Wednesday, April 30, 2008

IR Lesson 13 ILS w/ NDB Approach

Today’s lesson was located out in Nittney Lion country, that’s right “WE ARE, PENN STATE.” This was a switch for me compared to the ILS approaches I have been flying in the local area. KUNV, University Park Airport located three miles north of State College, Pennsylvania sits at an elevation of 1240’. University Park has one runway, 6-24 that is 6701ft x 150 ft.

I was flying the ILS RWY 24 approach this morning and set up somewhere north west of the PSB, Philipsburg VOR. The plan was to hold altitude at 4900 ft and track direct to PSB. I crossed PSB and turned to a heading of 102* to the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) PENUE. PENUE is also a Non Directional Beacon (NDB)as explained in my previous lesson.

I continued on course now trying to hold 4800ft for the next 11.2 miles or until crossing PENUE. At PENUE I turned course to 067* and timed outbound for one minute thirty seconds remaining within ten miles of the station. At the 1:30 mark I turned right on a course of 109* and timed outbound for one minute. This series of turns was the procedure turn to head inbound towards the NDB PENUE and on to the Airport. As one minute clicked on by I made a left turn course change to 289* and looked to intercept the localizer on a heading of 244*. Things were not looking to bad, holding altitude better and heading was also much better. Of course this is the sim world and nothing good lasts forever.

As I approached the 244* course I had a vacuum failure, Attitude indicator is now inop along with my heading indicator and for good measure why not disable my CDI with glide slope. Yes, the poop hits the fan all at once. I’m at a strange airport with no real knowledge of the surrounding area and now partial panel. Brian asks now what, as I am still trying to 'fly the plane' and intercept the localizer. I would let ATC know I have a vacuum failure and lost my glide slope but will still utilize the localizer apparoach (on my nav 2). I get an ok, lets see you work through it. First let me add there is no alternate to got to and no vectors to VFR conditions, this is sim training so we are having at it, as they say.

I am trying to monitor the Garmin 530 which is mounted down by my right leg (really bad sim design here) along with my magnetic compass and turn indicator adding altimeter every other loop through the scan. I cross the 244* localizer and start to get behind the plane, struggling to keep up. Brain lets me tread water as I sink under once working on a second dunk. Between the Garmin and the remaining instruments I get back on course. I am now descending to 3100ft until passing PENUE the final approach fix (FAF). Once passed the FAF I am good to descend to 1426' if still on the ILS but since I lost nav 1 with my glide slope I am localizer only and looking for my Decision Height of 1620'. I break out around 1650' and get the sim bird on the runway, in one piece.

We review what just went on and that I was so fixated on what I had remaining (instruments) that I didn't look to take advantage of all my weapons available. I didn't even think of my ADF moving-card indicator which would have helped replace the Directional Gyro/Heading Indicator failure. I need to understand what I have available and use it to my advantage. I could have also timed my turns to help control my course better.

Brian reset me somewhere on final without the failures and I tracked inbound to PENUE, passing the station and descending to 1426'. I held that altitude until the 3:40 mark on the timer and when I had no runway environment in sight I then went missed. The missed approach called for a straight out climb to 2600' then a climbing left turn direct PENUE then hold. I did fine on the missed and entered the hold when my lesson time expired, I have alot to work on. More after my next lesson Sunday.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Passing of a Friend

Today I received word that Delaware's world of aviation lost a dear friend. I came to the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) five years ago this past February and had the pleasure of working with our airports manager Frank Shahan. Frank was the Airport Manager at New Castle Airport for 30+ years under both New Castle County and the DRBA. Frank was a handshake deal kind of guy, his word was golden.

When I first started working at the airport he made sure I was introduced to all the FAA people I would need to know to make my projects flow smoothly. Frank made sure I met the tenants, the FAA folks working the tower and all our operations people. Frank and I also enjoyed the occasional breakfast and bull sessions together, He actually tried to talk me into applying for his position when he retired. He had a passion for photography, aviation, Mercedes Benz cars and politics and I'm not sure in which order they should fall.

I'll miss his firm handshake, warm smile, simple humor and his honesty. I still have the last few emails we exchanged, some just plain funny and some asking to attend political functions. I'll hang on to them for awhile and will treasure the last time we had together at a local sports bar as we passed each other to and from dinner. It was to short, now looking back, but always interesting and fun.

Blue Skies Frank, you will be missed but never forgotten, Your passion for aviation was contagious, I wish we would have had some flight time together.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

IR Lesson 12 NDB Approaches

My lesson today was scheduled for 2:30, a change to my routine. I arrived early about 2:10 and waited for Brian to get in from his flight lesson. Once he finished up with the other student we headed for the sim. Today he mentioned SID's and STAR's. A SID, or Standard Instrument Departure, defines a pathway out of an airport and onto the airway structure. A SID is sometimes called a Departure Procedure (DP). SIDs are unique to the associated airport. A STAR, or Standard Terminal Arrival Route, defines a pathway into an airport from the airway structure. STARs can be associated with more than one arrival airport, which can occur when two or more airports are in close proximity.

I reminded Brian he wanted to work on NDB's and DME arc's. I reviewed both approach types as was ready to get sim time practicing what I learned. He said no problem, NDB's it is. I departed MIV and headed direct to the Rainbow Non-Directional Beacon (NDB). Entering a climbing right turn to 2000' I set up for the KMIV NDB RWY 14 Approach. I dial in the Cedar Lake (VCN) VOR on the number 2 nav turning the CDI to 237* and setting up the DME also. Next I loaded and activated the correct approach. Leveling off at 2100' I am inbound to Rainbow (RNB). My number 2 nav needle centers as I cross the VCN 237* radial and the DME reads 10.6, the GPS also confirms my turn to course 327*. Ok, I'm outbound with a quartering tailwind so I time my outbound leg for one minute thirty seconds. As the approach plate notes I turn out to a heading of 282* and time this leg for one minute. As the timer reaches the one minute mark I turn right to a course of 102* to intercept the 147* radial.

Looking pretty good with my altitude this lesson I slip a bit on my wind correction. I struggle to keep aligned but manage to hold course. Since I am already configured for 90 knots and 10* of flaps I run through my landing checklist. I felt to busy to grab the physical list so I ran through it in my head. Never a good idea when my mind is busy spinning those dishes from stage left to right. I did switch tanks and I was set to mixture full rich, I just forgot my landing lights. I need to work on my checklists.

Passing the station the ADF needle swings 180*. I like Brian's way of turning to the head of the needle and not dragging the tail of the needle with me. They both produce the same effect but it's easier to just fly the head or pointy end of the needle. I pass through 1300' looking for 560' and 2:28 seconds for the missed approach point. I am holding altitude at 580' as I reach 2:28 on the timer, I take a last glance and see the runway. I added second notch of flaps and set the sim bird down.

We repeat the process, this time tracking to the NDB from out near the Delaware Bay. The results were better since I compensated for the winds and the added hold had nice patterns at altitude. The last reset was at 1300' on final looking for 560' decision height and my time to missed of 2:28. I need to add that Brian had the winds blowing and turbulence turned way up. As I broke out and had the runway in sight he cranked it up. I actually just about was out of rudder when he scaled it back a bit. I could have swore I heard a sinister laugh as if he was enjoying the hellish conditions he was dumping on me. I'm not sure how but I managed to get the sim bird down in one piece having to rely on the crab and kick method. I'm not sure if he was impressed or not but I do think he was was I.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

IR Lesson 11 GPS Approach & Holds

I was running behind the normal schedule this morning and walked out the door ten minutes later then usual. I walked into the school and Brian had the sim fired up and waiting. I was chatting with a few fellow ham radio operators on the way and one is a pilot. He commented that your IR lesson should be fun since it's so nice out and winds are calm, except for the hood of course. Well there will be no hood in use or foggles for that matter and I'm sure the wx will stink, I'm working in the sim.

Did I say wx would stink, of course I did and my CFII would not let me down. It was overcast and about zilch for ceilings in the sim world. Today concentrated on procedures, briefings and working on my altitude issue. I departed Brandywine airport (green flight path) and was in the soup shortly there after. I climbed out to 2900' and direct to Modena, MXE VOR. From Modena (red flight path) I turned course to 076* for 15.6 miles to the GONVE Initial Approach Fix (IAF). At GONVE I made a teardrop entry into the hold/course reversal 'race track'. I turned left another 16* to an outbound course of 060* for four miles. I thought it was easier tracking the four miles on the DME but I also had the Garmin 530 in the console by my leg. It would be 19.6 DME for Modena and/or 4 from GONVE on the GPS, I cross checked both. At 4 miles I turned inbound to 269* and held course. Once set up inbound I went through my landing checklist needing to switch tanks. Everything else was good to go.

Once crossing GONVE I was clear to descend to 2100' until crossing CELPA, the Final Approach Fix (FAF). Holding on course and the altitude is much better as I reach 2100 feet and hold there for the last 1.5 miles to the FAF. Ok passing over CELPA and I'm clear to continue to the Missed Approach Point RUDME at 940'. It's a long 4.5 miles holding between 950' and 1000'. Did I mention turbulence and wind, it's in there!. I finally cross RUDME and power up full throttle and go missed. The missed called for a climb to 1500' then a climbing right turn to 2900' direct to GONVE way point and hold (light blue flight path). The approach and missed went fairly well so Brian put me in a 'time out' so we could discuss the next approach.

I was reset for Philadelphia's GPS RWY 27L approach. I was 'time in' east of the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) ENZEW. I toggled through the GPS 530 and activated the proper approach. Tracking inbound to the IAF I would need to pay attention to the altitude changes since this approach had multiple step downs. ENZEW was 3500' to ORANE then 3000' to FESTI holding 3000' to the FAF TORNE. Once crossing TORNE I was cleared to GLOUS at 2100' and from that point down to the decision altitude of 458' and 1 mile visibility. I hit the altitudes pretty good and Brian made a good choice on this approach to keep me thinking and making changes. The average distance between the way points is about 3 miles or so.

Overall not a bad lesson. I may have the altitude sorted out, at least I hope so. I think I'm up Sunday at 7am. The plan is for NDB approaches and DME Arc's. For now, more reading, more King DVD's and some knowledge test review.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

IR Lesson 10 Procedures, Holds

Another typical 7am start at TAS Flight School. Brian and I walk in together although he threw me off a bit arriving in a different car. He recently purchased a new house so he is learning about what the real 'money pit' is all about. I didn't bust on him but he still had paint on his hands from applying Killz sealer. I remember those days, now it's much easier to just write the darn check and get it over with.

We picked up where we left off last lesson and that was flying around Wilmington (KILG). Brian set the sim for 2000' and somewhere on the ILS RWY 1 approach. We talked about procedures and the need to flow through the same process. Brian advised that once ATC gives you the "expect runway whatever" you will once again brief your approach plate. I say once again since you already have a good idea what the winds are doing from your pre-flight wx checks and should have prepared accordingly. This is the time to double check your comm and nav settings and as I call it, play out the scenario in my head. I am learning to visualize the approach and commit it to memory, even though the plate is right in front of me on the yoke clip.

I am going to get set up for 90 knots and 10* of flaps within 5-8 miles of my IAF. This gives me time to get stable and run through my landing checklist. With the checklist complete I can concentrate on flying the plane. I am now "time in" as the aircraft is pointed for ILG. I am crossing HADIN as the outer marker light glows and I hear the tone. I click on the clock to begin my timer, three minutes and thirty two seconds until my Missed Approach Point (MAP). I can not descend below 275'. I focus on holding course and intercepting the glide slope trying not to fixate on the altitude. About 600' I break out and see the runway environment, what a pretty sight! I reduce throttle and add a second notch of flaps when Brian drops the cloud layer down to zilch! What??!! Where!??? Going missed, full throttle, positive climb rate and retract flaps. I climb straight out to 900' then turn left to a heading of 220* while climbing to 2000'. I already have nav two set for the missed 271* radial so as I see the CDI needle come alive I turn right to intercept 271*. No missing the radial like the last time going missed. I am watching the Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) and looking for 9.2 miles to the ELUDE intersection.
I am looking good on course holding altitude and tracking to ELUDE. I cross ELUDE and perform a teardrop entry turning course to 240* for one minute then making a standard right turn to 91*. That didn't seem to bad as I start my way around the hold doing laps. Brian says enough here, very good handling the winds and good job tracking in and outbound headings.
We reset for Pottstown Limerick and brief the LOC RWY 28 approach plate. This one looks interesting since the GOOGL intersection is both the initial approach fix (IAF) and after completing the procedure turn course reversal it becomes the final approach fix (FAF). I depart PTW and after climbing through 700' feet I start my right turn to a heading of 90*. I set the ETX East Texas VOR up on nav two and for my DME. The plan is to intercept the 160* radial and follow it until I am 22.7 miles from ETX. At this point I am late turning to the 96* outbound leg (parallel entry) and blow through the safety zone of the holding pattern. Not a good move but I continue outbound for one minute then turn left to a heading of 240* to intercept the localizer of 276*. It didn't take long because of my bad position from the initial entry. I continue in a hold for a few laps and then we take a time out. We review my flying on Brian's computer screen and it tells the tale of what went right and where I ended up. After the initial slow turn on course I recovered and held really nice patterns around the hold, working my scan, verbalizing the five T's and overall a nice lesson. I did have some trouble holding altitude at various times and that I will need to work on. It so much easier flying 679er!!!

I scheduled six lessons that should take me through my sim time of 20 hours. Brian and I agreed that we would schedule blocks of time for the flying portion of my lessons. Maybe two to three hours at a time depending on wx and the call of nature. I'm up again Wednesday morning at 7 am.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

North East Flyers, No Guts No Glory

Back in the air again today, this time we are scheduled to meet up with the North East Flyers group for a lunch run to KMIV, Millville NJ. I got a call from Rob who had to cancel on today's trip so that means we get to sleep in a bit later. The plan was to head to N10 Perkiomen for Rob to join us but that will have to be another day.

Mary and I headed out to the airport around 9 am and took our time uncovering and pre-flighting 679er. There was a good bit of activity this morning at Red Eagle. We had multiple ramp neighbors getting ready to head out. Actually Mary and I were the last to go from the north side and Brian in his Cessna 150 scooted out after us from the south side of the airport. There was a good bit of haze stuck in place over Delaware and New Jersey. The cooling tower at Salem nuke plant was belching steam straight up into the air with no horizontal movement. The winds were variable at Wilmington and pretty much the same at Millville according to the Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF). Movie clip landing at Millville.

The AOPA web page was offline this morning so that caused some confusion but folks wandered in between 11 - 11:30. Jerry from Orange County arrived shortly after we did followed by Brian, Gary and Scott. Tim and his wife Tara made it in from Chester County MQS and a few others made it as we were served breakfast/lunch. The Flight Line was crowded today but Verra pushed tables together and took care of our group even though we came in at various times. I guess around 12:30 we made our way to Tom Duffy's hangar to view his war bird collection. Terry who is Chief Mechanic and Pilot waited as the group arrived to start his tour. The tour was really well done as Terry provided details on each aircraft from a bit of history related to military service right down to the mechanical specs and features that made each aircraft different but lethal in its effort to rule the sky.
First on our list was the T6 Texan...The North American T-6 Texan was known as "the pilot maker" because of its important role in preparing pilots for combat. Derived from the 1935 North American NA-16 prototype, a cantilever low-wing monoplane, the Texan filled the need for a basic combat trainer during WW II and beyond. The original order of 94 AT-6 Texans differed little from subsequent versions such as the AT-6A (1,847) which revised the fuel tanks or the AT-6D (4,388) and AT-6F (956) that strengthened as well as lightened the frame with the use of light alloys. In all, more than 17,000 airframes were designed to the Texan standards.

North Americans rapid production of the T-6 Texan coincided with the wartime expansion of the United States air war commitment. As of 1940, the required flights hours for combat pilots earning their wings had been cut to just 200 during a shortened training period of seven months. Of those hours, 75 were logged in the AT-6. U.S. Navy pilots flew the airplane extensively, under the SNJ designation, the most common of these being the SNJ-4, SNJ-5 and SNJ-6.
Next on the tour was the famed P-47 Thunderbolt which by the way was extensively used at Millville, NJ. The Thunderbolt was the most famous of all the Republic aircraft in WWII. First flown on 6 May 1941, the P-47 was designed as a (then) large, high-performance fighter/bomber, utilizing the large Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine to give it excellent performance and a large load-carrying capability. The first deliveries of the P-47 took place in June 1942, when the US Army Air Corps began flying it in the European Theater.
Though it was an excellent airplane, several improvements were made as production continued, with each improvement adding power, maneuverability and range. As the war progressed, the Thunderbolt, or "Jug," as it was affectionately called, gained a reputation as a reliable and extremely tough airplane, able to take incredible amounts of damage and still return its pilot home safely. P-47s logged almost 2 million flight hours during the war, during which they were responsible for the destruction of over 7,000 enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground in the European Theater alone. Later in the war, Jugs served as escort fighters for B-29 bombers in the Pacific. Mostly, though, they excelled in the ground-attack role, strafing and bombing their way across the battlefields of Europe. Early versions, up through the P-47C, had "razorback" fuselages, but the popular P-47D featured a bubble canopy which gave the pilot increased rearward visibility.

P-47s were also used during the war by the air forces of Brazil, England, France, Mexico and the Soviet Union. Following the war, the Jug served for nine more years in the US, flown by the Air National Guard. It continued to serve for many additional years with the air forces of over 15 nations around the world. The markings are that of P-47D-25-RE "No Guts - No Glory", which belonged to the 82nd FS, 78th FG, of the 8th AF, based at Duxford. Piloted by LT. BEN MAYO, CMDR OFFICER 82ND FS, 78TH FG, 1944
Next we headed over to my favorite in this stable of beauties the Vought F4U-1 Corsair. Development of the Corsair began in 1938, when the US Navy issued a request for a new single-seat carrier-based fighter. The Chance-Vought company won the contract with their unique, gull-winged airframe pulled by the largest engine then available, the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp. The wing design was necessitated by the tall landing gear which was, in turn, necessitated by the huge propeller required to propel the plane at the desired high speeds.
The prototype of the Corsair was first flown on 29 May 1940, but due to design revisions, the first production F4U-1 Corsair was not delivered until 31 July 1942. Further landing gear and cockpit modifications resulted in a new variant, the F4U-1A, which was the first version approved for carrier duty.

The Corsair served with the US Navy, US Marines, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (and later, the French Aeronavale), and quickly became the most capable carrier-based fighter/bomber of the war. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in additional aircraft being produced by the Goodyear Company (as the FG-1) and the Brewster Company (as the F3A-1). Production ceased in 1952. Over two dozen Corsairs are believed to be still airworthy, most in the United States. This aircraft is in the markings of "Marine's Dream", a Vought F4U-1 Corsair piloted by Edwin L. Olander (WWII Ace - 5 confirmed, 4 probable), with VMF-214, USMC, 1943.
Finally we come to the newest addition a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX. This aircraft was built at Castle Bromwich in 1944. It was not uncommon for this type of aircraft to serve with different countries. Once sent for service to a central location the aircraft were repaired and immediately sent to the first need location. This aircraft served with a Polish Sqn at Chailey ALG in Sussex on 3/5/44. Then to 329 Sqn at Merston on 15/6/44 and then to 84 Group Support Unit of 2nd Tactical Air Force in Wiltshire on 29/6/44. It was then moved to 3501 Support Unit on 9/7/44 and then to 165 Sqn at Detling on 30/8/44. It again transferred with this unit to Bentwaters in Suffolk on 16/12/44. It's not done yet, next stop Scottish Aviation on 6/2/45 for repairs and then to 29 MU at High Ercall on 13/4/45. Another move to Royal Netherlands Air Force on 25/9/46. Sadly it was Mounted on a pole at Eindhoven from where it was rescued in 1991.
In 1991 it headed to Texas and in October 1993 rebuilt to stock RAF condition. Owned by Raybourne Thompson and registered N959RT in 2002. First restoration flight on 19th February 2004 at Covey Trails airport in Texas. Sold to Tom Duffy and based in Millville, New Jersey in November 2007. (thanks to Kenneth Johansson - 2004).

After the tour we passed on the Army Airfield museum so that I could take Steve for a ride. We left the ladies on the deck of the Cornerstone Restaurant sipping cold ice tea as we saddled up for a short hop to Cape May (KWWD). I am not usually the one doing the passenger briefing (Mary's job) but I gave it a go. I covered everything but the stall horn which Mary reminded about when we returned.

Steve and I taxied out to runway one four and waited for an aircraft on final to land. Once they were clear we took off and pointed south towards Cape May and into the haze. The haze was so nasty today you could not see across the Delaware Bay. We flew over WWD at 2500' and turned towards the Cape May Lewes Ferry Terminal. I made a shallow bank right turn to give Steve a good look and then came back to level heading towards Millville. Steve commented on all the sand pits and the color of the water. We joined the left downwind for runway one four and I floated one in for my landing. Stall horn ? What stall horn, I rounded off a bit high and floated on down as afraid to get the wheels dirty, not my best but it was soft. Unfortunately a co-worker was taking pictures so I'm sure I'll hear about it.

Mary and I drank down some ice tea before heading home. It was a great day! Good eats, GREAT friends, FANTASTIC War bird tour and of course I was flying. Two more hours in the log and we are finally home. Mary is planting flowers, I'm finishing up the trip report then we are going to hot tub and relax.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Quality Time w/ 679er

Yes, the title may sound strange but that's pretty much how it feels. My last time flying left seat was March 2nd to W29 Cambridge Maryland. Thinking back I did get some time the night of April 2nd while acting as safety pilot for Mike in his Cessna 25U. Needles to say it was way to long and I wanted to work on some short field landings. I need to make sure I'm sharp for my flight into N10 Perkiomen tomorrow when Mary and I pick up Rob (Rob's Flying Adventure) for our flight to Millville with the North East Flyers.

I twisted my friend John's arm (yeah right!) and he agreed to join me this morning at Wilmington around 9:30 for a few hours of fun flying. I got to the airport around 9am and uncovered, pre-flighted and took off the top cowling in order to remove the oil cooler plate. I removed the plate, re-attached the screws with the nuts on the plate and stowed it in our box in the baggage compartment that holds the Gatts jar, oil, clean rags, light tools and window cleaner.
John walked up in time to help me button 679er up. We climbed in and both went through the checklists.

I made my call to Wilmington Ground and as usual got directions to taxi to runway two seven at taxiway mike. Cleared for take off with left turn on course approved we were off and tracking the 140* radial from DuPont DQO VOR. Traffic was light this morning, we seemed to have the sky to ourselves. As sweet as the sky looked from the ground today there was a pretty thick haze once in the air. I don't like chugging along in that stuff so we remained low and slow at 2500. I asked John if he wanted to try some level flight and of course he agreed. He did very well, holding altitude and tracking course pretty darn good. We set up for a three mile 45* for left downwind runway three two and entered the downwind leg in fine shape. It seems John catches on quickly. I called 'my plane' and configured for landing. A nice smooth landing into Millville followed by a long taxi to taxiway Charlie. This taxiway dumps you right on the corner of the restaurants.
We each enjoyed breakfast and quick service at the flight Line. While eating breakfast the Deputy Director (No. 2 man right under the CEO) from my place of employment walked in. We chatted briefly and I said nice day to fly so I bagged the day. He gave a big smile and said not a bad idea at all. Just a few minutes later the Airport Director (AD) walked in and had a good laugh at me taking off to go fly. The AD is also a pilot but doesn't seem to get in the air often, although he said his children have been on him to get his medical current. It seems not everyone enjoys the same thought process that I have, and that is life is short have fun, better yet, GO FLY.

John and I saddled up for Cape May and completed the short hop with my 'ok' landing. I've had better that's for sure! It started out just fine adding the last notch of flaps as I crossed the fence but I was a bit slow to arrest the sink and gave 679er a little thud on touch down. We rolled out then taxied back for another hop this time across the Delaware Bay. I was going to call my co-worker and honestly forgot. John and I were talking and I was setting up for the flight home and off we went, just that fast. Sorry Paul, next time for sure!

We climbed out of Cape May and held over the Cape May Lewes Ferry until I was ready to cross at 6500' . We tracked the ATR Waterloo VOR just north of Lewes Delaware and i picked up flight following with Dover Approach for the trip north. I always like to be on with Dover, it helps to know if and where the big boys (C-5's) are practicing. About 15 or so out Dover cuts us loose to squawk vfr and I thank them for the ride along. I switch over to listen to the Wilmington ATIS again to see if it updated, it was still current with November.

Me: Wilmington Tower, Archer 28679er
Tower: Again calling Wilmington?
Me: Good Afternoon, Archer 28679er 12 south inbound for full stop with November, 3000 level
Tower: Enter right base runway 9, where will you be parking?
Me: Parking at Red Eagle sir, 679er

John and I watched a jet take off on runway nine and as we closed in, we were told no. 2 to land with a Lear on 4 mile final for runway two seven. I acknowledged no. 2 to land and turned left to widen out or base leg to buy some time. I turned final just after the Lear landed and acknowledged clear to land runway nine. Another nice landing within 1500' and on center. We taxied in and secured 679er and headed to the parking lot. Another great day of flying with 2.2 added to the log book.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

IR Lesson 9 ILS Approach & Holds

I had a 7am lesson this morning which worked out very well since I could not seem to sleep past 4:30am. Up and down watching the clock until finally hoisting the white flag of surrender and dragging myself out of bed at 5:30. Maggie and I roamed the house, she got to eat and run outside while I showered and paid some bills.

Brian changed things up a bit this morning starting me off at KILG, Wilmington Delaware - the home base for Archer 28679er. This was not a time to feel like I had some sort of advantage because I clearly DID NOT. I briefed the ILG ILS RWY 1 approach plate and made mental note of the frequency's and altitudes, time to missed approach and the hold at an intersection. I flowed through the plate and set my communication, navigation and Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) for the flight. I was instructed to depart ILG direct to the HADIN Initial Approach Fix (IAF) at or above 2000'. Checklists complete I am rolling for take off. Wheels up on adventure number 9..........whoa forgot about the winds from 300* at 18 knts. Correction to maintain runway heading until 500' then begin my climbing left turn direct to HADIN.

I tracked to HADIN fine and made my course reversal to track the ILS into Wilmington. I chased the needle a bit until I settled down and broke out around five to six hundred feet in time to slow down, add another notch of flaps and get on the runway. I wasn't happy since I blew off my landing checklist, had some trouble getting stable at 90 knots and chased the localizer needle. I felt "behind the plane" the whole way, like the dish balancing/spinning folks on Ed Sullivan again.

Brian reset me for the approach and let me have another go. This time I held altitude a little bit better (nothing to write home about) still above the glide slope but I tracked the localizer much better. At HADIN I again set my timer, looking to not exceed 3:24 the missed approach point. I also could not descend below 275'. I continued to track the ILS calling position and adding the clock in my scan. I also held at 300' for a short time until three minutes and twenty four seconds ticked off requiring me to go missed. I did take a last look out front but I saw nothing but overcast and ugly.

This is where it gets fun, or as I really should note the you know what hits the fan. The missed calls for a climb to 900' then a climbing left turn to 2000' via heading 220* and DQO VOR R-271* to ELUDE 9.2 DME and hold. Ok, Time out, lets stop the bus right here, I continued on course until 900' then started my turn to 220* while maintaining a climb to 2000'. Minding the 5 T's I turned, then twisted my heading bug, no timing here, checked throttle setting and felt good. Ok, time in, Yes, I thought I had it covered but I forgot to turn the nav 1 CDI to the 271* radial which allowed me to cross it, fat dumb and happy thinking that I was doing fine. Brian allowed me to continue but did ask what the outbound and inbound legs of the hold were. Ughhh they are 271* and 91* respectively but I am off in never never land past the radial I should be tracking. I twist the nav 1 CDI to 271* and 'now' add my Garmin 530 back in my scan to see I am way left of course. I turn to a heading of 310* to track back and intercept the 'correct' radial.

With that brain fart flushed away I focus on working my scan and entering the hold correctly. When my DME reads 9.2 miles I start the timer and continue outbound for one minute then make a teardrop entry to my inbound heading of 091*. It went very smooth. I made a dozen laps around the hold working on my wind correction and adjusting my outbound times in order to hit a one minute inbound time that corresponded with passing the magical 9.2 on my DME. Sounds confusing? It was for me too. The first lap was fine then lap two three and four got crazy as I left my DME out of the scan and relied on my timer for the hold legs. The pattern on the instructors computer looked a bit warped until I got it back on track and anchored at the intersection.

It's a lot of work and a lot of information to process. I will say it's fun and I am learning, that's a plus! My first instructor Bill walked in from an early flight lesson and laughed while asking if I'm working hard since he saw no sweat on me. I laughed as did the others at the school and said none yet. It was good to see Bill and catch up on what we both have been up to.

I am thinking about taking the day off Friday to just go fly and have some fun. Saturday is the North East Flyers visit to Millville and then a lesson on Sunday at 7am. A busy weekend!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


If you have been reading along you know by now that our flight to SNF was a no-go due to crappy weather. I was not a happy camper but the thought of vacation time with my Bride and a chance to attend the airshow provided reason to smile. Mary did the packing and I pretty much stayed clear. I laid out the things I wanted to take along and she made all our "stuff" fit. The plan was to fly on a US Airways flight Monday morning, rent a car, check into the Orlando Radisson Resort and enjoy the time away from work, Delaware and yucky weather.

Monday morning we are packed and ready to go, waiting on our airport shuttle ride. Delaware Express Shuttle gets to the house at 11:15am, fifteen minutes early, I'm thinking good karma. Our driver was really nice and we chatted about everything from traffic, flying and our vacation destination. One really nice thing that I have to mention is when our drivers cell phone rang she reached over and shut it off, without checking the call. She never interrupted the ongoing conversation with a call and I was impressed. In just about thirty minutes we were at curbside unloading and checking our bags. Our driver got a nice tip for her services and for not taking the cell call. Our check in was fast and painless even though US Airways is now charging $2 a bag at check in. Good grief, they even have their hand in the baggage guys pocket. Our guy also got a nice tip since he had us on our way in short order with bags squared away and our boarding pass ready to go.
We made our way through Terminal B and found seats that provided a view of the ticket folks and waiting area. At this point Mary and I both commented on the reasons we hate to fly commercial. The people who must talk on the cell phone that talk so loud you can't hear yourself think or that stroll with their bag back and forth as if it helps them be heard. Ugghhh...and of course we end up next to the guy that left home with out the box of tissues since he either had to be drowning or trying to hack up a fur ball. I must have made a face (or two) since the nice lady and her husband sitting across from us started to giggle. One of them commented that this is why we fly or it's not like this when we fly. They asked us if we were attending Sun-n-Fun and we acknowledged (I had my AOPA hat on). All four of us got a good laugh talking about the reason why we fly ourselves. I explained that I was working on my instrument rating so the wx kept us from flying today, they also would have flown but their aircraft was in the shop with a leaky wing tank. The couple hails from Michigan and were planning to stay in Lessburg with friends.

Finally time to board and things seemed to be going smoothly, we actually were running on time. Well I spoke to soon since one of the crew came on to let us know that normally he would be alerting us to push back but the baggage had not been loaded even though the aircraft was buttoned up and ready to go. Huh, I'm thinking we all might need our bags so I guess we can live with the twenty minute delay to load the plane. It was 1:43 pm and we were soooooo close to getting out on time. With the aircraft finally loaded we taxied to join the conga line waiting to depart and did so around 2:30pm.
There was a long line to get out of Philly but we made our way to the the head of the line and bugged out in short order. Mary was nodding off already and I was trying to get a look at the USS John F. Kennedy that was recently added to the mothball fleet just north of the airport. I got a quick glimpse of the flat top as we climbed into the clouds. We turned out over New Jersey before turning south for Florida.

Once above the layer it was blue sky and clear. This gorgeous on top view came to an end as we got closer to the Carolina's and ended up even thicker as we crossed into Georgia and Florida. The flight crew did a very nice job with a smooth landing into Orlando (MCO).

Mary called Narcosee's restaurant as soon as we were leaving the airport in our sporty grey Pontiac Grand Prix. We passed on the mustang convertible since I wasn't sure about the wx and I just could not make myself drive a ford (another discussion for another day). The dinner slot was pushed back until 8:30 which allowed for us to make the hotel, shower, change and drive to Disney's Grand Floridian. Valet parking was available so of course I took advantage. We checked in and made our way to the bar as we waited to be called for our table.
We met a nice lady from Atlanta Georgia that overheard us talking about missing the chance to stop at Jekyll Island. She offered some great info about places to stay and eat and provided the added bonus of the Island history. We thanked her for the info and great conversation then headed off in response to our call for our table.
Mary and I each had surf and turf which I have to say was absolutely fantastic! The fillet was cooked to perfection and the lobster cooked just as tender. We both enjoyed the fireworks and light show over the magic kingdom from or window seats and talked about our honeymoon just three and a half years ago. It was a nice way to start our vacation and just relax and enjoy our time together.

Tuesday - Day one had Epcot on the agenda. Mary and I finally got out of bed and found some breakfast then got on the road. Parking is always easy at Disney with a short walk to the tram car. We toured Epcot making stops in Italy (of course) for lunch, and a host of other countries to check out shops. The place was crowded and it was getting warm. After lunch I started to feel ill. I felt light headed, almost sick to my stomach at times and sweating up a storm. We continued to make the rounds and on our way to the new Soarin' ride I decided I needed to get back to the hotel.
Wednesday - Day two was a stay close to the hotel day. We decided that we would use our second park pass on Thursday in hopes that I was feeling better. Mary spent the better part of the day poolside and i spent it sick in bed. I was dead beat tired, had no appetite and just could not get comfortable. Mary on the other hand worked her tan and was looking good as she checked in on me. I hadn't eaten a thing since lunch on Monday so I thought I would try some dinner. We went to a really nice steak house just a short drive from the Radisson. Charley's Steakhouse always has great service and even better food. I ordered a fillet with a baked potato and Mary had a rack of Lamb with a baked potato. I barley ate half my fillet and only put a dent in the potato, I was still feeling pretty bad. Mary said the Lamb was cooked to perfection and she did a pretty good job finishing up. We ordered a slice of carrot cake to go just in case.

Thursday we were off to Hollywood Studios (Disney MGM). I was feeling a little better so we tried breakfast at IHOP. I had pancakes and fresh fruit (only ate one pancake) Mary had the Mayor's breakfast. Oh it was cute, a stack of pancakes covered in mini chocolate kisses and some purple and blue syrup with a lollipop stuck in the top. Yes, it also had green eggs and ham. I wish I took a picture. MGM was a pretty good day as we made the rounds taking in shows and riding the tower of terror. I ran out of gas and by late afternoon was feeling ill again. We headed back to the resort; I crawled into bed and Mary got a few more hours of pool time.
Friday started off with me feeling a bit better and actually wanting to try and eat some breakfast. We made our way to IHOP and had a nice breakfast then got hassled by the "time share" salesman as we left the building. One family was walking away saying no just as Mary and I were trying to do. The one child said quick run! it's the time share guy! We all cracked up. Only my Bride would have compassion as she is telling me that the guy is just trying to make a living. It's a good thing she is so nice, it balances our act with me being the....well the other end of the scale.

We fueled up the rental and pointed south on I-4 for flying activities, yes, Sun-N-Fun!! The weather was looking better and I was feeling a little bit better. The trip from Disney to Lakeland was about 40-50 minutes. Everyone seems to obey the posted speed limits which really freaked me out. I'm used to doing battle everyday on I-95 to and from work where if your not doing 70-85 your road pizza. Maybe it was just the fact that we were on vacation and it seemed everyone was happy and playing nice....nah it must be that I'm running a fever.

AS we were directed to parking Mary snapped a few pictures of a pair of F-15's circling to land at the show. We parked in some cow field (couldn't miss the smell) and hiked towards the main gate. Once inside we were both overwhelmed by the size of the show-grounds and all the people, we are used to the Millville airshow at KMIV. Welcome to the big leagues as we walked and walked, did I mention how far we walked? Light Sport aircraft seemed to pave the way in from the gate. We checked out a few and agreed they look way to small to enjoy and travel in. The forums were packed and there was a forum for almost everyone to attend. We peeked in on a few as we strolled along; working with fabric, welding, painting and the list goes on and on. After picking up a few souvenir shirts we headed over to the bus depot/barn to hop a ride to the flight line. We made a stop to see the war birds, vintage aircraft, the flight line and then walked around looking for vendors. The one electronic gizmo I wanted to check out I could not find, maybe for the better, I'll wait to see what others have to say about it prior to me plunking down the ducket$.

Mary and I each drank down some bottled water to cool off and she even tried a corn dog. I had a bite but it didn't thrill me. Mary thought it was pretty good. By late afternoon I was once again feeling the effects of my week long sick. I was getting very tired and the gut was feeling sick. We made our way back to the main gate disappointed that we didn't catch up with anyone from the fourms and that we didn't make it through the vendors.

Saturday we were packed and ready to head home and of course I was feeling much better. Go figure! We made a breakfast stop then headed to Orlando to return the rental car and check in for our flight. We took off on time and was sporting a full load since taking on stand-by's from the grounded American Airlines flights. Once again we were in and out of the soup mainly from the Carolina's north. WE were put in a hold over the Woodstown OOD VOR and after four spins around the track we were vectored to Philly to land. It's good to be home, we missed our zoo.