Thursday, February 02, 2023

Oil Change and Log Book Notation

I went back to the hangar yesterday to complete the oil change. The temps were a bit cooler so I did not open up the hangar door. I have a new drop light so that helps to see where any oil drips and to make sure all my tolls are accounted for.

First things first, of course, release the auto-drain plug so it is closed, then clean up around the plug. Next I brought in the case of oil and Camguard I had warming in my SUV. It's so much easier using a funnel when the top cowling is on, not so easy with it off. So one by one I opened the oil and just set the bottle to drain directly in the oil dip stick tube. Worked perfect and in the middle of the seven quarts I added the Camguard.  I gave the floor a quick peek just to make sure there was no spillage from the auto-drain. All is dry.

I forgot to grab a marker when I left the house so I jumped in the SUV and headed to the office. Thankfully they had a sharpie marker and I was able to add the info to the filter. What info had to be added to the new filter? I added the date, tach time, tail number, and left the right/left engine lines blank.  Clearly there is only one fan turning out front on my commander.

Steve was in the office so I asked to borrow a one inch socket and a torque wrench if he had his in the hangar. Luckily he had moved tools to his hangar and had what I needed available. I can't believe I walked out of the house, passed by my tool box in the garage and drove to the airport without the few tools I needed. At least I did remember what my keys were for and I found my way to the airport.

I did head over to the new Harbor Freight and purchased a 3/8" inch drive, 5-80 click torque wrench. The wrench I purchased was on sale for $16.99, perfect for doing oil changes and spark plugs when needed. Steve stopped by and watched my safety wire tie work and gave his nod of approval.

I cleaned up the hangar getting everything put away before bugging out for home. The filter is draining and I'll cut that open this week and do the run up/leak test. Now I need to order some oil and a filter for the next change sometime late this summer.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Oil Change Prep


I was lazy this past Saturday and just pushed 3 Tango Charlie back in the hangar following my flight. I should have set up to drain the oil like I had planed. So this morning I headed over to the hangar and set up to drain the oil. It's going to need a day or two to drain so I'll head back to finish up later this week. I did manage to find a filter without much searching, unlike many other pilots posting about no filters. The Champion filter was $57 and the shipping $25. Yep, I typed that correctly $25, what a rip.

I hope to video the oil change and I'll show an example of the log book entry I use to document the work.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Katie's Farewell Fly-In

The North East Flyers posted the first event of 2023, a farewell fly-in to Cambridge (KCGE), at Katie's restaurant. Katie's released a statement informing the public that she will be closing the doors as of January 31st.

Mary and I have been going to Kays/Katie's since October of 2007. Over the years I have met up with fellow pilots and friends, along with the Beech Aero Club and the North East Flyers groups. Looking back through my blog Mary and I even took my sister and her husband for breakfast there. 
Photo by Bob Ciotti

I will certainly miss this short hop for good eats and service. On field restaurants are far and few between and the really good ones even more scarce. 

Todays flight was smooth despite 20 knot headwinds going west. My hangar neighbor Chet accepted my invitation via text last night so he road right seat.
When we landed and taxied in and the front line of the ramp was full so I took the third spot on the back line right next to Bob C's Cessna 172. Katie's was crowded as pilots and the locals want to say goodbye and enjoy a last meal. 
We were quickly seated but had a bit of a wait to order. It really didn't matter, the three of us sat and chatted and I soaked up the buzz of the crowd and my surroundings. Yes, another restaurant may come in, but it's not the same as Mary's and my favorite go to. Breakfast did not disappoint and the crowd had picked up as we were walking out.  

Ramp time

Bob, Chet and I spent a good bit of time on the ramp watching all the traffic taking off and landing. We all had a pucker moment when a plane on short final had a CAP Cessna roll out on the runway and takeoff right in front him. Since the plane taxied in and parked just a few spots up from me I had to go ask what happened. The pilot, a young man, flying in from the west side of the Bay, said that the CAP Cessna had asked how far out he was. IMO, obviously he didn't look out the window or if he did he needs glasses. The pilot responded one mile final and with that the CAP plane said I'm taking off and rolled across the hold short line. The CAP plane was wheels up as the plane on final landed. 
Our flight home was smooth as we enjoyed a 14 knot tail wind. I set up to cross midfield and enter the left downwind for runway two-zero. I made a very nice landing and road a wheelie almost a thousand feet. I tucked 3 Tango Charlie in the hangar, taking a pass on draining the oil for a change so I'll go back next week either fly, run up, or use the sump heater before I do the change. 

A few pictures over the years...

Beech Aero Club

Bev, Frank, Jeff, and me

Jeff's Saratoga, a surprise find that day.

Me and Jeff

Saturday, January 07, 2023

First Flight 2023

We all hear about New Year’s resolutions and I typically don’t partake in the ritual so let’s just say I am going to work hard at flying once a week in this new year. 

Todays first flight of the new year is to a favorite breakfast spot, Katie’s at the Airport, located in the Cambridge airport terminal. I posted on the Pilots of America (POA) forum and Allen decided to join me.  Time to meet up, 0900.  The weather was looking good, and I had enough fuel on board for the hop. 

With a new puppy in the house I needed some additional time so that’s the reason for 9am vs the original planned 8am meet time. Mary got up early to help out so I could get dressed and pack my camera bag  before bugging out. 

I got the fan turning on 3 Tango Charlie after an overnight preheat. I learned my lesson and went with no pump and just opened up the mixture to rich, slowly leaning once cranking. Best practice is to have warm oil and I wait until at least 120 degrees before performing a run up. 

Runway three-two was open with new paving, lights, and striping.  The take off roll was smooth, and I was airborne at my usual point. I climbed to three thousand and enjoyed the ride. Cambridge was fairly quiet, landing on three-four and securing 3 Tango Charlie at the third spot from the terminal on the ramp. 

Allen and his friend Eric were already seated so after intros we ordered. Good eats and service were followed by plenty of airplane and retirement talk. When business picked up we surrendered our table and headed out to our rides. I had to square up my fuel bill for 27 gallons and then out to preflight. 

Allen filed for the ride back to Frederick and I planned on a VFR ride home to OCMD. I finished my run up and taxied out, Allen had to wait for his clearance. As I departed on the downwind I watched Allen's Archer climb away from the runway, wishing them a safe flight.

I monitored Patuxent approach just like this mornings flight west, but this trip I enjoyed the tailwind. Traffic was picking up and there were three of us landing at OXB. A Cessna was on final as I entered the left down wind for three-two. The second a Piper flying up the coast continued right in calling final as I watched him below pattern altitude at my one o’clock. What a dip…stick! I kept my mouth shut and made a 360 to let him cross in front of me on “base”. Sometimes it’s best to just be smart and safe. Giving that pilot crap on the radio wouldn’t have done any good and being safe instead of right but dead seemed way more appealing. I’m looking forward to next weeks flight!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Year in Review

By The Numbers:

Total Time     1504.5
ASEL 2022        52.9
Complex          51.3/232.9
Cross Country    44.0/942.6
IMC               1.5/40.5

New Airports: (2)

KLUL - Hessler-Noble Field, Laurel MS
KGYH - Donaldson Field, Greenville SC

Flights of Note:

Mary and I decided we needed some warm temps and quiet beach time so we packed up and headed south to Vero Beach, FL. Loved Vero, great food, no traffic, very quiet and relaxing.  We already made reservations for March of 2023.
Mary and her friend Jen
Mary and I made the short hop to St. Michaels MD to meet with our friends Les and Nahia from the Beech Aero Club. We had a fun time and good eats at Limoncello.
This trip has been on our bucket list.  Finally, on the third attempt we were able to make the flight. Absolutely beautiful weather all week with plenty of exploration and good eats along the way. 
Group shot with Erin's Mom, Karen
Nags Head has been one of our favorite places to visit over the years. Our last get-away was back in 2016. Mary and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and day trip to Manteo and Nags Head. Great flight, and fun time exploring the Roanoke Island Festival Park. 
Mary and I decided we would take in a show at the Ferguson Center in Newport News, VA. It was our 18th wedding anniversary and we just wanted to get-away and enjoy an evening out.  WE had an excellent dinner and the show did not disappoint. I also broke 1500 hours!!

What’s in store for 2023? 

The same as every pilot, dreams of many more hours. The airplane is good, no updates on the horizon.

Mary and I plan on heading back to Vero Beach in March for a week vacation in warmer temps. This trip I hope to catch up with my brother and the ladies are planning a tour of the Historic Tuckahoe Mansion of the Coca-Cola heiress Anne Bates Leach.
A return to Boston is in the works to visit family and friends some time in the Spring. As for the remainder of the year there is nothing solid, yet. We do have some travels in the works but the details still have to be worked out.
It does look like we will attend Oshkosh, although not for Airventure, instead, the Annual BAC Fest. Since we'll be in the area we'll some how make an overnight or two at Mackinac Island and visit our friend Jeff and his family in Michigan. 

Mary and I wish all our readers a safe and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Complete The Mission

A few weeks ago Mary and I decided to drive to Wilmington Delaware so we could visit family for the holidays and add in a side trip to Media Pa for me to complete the Pennsylvania permit process. We ended up driving since we canceled our two night stay at our favorite, the Montchanin Inn. 

The original planned visit was cut short due to our Ziva girl receiving treatments for her doggie version of the human ALS or Lou Gehrigs disease. We did not want the sitter to have to deal with Z in case she took a turn for the worse.  Some have asked why we didn't fly. We saved a rental car fee and Mary's GLC 300 gets 28 MPG, that's way cheaper then flying and renting.

Todays Mission Plan

Fly to Wilmington, KILG, and secure the courtesy car (Van) from FlyAdvanced for another trip to the Media Courthouse and retrieve my plastic 5 year permit. 

We took care of the new pup, Lucy, and the two cats. Everyone was secure (Lucy in a crate) and cats out and about. I had the pre-heats on overnight so 3 Tango Charlie was ready to go. It's been awhile since I started after an overnight preheat so I had to rethink the process. I did a regular cold start and I flooded the engine. After a series of pops and misfires 3 Tango Charlie finally came to life. I had to crank in the shutdown (lean) setting. Mary just looked at me, I figured I would see how the run up goes.

Once the idle was set and mixture now happy 3 TC purred right along. The run-up was perfect and we launched from runway two-zero. It really felt good getting back in the air. 

The flight north was forty minutes and I was directed for a straight in runway one upon arriving at ILG. I did a one eighty on the runway and taxied for FlyAdvanced shutting down in front of the main hangar. Mary secured the courtesy van while I ordered ten gallons of 100LL at $7.93 a gallon. Yikes!

The drive wasn't too bad until we hit the blue route RT 476, then it was a parking lot until our exit. I pulled the van over to the curb on a side street at the Courthouse then Mary and I did the fire drill routine switching seats, but I didn't get back in the van. I walked up to the courthouse, entered, emptied my pockets and still set off the alarms. Who didn't see that coming. I got the body wand and was free to go, not too bad after all. I handed over my letter and receipt to the very nice lady at the window and she went to get my permit. Easy peasy, I'm headed out of the building. 

Mary picked me up on the same corner and we switched seats so I could drive back to KILG. A lady pulled up next to us and said you can’t park there, I said relax, we're switching seats, and she drove off.  When I got in Mary said what is she the meter maid...I love my bride. 

I made a quick stop to top off the courtesy van and my bride grabbed us each a cold drink at Wawa. Once I parked the van (land yacht) we settled up the fuel bill and headed for home. 
When we arrived the house was still intact, Miss Lucy was still in her crate, and the little princess did not leave any "gifts".  Not bad for only ten weeks old.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Saying Goodbye to our Ziva

Sadly, Mary and I had to say goodbye to our baby girl, Ziva Diva. Ziva was 9.5 and was stricken with degenerative myopathy the canine version of ALS in humans.

Thanks to Lisa and Greg who provided her Magna wave treatments that gave her relief for three weeks. Unfortunately this disease has no cure and can advanced rapidly as it did with our girl.

We were overwhelmed with the staff at VCA Vet clinic. The techs that had always made a fuss over our girl all came in and sat with us and Z. One of the techs got a call that we were bringing Z in and came to join us on her day off.

Ziva was finally allowed some Hersey kisses and after playing with the first one determined they did taste good and ate at least three or four. When all the techs gathered Z wagged her tail for the first time today, she was happy.

Hopefully our Roxie girl and Maggie will be there to welcome her, I told her to watch out for her buddies Inky, Jake, and George.

We will miss her, and the house immediately felt empty when we came home with no happy face and tail wagging to great us. Tomorrow will be another day of firsts. I’ll miss that wet nose poking under the covers to let me know it’s time to get her breakfast ready.
Rest easy princess, we love you.