Mary is out. She woke up with a sinus headache and said 4 hours of flying will not be good. However, she said go play boys day out. So, if you don't mind flying I was going to drive to 33N, only if you let me split the costs today. I'm up, give me a call on my cell, 302-xxx-xxxx. I'll be heading down around 6:30 to meet you at 8am.
I'm on the road heading south around 6:40 and have yet to get a call. About 7:30 my phone rings and Jeff said he will meet up at 8am. I asked if he wanted breakfast but he said he wanted to keep it light and that he would see me there. I made a stop at wawa for an orange juice then made the short run to 33N. I looked over Sunday's newspaper sitting on the counter at the terminal building when Jeff called and said he was at the plane. I headed out so that I could get in the way, I mean assist in the pre-flight. We saddled up and Jeff went through the pre-start checks and 26Juliet came to life. Jeff asked if I wanted to handle the comm and nav radios and I agreed. Our flight plan was pretty basic, 6500' 33N-SWL-NTU-KFFA. Jeff contacted Dover approach and picked up flight advisories for the trip. We were handed off to patuxent, norfolk and washington center with good ATC work along the way. I made a call to flight watch on 122.0 to get an update on the wx at our destination since we had to climb to maintain VFR over the Chesapeake Bay. we provided a PIREP noting the top of the haze layer with the clouds tagging along.
With FFA in sight Jeff canceled flight following and got us set up to enter the right downwind for runway two zero. I was taking pictures and keeping a watch for traffic since we were alerted to multiple target by center prior to canceling advisories. The winds had picked up and it was a bit gusty as we dipped below the tree line and continued in on short final. Jeff did a real nice job setting 26J down and we taxied out to the parking area at the 020 approach end. The video I shot was taken with a Kodak Easyshare Z730 which does NOT have the stabilizer feature.
It was time to take our last few shots and load up for home. Jeff preflighted and then we climbed in. I held the door open to get some cool air once the fan was turning. At First Flight you have to back taxi to the runways. Based on the gusting winds the captain decided on runway two zero. Final checks and run up complete a notch of flaps is added. One would normally think short runway and higher density altitude (DA) and those were both correct but we may consider lunch adding to the W&B, ok, kidding about the last reason.
In short order two six juliet was climbing out, seemingly proud to strut her stuff at First Flight. We turned out due to traffic and the inbound pilot and Jeff communicated very well to establish positions. The nose was pointed to Elizabeth City Coast Guard Air Station, KECG just across the Albemarle Sound and up the left bank of the Pasquotank River. We were directed to enter a left base for two eight report 3 mile. Jeff acknowledged and started our descent. Another great landing in gusting cross wind conditions. As we rolled out the ALZ in pavement lights stuck out a bit, which was odd, so we thumped along until Jeff moved left of center to keep clear. Maybe the Coast Guard C-130's don't feel them but our bugsmashers do.
Jeff got a real laugh when we pulled up for fuel, it was self-serve and I had to confess I have only self fueled once in the two years flying. I had to read the instructions before we got a drop. Hey, I'm still fairly new at this and at the home airport Scott brings his little truck out and tops me off. Yes, I've gotten to know the fuel guys on a first name basis with all the flying I have been doing. It's really bad when you call and say I'm at Red Eagle and need fuel and they say no problem Gary I'll be right over. I always say that's for tail number 28679er and they yep, we know.
Jeff sumps the fuel and we add a quart of oil before departing Elizabeth City,ECG. We are directed to taxi to runway two eight and complete the checks and run up. No sooner Jeff announced ready to go at two eight we were cleared "without delay" with a C-130 on a four mile final. We were off in short order climbing and turning out early to clear the area. The next waypoint was Norfolk, ORF as we climbed out to 6,500. Jeff noted the temps at 6500 to be 55* it was warm outside. Flight following handed us off along the way while I was taking pictures and getting a good look at the Bay Bridge Tunnel. I usually am the one flying so I don't get to see as much of the view as Mary normally would. The haze is still present and there are a few clouds at our altitude so we climbed to 7500 and motored along. We had ground speeds of 124-129 knts (150mph) northbound as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay for Cape Charles and continued towards Accomack, KMFV.
Dover Approach called out one aircraft headed south passing to our 9:00 and Jeff acknowledged having the traffic. The winds had picked up at 33N with reports 230* at 16 gusting in the 20's. Once 33N - Delaware Airpark was in sight the captain canceled flight following and called for airport advisories. I dropped the ball since I was working comm and nav and didn't get it flipped. Dover let us know we were still with them, sorry Jeff, my bad. I was looking at the Monster Mile and taking mental notes to locate the airport, the typical passenger.
We entered on a 45* for the left down wind runway two seven and set up for landing. With his checklists completed Jeff extended the down wind a bit to allow for a good set up on final and to work the cross winds. We had one good bump that brought us both up out of our seats that we each acknowledged. On short final Jeff set up left of centerline and we came in left wing low just drifting towards center and between gust he set two six juliet down. A sweet landing in gusty winds that got a 10 rating over the radio from Mr. Experience, Harvey working in the terminal. Harvey knows winds at 33N flying his RV in and out of there. We taxied in to the self serve and topped off the fuel. It was a short taxi to the tie down and we quickly pushed back and buttoned up. Two six Juliet provided a great ride and Jeff did a great job piloting us back and forth from First Flight. What a FUN day and a trip I will always remember. I made it to aviations promised land and it was worth the wait. Truley a great place that every pilot should visit.
Thanks Jeff for a great day of flying!