Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The 441 Conquest Flies!

It’s been a long journey just following the storyline of this Cessna 441 Conquest II, and it’s road to recovery.  

The incident occurred in late July and there she sat at the end of the ramp adjacent to the last hangar building on the north end of the airport. I tried to document the progress of her repairs along the way.

Both engines were pulled, and she was once again standing on all three gear. I could not imagine the cost involved to get this bird back in the air. 

In November the 441 received her two new power plants and new tail feathers.  The gear was gone over and she was almost ready to fly. Mid December saw more activity around the 441 and I stopped by to chat with the guys working on her.  The plane was now ready to fly and they were waiting on the FAA for a ferry permit.  

I flew this past Saturday and she was still on the ramp. When I went to the airport Monday to let Ziva run, and check my plane, I immediately noticed the 441 was gone. I had missed the long awaited departure.  The 441 Conquest II flew home on Sunday.  

Saturday, January 09, 2021

BAC to Williamsburg, KJGG

The Beech Aero Club (BAC) has a scheduled lunch fly-in at the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, KJGG.  The event was posted on our BAC forum and it stirred some interest. Who's interested in lunch?  Count me in!

The initial date was for last Saturday but the winds were really blowing, and it's just not worth getting beat up when flying is supposed to be fun. So, with the event rescheduled I took on fuel early in the week and did a pre-flight. All that remains is a walk around and to sump the fuel.  

I invited my friend Charles G to attend the BAC event.  Charles was scheduled to be in Ocean City for business, if not, I'll head up to Wilmington (KILG) to pick him up, and then we can head south.

I arrived at my hangar and did another walk around, mounted all the video equipment, and sumped fuel. 3 Tango Charlie was ready to fly. As I tugged the plane out Charles pulled up to the hangar. We chatted for a bit then I pulled the cowl plugs and climbed aboard. Runway three-two is open on weekends, NOTAM as closed during the week for ongoing airport work. The run up was good so we made our call and pushed the throttle forward, here we go, we're headed to Williamsburg.

We climbed out and turned south to once again overfly the Delmarva Peninsula. Charles enjoyed the view, taking a pass on stick time, instead enjoying the ride and taking pictures. I contacted Patuxent approach for flight following and we had just one hand off to Norfolk as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay. Norfolk called out one target and with that acknowledged I cancelled flight following and started our descent for Williamsburg. The plan was to cross midfield and enter the left down wind for runway three-one.
I made an ok landing despite on touch down my foot slid up the rudder pedal and slightly pressed the brake, it was an oh crap moment. I quickly recovered with feet on the rudders and taxied in to the ramp. That was a first for me.

Six pilots and one youngster attended. Lunch was good and we had the back dining area all to ourselves. After swapping some flying stories we headed out for the required BAC picture with the Mid-Atlantic banner. The wind had picked up and it was a bit nip on the ramp, I was ready to climb back in 3 Tango Charlie.
L-R:  Rob, Gary, JP, Bob, Harry
For the first time in ages it took multiple tries to hot start, I should have left the cowl plugs out to cool for a cold start. 3 Tango Charlie needed more fuel, so I added a three count of fuel pump then retried. Finally, the fan was turning and we taxied out for departure when the oil temp was good. 

The take off was normal, but with a bit of wind shear to rock the wings. I flew the pattern and departed on the left base for three-two. Charles spotted Busch Gardens and commented how much smaller the property looked from above. The plan was to climb out to seven thousand five hundred but it was smooth at five point five so that's where we leveled off. 
We crossed the Chesapeake Bay and made our way north up the peninsula. Charles got a good view of Wallops Flight Facility and the launch towers. He also snapped a nice picture of Assateague Island Park with the Verrazano bridge on Rt. 611.
From this point it's just a short ride home, setting up to enter the left down wind for runway three-two. We followed a Cessna that turned down wind ahead of us and flew a Bomber size pattern, but all was good. Flowing through the GUMPS check we were set, with another call out for three green on final. Hmmm, the Cessna is still on the runway, so I hold off on the last notch of flaps in case I need to step right and go around. Finally the Cessna makes a call for a touch and go as they are climbing out. I roll it on the runway and do not even bother with braking, instead letting 3 Tango Charlie roll out to the last taxiway. 

It was a fun day of flying with my friend Charles G, and catching up with the BAC family. Today made for a very good first flight of 2021. Thanks Charles for the pics, and JP for the group mouse shot.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Delmarva Peninsula Flight - Getting the Oil Pumping

It was a chilly morning but a crystal clear day for flying here at the beach.  Unfortunately, there is nowhere to go with everything closed up due to Covid. 
As an airplane owner I still need to keep the oil circulating in order to prevent rust.  Yes,  I use Camguard and have the oil changed as recommended by Lycoming. The best way to keep the powerplant fresh is to run it, and so I did. I asked my bride if she wanted to go for a ride this morning and I got 'the look'.  No, not the you did something bone-headed look, instead, it was the are you nuts look. Hmmm...I'll take that as a no. 
Friend and fellow pilot Chris N sent me a text at 9am asking where I was headed this morning, since he was at Millville (KMIV) and the restaurant was closed. I responded that I was trying to get motivated and get over to the airport but had no clue where to go for eats. Chris decided to head back home and I decided to fly south over the Delmarva Peninsula.

METAR KOXB 271353Z AUTO 36007KT 10SM CLR 01/M07 A3034

As I pulled out of the garage I noted the temp display on my dash, 47°.  By the time I was out of our community and on the main road it was showing 35°, thankfully I had 3 Tango Charlie's pre-heats on overnight. 
I went through a detailed pre-flight and also lubricated all locations, as noted in the maintenance manual, with LPS2. I like to make sure there is fresh lube after a wash and wax. 
The Coyote lives!
The 441 is still on the ramp
Winds were 360° at 7 knots so I decided on runway three-two for departure.  There was a plane doing pattern work and the young lady did a nice job landing and on her radio work. When I was ready to go I advised holding short for the landing traffic. The Piper touched down and then retracted flaps and climbed back out for another round. I positioned and took off, climbing out and departing the area on the crosswind. 
It was quiet on the radio so I switched over to Patuxent approach on 127.95 and also monitored guard. Most of the traffic call outs were well south or east of me and ADS-B was painting everything in my area. Guard provided little entertainment this morning. 
Accomack KMFV
I headed south to Accomack County Airport, making a left turn towards the Atlantic and then heading north for home. Once turned for home I side stepped right to provide clearance for traffic heading south at my 12 o'clock as they descended for landing at MFV.
The remaining ride home was smooth and I let down for the airport at ten miles out, also making my advisory calls. There was a Cessna Amphibian inbound from the north and another Cessna from the west.  I continued in and made a nice landing, letting 3 TC roll out full length and not using any brakes. I called clear and taxied for the hangar. 

Once the plane was secured I noticed aircraft making low passes over the field. I closed up the hangar door and went out to see what was up. To my surprise the Amphib was still on the runway, or so I thought. I jumped in my SUV and headed for the gate, slowing down to take a look at the trucks gathered around the aircraft. I'm not sure what happened but the plane was just off the runway on the grass, maybe a flat, I have no clue. 
The airport manager drove by in a rush, heading to his hangar, I followed but at a slower pace. When Jamie came out of his hangar he had a couple of wrenches in hand. I asked if I could help with anything and he said no but thanks for asking. With that I went about my business, ordering lunch from the Southside Deli for me and my bride as I passed through the airport gate.  I made a stop at the Deli to pick up my order, subs and chips, then enjoyed lunch at home with my bride.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

3 Tango Charlie, Spa Day

It wasn’t the best day for a spa treatment but if the rain held off Ivan could get 3TC washed and dried. I was at the airport at 8am and Ivan was waiting, in his truck, for me to open the hangar. 
I quickly opened the hangar and got to  uncovering, and unplugging the preheat set up. In my rush I forgot to disconnect the battery minder. Thankfully, Ivan reminded me just as I was powering up the tug to pull the plane on to the ramp.  With Ivan ready to get started, I headed out to run a few errands and make a stop at the house. The oil sample taken at Sussex Aero needed to be transferred to a Blackstone kit and sent off in the mail. With the sample secure I headed back to the hangar to grab a sample kit from my tool box, knowing I would have to gather the info back at the house to complete the process. I needed to review my log book for engine serial number, time since overhaul and the time on the oil sample.

While I was back at the hangar I helped dry off the plane using my synthetic chamois. The synthetic chamois is the best for drying your car, cleaning water spots off windows, and yes, drying the plane too. It was good exercise and it made me appreciate all the work Ivan puts into detailing an aircraft.

For me it was time to get out of Ivan's way and let him perform his magic. I headed back to the house and filled out the info and prepared the oil sample to ship.

I wanted to post a few pictures after checking out the finished job on 3 Tango Charlie. Mary and I headed over to the airport this morning to let Ziva run and have a look at the plane. I thought Ivan did a beautiful job, and Mary was even impressed with the shine. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

2020 Year In Review

By The Numbers

Total Time   1391.1
ASEL 2020      54.9
Complex        54.9/122
Cross Country  24.7/852
Sim Instrument  5.7/130
Instrument      0/36.5
PIC            54.9

New Airports - 4

N81Hammonton Municipal Airport in Hammonton, New Jersey
KMTVBlue Ridge Airport in Martinsville, Virginia
KMTN- Martin State in Baltimore, Maryland
N30 - Cherry Ridge Airport in Honesdale, Pennsylvania

Flights of Note

Mary and I welcomed summer to OCMD with a fun local flight followed by lunch and refreshments at the Sunset Grille.
I decided to meet up with the Beech Aero Club for their lunch fly-in into Martinsburg, WV. 
BAC Beef
It was a North East Flyers breakfast meet up and I had the chance to meet up with my friend Jeff (Frey Family)from Michigan who was in the area visiting family.
Another Northeast Flyers meet up, and a new airport at Cherry Ridge in Honesdale, PA. It was great to catch up with fellow pilot and blogger Chris H (Photographic Logbook). Chris and I have been talking about catching up and we finally did it, now we need to get Steve to meet up. Maybe a new goal for 2021.

I also had the pleasure of flying with Vince G. If you follow my blog you know Vince and I flew many hours together in my Sundowner, Zero Eight Romeo. It was really fun logging time with Vince, I have missed our weekend flights.
L-R - Gary, Rob, Bob, Bret, Lori, Dale, Chris, Vince
Thanksgiving is upon us and Mary and I hosted our friends Mark and Candy. We had a great time, sharing good food, friendship, watching our dogs interact, and the men went flying. Mark and I knocked out multiple approaches to each extend our instrument currency
I was happy to fly with my friend and fellow pilot Charles G.  Charles was in town on business, and he set aside some time to fly.  We headed over to Delaware Coastal and had lunch after he shot the GPS 22 approach by hand.
I decided to torture myself and run the numbers on a cost per hour for my flight time this year. Here is the spreadsheet of shame.
I am looking forward to more fly time in 2021. Mary and I have plans to head west and get back to our typical travels, meeting new people, and exploring new destinations.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Flight For Service

I made a call to Sussex Aero located at the Delaware Coastal airport (KGED) to set up a service time for 3 Tango Charlie. Rob said he had time available on Friday at 9am,I said pencil me in, I'll be there. With the forecast temps calling for mid thirties, I thought it best to turn on the preheats around 3pm Thursday afternoon, providing sixteen hours to get toasty. 

This Morning...
I arrived at the hangar just after 7am and took my time with a sump, even though I didn't take on fuel, and a fuel quantity check. The fuel stick was showing three inches each side and that makes for a total of 42 gallons, plenty for my 10 minute hop out and back. I set up only one camera and then tugged the plane out on the ramp. On start up my oil temp was showing 106 degrees.  I sat for a bit to build more temp as I noted the weather for my departure.
The 441 had some activity
I taxied for runway three-two and after completing my run-up launched for Georgetown. The ride was smooth despite a 29 knot head wind. I kept it pretty low today, holding altitude to fifteen hundred. There was traffic departing, at least that's what I thought he said  as I caught runway two two.  Initially I didn't have any ADS-B targets so I assumed he was taking off. 
I did have a visual as the jet was rolling and watched them climb away turning out to the north. I crossed midfield and entered the pattern for runway four. I made a smooth landing and taxied for Sussex Aero, let the fun begin. 
Steve helped me push 3 Tango Charlie into the shop as we tucked in close to a Cessna. I have a mid-tail so we will be close when we get into position. With 3 TC safe and secure the shop bifold door closed and we got busy. Steve went under to locate the quick drain, and after aligning a bucket and slightly turning the nose gear a steady stream of used oil was unobstructed to the bucket. I forgot my test kit but thankfully Steve had a spare container that was clean.  We grabbed a sample midstream and I was good to go for my oil analysis. 
Steve managed to remove the filter will little spillage, and install the new filter. Once the oil was completely drained the quick drain was closed and I added seven quarts of Phillips XC 20W50 and one bottle of Camguard.
Once the oil change was completed we moved on to the Shimmy Damper. I have had an on and off shimmy when landing and it was time to get the issue addressed.
Since I didn't order an O-ring kit we decided on a service only. Once removed the damper had a small set screw that could be removed and hydraulic fluid added. It wasn't as simple as squirting it on the small hole, instead Steve created a reservoir and manipulated the damper shaft to force air out. 
There was a dead spot that you could feel when you moved the damper shaft. As you began to compress it there was a blank space that moved quickly and then the pressure provided resistance once again. Steve compressed the shaft multiple times until the bubbles finally stopped, the dead spot was gone.

With everything buttoned up I took 3 Tango Charlie out for a run-up/leak test. Out to the run-up area just before runway four and let the oil warm up. The run-up was good to go, pressure and temps checked out, and I returned to the ramp at the shop. 

After squaring up the bill I climbed back aboard and headed out for home. A short hop of maybe ten minutes and I was on the ground at Ocean City. With 3 Tango Charlie tucked away in her nest, I headed to the house.  A fun day with only two short hops, but it felt good to get in the air.