Friday, July 31, 2009

Safety Pilot 25U

I got a call from MikeB asking if I wanted to fly this evening in the Cessna 172. I asked Mary what we had planned and there was nothing scheduled besides some R&R. Our neighbor came over as I was getting ready to leave for the airport and I think the ladies decided tonight would be a good night to pop the cork on a bottle of wine. Ok, all the bases were covered, time to roll. I grabbed my flight bag and toy bag (Garmin and Zaon) and point the SUV towards Wilmington. Any chance to fly makes it a great day or night in this case.

We met up at Wilmington around 7pm and the airport was busy. As Mike had mentioned all the meetings were over and the exec's were coming home. I walked through the pre-flight, not really assisting but not quite getting in the the way. It was good to refresh the C172 pre-flight info. I brought along my Garmin 496 for wx and traffic although we could not get the plug in cable with the battery attachment to work. Based on our past flights the G496 holds at least 3 hours of battery time, we should be fine.

I was working the radios and called for our taxi clearance, Wilmington ground responded and we were rolling out to runway one four. With the run up completed we were cleared to take off with a right turn on course approved. 25Uniform jumped off the runway and we were soon climbing out. Mike busted my stones a bit and climbed out around 90 knots cruise climb then climbed out in the 'Gary' mode at 800-1000 feet a minute......ok, I'm guilty. I tend to climb out, well yeah, a tad steep on occasion. We had a good laugh and Mike said to remember, it's a don't spill the passengers drink climb, keep it s m o o t h.

I picked up flight following with Dover and they let us know the ILS approaches were out so we made a bee line for KMIV - Millville, NJ. We did hang on to advisories for a bit then cancelled, squawked 1200 and switched over to 123.65 the dreaded Millville radio frequency. I made my initial call to advise our position and that we were on the ILS approach for RWY 10 but I forgot the all important 'with information'. No, this is not a towered airport and I don't mean the ATIS this is the wx reported on the ASOS but Millville radio thinks they are in a tower, controlling from Leesburg, VA! I was very nice and acknowledged that we would report LADIE inbound so we continued on. Mike did a nice job down the glide slope and verbalized along the way which really helps me with my instrument training. There was a Cessna holding short at runway two eight, we went missed so he could get rolling, he thanked us.

The missed approach starts with a climbing left turn to 2000 direct VCN VORTAC (Cedar Lake VOR) an hold. Mike quizzed me on the entry and I said teardrop which was correct and our heading once crossing the station would be around 010 degrees. Once crossing VCN Mike turned out to a north heading for one minute and then turned right to 190 degrees in order to intercept the inbound course of 218 degrees. Things were looking good so we made a 360 degree trun and reset for the VOR A approach which was a 216 degree heading from VCN. We had a short run around six miles and once crossing VINER intersection we were clear to descend to 600. The VOR A approach into Millville brings you to the intersection of runway 14-32 and 10-28 from the north east. Winds were calm and Mike choose to circle to land runway 28, it looked real good with a nice landing just bleeding off airspeed and greasing it in. We taxied back for our departure to Wilmington.
25Uniform climbed out into the night sky and I was loving every minute of it. My time as a safety pilot was coming to an end as Mike gave me the controls. We role played with some vectors to keep my instrument skills sharp. It was ugly looking down the Delaware Bay, no horizon. There was plenty of ground reference but it was nice to "not see" and get some time inside the cockpit. Mike was eyes outside as I concentrated inside. I followed his direction for turn after turn. It took a bit to get used to 25U in the turns but it felt great once I settled in. I think we were about ten miles south east when Mike called the Wilmington tower and advised we were inbound for a full stop with the current information. Wilmington directed us to enter a left down wind for runway one niner.
I was now eyes out and had the Wilmington airport beacon (on top of the tower)over the nose. I track a bit to its left or south and set up for the down wind entry. About a mile out I turned right to enter the left down wind leg of the pattern. At midfiled Mike advised the tower of our position. We were cleared to land on one niner and I slowed to add in a notch of flaps. It does feel weird flying from the right seat and things are not in the usual muscle memory locations. It's sort of like getting in a rental car and reaching for the gear shifter on your center console when the gear selector handle in the rental is on the steering have all been there.

Left turn, down wind to base and I'm clear of any traffic sneaking in on final so I continue in. I normally add a second notch of flaps in the Archer but Mike has me hold off. Once established on final I add in the second notch of flaps, double check the airspeed and make for the numbers. On short final as agreed to by Mike and I both we transfer control back to him. I haven't landed at night in ages and this is not my plane so we previously discussed the transfer of command. Mike held 25U off and squeaked in another landing. We were home. The tower advised us to stay with them as we taxied back to the FBO. We gave 25Uniform a good wipe down cleaning off all the Jersey bugs we had picked up. A fun night flying as always with MikeB. We hope to give a pirep on the Sky Ox system very soon. My new 15cf aluminum tank should be here this weekend.

Monday, July 27, 2009

FAASTeam Tip

MikeB passed this FAASTeam Tip on to me via email, It's a good read and an important safety initiative that we should all strive to do better at each and every day we pull up to the hold short line.
Runway Safety Summer Safety Initiative
Notice Number: NOTC1789

This past May, the FAA Office of Runway Safety implemented a Summer Initiative targeted at stemming what has become a seasonal pattern of increasing runway incursions during the warm weather months. Compared to the rest of the year, runway incursions average about 30 percent higher per month between May and August.

Two-thirds of all runway incursions are the result of pilot deviations – and three-fourths of those pilot deviations involve a general aviation aircraft. Part of the problem stems from pilots who, after a period of little or no flying, may be a little rusty on airport procedures. That rust, however, can have tragic consequences in the area of an active runway. In fact, the single most deadly aviation accident in history resulted from a runway incursion. Don’t become a statistic!

Here’s what you can do:
Stop Anytime you’re unclear or unsure about your location or about an ATC instruction or about anything else, don’t hesitate to call the tower and ask for help. If you are on a runway without approval, exit the runway, and contact ATC.

Look Before taxiing:
Study the airport diagram before starting your engine. Keep a copy in the cockpit. Download airport diagrams at: Pay careful attention to airfield signs and markings. Complete checklists, programming, and other pre-flight activities.

While taxiing:
Practice heads-up and eyes-out. Avoid distracting tasks; focus on your route. Listen Listen carefully to, write down, and read back all air traffic instructions. Get ATC approval before crossing or using any runway. “Taxi to” does not allow you to enter the runway.

Finally, talk to your fellow pilots. Help us raise runway safety awareness. If we, working as a team, can prevent even one runway incursion, this campaign will be a success.

There is a nice reminder card available for you to download, RUNWAY INCURSIONS. For more information contact Gregory Y. Won, Air Traffic Safety Organization, Runway Safety Office, Risk Reduction Information Group, 202-385-4792

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shoobies Invade Cape May

Shoobies - A term that originated in southern New Jersey that was used to describe tourists who packed lunches in shoe boxes to bring to the beach. Currently, the term is used to describe the flocks of northerners and Pennsylvanian's that travel to the South Jersey coastline during the summertime.

The North East Flyers, the few not attending OSH (Airventure09), descended upon Cape May , NJ for brunch and a chance to play at the shore. Yes, Delaware has the beach and New Jersey has the shore, we must not confuse the two. The wx at Wilmington was looking pretty good with the typical hot wx haze and for lack of a better term gunky blah type overcast looking stuff, ok that was term(s). How hot and muggy was it? Check out Marys hair as it turned into Shirley Temple curls.

Mary and I really needed a day away all to ourselves with no medical stuff, no pets, no things to do around the house. We decided to get up early hit Angel's for a light breakfast and get motoring to the plane. This was our first flight together since sometime in March, it's been that long ago. Somethings you do become routine and it was good to see we really still clicked on getting the plane ready to fly. Great teamwork had me finishing up the preflight with a fuel sample/sump. I decided that since my left tank was at the tab and my right about half way up the tab we would burn off fuel on the right side and have good balance and plenty of fuel when we land at Cape May. This eventually worked out just fine since we took on 15 gallons at Big Sky Aviation later in the day.

We climbed aboard and got the big fan turning to cool things off, it was going to be a scorcher. I was cleared to taxi to one nine as usual and hold short. I completed my run up, closed the door and window scoop and received clearance to take off with a left turn on course approved. You can tell the FAA is moving a lot of trainees through Wilmington when the controller asked if my direction of flight is north east. No, not going to "The Cape" I thought to myself and politely responded no sir, that would be south east, whiskey whiskey delta, he confirmed. I make it a practice on initial call up to ground to always state VFR, direction of flight, and destination followed by the verbal/phonetic alphabet.

It was a nice cruise climb out of Wilmington, turn left or south east into the muck. I was looking back north towards the Twin spans crossing the Delaware river so my visibility was 5-7 miles and a glance to the south looking at the Salem nuke cooling tower would confirm about the same distance maybe stretching to 8 miles or 9 if I was feeling generous. I leveled off at 2,500 to take a good look south east and the trip seemed doable, so I continued on climbing to 2,800 or there abouts maintaining a comfort level with my visibility. I had the shore of NJ along the Delaware Bay to follow just off to my right but at times had a hard time establishing contact with the Delaware shore line across the bay. Millvile was reporting IFR conditions as we continued south with a very low layer over the airport, we could see this as we went by noting the ground mist/ foggy patches along the Maurice River. As we passed between Millvile (MIV) and Dover Delaware (across the bay) I could see the Bay followed by the land mass that sticks out where Cape May was located. The wx was spot on with Atlantic City and Cape May calling out VFR conditions. Granted, there was still plenty of hot humid air hanging around, it didn't just change to clear and sunny, see forever. Millville eventually cleared around 11AM.

I would have loved to have a video heading into WWD but my lovely co-pilot was sound asleep for this trip. We were up early and the dogs kept waking us last night so I flipped the radios to isolate so she could have some quiet sleepy time, it worked. I once again announced my position updating to five miles north inbound full stop one nine. An aircrfat announced he was going to back taxi (NOTAM read taxiway Bravo is under construction) on one nine and I replied I had him in sight. He taxied clearly alongside the center line which made it easy to pick him out. I started doing S turns and slowed 679er down to give him plenty of room. I was maybe down to a mile or so when he called wheels up and he thanked me. I said no problem, efficient use of the runway, have a great flight.

We taxied into Big Sky and our rental car was waiting. The lineman tied our aircraft down and gave us a lift to the office on a golf cart, he also helped us with our cooler (for the crabs later on). The car was ready and waiting, cold air blowing and feeling good! Mary and I were off to Cape May! First stop was the shops at Washington Street Mall and get my bearing on the restaurant we wanted to stop at later this evening. We strolled around the shops for a bit and I found a seat in the shade on a nice bench with the sun creeping towards me. It was just enough to light up my white legs and work on getting some tan or any color for that matter.

The clock was working its way towards 11AM and we needed to head back to the airport to meet the rest of the folks flying in. In order to get back on the main drag you have to circle around a bit then pick up the road out of town. I remember my way around pretty good and get the turns right 'this time' and before you know it we are going over the bridge out of cape may. A few left turns later and we are on Sandman Blvd and just a few minutes out of WWD. As we pulled in Dave (M35 on the AOPA Forum) was parking his bike so we walked in the terminal together. Inside we meet up with Jeff and Jeanette, chatted for a few then walked in to secure a table. Don and Rosemary soon joined us to make seven. The place was packed for lunch, it was good to see the Flight Deck doing so well. We decided to order and hope Dave and his family would make it in. When we left the house there was no change on the forums. Sadly we did not take any pictures of the group gathered around the table, we were just to darn busy gabbing. The ladies seemed to enjoy the company and the men talked flying. Dave had me almost in tears telling me about he and Adam Z's flight in his Bonanza when the right seat PTT switch was not hooked up and Adam continued to try and announce position going into Wings field.

It was soon time for us to get rolling. Mary and I had to catch the Cape May - Lewes Ferry over to Lewes Delaware so we could pick up a few dozen crabs at our favorite place, lazy Susan's. Dave pedaled back to his boat (at least five miles more like eight I think), Don & Rosemary, Jeff and Jeanette were headed to the Wildwood NAS Museum on field. As we were getting up from the table Dave walked in. I felt bad we didn't get to catch up but he was going to take his family into Wildwood for the day, the kids would have fun.

The boat ride to Lewes was great, cool breeze blowing through the car deck and Mary and I passed out in the car taking advantage of the windows open and shade of the boats upper decks. Mary did snap a picture or two of Cape May fading away and one of yours truly catching some Z's. You know what they say about paybacks.....I'll get a few shots of her sleeping in flight. When I finally woke up I called and ordered 2 dozen crabs for a 3pm pick up. I thought we were covered. As soon as we got off the boat we headed to the restaurant to pick up our order, they didn't even start to cook it until we physically walked in to pick it up. They wait until you show up. Great, so much for having time to visit the "On the Rocks Grill" that I just completely revamped on one of my projects. It took 25 minutes to steam those jumbo crabs and it cut our time to almost a half hour until departure back to cape may. We pulled through the ticket booth in time and soon boarded.

Once again we were in a great spot tucked away in the shade of the boats upper decks. This trip however had no sea breeze, none! It was hotter then hell and the car was filled with the smell of freshly steamed crabs. Yeah, great for us but it also sent a SOS to all flys in and around the Delaware bay to try and help themselves to our crabs. It was an interesting ride back to say the least. Thankfully our cooler was locked down tighter than dicks hat band and our crabs were safe. We were glad to get off the boat and head out to the fresh air. As we drove off the Ferry, Mary snapped a shot of a good size group of Bikers heading aboard for the next crossing, there were some really nice bikes in that group. I had made a call for wx and the possibility of thunderstorms was growing. We left late on our return trip to cape May so we decided to pass on the Oyster Bay restaurant for dinner and instead head home. We did call Mary's folks to let them know not to eat dinner, we were bringing home fresh crabs, they sounded excited.

We wheeled into WWD and returned the rental car, yes, we left the windows open to sufficiently "air out" the steamed crab smell. I settled up my fuel bill, we took advantage of the lil pilots and co-pilots room then saddled up for home. For the pilots reading this, of course I did my preflight and sumpped the fuel since we topped off...wanting to get home and even being a bit hot and tired does not relieve me of my duty. With that said, it was Darn spiffy to get that fan turning!! I did my run up near the operations building adjacent to the terminal and a Cessna followed suit to my left. With the taxiways under construction and the direction of the wind we were all going to have to back taxi on one nine. I had noted one aircraft inbound and asked for his position update. I was good to go for a back taxi and so I rolled out on the runway. I hate to back taxi at an uncontrolled field, heck any field for that matter. I hustled 679er down the runway and got us turned into the gusty wind. Density altitude was 1,700 so I added one notch of flaps since I was full fuel and wanted the extra safety margin. 679er jumped off the runway in a short distance, we were going home. I called out my crosswind and downwind departure and we pointed 679er to track the DuPont VOR radial set on 330*. It was really yucky out there on the ride home, I know such a technical term, but thats the best description that fits. The radio was quiet, not many folks flying in this stuff today and we will be glad when were back on the ground at ILG. I called the tower about 20 out to let them know my position to the south east and that I had the current ATIS with the intentions of a full stop and going to red eagle. I was directed to advise left downwind one nine. I did manage to snap a shot looking west with the Salem towers in the background of the beginning of today's sunset. We were almost home. I had a good look at the ILG tower and pointed just left of it as I set up for my downwind entry. I turned to downwind as the DME clicked under two miles and announced position as advised. I got the cleared to land runway one nine with a wind report. Left base and a smooth turn to final adding the last notch had me touch down on the numbers and riding a wheelie for a bit then lowering the nose, a nice smooth landing. I retracted the flaps and let 679er roll towards taxiway Kilo needing just a touch of throttle to make the first turn off.

Mary and I were both tired and needing a cold drink of water, we were both wanting to get on the road. Mary drove us to her Mom and Dads where we got busy on the crabs. I sucked down two glasses of ice tea as did my Bride. I had four of the jumbo monsters, Mary had four and Mom ate three, dad passed, he doesn't care to pick crabs at all. We called it a night and cleaned up the kitchen then loaded up the remaining crabbies for Sunday. When we walked in the door the pups were happy to see us. The furry kids had a ton of energy to burn off as we got them taken care of and decided to head up to bed. It was a fun day and always a great to meet up with fellow pilots and their spouses. Mary and I needed this one, now we're both getting anxious for our trip to Maine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sky-Ox Oxygen System

I recently purchased an oxygen system for use in the Archer. I figure once I get my instrument rating we could get some use out of this when filing or flying at higher altitudes. Mary and I also want to expand our travel distance and spread our wings to fly more to the west. No, not California west, at least not anytime soon, but more of maybe the Midwest or central states. Now a bit about the system.

The FAA Requires Use Of Supplemental Oxygen - When flying above 12,500 ft. for more than 30 minutes, or flying above 14,000 ft., pilots and crewmembers are required to use oxygen. Above 15,000 ft., all occupants, including passengers, must be provided with supplemental oxygen.

Dangers of Hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) - The chances of HYPOXIA increase with altitude. Decreased night vision beginning as low as 5,000 ft. above sea level. At 10,000 ft. forced concentration, fatigue, headache. At 12,000 ft. & above, deterioration of alertness and mental efficiency.
At 14,000 ft., forgetfulness, incompetence, indifference, distinct impairment of mathematical and reasoning capabilities make flying hazardous. At 17,000 ft., serious handicap and collapse may occur. Smokers will experience these syptoms 3,000 - 4,000 ft. lower. Pilots impaired by hypoxia are usually unable to judge level of impairment, similar to the effects of alcohol.

And now the facts on my new system...

This Forty Cubic Foot complete system is a self
contained unit with no installation required. It’s easy to use and has no FAA weight and balance change necessary. The oxygen system includes a pressurized cylinder with oxymizer cannulas, lines, a flow indicator, quick disconnects, and a spare mask. The SK 11-40 complete oxygen system is easy to refill with aviation-grade breathing oxygen (MIL-027210, Type1) It's lightweight cylinder, about 30 lbs, is easy to fasten to the back of a cockpit seat or in our case sitting between the two back seats makes it truly portable. The adjustable flow regulator allows you to set by altitude or special flow. As you change altitude, adjust the flow control valve for more or less oxygen (the upper gauge shows altitude and flow setting, the lower gauge shows remaining cylinder pressure).

The SK 11-40 oxygen system’s flow does not have to be adjusted if using more than one outlet. You can easily check the charts provided with cannulas for proper flow setting. This oxygen system’s oxymizer cannula reduces oxygen usage over 50%, when compared to others on the market. It can be used up to 18,000 ft, and stores oxygen in a pendant reservoir. The pendant rests on your chest, not your lip. You’re free to drink a beverage & talk in total comfort.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cirrus SR20 Flight

Today I had the opportunity to fly with MikeB in the Cirrus SR20 that he spends quality time with. I say it that way because flying that plane is pure fun and excitement as you will gather from my account of today's adventure.

The plan was to meet at (KILG) Red Eagle at 8:45 and take the Archer to Lancaster. Why drive when you can go by air. I had my pre-flight finished by the time Mike rolled in, I was there early and had the chance to chat with a few of my ramp neighbors. I ordered fuel to top the tanks and just needed to sump before climbing in. I'm still using my new step stool that Mary purchased and it's working out great. With the sump on each tank completed I climbed up on the wing, hooked the step stool with my cane and then stowed the stool in the baggage compartment. It was a bit harder to lock the baggage door from up on the wing but I maintained the 'don't break 90*' rule for my hip restrictions.

Once Mike was aboard I went through my checklists and we got the fan started, the cool air felt great! I contacted Wilmington ground and asked for taxi clearance for our VFR departure to Lancaster, Lima November Sierra and stated that I had the current ATIS info. I was cleared to taxi to runway 1 via Kilo hold short, contact the tower. No problem since I needed to do my run up at taxiways Kilo and Mike. I was cleared for take off and back taxi for as much runway as I wanted on runway one. I rolled to the three thousand foot marker so when I turned into the wind I had four thousand feet in front of me. 679er was in the air and I was off on my Cirrus adventure. I picked up flight following with Philly, eventually being handed of to Harrisburg. When I called field in sight I was switched over to the Lancaster tower. Actually Mike had the field in sight I was still looking, I eventually found it. I was a bit high on final, ok much higher then normal but slowed the Archer down and made a pretty good landing on runway three one. Mike gave me directions so we could park close to the Cirrus. We unloaded our flight bags, my Garmin/Zaon electronics and secured 679er for her day on the ramp.

I felt bad leaving her there while I went off to play with another plane, I know, call me crazy. We opened the T-hangar and there she sat; sleek, shiny, smooth lines, it was like looking at my first corvette many years ago. It too was white but had a red interior the SR20 was a neutral or tan color. Mike opened up both doors to get some air flowing and just watching them open I could almost hear that plane say, in a sexy female voice of course, yeah, you want it, climb on in for a spin. I had to shake my head and clear my ears, I know I was hearing voices. Mike went through a very detailed pre-flight outside and in, I watched and tried not to get in the way to much. Gear stowed and pre-flight complete Mike hooked up the hand held tug and pulled the SR20 out of the hangar.

The fuel truck came,topped us off and Mike completed the fuel sump. I climbed in as did Mike and he was going through the prestart checks and explaining along the way. The glass cockpit is almost intimidating when your looking it over for the very first time. I payed for a downloaded and did some glass cockpit work online so I wasn't totally lost. Don't misunderstand me, I wasn't even in the ballpark with the operation but had a very rough idea of what a few buttons did. It was time to get the fan spinning and she roared to life, a very nice throaty sounding aircraft. We taxied out and completed the run up prior to our taxi on Alpha. We were number two behind a Cessna and we both waited for an aircraft on short final. Lancaster is a busy place, plenty of traffic and Cape Air was running flights too.

Finally our turn to take off. After acknowledging clearance and rolling into position it was full throttle and we were on the go. This baby was screaming and it sure scoots along faster then the Archer. The Cirrus also uses a lot more runway then the Archer but we were soon in the air and climbing out. The plan was Direct to KMGJ, Orange County, NY. Allentown's airspace topped at 4,400 we would be well clear but picked up flight following anyway. Initially we were looking for 7,500 but the cloud tops were getting close and we climbed for 9,500. Once past Allentown's airspace we were handed of to NY Approach then Center. I wanted to compare the Zaon to the Garmin 430's traffic and I must say it was spot on. I actually had a few more on screen traffic calls then the 430, I was shocked but relieved to know the Zaon works very well. I also had my Garmin 496 plugged in so I could compare wx observations and that too seemed on par with the Avidyne systems.

The cloud layer started to close up and required us to get a pop up clearance into Orange County. Mike made the call and the controller gave us cleared direct MGJ, descend and maintain four thousand. Wow, that seemed easy and a straight shot into Orange County. I got to see some actual as we entered into the cloud layer and popped out in short order as we continued our descent. This is where the fun started, ok maybe the craziness is a better term. As we approached MGJ and monitored traffic, we counted two aircraft in the pattern an ercoupe and a Cessna. We also observed that runway two six was in use. We wanted something a bit longer and opted for runway two one. We made our calls and overflew the airport above pattern altitude and positioned for our landing on two one. Unicom announced that runway 26 is active and their are five planes in the pattern. Hmmmm....I count two and have one just landed and the other turning right base to final. We continued on in. Meanwhile as the one aircraft was about to land another took the runway to depart. Yes, there was an exchange between pilots and the landing aircraft gave the departing plane hell, deserved but we all didn't need to hear it and it blocked other traffic that may have needed to report. The departing aircraft made a stupid statement that he never heard a single call from the landing plane, hmmm...funny he can hear him now. Maybe he needs to remind himself about a sterile cockpit or turn up the volume 'before' taking the runway. Either way if the landing aircraft wanted to preach about the safety concern he also could have went around, thinking that the two wrongs could result in bent metal.

We finally get on the ground and taxi in to park across from Ricks Runway Cafe'. The food was good at least my burger was and the ice tea hit the spot. A few folks wandered over to take a peek at our ride. The Cirrus did seem to draw some attention, deservedly so, it's a gorgeous plane. We finished up and Mike called for a wx update, he also filed in case we needed to pick up while in flight. Once back in the plane Mike went over the numbers for the shorter runway (two six) departure. While it was doable we had just witnessed a Piper Six loaded with five adults lumber down the runway and fly in ground effect for a good long distance then blast off to clear the surrounding terrain. I thought to myself those folks sure must have puckered, glad I wasn't on board.

We decided on runway two one, plenty of distance and safety factor. We fired up and taxied out for our VFR departure back to Lancaster. We decided to just enjoy the flight and monitor approach, no flight following until we got closer to Allentown. Mike gave me the controls and I settled in trying to get the feel for the SR20. The controls were much tighter then I would have expected. The aircraft was quick to respond, reminding of the corvette days when driving. Smooth flight despite heading home under the cloud layer. I guess we were maybe 15-18 miles out when Mike called Allentown approach for flight following and requested a GPS approach into Lancaster. The IAF would be AYOSA and Mike plugged all the info in. It was very cool to see the aircraft tracking on the approach plate. Remember, I'm used to flying GPS approaches on the Garmin 300XL, big difference!

Another really nice landing and Mike has us rolling out for taxiway Delta. We made our way back to the T-Hangar and secured the SR20, it was hard to just put it away. This is the plane you could fly for hours and hours and I really didn't want it to end. As we walked back to 679er we joked about staying out and flying to Rhode Island for dinner and drink and then heading home early in the morning.....our Brides would have not been to happy with that, glad it was only a remote thought.

We pre-flighted 679er and headed out to runway three one for our VFR departure back to Wilmington. It was nice to be back in the left seat and flying home in my gal 679er. Obviously planes are like good dogs, they still love you no matter who your with or who you went flying in. We chugged on home, no flight following, opting to contact Wilmington tower at 15 out. Mike mentioned that 679er seems running rough, I listened and thought she sounded fine but things did seem louder then usual. Maybe it was the droaning in my ears I'm not sure then I thought maybe my batteries quit in the Zulu. Nope they were working, I forgot to turn them on! Ahhhh...instant quiet, Mike laughed until he checked his headset, his Bose were not on either. We cracked up, you could tell it was along day.

Wilmington tower advised enter a down wind for runway one. I acknowledged, then asked left or right down wind? There was a short pause then he asked your coming from the north west? Affirmative 679er, I answered and he confirmed left down wind. I know better then to assume since I have been given either down wind in the past. We chugged along and I announced midfield left downwind, 679er and the tower followed with cleared to land long runway one. I acknowledged and we were in the home stretch. The long landing was given to save me taxi time to taxiway Kilo and on to red Eagle, it helps when the tower folks know you. Again I was high on base to final and pulled the power for a good landing. I actually had the cross wind covered and landed left main then right main, heck even I get lucky now and then. I had 1.6 flying the Archer and I think we ended up 2.9 or so in the Cirrus....what a great day flying!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

25U Night Op's

I will start off by stating that I have no pictures to add from a beautiful night flight because I forgot my camera :(

I received an email from MikeB asking if I wanted to fly safety pilot for him so he could shoot some approaches this evening, I accepted of course. I decided since he asked if flying at night was past my bedtime I should make an effort to take what I referred to in my younger single days as a power nap. So off to bed I went, early in the afternoon. Maggie followed along, confused , but figured any time to head upstairs is a good thing. Rudder was also in tow and gladly was up on the bed curled up by one of Marys fancy poofy pillow additions. I pulled the shades and turned on the tv looking for anything that might catch my interest. I found a movie that I always get a laugh out of, 'The secret to my success' with Michael J Fox. I didn't see much of it as I soon passed out. Mary said she came home around 3:30 and when I didn't answer her she looked upstairs and I was down for the count. Hey, it was a power nap and it was working.

Finally up and about I gathered up my equipment for flight. I figured I would try out Mary's new headset, the David Clark X-11. I also made sure my Garmin 496 was full charge and ready to go. Mike and I swapped emails and phone calls as we agreed to meet at the FBO around 7:00. 3525U was out on the ramp just as clean and shiny as ever, what a sweet aircraft. I managed this evening with no cane, opting to push my limit a little more each day and try to get back to normal, whatever normal is for me. I'm not even going there.

I read through our checklist as Mike was doing his thing responding with a check or set as required. I worked the radios tonight and made the calls to Wilmington ground and tower. I don't think I used my 679er call one time tonight, that was a plus, seeing I had the right tail number and type of aircraft figured out. We climbed out of Wilmington on runway one four with a left turn on course back over the field approved. We were on our way to Lancaster (KLNS) to shoot an approach or two. This is the point where i noticed I forgot my camera, the sky was a dark orange color mixed with some north east haze which 'would have made' for a gorgeous photo op, oh well at least we both got to see it.

I picked up flight advisories with Philly Approach and they in turn handed us off to Harrisburg. Contrary to the approach plate, Harrisburg was going to keep us until the hand off to the Lancaster tower. Mike had briefed the plate for the KLNS ILS Runway 8 approach, he was ready. I was safety pilot since he had the foggles on and I have to admit as much as I am looking for traffic it was hard not to stare off and enjoy the pretty lights against the night sky. Harrisburg brought us across the mighty Susquehanna River just far enough to cross west bank then gave us one of our last two vectors (heading changes) for the ILS. The last turn towards the ILS always gets a mouthful from approach and I have to constantly remind my self just repeat the numbers, keep it simple stupid. Right turn xxx, 2,500 until established, ILS 8. Once turned loose to the tower Mike prompted me....tower 25U with you ILS 8 and so I called. We were to report a three mile final for runway 8, I acknowledged. I was so intent on watching the needles and for spotting traffic I missed my call to the tower. I know this because the tower broke the sterile cockpit with 25U cleared to land runway 8, I again acknowledged feeling like a slacker that I missed my call. The tower said not a word.

We decided to pass on dinner and get right back in the air. We were now going to head back to Wilmington and shoot a few approaches there. We were cleared to take off on runway three one and directed to turn on course. I was trying to pick out airport beacons on the way home in the hope of honing some night vision skills, I did so so. No flight following on the way back, instead some good conversation and enjoying the cool air and night flight.

Mike made a call to Philly approach on 119.75 requesting the ILS OR LOC RWY 01 into Wilmington then following with the GPS 19 approach. Philly started to vector us towards the Final Approach Fix, HADIN just 5.5 miles south of the airport. Mike briefed the plate and double checked all the nav/coms, we were ready to make the run. No procedure turn required with approach vectoring us in, this is always a good thing. Once established Philly turned us loose to contact Wilmington and they requested us to report HADIN inbound, we acknowledged. Mike went missed and climbed out to the WILEA intersection and did a teardrop entry for the procedure turn for the GPS RWY 19 approach. Having been handed off to Philly they requested we report WILEA inbound and we did. Philly once again handed us back off to Wilmington tower and Mike made the call, 3525uniform with you GPS one niner approach, inbound WILEA. Wilmington cleared us to land, this one was a full stop. Mike greased another one! 25uniform was home, Mike added some throttle to taxi us into the Atlantic FBO.

A fun flight, gorgeous night and I got to watch the needles for the glide slope and localizer which really helps with the mental picture when under the hood or in actual instrument conditions. I also got to work on my radio skills and my night vision. Thanks Mike!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Formation Flight Training

Let me start out by making the statement that the Club I fly in does not allow formation flying of any kind, with or without training. No ifs ands or buts not allowed. Ok, the housekeeping is complete now let me tell you about my morning.

I got up later then planned so I decided to Drive to WINGS Field (KLOM) in Blue Bell, PA. The airport is tucked in between I-276 the Pennsylvania turnpike to it's south, I-476 to its West and RT 73 Skippack Pike to the North and East. Normally this would be a 15 minute flight with at least 45 minutes of ground prep since I'm moving a bit slower these days. The drive was less then 45 minutes with no traffic to speak of, ok, besides the occasional nut ticket dodging and weaving through cars thinking he is going to get up the road so much faster then the rest of us mere mortals......jackass.

The formation flight training program has been the cornerstone of success for the previous Cessna mass arrivals and that of other organizations into Oshkosh. The hallmark of formation flight training is the formation training clinic. Practice is the perfect complement. Cessnas 2 Oshkosh schedules formation flight training clinics between the month of March and the day before the mass arrival. The last training clinic before the mass arrival will be the Juneau Clinic at the KUNU, Dodge County Airport in Juneau, Wisconsin.

The "textbook" of the formation flight training clinics is the slide presentation by Rodney Swanson, the Director of Training and Operations. The Cessnas to Oshkosh group encourages every participating pilot to review this presentation prior to attending the formation training clinic of your choice. The designated instructor will go over the presentation in detail at the opening of each formation training clinic before practice. The instructor for today's clinic was fellow North East Flyers member Gil Velez (TeenDoc on the POA forum). Gil did a great job and provided an interesting program. As I said from the top, I can not fly formation in our club plane but.......once Mary and I become owners we can take part in some formation flying with friends.

A fun morning learning something new about flying, I'm a happy camper!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Williamsburg for Lunch

The wx was just to nice to pass up flying today! I did not have PT on the schedule, Mary was helping her Mom and Dad so I called John to see if he felt like taking a ride for lunch. I guess I got to the airport around 9:30 or so and slowly went through the preflight ritual. Uncover, remove the cowl plugs, pitot cover, chocks and untie. Climb up in the cockpit, master, beacon, nav, landing and strobes on for a light check. Climb out make a round and check the lights then back up on the wing to shut everything off. Add one notch of flaps for my preflight and very carefully get back on the ground taking great care hitting each step on my new step stool.

I completed the preflight and climbed in so that I could hook up the Garmin 496 and Zaon XRX in order to have things ready to go when John arrived. John got himself belted in and I fired up 679er for our lunch run. We were cleared to taxi to runway 1-19 hold short at taxiway Kilo, I acknowledged. Run up complete I was able to back taxi and cleared for take off on runway one. I went to the four thousand foot mark and turned into the wind. Adding a notch of flaps for the warm wx and density altitude we launched in short order. I made a right turn on course, proceeded south and was set up to contact Dover Approach as soon as Wilmington cut me loose.

I made the call to Dover when I was about 7 miles west of Summit airport (KEVY). We were climbing for 5,500 and looking for any traffic. It was bumpy at times but not to bad as we took in all the scenery. You could see the white sands of Cape Henlopen, the tip of Cape May, NJ and farther along we could clearly see Ocean City, MD. I was tracking the Salisbury (SBY) VOR as my first checkpoint then on to the Cape Charles (CCV) VOR. Approach control was very good today as they usually are with handoffs and traffic. Once we were handed off to Norfolk we were turned direct to Williamsburg, saving some time not having to make my next point at Cape Charles but taking the fun out of tracking to the station.

Our direct to turn was somewhere over Silver Beach, VA and we were headed towards Point Comfort then towards Gloucester Point just north of the George P Coleman Memorial Bridge. My next visual clue is the Hog Island State Pond peninsula that points right at the Williamsburg Jamestown Airport approach to runway 31, I know, strange way to find places. I cancelled flight following and flipped to the JGG frequency, 122.8 previously dialed in. Williamsburg Unicom, Archer 28679er is fourteen East, request airport advisories. Unicom came online and the gentleman confirmed what the AWOS had stated. I acknowledged his report and continued inbound. At five out I once again announced my position and intentions, Williamsburg Traffic, Archer 28679er five east, midfield crosswind for left downwind runway three one, full stop. A Cessna nine miles south advised of his position and intentions for the field. I called out my downwind, base and turn to final adding my last notch of flaps on short final and setting 679er down with a slight chirp of the mains. I taxied clear of the runway and advised so the Cessna would know I'm out of his way. I ordered fuel and made way for Charly's restaurant.

The Archer took on 15 gallons of 100LL for a 8.3 gph burn rate, she usually does a bit better. Lunch was very good, as always, with my choice of the beef barley soup and a tuna salad on Charly's famous fresh bread, John ordered the BLT on a dark rye bread. After lunch we headed out to the plane ready for the fun ride north. After sumpping the tanks and a walk around inspection we climbed aboard for the flight home. It was really to nice to even consider going home when there is so much sky out there to explore, but reality kicks in and off to Wilmington we go.

It's awful hot out this afternoon and I had them top off the tanks so I went with two notches of flaps for 25* and a short field takeoff. 679er jumped off the runway and I held her in ground effect as my speed climbed. I retracted a notch of flaps as we cleared the tress and once again showing positive rate of climb I took out the last notch. I set us into a ninety knot cruise climb attitude and called Norfolk approach. Norfolk Approach Archer 28679er, they acknowledged, I replied, Archer 28679er off of Williamsburg, 1,200 climbing 5,500, VFR to Wilmington, India, Lima, Golf, request advisories. Norfolk gave us a squawk code, altimeter setting and followed up with a radar contact now at 2,200.

Visibility was still very good but you could see the typical north east haze layer off in the distance to our north. We crossed the Chesapeake Bay and headed north up the peninsula with Salisbury VOR tracking solid. The ride got bumpy as approach handed us off from one station to the next. By Dover we were taking some good licks and my hip was starting to feel the pain. I soon canceled with Dover and flipped to the Wilmington tower (ILG) on 126.00. At 15 miles out I contacted Wilmington to let them know we were headed home. Wilmington Tower, Archer 28679er, 15 south, information Yankee, 3000 level full stop, a real mouthful. ILG acknowledged and gave us a straight in for runway one, report three mile final.

KILG 081751Z 32007G19KT 280V010 10SM BKN060 25/11 A2993

Wilmington Tower 679er three mile final runway one. I held off the last notch of flaps until over the numbers and worked the crosswind holding 679er off and making a very smooth landing. Dang! that felt really great! We were home, and the bumps finally put to rest. We covered the plane and headed out the gate, I was tired and thirsty. 3.6 in the book and I feel like I haven't been away at all. Time to finish that IR!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Current Again!!

Tonight I scheduled flight time with fellow club member CFI Dan. Dan agreed to ride along in order for me to knock out at least three landings and to once again be current. Basically as stated in Sec. 61.57 Recent flight experience (and I'm only quoting a portion of the section here)

Pilot in command.

(a) General experience.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers or of an aircraft certificated for more than one pilot flight crew member unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days........

I pre-flighted 679er taking my time to get back in touch with my normal routine. I guess it's like riding a bike, you don't really forget although the consequences of missing a problem on the ground can potentially cost you more then a banged up knee and some Bactine spray. When Dan arrived he performed his own pre-flight which I thought was a pretty good idea, he doesn't know me from the man on the moon, why would he trust me. I did tell him he was the last to fly the plane and the fuel sumps I performed were clean and water free. Once Dan climbed in we chatted a bit about 679er and then I started my remaining pre-flight/start up procedures. It all came back as I went through my checklists item by item.

Exterior Preflight -- COMPLETE.
Tach/Hobbs Meter – RECORD.
Seats, Belts -- ADJUST & LOCKED.

Radios & Electrical Equipment -- OFF.
Parking Brake -- SET.
Carburetor Heat -- OFF
Fuel Selector –- SET TO DESIRED TANK.
Throttle –- OPEN ¼ INCH.
Master Switch –- ON
Electric Fuel Pump –- ON.
Mixture –- RICH.

679er springs to life and seems ready to go. All gauges in the green, waiting for oil temps and I make my call to Wilmington Ground requesting taxi clearance for pattern work providing current information Yankee. Winds were jumping around and I ended up taking runway one niner with a slight tailwind. I readjusted my mental note and launch marker so I had room to abort if needed. I completed the run up and off we went for some scrape off the rust time. I climbed out and was directed by the tower to enter a left downwind for three two , Hmmmm that's a quick change but ok, I acknowledged. I was crossing the numbers pretty much as I launched off of one nine but ok left turn to downwind and time to set up for landing. I was high turning base and high on final when the tower asked me to turn out for inbound jet traffic landing on runway one. An immediate right turn out 360* back to final.

Ok, I don't mind getting back on the horse but gezzz not something that bucks right out of the chute. I am once again high on short final and need to lose some altitude. I slowly pull the power add in a last notch of flaps for landing and Dan asks do I want to go around, I said no I can work with this and will go around if I don't like what I see as we work our way down. He asked for 60 knots so we could brick on in, I don't like holding the nose high blocking my full runway view. I did What I would normally do and slipped in. 679er came in like a rock and I just passed the numbers as I landed but had some speed so I slowed down and taxied off for another go.

Yikes, round one was exciting, let's see if we can make this as uneventful as we can. Rounds two and three were more "normal" although I seemed to be way to fast on the downwind. Dan mentioned the 90-80-70 rule for pattern work in the Archer. Round four I was pretty much on the money. I had to pace myself with opposite traffic turning on a right base making me number two for landing. I was trimmed for 90, added approach flaps and settled right in at 80 knots, turned base adding a second notch of flaps and kept the nose lowered and sat the airspeed on 70 knots. Nice, short final I added the last notch of flaps sat the airspeed on 65 and greased one. All of my landings were really nice and on center, I just needed to get my pattern speed under control.

I logged .9 and made four landings, Dan went around a few times for .4 and I think maybe two or three landings. He really keeps a nice tight pattern, and is very smooth. I was happy with my last trip around the patch but I could use a bit more practice. It sure felt great flying 679er once again, I think we'll spend some additional quality time together Wednesday.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Wheels Up 10:32 AM

Yeah man!!!!!! MikeB shot me an email this morning at 8:17 asking if I was up and if so, if I wanted to fly, in his words, for as long as I could stand him AND my hip. After I got done laughing, I tried to reply so fast I couldn't type straight and before I could hit send he rang me up on my cell. I'll tell you, I was mighty quick with that crutch getting out of the office and out to the family room to answer the phone, truly a sight to see. Thankfully there were no pets running interference.
The plan was made, we would meet at 9:45 and head north to KIPT, Williamsport, PA. I got on facebook and left Ted a message asking if he wanted to catch up, then went on POA forum to leave him a PM just in case he missed the other. I watched the clock as I hopped up the stairs to shower, get dressed and most important check my flight bag. I was all set, now just watching the clock. I really didn't feel like making a stop for water so I chugged down three glasses of ice tea figuring that will hold me until Williamsport.
Mike was already starting his pre-flight when I walked out of the FBO and on to the ramp. We chatted for a bit then I tried to climb aboard. It was like getting into the SUV, I backed in, got on my toes and wiggled into the seat followed by some bizarre type of layout (tried not to exceed the hip angle) and got both feet in and tucked into place. Not to bad, no pain and in pretty good time. Mike finished the pre-flight and also climbed aboard. We discussed mounting the Garmin 496 and agreed on a center windscreen location just above midpoint to allow for spotting traffic but angled enough to read easily. We went over transfer of controls and decided that I would work the radios and Mike would fly. I had already noted the ATIS with my hand held radio and together we worked through the checklists. A little CRM working here as I called out the items one by one and Mike completed the checks. We were cleared to taxi to runway three two via taxiway Golf and Fox2. With the run up completed I called up the tower and we were cleared to take off three two and now rolling.
I could not believe how much I missed just the take off roll, airspeed was alive and we were soon climbing out. Right turn on course approved and we were on our way. Philly approach was dialed in and I made the call for flight following. It started out great.....Philly Approach Cessna 3525Uniform, they responded, I then gave the who what where, Cessna 3525Uniform, off of Wilmington 2,100 climbing 6,500, VFR Williamsport, India, Pappa, Tango, request advisories. No problem, they give us a squawk code and altimeter setting, they both get dialed in and I end my response with 679er. Yep, WRONG PLANE GARY. No fear, I did it two more times, old habits die hard and 679er is just an extension of me, I couldn't help it. This is where Mike should have slapped me up side the head, he didn't.

We cruised on along and eventually Philly kicked us to the curb and we were on our own. I flew for a bit testing the right leg for rudder pressure, it felt great, and making sure I could shake off the rust. I felt on top of the world, almost as good as when the doctor told me I could go full weight bearing. As we neared Williamsport Mike put in a call to NY Center as noted on the approach plate and we were vectored for the ILS 27. Mike put the foggles on and off we went. I worked the radio acknowledging each turn as directed and searched for any traffic. As safety pilot I am the eyes outside while the pilot is wearing the view limiting device. Mike took us down the glide slope and into IPT with a nice landing, fun stuff. I heard Ted make a call while we were inbound and I was hoping we could indeed catch up for lunch. When we taxied to the terminal Ted was up the far end of the airport but I did see him climbing around his Aztec. I didn't have his cell but I knew AdamB in New Hampshire did so, I called him. He mentioned that Ted did just get in, he tracked him on flight aware coming home from Virginia. Wow, what timing. I called the number he gave me and Ted had just left the airport, he turned the big Ford Excursion around and joined us for lunch.

Mike and Ted hit it off (fellow multi-engine guys hangar flying),we all enjoyed our lunch. The grilled Ruben was really good and the waitress kept the ice tea coming. As we were finishing up two guys walked in, pilots, they were carrying sectionals and flight bags. I looked over as they picked their table and sure enough there stands Capn'Ron from the POA forums. What are the chances? I introduce Ron to Ted and Mike and we sat at least another half hour talking. Ron has been on an unbelievable pace, I think he rattled off 10-12 airports in the last week or two that he has been to either ferrying planes or instructing. We finally drug ourselves back out to the plane and said our goodbyes. A fun time catching up with everyone.

I took a few shots of Bill's plane that he and Ron arrived in, a sweet LanceAir. Mike and I saddled up, I worked on getting my self back in the right seat while he completed a pre-flight since 25U was out of sight. We taxied out to runway two seven and launched for home. When you take off from runway two seven you have to turn right, maintain visual reference until established on 300° heading. Intercept the MIP R-318 and continue climb to 2500 before proceeding on course as noted in the Take Off Minimums and Departure Procedures. This is a good way to save your butt from becoming a monument on that big green hill on the south side of the airport, see the attached pictures or landing video. As soon as we cleared the ridge Mike transferred controls to me, the typical, your plane with my response being my plane, transfer complete. Yep simple but to the point and previously discussed and agreed to. I climbed to 7,500 to ride on top of the scattered layer with plenty of holes to descend through if needed. I took plenty of pictures as well as Mike adding to the collection. I was careful with my grip on the yoke and made sure the feet were working together with the hands. 25Uniform trimmed out real nice and we were tracking along with a tailwind at 136knots.
As we continued south we decided to look for the next hole to drop down through. As we avoided some build ups to the east and west there was a great big gap surrounded by clouds as if entering a stadium just ahead. Mike throttled back and we slowly lowered into the "stadium" at 500 feet/minute. Nice and easy like riding the glide path to the runway, super smooth. Once reaching 3,000 we took a look around us and it was indeed like sitting in the center of abig bowl of clouds, very cool to see this.
We ducked under the outter ring of the Philly Bravo airspace, avoided the Vice Presidential TFR north of Wilmington and was looking down runway one four at ILG. We transferred controls and Mike made the call to the tower reporting our location and intentions. They responded giving us a left downwind entry to runway three two. Hmmmmm...with the winds reported that would be a nine knot tailwind, why do that? Mike asked for runway one niner and was instructed to report a three mile right base, he acknowledged. We taxied to Atlantic and shut down. We both sat like, as Mike said, two little boys sitting out in Dad's car. It was a plane and we still are two little boys at heart when it comes to flying. Good friends, good food, GREAT flying....Geeezzz I love my life.

Special thanks to MikeB for asking me along, I really really needed that flight time. I now feel very confident about going up in the Archer tomorrow night with the CFI, I can still do this flying stuff!