Italian area, and the smells of food were amazing. The urge to stop at Mike’s Pastry was almost overpowering, at least until I noticed the line stretched north up Hanover street for almost half a block. The whole mix of people and cars working through the crowded streets was sensory overload for me. We circled back to a few places and explored a few more areas before bugging out of the city. Mary and I had a fun time checking out all the sites and learning the background stories. 
We headed to Shelagh and Fred’s to see their home for the first time. Walking up to the large front porch can take your minds eye back in time. The beautiful front doors opened to a foyer with hardwood floors dating back to the eighteen hundreds and a banister that protected the hardwood stairway to the floors above. Period correct chandeliers were hung and they added the finishing touches on their home. 
We sat and chatted while enjoying a platter of various cheeses, fig jam, breads and crackers. The group decision was to eat dinner at Legal Sea Foods. Why not eat at the best while in town. 
Lobster Mac & Cheese
The food and service were excellent. I could not finish my meal but it will come home with me tomorrow morning and be consumed for lunch upon our return to Ocean City. 
L-R - Fred, Shelagh, Juliet, Mary, Me
We sat and talked for a good bit then decided it was time to get us back to the hotel. Goodbyes are never easy but we vowed to return to Boston soon. 

I sat in bed and worked on my blog until 11:30pm then called it a night. My bride went night night an hour ago.

The Return Home

My flight plan was filed yesterday and weather checks were completed. I will obviously have to detour for the TFR over Rehoboth, DE. 

Mike and Kim were waiting on the hillside adjacent to the Flight Level FBO to greet us. Mike had a Cirrus sim session in the Red Bird  full motion scheduled, but wanted to see us off.
I departed runway one-seven on the Norwood 3 departure.  OWD.3 requires a climb out on a given specific heading to two thousand feet, then radar vectors to the BOSOX intersection. I was instructed to climb to six thousand and that would be my final altitude. I had filed for eight but six would work and no oxygen would be needed.

Once handed off to Bradley approach I received an amended route. (Norwich)ORW V16 JFK V1 SBY direct destination. I made the update on Foreflight as I turned direct Norwich then made the updates to the Garmin 480, followed by selecting Execute.

Mary and I rode along enjoying warmer temps then our Friday flight, nineteen vs forty-five degrees today. I was handed off to multiple approaches in reverse order of our north-bound flight.  
I did have concerns about my routing since it was going to take me through the inner ring of the TFR. As I gave this some thought Atlantic City had another change for me, apparently thinking along the same lines. LEEAH LAFLN SBY OXB.  

Strange, that was exactly what I had filed for todays flight.  Atlantic City handed me off to Dover approach and with that I asked for lower and direct Ocean City. Dover was a no-go, Patuxent had to be the ATC that turned me loose, which they did when clear of the TFR inner circle.  

I let down for ocean city and rode the bumps right down to runway two.  Winds were 040/17G26 which provided an interesting ride until we descended below the tree line. I finished the trip with a nice landing, as confirmed by my bride.
New Airport - KOWD
Hours - 5.4 Round trip flying vs 15 hours driving