Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jersey Bound

I can't remember the last weekend that provided back to back GREAT flying weather. I took advantage flying Friday in windy gusting conditions to get 679er back from annual. Then on Saturday to York for a lunch run and today breakfast at Millville, NJ followed by a short hop to Cape May, NJ.

METAR KILG 251451Z VRB03KT 10SM CLR 04/M01 A3040

There was a lot of traffic in the air today as I departed Wilmington but even more traffic at KMIV- Millville,NJ. I announced to Millville traffic on 123.65 that I was 10 north west AFTER listening to the ASOS and announced inbound for full stop two eight. UGHhhhh...Millville radio jumps right in and gives me the wx, pattern traffic, traffic leaving and traffic inbound. HELLO!!! I got the update on ASOS and have been monitoring for the last 15 miles. I didn't return his call at first but he made a second call if I copied. Instead of tying up the radio with him calling again and again I acknowledged. Every call on the radio was met with the full wx and traffic report which clogged the darn airwaves. Then what really fried my A$$ was the pilots that told this yahoo they didn't have the wx update, LISTEN TO THE ASOS nit-wit! Of course Millville radio gave the full run down again and again and again, did I mention again?

Ok, off the soap box for now. We taxi to the ramp at Big Sky and before we can even climb out the line guy chocks the wheels and asks how he could be of service, very nice. I had the tanks topped off and 679er took 17 gallons. John and I had breakfast at the Cornerstone (Antino's) after waiting in line for a short time. You know, if you stare at people long enough they get up from the table and leave.......just kidding but I bet it would have worked. Both ramps were full today, Millville jet and Big Sky. The fuel truck was everywhere and the airport was busy.

METAR KMIV 251654Z AUTO 28003KT 10SM CLR 09/M03 A3034

METAR KWWD 251655Z AUTO 27005KT 10SM CLR 08/M03 A3037

John and I decided to putz around with the video camera mount location then got disgusted and decided to get back in the air, the hell with the video. We were No. 3 behind a Cessna and a Navion and held short for an aircraft on short final. If the MIV radio would have shut up long enough we could have all kept each other notified. I squeaked in that I was going to hold short for the aircraft on final and waited my turn. Once all clear we launched for Cape May, NJ.

We entered the pattern for Cape May on the cross wind for two eight. I hate crossing the airfield anymore to reposition, I rather swing out wide and enter on the 45* or enter the cross wind, it provides a very good look for see and avoid.

METAR KILG 251851Z 25007KT 10SM CLR 11/M03 A3030

After departing Cape May we pointed 679er towards the Salem Nuke plant cooling tower. It's a great landmark and the visibility was great today. Wilmington had us notify on 5 mile final for three two and we followed the directive. The same guy was on today as yesterday, he was in a better mood. ATC actually thanked me for the 5 mile notification, then cleared me to land. I drifted off center left a bit but made a nice landing. I taxied clear and contacted ground point seven for instructions to my tie down.

Just two hours in the air today but was it the best time! Next up on December 8th is our hop to St. Michael's for their Christmas parade and host of other activities.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Orville's Restaurant - KTHV

What a great day to get into the air. I was reading posts in the Pilots Of America forum and saw a lunch run to KTHV - York, PA. I signed up and marked out the time on our club calendar. I met up with the "Grumman Gang" which was a treat and had a nice time talking flying and learning new things about aircraft. My Pop always said if you just sit and listen sometimes it's amazing the things you can learn. Initially we had seven people then two from KPNE (North Philadelphia) and two from KLOM (Wings Field)showed up.

Traffic was busy coming into York this morning as I made my initial call 14 to the south west inbound for a full stop. I like to listen early and get a mental picture on who is where in the pattern and who is headed in. I heard Ron in 22L I think 7 or so out No. 1 to land followed by a Cirrus No. 2 and I was above pattern alt (1500') crossing SE of the field at 2700' to reposition for a down wind entry to the runway in use three five. I called a two mile 45* for left down wind 35 and set up to land. There was a mooney crossing midfield to join the pattern at altitude. My base to final was a bit high but I slip in for a nice landing and taxi clear. I hear the mooney turn base as I make my way clear off the runway and announce the same.

A great lunch and good service for my first visit to Orville's Restaurant. We saddled up and headed home for Wilmington picking up flight following with Harrisburg then Philadelphia. About 10 miles out I canceled Flight Following and contacted Wilmington. I was directed to make straight in runway 14 and report two mile final, I acknowledged. At two miles I made my call, Wilmington Tower Archer 679er 2 mile final one four. When I released the mic button I heard "to land" so I replied, tower, we doubled, confirm cleared to land one four for 679er. The controller came back with some attitude because he had to repeat, I politely acknowledged thank you, cleared to land one four for 679er.

I taxied off and awaited instructions as if to punish me I guess. No problem I acknowledged destination on the field again as Red Eagle and added a thank you sir. I finally got to my tie down and secured the plane.

A fun day today with 1.7 in the book. Mary and I will be heading out tomorrow morning for breakfast at KMIV - Millville, NJ at our favorite place Antino's.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Home From Annual

A sunny day today has me excited about returning 679er back home. Annual completed and a fresh wash and wax has 679er looking sweet. I met Gary at KILG and he drove the first leg to 58M Cecil County (Elkton, MD). I got the go-ahead to fly 679er home so I headed out to pre-flight.

This was my first post-annual flight. I decided to give a little extra prep of the surrounding area (google earth) and know where I could set down if needed. I thought this sounded strange but decided you just never know. Anyway, I was ready for my short hop home. I taxied to the self serve fuel and Gary and I topped off the tanks. Fuel is priced much better at 58M then at KILG. Fueled and ready to go I taxi out to the hold short for runway three one and complete my run up, all systems looked good to go.

I back taxi a short way and turn into the wind. A check of the instruments, all in the green, full power and 10* of flaps has me in the air almost what seemed to be in an instant. Climbing out clear of the trees, I raise the flaps and 679er continues to scream on out. Gary's right this girl loves the cold and I am enjoying the ride. Another check of the gauges shows everything in the green and a great rate of climb. I turn crosswind and downwind and decide it's ok to head for home. I turn left to 75* and make for KILG.

METAR KILG 231751Z 31018G22KT 10SM CLR 06/M08 A3018

ME: Wilmington tower, Archer 28679er, 14 south west, inbound for full stop, with foxtrot, 2,100 level.
TOWER: Cherokee 679er enter left downwind three two advise abeam the numbers.
ME: Abeam the numbers three two, for 679er

As I enter the downwind I am cleared to land and acknowledge. Wind check is 340* 18G24 low level wind shear reported. Greaaaaat just what I want to hear. Winds are 20* off the nose so that's no problem, some extra throttle work and it should be fun. I turn base and final and crab to the numbers for three two. I kick out a bit early and get blown left of the center line a tad but still in very good shape, stall horn moan followed by the mains giving me a slight chirp. Smooth if I must say so myself. The tower is busy this morning as I roll out on three two. Tower advises left turn Fox3 but then asks my final destination. I reply Red Eagle and he directs me to continue 32 right turn runway 9, left turn Kilo 5. I acknowledge Niner right left Kilo 5 for 679er. I taxi in and shut down then secure. 679er looks great with the fresh wax, I can't wait to get back in the air Sunday morning!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Airplane Education

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I was very fortunate to have the chance to tag along for a quick glimpse of 679er's annual inspection. Although I missed day one of the "open it all up for inspection" process I did manage to learn some neat things that will serve me in my future days of ownership.

I did get to help finish with the wax job (a small portion) that was better to be done by hand rather then chance burning the paint with a buffer. I removed the landing light wing tip strobes and cleaned the plastic lense covers and the light housings. I tried to help/not get in the way as the owner Gary renewed the wing walk area, that stuff stinks and mixes up like grits or cream of wheat. It went on very easily and dried in very little time. We removed the painters tape used to trim around the area and moved to the next task.

The alternator needed to have a bracket replaced and with that completed she was ready to button up. The man working on the plane was really pretty nice, he answered questions and let me help. The bottom portion of the cowl was installed (a boat load of screw fasteners) followed by the top portion. With out a hitch 679er was again looking like a youngster, shiny and new and ready to go.

I'm not positive on everything done but my short list that I heard was a new nose wheel tire and brakes and rotors that were in good shape but Gary wanted to update. It seems 679er does well through her annual's and thats due to Gary's upkeep and attention to detail. I'm very lucky to be flying this aircraft and it's very comforting to see how well she is cared for.

Oh yeah, I was instructed it's best to show up with donuts and coffe in order to take care of any dumb questions I think I am asking. Thanks Gary (owner 679er), Roger and Frank (Cecil Aero) for letting me hang out and learn a few things.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Annual" Hop

What a gorgeous day! I was up early to check the weather and to get ready to head to the airport. Temps today started to dip and as I walked out the door I could feel the crispness in the air, it felt good. Today's forecast called for partly sunny and blustery. Highs in the upper 40s. West winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. METAR KILG 161251Z 29016G22KT 10SM CLR A2978

The plan was for a very short hop to get 679er to Elkton, MD (58M). Total travel time in the air about 10 minutes. It takes longer to warm 679er up and taxi out then to make the flight. I didn't mind either way, it was left seat time and that's always a good thing.

I was given the cleared for takeoff runway two seven at Wilmington and acknowledged. Winds were 290* at 15 gusting 22. I was in the air quickly and dealing with the gusting winds. I only climbed out 1800 feet figuring on descending to 1500 to overfly 58M and take a look at the windsock. 58M was hard to spot nestled in all the colorful trees (old file photo posted)but the advanced look on Google provided a heads up to its position relative to the water.

I repositioned for the 45* for left downwind runway three one and wrestled with the gusting winds. I entered downwind about midfield and set up for a first time landing at Elkton. I got some steep bank practice in as I adjusted for the wind and made my way to base and final. The trees at the end of 31 are tall (needing a obstruction removal contract) so I came in a bit high, settled in below the tree line and the air felt smooth. A few adjustments to throttle and I set the mains down square followed by the nose wheel, all the while listening to the stall horn moan.

The runway looked freshly paved and the pavement markings were in excellent condition. I taxied in and met Gary (679er owner) who marshaled me into a tie down at the correct hangar. It really felt good to get in the air early in the morning! Gary gave me a ride back to Wilmington airport and we chatted about flying, lessons and airplanes. I may bag a few days work next week and learn about annual inspections and try to help out with the wax for 679er.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Annual Inspection

679er is in for annual inspection over the Thanksgiving Holiday. I hope to drop her off for Gary (the owner) tomorrow morning prior to heading into work. The forecast is calling for winds 13gusting 28 and that's never a fun ride, even for a 14 mile hop. I'll check again this evening and then again in the morning prior to the go-no go decision. I found this article that describes the annual better then I could have so I thought I would share.

Flying on Flying
By Tom Benenson
August 2001

In Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan is described as "high maintenance," meaning that satisfying her needs is never simple or straightforward; keeping her happy requires constant attention. Anyone who owns an airplane is familiar with "high maintenance." But maintaining an airplane so it meets the FAA's basic airworthiness requirements isn't as much about the expense as it is a recordkeeping exercise. Keeping an airplane safe—and legal—to fly does require high maintenance.

According to the FAA, the registered owner or the operator of an airplane is responsible for maintaining his airplane in an airworthy condition, including compliance with all applicable airworthiness directives (ADs), assuring that the maintenance is properly recorded and keeping abreast of current regulations concerning the operation and maintenance of his airplane.

The FAA has spelled out a number of inspections, maintenance procedures and checks that have to be completed in order for an airplane to be legal to lift off or to be used under instrument flight rules. Being legal and safe are not necessarily synonymous.

Every airplane is required to undergo an annual inspection. According to the FAA, "no person may operate an aircraft unless, within the preceding 12 calendar months, it has had an annual inspection and [has been] approved for return to service." A period of 12 calendar months extends from any day of a month to the last day of the same month the following year. Many owners schedule their inspections toward the end of a month so their airplane can be signed off and returned to service early in the next month; essentially creating a "13-month annual." That way they can spread the cost of the annual over 13 months instead of 12. Other owners stop their annual's forward progression in the middle of the winter so in the future they won't have any downtime during the flying season.

The details of an annual inspection are spelled out in the manufacturer maintenance manual and include the instructions for continued airworthiness, which address inspection intervals, parts replacement and life-limited components.

There are two exceptions to the annual inspection rule. Aircraft used to carry persons for hire or in which flight instruction is performed are required, within the preceding 100 hours of time in service, to have received either an annual inspection or a 100-hour inspection and approval for return to service. (Note that the rule applying to airplanes used for flight instruction does not require any compensation be exchanged.) The FAA recognizes that some operators may have scheduling problems for a 100-hour inspection, so it allows the 100-hour limitation to be exceeded by not more than 10 hours while en route to reach a place where the inspection can be done. There is a catch, though. The excess time must be included in computing the next 100 hours of time in service.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Veterans Remembered

Thanks to all our Vets, those serving and those who have served. This family appreciates the very freedoms you all provide us and we are thankful for your courage and dedication.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Just Ramblings...

I agreed to fly 679er on a 14 mile hop to visit her doctor(A&P) in Maryland. The club aircraft will be out of service through the Turkey Day holidays. Mary and I may get some flying time this month if the North East flyer's meet at Reading (KRDG).

I hope to fly Monday since I am off for Veteran's Day. I am planning a few short hops with one of the student pilots I have been emailing with. One as a mentor which has been a very neat experience and the other who I connected with while talking to his family during one of his early lessons.

It's pretty cool to give something back while maybe helping a new pilot over those learning plateau's, God knows we have all had them. I figured on a short hop to KOQN Brandywine Airport to pick up then back through Class delta at KILG Wilmington as we head for an early lunch at KMIV, Millville. Departing KMIV and heading south east we can do a few T&G's at KWWD, Cape May and then fly over the beach and circle the light house. If it's really clear I may cross the Delaware Bay and head north after orbiting Lewes, DE for a few rotations.

Airplane Watch...

On the airplane watch there is little news. Mary and I have secured at least one person and I am working on a second to fly with us as a club in whatever aircraft we buy. I made a stop at KWWD to check out a Cessna Skylark but it was sold in just a few days. An email to the owner of the PA-28-140 provided photo's and a description of the aircraft. Checking with folks on the forum gave us pretty much thumbs up on the plane. The only concern was that it was not ready to go IFR, so that caused us to pass. I still need to get down to south Jersey to check out the Beech Sport for sale and I am waiting on info for two 172's that are for sale locally. Oh, can't forget the Grumman Traveler, I want to hook up with the owner and get the info, since this plane ties down across from us.

Well, that's all the news for now as our search continues. I hope to provide good news after the annual inspection on our girl. I get to ride home with the owner and you know I will have to ask him what's the latest. So, Gary if your reading this I'm looking for GOOD news.