What a GREAT day to fly!! Mary and I decided that since my CFII was having surgery this weekend I would pass on the heavy dose of IR studies and go have some fun. We decided to head to the beach for the day. We had planned on meeting our friends Ted and Pam at the airport since they were going to pick us up. They were driving in from Gap Pennsylvania and we planned on a 10am meet.
We got up late taking advantage of the nice wx and sleeping in. I finally got up and took care of the Maggie mutt and completed my flight plan for the under one hour hop. Wx looked great and the temps were nice and cool, it was shaping up to be a late September day in August. We passed on a real breakfast and instead hit McD's for a quick bite on the drive. We usually drive up to the plane but today we carried the beach bags and flight gear. It was so nice to be able to pre-flight and not sweat up a storm. Mary the always friendly ramp neighbor wandered down the line to say hello to our friends with the Piper 140/150hp. This man's plane is spotless and he has decided to sell. Paint is excellent, interior very good and less then 100 hours on the new engine. The bird just came out of annual from the same shop 679er is sent to. Yes, when I dropped of for the recent starter fix I asked about the 140, I got the scoop and it was all good. The price is easily in our price range but I'm not to keen on the 150hp or the single door for my first bird. I admit, I'm spoiled by the Archer. Mary made her way back up the line and said he was cleaning off finger prints that he found that was from the annual, he's that meticulous about this plane.
We finally climbed in and got 679rer fired up. I planned to fly direct along the Delaware shore line splitting my path between Sussex County, Georgetown Airport KGED and the Waterloo VOR (ATR). I also gave some thought to tracking to the ATR vor then turning south for Ocean City, there are many options. We are cleared to takeoff on runway two seven and approved for our turn on course to the south. Peter is the controller working the tower and he advises to have fun at the beach, I acknowledge.
The view is really clear this morning. AS we cross the C&D canal Mary reaches for the camera to start taking some photo's, one problem, neither of us pulled the battery from the charger, DOH!. Oh well, at least we enjoyed the view! I picked up flight following with Dover Approach and was pretty much hands off the whole way, it was that smooth. Atlantic City was clearly visible from our side of the Delaware river and Bay for that matter. The vents were pushing cool air on us and I even closed mine to just allow enough to keep air moving. Mary did her thing, settling in for her in flight nap while I kept an eye out for traffic., I wanted to have some fun so I opened the chart and picked out the NDB Landy just slightly north west of Ocean City. I set our ADF to 407 and then decided to tune for an AM broadcast instead, I found news radio 1060. Who wants to listen to that stuff, back to 407 and listening to identify the NDB.
About 15 miles out I cancel flight following and tune the Airports CTAF of 122.8 to get a picture of the traffic. There is a a plane shooting the GPS 2 practice approach, multiple targets in a conga line to land on runway 32. I overfly the NDB with the airport active runway at my 9:00. I watch a Cessna take off followed by a King air, they both climb well above and behind me. I had made my ten and five mile position reports and now was announcing my three mile 45* for the left down wind three two. There was a plane that had taken off and he said he would follow me number two to land. The radio was flowing very smoothly. I turned Base to final and someone asked the Archers current position when I responded short final. I touched down long so I could speed up the taxi clear of active for the traffic behind me. As I was turning off, the next aircraft to land called a one mile final, I followed with clear runway three two Ocean City. Mary opened her door and I opened the window flipping the air scoop in place. We taxied in and followed a cart to parking. This same cart also gave us a ride to the terminal.
Pam, Ted and their son Patrick soon arrived and we were off for the beach. We went to their condo, ordered lunch from Anthony's and sat out on the deck enjoying the cool breeze and just catching up. By the way, Anthony's is a must stop for your favorite sandwich needs, good hoagies and shrimp salad. The ladies changed for the beach and the guys, well we were bums, our plan was to hang out enjoy the view of the bay, talk sports, flying and whatever else crossed our vacation mode brains.
There is a condo for sale in the same building that Mary and I decided to look at. We called the Realtor that Pam and Ted dealt with even though it wasn't his listing. They knew the listing agent and didn't think much of him so they pointed us to their guy, at least if we bought the listing agent would have to split the 6% fee. Hey, it's one way of letting the other guy know your not to fond of his business practices. Within thirty minutes we met and walked through the place. Single bedroom, one bath, kitchen with appliances and a deck with a Bay view. Carpet and tile was new, it has a one year warranty on HVAC and the appliances too. Price range was good and with the market flat I'm sure there is wheel and deal room to negotiate. Something for us to ponder.
The ladies headed off to the beach and returned late in the day. I wanted to be wheels up by 8pm at the latest so we could be home by 9pm. I am night current but having not flown much at night I don't feel as proficient as I should be. We got running late and didn't head out to dinner until 7pm and our choice for dinner had a 40 minute wait. It was now 7:30 so I decided to pass on dinner and head to the airport. We all said our goodbyes and wished we could have stayed longer but I am of the better safe then sorry mentality and I didn't want to stretch my night time comfort factor.
We saddled up and headed for home. As we climbed out of KOXB we were watching for "jumpers" exiting an aircraft high above the field. I was talking to the pilot and advised of my course. As I climbed out we exited on a modified downwind heading more towards the north/north east to clear the airport general area. As we strained to see the jumper plane we finally saw two chutes pop open and start their descent, very cool to watch. I picked up flight following with Dover and we were on our way. The only call outs for traffic was a C-17 and two C-5's near Dover. Mary got to see the sunset for the first time in the air, it was gorgeous. My Bride seemed to enjoy the evening flight as did I, I guess I should get more night flight time in my log book. About 15 miles south of Wilmington, Dover cut us loose to squawk VFR and gave us Philly's numbers. I had already noted the Wilmington ATIS and flipped to the standby tower frequency already dialed in and waiting.
Me: Goooood Evening Wilmington Tower, Archer 28679er 15 from the south 3000 level with Hotel,for full stop, going to Red Eagle.
Tower: Archer 28679er enter left base two seven, report 4 mile, winds 290 at 7.
With that exchange complete I went through my landing checklist and enjoyed the view. The Delaware Memorial Bridges were looking good in their new lights, Wilmington was aglow and the tower beacon was flashing it's welcome home. I call my 4 mile left base and receive my "cleared to land runway two seven". The new nose landing light really looks good, we switched to the Q4509 and the light beam is really bright. I ease 679er in over the numbers with a very slight stall horn and smooth touchdown. Flaps retracted and some breaking I pass taxiway kilo but make the very next turn off on taxiway Mike. I stay with the tower all the way to parking and shut down once aligned for my tie down.
A great trip to the beach, spent time with our friends and enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the air. Life is Good!!