Thursday, April 08, 2021

Catching up with a former co-worker

One of my former co-workers at the Cape May Airport will be retiring.  I believe he said he has nine days to go, I remember that countdown. Although I was in the engineering department and my friend John was in maintenance, our paths crossed on many projects. My main coverage was the New Jersey Airports and Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminals.  John was always an up front no BS kind of guy, which worked well for me since I was never shy about my opinion, and we both followed the rule of doing the job right the first time vs the just get it done corporate attitude. 
So this morning I decided to make my way over to the airport for the short hop across the Delaware Bay. Pretty straight shot to Cape Henlopen and then direct to Cape May, with a possible circle to lose some altitude before joining the pattern. 

My departure time will be around 10am with the flight taking just about twenty minutes for the 44 miles.  I launched around 10:40 so I was pretty close to my schedule. The flight was smooth and for the most part quiet as I made my call departing the pattern and heading North East. I flowed through my typical WIRE mnemonic; Weather, Instruments, Radio, and En-route altitude/pattern altitudes. 
As I followed the MD and DE coastline I switched to Dover Approach to listen in. Once reaching the Cape, and going feet wet, I switched to Atlantic City Approach for the ride across the Delaware Bay. 
I was now letting down for Cape May and I needed to switch to CTAF. It was another quiet ride until an F16 called Atlantic City with an emergency. The military flight was at seven thousand and heading for ACY, the approach controller pushed all flights clear of the airport until he had a handle on what was the emergency. It sounded like ATC tried to have the F16 meet up with additional F16's heading back to Patuxent so they could at least provide a definite location of the emergency aircraft.  I never heard the military aircraft just the ATC side of the conversation.

This would have been a perfect time to monitor ATC on comm two but I wanted to focus on traffic in the area to get on the ground safely. I made my calls and crossed midfield to enter a left down wind and followed with a real nice landing  making the first turn off for the parallel taxi way.

John met me at the terminal and we sat and enjoyed lunch. It was great catching up and checking on some other former co-workers along with airport and ferry terminal updates since I've been gone. I did manage a picture of John next to 3 Tango Charlie for this blog, and with that shook hands and vowed to keep in contact when either of us our in each others home town. Most likely I'll drag a few of the old timers out to meet for breakfast again when I'm in Cape May.

I climbed aboard after a brief walk around since there were aircraft now parked on each side of me. 3 Tango Charlie started right up and with the oil temp showing well into the yellow I taxied for runway one-zero. Once in the air I dialed up Atlantic City, they were back to normal operations. After making two circuits over Cape May I pointed for home, crossing the Bay at six thousand. 
While I enjoyed another smooth ride I set up for my arrival into Ocean City. ASOS noted and radios set I made for runway one-four.  It was starting to get busy at home. One Cessna took off, one was landing, and there was an Arrow coming in from the North West about the same distance out as me.  I advised I would turn west and fall in number two behind the Arrow and continued my search for a visual confirmation. I spotted the plane on final and turned base to follow him in, slowing down the Commander for spacing. I made another nice landing at home and taxied for the hangar.  A fun day of flying even if it was only an hour total. It was great to catch up with John and I enjoyed a smooth ride both ways, a first for me in weeks. 

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Brothers Breakfast Meet Up

My brother and I traded text messages while we were watching the Phillies opening day game yesterday afternoon.  We decided to make plans for a breakfast meet up and had two plans in place.  The first, I would fly to Summit Airport (KEVY) and Joe would pick me up, then take a short ride to the Middletown Diner.  The back up plan, in case of weather, was to each drive to Lewes Delaware, about 45 minutes for me and about an hour for my brother. Breakfast would be at the local IHOP or Cracker Barrel. 

The weather was looking good, at least when I made my check before leaving home. It was going to be windy (3209G18), but pretty much right down the runways at each airport. I was packed up and headed to the airport early, leaving the house at 8:15.  I planned to set up the tail came then said the heck with it. Todays flight would be a panel cam, crew cam, and old reliable front view cam.  

I unplugged the pre-heats and tugged 3 Tango Charlie out of the hangar and quickly climbed aboard. My hands were cold from the blowing wind and it felt good once in the protection of the cockpit. I set up cameras and then got the fan turning, trying to generate some heat. The ASOS reported winds 36018G30. What? Oh man, it's going to be a bumpy ride, I just know it.
Sure enough climbing out was bumpy and so was my ride north. I did pick up flight following with Dover approach although the air was void of traffic this morning. I guess that should have alerted me.  I canceled with Dover once clear of their airspace and in VFR conditions shot the GPS 35 approach by hand. 
For the most part the approach was ok, I was VFR and looking for a CAP flight in the area. It was fun hand flying today despite the risers and sinkers. I rolled it on runway three-five and taxied off for the ramp, it was empty. Once shut down and the plane secured I headed inside to meet my brother waiting in the parking lot.  One small problem, I noticed the step up to the doorway landing but didn't see the small step into the building. Yep, face plant, caught myself with my hands out front and didn't damage any of the metal joints, plates, rods and screws.  I gave the folks at the desk a good scare and after making sure everything still seemed intact I stood back up. Yes embarrassed, but only a bruised ego. 
photo from our visit to Florida
I climbed in the SUV and we were off to the Middletown Diner. The food was very good and the service was excellent. I had creamed chip beef and home fries and Joe had eggs benedict. We certainly had a good time catching up, talking baseball, politics and future plans for Florida. We sat so long we doubled the tip and teased the waitress that we get the hint we're leaving, as she was clearing the neighboring tables. She laughed and said no worries, stay as long as you want.  I responded no no, I know what its like to be tossed out of a place and at least this time I'm not on the pavement. The waitress really had a good laugh with that one. 
Joe and I headed back to the airport and once parked we sat and talked even longer. I watched the cloud layer dropping and decided it was best if I headed home.  I climbed aboard 3 Tango Charlie and got the fan turning. It took a few minutes to set up cameras which worked out perfect, in order to bring up the oil temps. 
I taxied out for runway three-five and briefly held short for a CH-47 that looked ready to launch. I queried to see if the Chinook wanted me to hold short, but there was no response. Instead I continued to the runway and performed my run up. With the run up completed I launched for home and climbed away from Summit on the down wind leg of the pattern. 
The ride south was bumpy but the tail winds produced excellent ground speeds. I decided on monitoring Dover but did not pick up flight following. I made my calls for Ocean City and completed the circuit, landing on runway three-two. 

It was a fun day catching up with my brother, talking baseball and future plans for both our families. Good times!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Coping with TFR's

It's only a matter of time until this TFR will be up and running when our president decides he needs beach time. Yes, I could go on a political rant, but, at this point, it's exhausting.  Instead, I will leave it to the aviation content only.
I have read that it's possible that there will be gateway airports made available for access to New Garden Airport and New Castle Airport while the Wilmington TFR is in effect. However, the Transportation Security Administration has not yet provided any information on whether this will happen or which airports might be selected to serve as gateways. I certainly hope this happens so my fellow pilots and friends based at New Garden and Wilmington can continue to fly. Having a gateway airport will also provide Mary and I access to ILG for family visits, which always beats driving. 

Gateway Airport?

There are occasional exceptions that will allow certain GA aircraft to penetrate the inner ring. In some cases, the United States Secret Service (USSS) will agree to set up “gateway” airport(s), at which GA aircraft can be screened before proceeding into the TFR. In other cases, GA aircraft are permitted into the inner ring only after obtaining TSA waivers, sometime used in combination with gateway airports. However, these exceptions are relatively rare and are normally made for TFRs that impact multiple airports for several days.

VIP TFR Operating Restrictions

No UAS operations are authorized in the areas covered by this NOTAM (except as described).

Except as specified below and/or unless authorized by ATC in consultation with the air traffic security coordinator via the domestic events network (DEN):

A. ALL AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS WITHIN THE 12 NMR AREA(S) LISTED ABOVE, KNOWN AS THE INNER CORE(S), ARE PROHIBITED EXCEPT FOR: APPROVED LAW ENFORCEMENT, MILITARY AIRCRAFT DIRECTLY SUPPORTING THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE(USSS) AND THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, APPROVED AIR AMBULANCE FLIGHTS, AND REGULARLY SCHEDULED COMMERCIAL PASSENGER AND ALL - CARGO CARRIERS OPERATING UNDER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TSA - APPROVED STANDARD SECURITY PROGRAMS / PROCEDURES AND ARE ARRIVING INTO AND / OR DEPARTING FROM 14 CFR PART 139 AIRPORTS: AIRCRAFT OPERATOR STANDARD SECURITY PROGRAM(AOSSP), FULL ALL - CARGO AIRCRAFT OPERATOR STANDARD SECURITY PROGRAM(FACAOSSP), MODEL SECURITY PROGRAM(MSP), TWELVE FIVE STANDARD SECURITY PROGRAM ALL CARGO(TFSSP - ALL CARGO), OR ALL - CARGO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PROCEDURE(ACISP). ALL EMERGENCY / LIFE SAVING FLIGHT(MEDICAL / LAW ENFORCEMENT / FIREFIGHTING) OPERATIONS MUST COORDINATE WITH ATC PRIOR TO THEIR DEPARTURE AT 412-472-5591 TO AVOID POTENTIAL DELAYS.

B. For operations within the airspace between the 12 nmr and 32 nmr area(s) listed above, known as the outer ring(s): All aircraft operating within the outer ring(s) listed above are limited to aircraft arriving or departing local airfields, and workload permitting, ATC may authorize transit operations. Aircraft may not loiter. All aircraft must be on an active IFR or filed VFR flight plan with a discrete code assigned by an Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility. Aircraft must be squawking the discrete code prior to departure and at all times while in the TFR and must remain in two-way radio communications with ATC.

C. The following operations are not authorized within this TFR: flight training, practice instrument approaches, aerobatic flight, glider operations, seaplane operations, parachute operations, ultralight, hang gliding, balloon operations, agriculture/crop dusting, animal population control flight operations, banner towing operations, sightseeing operations, maintenance test flights, model aircraft operations, model rocketry, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and utility and pipeline survey operations.

D. UAS OPERATORS WHO DO NOT COMPLY WITH APPLICABLE AIRSPACE RESTRICTIONS ARE WARNED THAT PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. SECTION 130I AND 6 U.S.C. SECTION 124N, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD), THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) OR THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) MAY TAKE SECURITY ACTION THAT RESULTS IN THE INTERFERENCE, DISRUPTION, SEIZURE, DAMAGING, OR DESTRUCTION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT DEEMED TO POSE A CREDIBLE SAFETY OR SECURITY THREAT TO PROTECTED PERSONNEL, FACILITIES, OR ASSETS.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Lunch at Fiorentino's (KLNS)

Since the plans to Laurel were canceled, we decided to meet up with fellow Beech Aero Club (BAC) members Chris along with Les and Nahia for lunch at Fiorentino's, located at the Lancaster Airport (KLNS).
The plan is to depart Ocean City around 11:45 with an hour of flight time, arriving at 12:45.  Winds are forecast at 5-6 knots from the north and our fuel burn each way should be around 13 gallons. 3 Tango Charlie has 50 gallons on board so we are good for the round trip.

There was a line forming at the end of our hangar building waiting to back taxi to runway two.  A Cessna took off, a Piper Malibu Mirage and a Sundowner landed, the Decathlon in front of me taxied out, and I followed to the hold short at one-four. I should have followed him out and pulled over to taxiway Hotel and await my turn. Once the Decathlon passed overhead I crossed the hold short at one-four to back taxi runway two, it was our turn to launch. 3 Tango Charlie climbed out smoothly and was eating up altitude as fast as I let her. Today’s ride was perfect, compared to my last launch and cruise. 


I had filed for the flight but decided on VFR four thousand five hundred to cruise north.  I picked up flight following with Dover and road along, eventually being handed off to Philly, north of the ENO VOR, on 119.75.  I made multiple calls without success and finally switched to Comm 2.  This is the exact scenario as my last trip north, in the same exact area. More investigation will be required. 

I eventually cancelled with Philly, since I thought he forgot about me, and contacted Harrisburg approach with my info and the current ATIS at Lancaster. It was a short ride and Harrisburg handed me off to the Lancaster tower. 

I was directed to make straight in runway three-one, report three miles. As soon as I acknowledged I was then directed number two to land following a Cessna on a right base. Mary and I confirmed visual contact and I followed the Cessna in, loosing sight of them as they turned final. The tower cleared me to land and I made the turn off on Delta,  dumping us right at the restaurant ramp. 

Chris was already on the ramp with his V tail Bo, waiting for us and Les in his Sundowner. Trying to find cell service was a pain so I could not check how far out Les was from landing.  I also couldn’t text my friend Jeff, whose turbo Saratoga was sitting there covered on the ramp. 

We made our way into the restaurant and awaited Les and Nahia.  When I finally did get cell service I found Les to be turning final for Lancaster.
Lunch and service was very good, and the conversations flowed. The men talked airplanes, of course, and the ladies chatted about who knows what. It was a fun meet up that was much needed to recharge all our inner batteries. 
Another conga line, this time to depart Lancaster at runway three-one. I gave up my place in line to perform a run up and waved the trailing Cessna by. I fell back in line once my run up was completed. 
Cleared to take of on three-one had us rolling, again a steady climb, and a left turn on course as directed. This departure was odd, the tower never handed me off to Harrisburg as we cleared their airspace. I made a call to Harrisburg to pick up flight following and was given a squawk code. No sooner I entered it Harrisburg said Philly wasn’t taking handoffs and for me to squawk 1200 and frequency change approved. Very bizarre. 
Ok, I can take a hint. I stayed clear of the Philly bravo and pointed directly to ocean city. I did monitor Philly then Dover approach as we road along south.

Winds favored runway two so I set up for a forty five entry to the left downwind. One plane departed, that I never saw or heard after he had called for departure. I added approach flaps then dropped the gear making a nice landing and roll out. We had a fun day meeting with friends and enjoying the beautiful flying weather. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

New Camera - Drift Ghost X


I recently provided a review with a video on my video cameras and mounting hardware. What I discovered was a gap in panel coverage. Yes, I tried to use one of the Garmin VIRB XE's but the zoom wasn't enough. 

How does the new Drift Ghost X help, you wonder.  Honestly, it doesn't help with the panel, but, it does free up the GoPro 4 for tail shots. The GoPro had the best battery life out of the cameras I now own. Ok, that still leaves the panel shots, what's going to handle that. Good question.

The revised plan is to set up one Garmin VIRB XE for the front view, still mounted over the shoulder on the track form bracket. For wing shots I will use the second Garmin VIRB XE and simply swap from left to right as needed. The Ram Mount device makes it quick and easy.  A good example is flying along the coast, shoot the beach or shoot fields.  Exactly, shoot the beach. 

I plan to shoot the panel shots with the two ActiveOn Golds. the cameras are small enough and light enough to easily be attached with double sided tape. I'll focus one over the Garmin 480 and one over the Aspen. Both within easy reach to turn on/off without a problem, as needed. 

The Drift Ghost X will be utilized for crew cam shots and the occasional front view from the dash pad. It will also be used to take some hand held shots as needed. At least that's the plan. I will flight test the new set-ups this Saturday on my flight to and from KLNS - Lancaster, PA.

Drift Ghost X By The Numbers

Model NameGhost X
BrandDrift Innovation
Video Capture Resolution1080p
Optical Sensor SizeOV4689 4MP
Connectivity TechnologyWi-Fi

About this item

  • 5 HOUR BATTERY LIFE – Longest battery life on the market filming at 1080P Full HD. Up to 8-hours battery life with the Long-life battery module (sold separately).
  • ROTATING LENS - Easily align your shot regardless of the mounting position by turning the lens up to 300 degrees.
  • VIDEO TAGGING – Capture unexpected moments after they happen.
  • CLONE MODE – Users can sync up to 10 Ghost X or Ghost 4K cameras via WiFi. Start recording on one camera and all start recording. Change settings on one, and the rest will change.
  • DVR MODE – Use the Ghost X as a safety camera by recording continuously when plugged into a power supply. When power is cut, recording will stop and save the last interval. Great for insurance purposes.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Plans Sometimes Change

Mary and I sat down and planned out our next four day get-away, Laurel, Mississippi.  Since we both enjoy HGTV, and loved our visit to Waco Texas to visit "Fixer Upper",  Laurel and "Home Town" needed to be the next destination crossed off our list.
Preplanning began one week out as I studied the weather patterns and long range forecasts. Reservations were secured at the Hampton Inn and Suites just five miles out of town.

The Weather Watch
It's a No-Go

We could depart on Saturday and I think that would be fine for the trip south, however, a return home mid next week would present the same potential winds and rain.  Just glance at the left coast fun that is going to head our way. For now it's a no-go and we will plan again in May or just proceed as planned for our west coast swing with Laurel as the first stop in September. 

Flying is supposed to be fun, and I don't get paid to do this. I'm fine being a conservative minded pilot and not pushing the envelope of safety and comfort. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Adding The Dynon D3

I have decided to add the Dynan D3 to the copilot side of the panel. I gave serious thought to an AV-30, and the G5, but decided it wasn't worth that investment for the few times I have a pilot in the right seat. I have noticed that when I have a safety pilot on board they don't have an easy view of the instruments, mainly the Aspen, in particular the course heading.


I do offer an iPad mini 4 with AHRS for the copilots yoke, but, that unit has been so slow and buggy. With everything considered I felt the best investment would be the Dynon D3.

The Dynon D3 is not FAA TSO'ed. This unit can not be used as a primary certified instrument. The D3 is a supplemental unit only. 

Features

  • Synthetic Vision
  • Intuitive Touchscreen Interface
  • Improved Brightness for Superior Sunlight Readability
  • Accurate Pitch and Roll: A True Artificial Horizon
  • Proven Dynon Attitude Sensing Engine
  • Internal Li-lon Battery for Extended Cord-Free Use
  • Two Versatile Mounts Included
  • GPS Ground Speed
  • GPS Ground Track
  • GPS Altitude and Vertical Speed
  • Turn Rate
  • Slip/Skid Ball
  • G-Meter Page with Min and Max Indications
  • Adjustable Brightness for Night Flight
  • Truly pocket sized: @ 3½” x 3¼” x 1”
The unboxing and install was pretty simple. Here is a quick video showing the placement and set up.  Flight test this weekend to compare to the certified instruments.