Saturday, February 28, 2009

WD-40 Rusty

Lesson No. 33

I got an early start to the day and headed to the Airport. I relined the Zaon case to carry the PCAS and the Garmin 496 with all cables and wx antenna. Much easier to carry the goods that way in one nice neat package. I didn't take any pictures of the in cockpit set up and I had the camera with me, brain fade I guess. Everything is tucked away nice and neat as the Zaon XRX sat closer to the windscreen clear of my line of sight now located on the co-pilots side. I also found a great place for the Garmin, up top front and center between the visors. The RAM suction mount and short extension arm kept the unit stable and mounted clear of my line of vision facing out front but just a glance up and to the right. The headset was plugged in with the PCAS in line so I heard all call outs. It was a snap to interface the two units and it worked perfectly! So cool to see little targets across the Garmin screen. I attached two picytures from the Zaon web page link. Interfaced Units

I departed ILG on runway one and climbed out over the top of the VP TFR. The AWOS for Brandywine called out winds that favored two seven depending on the gusts. I changed up my heading and positioned for a four mile 45* for the left down wind runway two seven. It was good to be back at the school and even better to be flying instrument lessons. The plan was to shoot some approaches and see how bad the rust had accumulated. I did three approaches today in just under an hour and a half. It was bumpy, bumpy, bumpy! The first approach was GPS 27 at KOQN. I chased the altitude but managed to follow along and low and behold arrive at two seven as depicted on the plate. No time for silly landings I was going missed and climbing back out. I need to get some missed work under my belt with the Garmin 300XL, I could not get it to work as it should, instead I toggled through and hit direct to my missed destination.

Next up GPS 9 into KOQN. This approach went better but missed my landing checklist until about 3 mile final. I set up for ninety knots at the Initial fix but didn't turn the pump or landing lights on. Usually I do my landing checks when I configure for ninety knots, obviously I was distracted and blew right through it. I must say my mind was cooking, after the so so GPS 27 and now trying to sort out this approach. My altitude was much better with only a slight chase to keep on track. Surprisingly, working the wind correction angles seemed to flow ok, at least until my hold on the next approach. Again no time to land as we call out a missed and climb out of the airport environment.

I dug out the plate for the VOR A into KOQN, the approach went ok. Once crossing the VOR MXE and heading outbound I cut my time short with the now tailwinds from the north. I did a parallel entry and cut an angle to intercept the inbound leg but did not get established soon enough. Around I go for another spin in the hold. The second lap I was making 20+ degree wind corrections and rolled out right on course. Woo Hooo, with altitude and course looking good I was headed inbound. I felt large and in charge calling out on course, ninety knots, current altitude for decision height altitude, it was all coming back to me. My CFII asked how we looking? I gave him the rundown; on course, holding at 1100 and and ....and ....CRAP no clue how much time to the missed approach point! I forgot to set the timer. Grrrr....Grumble.

Missed again and back out to the MXE VOR for some work on holds. This went along without a hitch and when inbound I started the timer and flew the VOR A one more time. This time it all clicked and when I flipped up the foggles I joined the right base to final for niner. Gusty winds but planted the left wing low into the wind a flew on in. A flat landing but I'm back on the ground eager to climb out and stretch out my right hip.

My CFII thinks a few more approaches and then he is setting me up with another instructor for my mock check ride in a week or two. I'm really just about ready and most of all I really need to get the hip replaced.

I did get the chance to meet one of my readers while at Brandywine, it is really nice to know that folks enjoy reading along my sometimes dizzy ramblings. I hope the pilot I met enjoyed his run to Lancaster with the Comanche group.

The body is sore, I forgot to take advil this morning so I'm moving kind of slow. Time to get a hot shower and kick back!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Biz Jet...

Another fine creation by Scott Adams. Dilbert or Dogbert as it's posted takes a swipe at the congressional bailout hearings. Please, enjoy! For more funnies check out

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sky Acres Lunch Run

Today the North East Flyers made the monthly run for lunch to the 44N Sky Acres Airport in Millbrook, NY. Mary and I left for the airport earlier then normal so I could give the new pre-heater a try, sorry forgot pictures. The unit was easy to handle although I am going to purchase a five pound propane tank instead of the big monster I had today (I took off our grill). I topped off the tanks during the week so I only need a fuel test and regular pre-flight. 679er was ready to go as we climbed in to keep warm. I hooked up my new Garmin 496 and decided not to hook up the Zaon since I didn't have the interface cable. Sporty's is sending it out and I should have it by Tuesday.

We taxied out to runway one via taxiway Kilo and completed the run up. I was cleared to back taxi at my discretion and rolled to about the 3700 foot mark,taxiway Delta, just under the shadow of the tower. 679er climbed out with minimum bumps and I was cut loose to change frequency. I contacted Philly Approach and was cleared through the Bravo airspace. I was tracking on the west side working on my VOR skills today. My flight path was along the following VOR's; PTW (Pottstown) BWZ (Broadway) and IGN (Kingston). It was great flight even though Philly forgot about me. I gave Philly a call north east of Allentown (KABE) to request an altitude change and the controller was scrambling to see who I was. He cut me loose to squawk VFR and gave me the numbers for Allentown approach. I was almost out of Allentown's area but I dialed them in and gave them a call. Allentown handed me off to New York approach and I finally had a new squawk code and some extra eyes following us.

The class delta over Stewart Airport (KSWF) was 3000 so as I was clearing their airspace I asked approach to descend to 3000 which would keep me 300 feet above the next delta airspace of Poughkeepsie (KPOU). I had to slow and loose altitude to enter the pattern for 44N and the VOR-A Approach dumped me midfield, perfect for a circle to land either runway. I entered the down wind for 35 and made my calls. Short final the winds were blowing and I came in flat, speed was good not much stall horn at all, just plain flat. I added a touch of power went back in the air slightly and planted it on the runway and rolled out to the far taxiway. Sheesh...not my best but we are here. Andy (CTArrow) was inbound behind me for runway three five and the lady on unicom told another aircraft one seven was the active. Yikes! I saw Andy on very short final and somebody beat me to the mic button letting the other aircraft know three five was the runway in use and the gusty winds favored such.

METAR KPOU 211553Z 28012G17KT 10SM CLR 01/M12 A3021

As you can see in the photo, my lovely Bride is working the crowd promoting General Aviation and the North East Flyers. The couple she was talking to are both pilots and Mary invited them to join us on our monthly events. Everyone eventually made their way in and a few did some laps up and around the fuel island looking for parking spots. Matt parked his Cessna 150 just off the corner of the building clear of the ramp back down the hill to the lower parking, it was a good fit. I guess the group finally ordered around 12:30 and a few stragglers came in as they started bringing out the food. Ryan and Kathy made it in from Williamsburg, he's a flying machine since he just got home from Orlando in the Bellanca and Kathy got in from San Fransisco. Ted and Susan made it in too, he was just in from Airbus training in Denver and we're glad they decided to join us.

The food was very good and the service too. We all enjoyed the chat time spent together. One by one people started to head out. I think the final head count was twenty four and fourteen aircraft, not to shabby at all. I think Sal hit it on the head, CABIN FEVER.

A few couples hung out until almost 2:30 just chatting about future flying and today's flights. I think Ryan and Kathy got the worst deal on an IFR flight plan being sent out east then turned north over the island and in.....sometimes that basic VFR stuff is ok. The rest of us decided it was time to head out, saying our goodbyes and walking out to our aircraft. I didn't take on any fuel so it was a walk around for me. Ted in the Seneca II headed out with Adam number two and Mary and I taking the number three for departure. After Adam was in the air we were rolling. We turned left on course and picked up flight following with New York approach.I climbed to six thousand five hundred and sat back and enjoyed the flight. I had a few call outs for traffic but not real busy at all. We were handed off to Allentown then dumped since Philly wasn't taking hand-offs. I thanked Allentown and dialed up Philly to request following myself. I got a squawk code and the all so important magic words, cleared through the bravo. A few minutes into Philly airspace they decided to turn me direct to Modena (MXE VOR). So much for the direct to Wilmington plan. I requested to descend to three thousand and then canceled flight following, I then turned myself direct to Wilmington. There's more then one way to skin.....ah well you know.

METAR KILG 212051Z AUTO 20007KT 10SM CLR 04/M11 A3024

I contacted the Wilmington tower and was cleared straight in runway one nine, report two mile final, I acknowledged. A smooth landing and taxi to Red Eagle, we were home. 3.5 hours today for the round trip, well worth the time spent with our friends and meeting a few new folks too!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

License To Learn

For those of us who fly we have all heard the phrase, "you now have a license to learn" now that your holding that great piece of paper in hand, your temp pilot certificate or your plastic for that matter. It is indeed a certificate that enables one to experience flight without the extra weight in the right seat, your CFI. Above and beyond the opportunity to learn as we spread our wings in our cross country adventures, we also have safety seminars that are much like continuing education in the working world.

One of the easiest ways to locate a safety seminar in your area is to log into the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) home page. The FAAST mission is "To improve the Nation's aviation safety record by conveying safety principles and practices through training, outreach, and education. At the same time, FAA Safety Team Managers and Program Managers will establish meaningful aviation industry alliances and encourage continual growth of a positive safety culture within the aviation community."

I regularly check online and access the Event Schedule page. Here is a sample of what's on tap this month.

GPS From the Ground Up - GPS operations as a whole, not just individual unit-specific functions. The seminar will start with some brief compare/contrast of specific units and how technology has evolved, and then move into meaningful tips and advise for every phase of flight: Flight planning, preflight, departure, enroute and much more. We'll also discuss real pilot "gotchas" that GPS users got themselves into due to lack of proper training, etc. You will not want to miss this seminar.

Dealing with Icing Conditions - Dealing with icing conditions on the ground and in the air. The presentation will address problems associated with an aircraft that is contaminated with ice either during its takeoff or while in-flight.

Weather Strategies: Planning and Flying in Weather! - Weather Evaluation and Analysis for VFR and IFR Pilots. Weather is the final frontier in pilot education,the learning never stops! Weather is the most critical and complex variable that affects your flying. But you don’t have to be a meteorologist to understand what makes weather, and use that understanding to help make sound flight decisions. This is what being weather wise is all about; attend this briefing and share your experiences.

I enjoy attending the seminars and learning from the experience of others and sharing my limited experience with the group. It's a great way to meet fellow pilots in your area. My wife attends most of the seminars with me and surprisingly retains the info and asks some great questions on our drive or flight home. Don't take the "surprisingly" the wrong way, I only reference it that way since she is not a pilot and yet still understands what is discussed. I think that's pretty cool that she "gets it" and will quiz me or bring it up if the seminar topic applies.

Get out there and sign up for the safety seminars, broaden your horizon, don't be complacent, it's what we don't know that can hurt us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hip Revision

Well, I broke down and finally went to the doctor this morning. Great guy, a pilot and member of the AOPA. I immediately went to x-ray for some updated pictures since the latest update I could provide was from 1988. Ok, so I don't go to see doctors or spend time in hospitals. The news was as expected, I'll need a 'revision' as it's called to replace my existing hip prosthesis. The stem has worked loose inside the femur and that is the major cause of pain when doing stairs or changing the weight bearing status.

I was pretty upbeat knowing full well what I would be told so it really came as no shock when I heard the words. I am going to meet with a specialist that does the revision surgery on March 2nd. I expressed a few concerns during the initial consultation this morning; I must pass my instrument check ride first(new target mid march) and second I must be able to make the flight to Gaston's in June. The instruments ticket wasn't a problem, that was on me but the June trip might be a bit harder to deal with since he said its a hard time getting in the Archer. Yes, the Doctor flys the Piper Cherokee line and has flown an Archer from time to time. He obtained his PPL at KPNE, North Philly.

More news as it happens, for now, study the PTS and hit the sim for some approaches! I did make a call to the flight school and talked with my CFII about getting finished up ASAP. I have a three hour session scheduled on the 28th then I may take a few days off to get ready for the "ride".

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Day Off

Presidents day! A day off!

Some History about the Day:

Presidents Day is the common name for the federal holiday officially designated as Washington's Birthday.It is celebrated on the third Monday of February. As the official title of the federal holiday, Washington's Birthday was originally implemented by the federal government of the United States in 1880 in the District of Columbia and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, February 22.

January 1, 1971 the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln, but when signed into law on June 28, 1968 simply moved Washington's Birthday. In the late 1980s, with a push from advertisers, the term Presidents Day began its public appearance.

My lovely Bride had to work today, hey, someones got to bring home the bacon. I got up to feed the pups then crawled back into bed. I can honestly say I don't remember Mary leaving for work. I was later informed, when she returned home from work, that I was cuddled up with Rudder snoring to beat the band. Oh well, it's better then going to work.

I finally did get up and found something to eat, let the dogs back out and checked into the flying forums, it's a daily ritual. Some new stuff, some old and nothing new for this Saturdays fly in to 44N, Sky Acres. I decided to head up to Brandywine and get back on the schedule for flying. I need to tune up then schedule the check ride. I'm getting worried about timing since I see the Doctor tomorrow about my hip. I had the right hip replaced in October of 86 so it's about worn out. Did I mention how much I hate hospitals, doctors and pills?

Enough of the bad thoughts, I'm off to Brandywine KOQN. Not much school activity this morning but I did scribble in my info for the Saturday, February 28th, 11am -2pm time block. I need to knock the rust off and get this done. I watched a few planes come and go on runway niner. I should be flying today but have to many things on my to do list that need to marked off as done. My next stop is back at the house to pick up my travel companions. The trip to Wilmington KILG is on hold so I can reconnect the cables under the seat of my ML320, I can't get it to fold down. Forty minutes later the pups are happy little campers bouncing around the truck as I climb in. Maggie finds a spot in the back to settle in and the little guy is everywhere like a flea on a hot brick.

I make the call to AeroWays for fuel letting them know I'm about five minutes out on I-95. I pull through the Red Eagle gates and drive over to 679er trying to find a spot close enough but clear for the fuel truck. Previously, I had made the hop to Wings for the GPS test flight and flew towards Pottstown with Rob then home for a total of 1.9 hours. Prior to that I had the breakfast flight to Cambridge, MD for a round trip of 2.0 hours. This looked right to me since I was at tabs when we left for Wings. When all was said and done I took on 27 gallons to top off. That's a pretty good fuel burn and right on the numbers for 679er's normal performance. The fuel burn averaged 6.92 per hour which is the norm for my flying. I flight plan for 10 gallons an hour for my personal extra safety factor.

Finally heading home and the pups are now getting restless. I forgot dogie treats and I think they are expecting them. Hey, they have me driving them around what else could they want? right? or maybe not. We pull up to the house and there sits a big box. It must be my red dragon pre-heater! Everyone piles out, does the potty break, except me, and we all check out the box. Yep, sure enough, UPS delivered the Red Dragon unit I purchased from a fellow forum member. You should have seen this circus getting the door open, trying to carry the box, one big dog on a leash and one little dog running through all our legs. The keystone cops with dogs may be the best description.

The pre-heater was exactly as promised (Thanks Russ) and just needed a propane tank to be connected. I wanted to hit the hardware store to get some light sand paper and heat paint to repaint the main duct and then trim it in red to match the existing paint scheme. I once again loaded up the pups and hit the local hardware stores for my supplies. I'll follow up with some before and after photos in the next week. Upon my return to the house I remembered I needed to take care of some laundry and get the shopping list together. Well one outta two ain't bad and when Mary walked in she compiled the list and off we went.

I did manage to read some of the Garmin 496 manual and toyed around with all the different screens and buttons. A fun day off getting a few things done around the homestead. It would have been way more fun if Mary was off, I'm sure we would have been flying!

Friday, February 13, 2009

GA Lost a Friend

Gone but not forgotten....

Thanks to one of my readers I was recently made aware of the passing of Jean Waltrip this past October. Mrs Waltrip was the co-owner of Williamsburg Jamestown Airport (KJGG) along with her husband Larry.

Mary and I had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with Jean on multiple occasions when passing through or spending the night in Williamsburg. This lady was a class act and seemed to welcome the role as ambassador for General Aviation. Mary and I both commented how she took the time to make you feel special, as if she knew each and everyone of us that stopped in.

Jean and Larry founded the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport in 1970. Jean was inducted in 2001 into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame with her husband Larry, despite never having learned to fly.

In a day and age where the small town Mom and Pop airports are falling by the wayside the Waltrip's maintain this welcome stop in Williamsburg Jamestown, VA. To Jean, you will be missed but never forgotten. While we may only have been an acquaintance passing through, Mary and I always felt the friendship you and your staff provided.

Blue Skies ....

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Breakfast at Kay's

Sunday morning and the wind is blowing. The sun is shinning, the temps are warming up and I'm ready to fly! We made plans yesterday to fly south to Cambridge Dorchester Airport, KCGE. This is our second stop here and it's been way to long to get back. This place is one of the best for breakfast, Mary and I think it ranks right up there with the Cornerstone Grill at Millville.

We invited my sister (Denise) and brother-in-law (Dave) to join us. Denise flew with us once prior and this will be Dave's first. He has flown in single engine aircraft when in the scouts many years ago. We picked them up around 9 am and headed to the airport. I flew 679er yesterday and burned off about 14 gallons, both tanks were equal, sitting at the tabs. 679er fired up with no hesitation, she was ready to go. Our taxi instructions were to taxi to one niner via kilo, hold short. I acknowledged and we were off.

METAR KILG 081451Z 26015G22KT 10SM SCT070 16/07 A3003

As you can see by the Wilmington METAR the winds were from 260* at 15 gusting 22 knots on take off. It was indeed cloudy above with a scattered layer at seven thousand and some dark clouds. I stayed well below riding along at two thousand five hundred which provided a detailed look at all the points of interest. We crossed the C&D canal, picked up flight following with Dover Approach and was immediately told to squawk VFR and contact Potomac. That exercise was a waste of air time and effort but if you want following you have to play the game. I called Potomac twice and finally got squared away with the code and had top Ident twice, it was one of those radio days I guess.

I canceled flight following and switched over to Cambridge traffic to announce my position and intentions. traffic was light as we entered the down wind base and final for runway three four. I squeaked a landing and taxied out to Kay's at the main terminal building. We parked along side a Grumman Tiger and together we owned the ramp. As we walked in the Grumman pilot walked out to his aircraft, 679er was holding the fort alone. The place was really busy with locals but we did manage a seat by the ramp side windows. Food was excellent as always. I had a meat lovers omelet, Mary had sausage and gravy, Denise had a vegetable omelet and Dave had an omelet. Bring your thirst since the ice tea comes in a quart mason jar and the coffee mugs are huge (good for those soup and grill cheese rainy day meals).

Tummy's full we headed out to the ramp. I checked my fuel load and climbed aboard followed by the back-seaters and Dave took the co-pilot seat. Winds still favored three four so we taxied out after letting a Comanche and a few RV's taxi in. My run up completed we announced departure and 679er was off. The winds had indeed picked up and we were facing a stiff cross wind, switching to a tailwind at times really giving us a ride. I had to throttle back more then once to keep outside the yellow arc. We hit some really good "pot holes" as Rob's instructor called them and they gave us some lift in the seat of our pants. I couldn't wait to cross the canal and call the tower to let them know we were coming home.

As I keyed the mic the bumps had my voice making funny sounds as if tapping my throat....I started to laugh as I made my call. Archer 679er is 15 south inbound full stop with Gulf, bouncing along at two thousand five hundred. The reply was you can bounce along and report a three mile final for runway one, count as many as you like,I acknowledged. I had the runway in sight and worked to maintain my alignment just left of center. Winds were really kicking now as I had called my three mile final and received the cleared to land. Wind check was 300* or 310* 23 gusting 33 (38 mph) that works out to about 26 knot 70* cross wind and 10 knot headwind. Hang on to your hats, snug the belts was my thought but I kept that to myself. Left wing low into the wind and keeping my speed up around 70 knots I nursed 679er over the fence. I now added my last notch of flaps, worked the rudder and throttle like the wizard of OZ (picture the scene where he says, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain). Left side chirp, hold it there don't stop flying, more stall horn moan and then the right side immediately follows. Flaps retracted, throttle at almost idle and mixture leaned, we're home. I stayed on with the tower as directed while we taxied back on Kilo. I was very happy with that landing and it made for a perfect ending to a nice weekend of flying.

METAR KILG 081851Z 30023G33KT 10SM CLR 17/01 A3004

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Test Flight, New Toys

Today was a get used to the new Garmin 496 flight day. The wx was almost perfect (I can always hope for a few more degrees) and my friend since grade school, John, joined me for the fun. The plan was to find the best location for the new Garmin 496 and a suitable location for the Zaon XRX PCAS. I ordered a cable that allows both units to interface with each other. This will allow me to move the PCAS all the way forward to the windscreen since I can see the traffic on the 496.

John and I loaded up the gear and played around with some locations while 679er patiently warmed her oil. We had wires strung out from side to side for power and XM WX having to make sure nothing would get caught up in flight. With some green showing under the oil temp needle I call for my taxi clearance and note my directions to runway one nine via taxiway kilo.

METAR KILG 071651Z 20009G14KT 10SM CLR 06/M03 A3031
METAR KILG 071751Z 16008KT 10SM CLR 08/M02 A3025

The winds were back and forth from noon to 1:30 so we launched off runway one nine turned left on course to get us headed north bound but remaining east of the Vice Presidential TFR just 5.4 miles north of Wilmington. I picked up with Philly approach and was cleared through the Bravo proceed direct Wings. Cool! Life made simple, as I reprogrammed the on board GPS and took up a new heading. Our flight path took me north west of the field so I made my calls, listened for traffic and entered on the crosswind for runway two four. I was above pattern altitude maneuvering on the crosswind as a twin engine pet rescue flight took off stating he had me in sight and would pass below me. That puppy (pun intended)was haulin' as he zipped below us and then climbed out, very cool to watch him go. I called out my downwind base and final following with a decent landing and roll out to parking. I slowly drug these bones out for the cockpit and buttoned up when Rob and Bob waved us over.

It was an extra treat to see Bob and Dru's daughter McKenzie and also splashing in the puddles making foot prints. Yes, the simple little things like making wet footprints somehow keep my mind occupied, what can I say. We all walked over to 679er and after drooling ...I mean watching the Super Viking next to us fire up and taxi out we decided it was time to fly. We said our goodbyes to Bob and Mac then climbed aboard 679er.

Rob was right seat and John climbed in the back with his cameras in hand. I taxied out and took off from runway two four and got us headed towards the practice area. Once at altitude I asked Rob if he wanted to fly a bit, he agreed, and we made the my plane your plane verbal transfer to back up the switch. Rob was very smooth, his altitude hold is better then I do, even on my IR lessons. I'm looking forward to the Gaston's trip in June and our seven plus hour flight to Arkansas. I guess we spent at least 30 minutes out and back with a midfield crossing to reposition for the 45 entry to two four. Once established on the downwind We swapped verbal controls and I slowed 679er down for our landing. I drifted some in the flair but made an ok landing back at Wings. I briefly shut down for Rob to exit and John to move back to the right seat.

I was soon leaving the area and contacting Philly for our ride home. Approach was very good and cleared us through the Bravo. Once we had a visual on Wilmington we were turned loose to contact the tower at ILG. I was directed to enter a left base for one nine which I thought was really strange but then figured I was moved further east to avoid the TFR. I was well above and east of it anyway but....better safe then getting a black hawk helicopter escort and road rash on the face.

Once at our tie down, John and I messed around with locations for the equipment and I think it will be as follows. The 496 will be mounted left of center as far up the windscreen (as close to overhead) as possible and the Zaon PCAS will be mounted right of center all the way forward to the windscreen. I'll bundle the master cable made for the link up of the units and have it neatly stowed to avoid any rats nest wire bundle and to maintain a safe cockpit. I almost forgot we had a target come right at us from a 2:00 position inside the ILG Delta space at 2.0 no talkie to anyone. ILG tower was not happy and we eventually passed no factor. I never did get a tail number to pass on but I'm sure they watched him closely.

Overall a short hop today but with a good reason. Rob got some time in 679er and I pretty much think the placement of the electronics is worked out. Tomorrow we are scheduled to fly for breakfast at Kay's located on the field at Cambridge. MD KCGE.

Some video to follow...