Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reading Lunch Run

The wx was perfect for flying! Mary and I planned on attending the first North East Flyers event for 2010, scheduled for KRDG - Reading, PA. My Bride was not feeling good at the end of the week and it carried over to this morning. I had a back up plan and that was to invite a relative newbie along for the ride. Vincent is a member of the Wilmington CAP squadron and yes, like many of us that take to the sky he has been bitten by the aviation bug. Vince tracked me down by my tail number, youtube videos and my blog then followed up with a first email on Friday January 15th. Just reading his first email I had a good feeling and thought this is worth a follow up. I responded and said I would be up for a meet up and lunch run if his Mom approved.

Fast forward to Friday January 22nd. Mary said she was most likely a no go for Saturday so I sent an email to Vince. If Mary did feel better we had plenty of useful load for the three of us to attend, as noted above, she didn't make it. My email to Vince;

Vincent, If you’re available…… It’s your lucky day! My lovely Bride is not feeling very good and she is not going to attend the Reading Fly-In and Museum tour tomorrow. I am offering you the right seat for the trip to Reading for lunch and a walk through the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum. Have your parents give me call so we can set up a meet time at the Wilmington airport. Gary

Vincent responded just before 8pm and was indeed going to make the flight. I went through my typical flight plan and decided to hold off on the morning pre-flight until my right seater was there. Mary, Vince's Mom pulled into the parking lot early and I walked over to introduce myself. I assured Mary that I would make sure her son called when we were on the ground at Reading and have him call again on start up and once returning to Wilmington.

We chatted as we walked to the plane and in just a few minutes his enthusiasm was contagious. I felt like it was my first week of flying. We completed the pre-flight together and we talked about responsibility to yourself and passengers. I told him no matter who he flies with verify fuel and ask questions, if it bothers someone that your asking, walk away. We climbed aboard 08Romeo and worked through the checklists. Once started and the avionics were switched on Vince chugged and plugged the Garmin 530 as if he's been flying with it for years. Nice job! I told him my Bride does not touch anything and usually sleeps within five minutes of wheels up.

Wilmington had us taxi to runway niner at kilo5 intersection. Once I completed the run up and waited for traffic landing we were cleared to depart. 08R was on the roll, airspeed alive and gauges green, we're a go. I had a shallow climb holding five hundred feet a minute and keeping mindful of the TFR just five miles north of the DuPont (DQO) VOR. Once clear of the Wilmington Airspace I contacted Philly approach for flight following. I was quickly handed off to the next sector and we were squawking and talking. Vince was all over any traffic call outs, youth is a great thing. He spotted traffic I never did see, amazing, oh to be young again.
Philly handed us off to Reading approach and we were directed to report the field in sight. Vince flew for just a short bit and wanted to spot traffic instead. We each saw the field and I advised reading, they handed us off to the Reading Tower. The tower had us enter a left base for three one and report turning final, we acknowledged. My landing was ok at best, flared to soon and even had a bit of balloon then settled in for a short moan of the stall horn followed by chirps. We taxied clear and headed towards the terminal.
First to arrive is always a good thing, you can get photos of all the arrivals and you always get the best parking spot. Ok, truth be told there isn't anyone around to judge your landings too, there I said it. First in was Bill in the cardinal followed by an aircraft that had the ARF emergency vehicles rolling. The pilot, not with our group, had a fuel leak outside the cockpit, he was cleared to land immediately. He was in a bright yellow, immaculate T34 and touching down with the ARF rolling out to meet him. Everything worked out, he got the problem squared away and was soon back in the air. In between Jerry from Orange County, NY landed in his gorgeous Maule. From this point on the parade of planes was steady, Vince was clicking off pictures and I was trying to check in with as many attendees as I could.
The group took up at least three tables that the Malibooz Bar and Grill staff had set up for us. We all made our way in and ordered refreshments and the lunch orders soon followed. There were still planes arriving and hold times reported of eight to ten minutes before being cleared to land by the Reading tower. Here are a few pictures of the group. Thanks to everyone who did take shots since I left the SD ram card out of my camera.

Sorry folks, some of the table shots were deleted. I was asked not to post avi8tor4fn 's pictures without his permission, my apologies.

As we finished up lunch we made our way to the planes in waves. The tower had called the restaurant and inquired as to what time we were all leaving. The waitress came over and asked, "are you in charge?, The tower wants to know." Hey, at least I didn't get a number to call! We said our goodbyes and filter out to look at planes and snap a few more shots. We finally saddled up and got 08Romeo started for the flight home. I think were were third or fourth in line for departure off runway three one. Once cleared to take off I throttled up and had 08Romeo rolling for home. I had added one notch of flaps just to get up and clear as fast as possible, I've been experimenting with the use of one notch on all take offs.

Once trimmed for cruise I handed the controls over to Vince. At thirteen years old I must say he had a steady hand and held altitude plus or minus a hundred feet usually less, and on the money. I did all the radio work and spotted traffic while he enjoyed the flight time. Philly turned us loose when we had Wilmington in sight and we squawked VFR (1200) and contacted the tower with our position, intentions and current ATIS info. I did manage to snap a few shots of Vince in action while he was hard at it. We transferred control back to me and I set up for a nice landing on runway one niner. A tad fast on final and my roll out required a quick short u-turn and taxi back to taxiway kilo. We flipped over to ground control and taxied to Red Eagle, our fun day coming to an end.

Vince got a good laugh while I pushed 08Romeo into place, at least three times. He joked about adding that video and I said do not video this....we both laughed. I promised another flight and after I get night current again I'll take him up for that special view too. Vince's Mom was right on time and surprised me with a bottle of wine for Mary and I, very thoughtful and appreciated. As I told Vince's Mom he is very well mannered young man, a joy to have with me flying and he is welcome to fly with Mary and i anytime. If this is what General Aviation has to look forward to, we're in good hands.

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