Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What a Sunrise!

That's right! This morning Mother Nature was captured in full glory with a gorgeous sunrise, what better way to start the day! I decided not to try and catch a few more winks while waiting and instead camped out on the deck with cam-corder in hand.

It's 8am and I am adding the wx component to my flight plan and looking ahead for our 11am departure. We made a quick stop on the way to the airport for breakfast and to top off the rental car fuel. I had to ask James for a funnel since I left mine in the truck at home (KILG). I added a quart of oil which completed my pre-flight.

Grand Strand offers traffic advisories (Flight Following) on their ATIS. With that in mind I made my call; Grand strand ground, Archer 28679er at Ramp 66 with information Victor, ready to taxi, VFR departure to JGG at 5500, requesting advisory. I was cleared to taxi and the controller was working on my squawk code. I confirm the squawk and switch to advise the tower we were ready to go.

Once climbing out I was instructed to contact Myrtle Beach Approach. The handoff's along the way were; Wilmington Approach, Washington Center, Norfolk Approach twice then cut loose with a visual on JGG. I entered the right downwind for runway 13 and Mary got a few shots of Williamsburg Winery. I set 679er down very nice followed with a taxi in to the terminal. Unicom came online and directed me to park out front, I acknowledged with wow, VIP parking today. I also requested the tanks to be topped off as we shut down. 679er took on 20 gallons and Mary and I took on a light lunch.

Mary and I split a BLT and we each had a cup of soup. Food was fantastic, as always and the service can't be beat. It was nice to chat with Jean, the owner. She asked how long we were in town since we have become regulars there. We let her know we were passing through on our way home from Grand Strand but had to stop for a good lunch, and some fuel. She flashed that smile and welcomed us in.

Tummy's full and tank's topped we departed on 13 and contacted Norfolk approach. Approach offered us a short cut up the bay but we declined and requested the scenic route up the peninsula. KJGG(Williamsburg)-CCV(Cape Charles)-SBY(Salisbury)-KILG(Wilmington).

Multiple hand-off's to approach along the way; Norfolk, Patuxent and Dover each kept us company. Just north of Dover I requested to descend from 5500 to 3000. I was given the descend to 3000 approved maintain VFR. I acknowledged and clicked altitude off at 500 feet a minute. At around 4700 Dover advises me I have traffic 4500 at my 2 o' clock heading north west. I stop my descent and actually expedite a climb back to 5000, informing Dover of my intentions. I get the ok and search for traffic. Here is a Cessna not on with FF but at a good altitude passing below me about 500' from my 2 to 7 o' clock. Once I have traffic and it's clear I am cleared to continue down to 3000'. I was cut loose to squawk VFR a few minutes later and I passed along a thank you for the extra eyes and that it was appreciated.

Contacting Wilmington tower I am instructed to enter a left downwind for 27. I acknowledge and scan for two helicopters and a falcon jet in and around the pattern/airport. I announce midfield left downwind 27 and i get a cleared to land. I admit it was my worse landing for the week, I flared a bit high, had to add power so I didn't drop like a rock and then got 'some' stall horn followed by a short skip and finally down. ....well 679er will live to fly another day and we are home. 4.4 in the air today and I am thirsty and tired. I'm glad to be home sleeping in our own bed!

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