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!

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