Monday, January 18, 2010

Safety Pilot for Jeff

Mary and I were out shopping for a new power cord 'part' for her HP lap top. HP really screwed up on this one. The stinkin' lil adapter cable constantly needs to be replaced, it's really getting old. While out trying to fix the problem I received a text from Jeff F (33N) asking if I was available to safety pilot. I was available and as always excited to fly. I had to head home from our last stop, Radio Shack, where I tried in vain to pull off some magic with a power cable end adapter, it was a no go.

The plan was to meet Jeff around 1:45ish on the ramp at Red Eagle. I walked through the gate and heard Jeff call the tower reporting 14 south inbound for full stop. This meant I had a few minutes to walk across the ramp towards Boeing and say hello to a friend that had is plane, a Cherokee, started but still secured. Bill acknowledged my wave and soon shut down. I asked what was up and he was doing a test since an aircraft tagged his spinner and put a good ding in it and left some paint on the prop, a very light rub. He is going to fly it to the shop I go to to have things checked out in greater detail. Jeff taxied in as we finished up so I waited for him to turn around so I could safely climb aboard.

I tried a new approach to climbing in right seat toady. I stepped in left foot first while holding on top of the plane and sort of slid in with a wiggle and sat my butt in the seat. Huh, that worked pretty good, I'll have to try that again. As we sat at idle Jeff went through today's plan of attack. First up was an ILS approach into KMIV, Millvile NJ, immediately followed by the VOR A approach since the VOR is the hold for the ILS it would work out nice. Following the VOR A, we would head back across the Delaware River and shoot the GPS 35 into KEVY, Summit Airport and finally back into Wilmington shooting the ILS.

The tower had us departing runway two seven with a strong cross wind but Jeff did very well while I snapped a few pictures. I'm ticked I missed the wind sock but I was to slow. Left turn on course approved we were on our way. Jeff set up for the ILS approach and we decided to roll play ATC for vectors instead of bothering with Atlantic city approach. Least we forget there is always the dreaded Millville Radio to mess with us. I guess I should come clean, Millville radio, pains me to say this, Millville radio was really good today, short sweet advisories and they kept the radio open for traffic, there, I said it. Pardon me while I go wash my mouth out with soap.

Jeff was rock solid today as he flowed through all his checks, approach briefs and one would have thought the needles were stuck on his CDI since they barely moved. I role played ATC today and as I vectored Jeff to the ILS I made the angle a bit harder than a normal thirty degree intercept one would receive. No problems, he called out localizer alive and went to work, very business like in his flying. I had to spot a few aircraft landing on runway three two so we went missed without getting to low for an extra safety margin between us and other potential targets. We flew the published missed which had us direct to Cedar Lake VOR. While Jeff was setting up for the VOR A approach I spotted traffic off our eleven o' clock maybe four to five hundred feet high. This one was close and while I normally would call out the traffic I made the instant decision to call my plane and took evasive action. Nothing major here but I did bank right to give some room and make sure he passed, the red and white Cessna also banked right which provided ample separation. Now clear it was once again Jeff's plane and he picked right back up and set up for his procedure turn.

The VOR A approach was proceeding along smoothly and Jeff took advantage of the autopilot and a chance to get comfortable with its operation. A call to Millville radio to report our position and inquire about the Cherokee on final for three two has us just about to our minimum descent altitude. Millville was busy today with pilots taking advantage of the clear skys. Jeff handled all the traffic very well and with the thought of maintaining good separation from inbound traffic we went missed and climbed away from the airport towards the Delaware Bay. A follow up call to Millville radio reporting we are headed west north west towards our next target, Summit Airport, KEVY. No flight following today with all the quick in and outs but we did monitor Dover approach heading back towards Delaware and Wilmington tower once crossing the Delaware river through their ILS one approach. Jeff completed the brief for the GPS 35 approach and was set up and tracking. I just shot this approach the other night with Mike and it's a long run to the final approach fix and what seems like another day of travel to the runway. Once again we have traffic inbound and end up number two to land. Jeff makes a real nice crosswind landing into Summit and we taxi back and get ready for the short hop to Wilmington.

For the final hop back to Wilmington we will call Philly approach for vectors to the ILS 1 approach into ILG. We announce and start our roll on three five. The runway at Summit really needs some striping, it's in very poor condition. We're up and away making left traffic with a down wind departure. I ask Jeff if he he would like me to make the call to Philly but he had it covered. Approach gave us one vector and then almost blew us through the localizer, nice save Jeff. As instructed we switched over to the tower frequency and announced our position on the ILS with the current ATIS info. Jeff advises the tower we would land long to help expedite the traffic holding short for our arrival. Another cross wind landing has Jeff gently setting the left main down followed by the right and nose with noticeable delay for each touch. I think we both gave a Yeah! Wooo Hooo! at the same time....had to be there. Thanks Jeff for the 1.5 hours of safety pilot time. It's been a great weekend starting with safety pilot time with Mike, a day trip to Richmond with my Bride, a fun flight with Rob and today with our flight.

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