Friday, April 02, 2010

Change of Plans

Thursday night I gave some thought to flying just to keep moving forward on the quest for a check ride. I swapped text messages and phone calls with MikeB who was up for a flight depending on the schedule. Mike had the opportunity to catch up with his primary instructor that was flying into Wilmington within the next hour or two. We scrubbed our flight since there was noway to get to the plane, pre-flight and fly in that time frame.

Mike's friend arrived and there was a chance for Mike to hop a ride to Richmond, VA. I got a call asking if I could be in Richmond to give him a ride home on Friday. Heck yeah, you bet, I'm on holiday tomorrow and it's only 1.5 each way,what time do you need me there? Mike would call later with more details. I went into flight plan mode and started checking wx. I printed out an airport diagram for the intended destination and asked Mary if she wanted to go. She wasn't interested in the flight just to pick up and return so I decided to ask Vince if he would like the right seat. Vince obtained clearance from his Mom and the final part of the plan was set.

Somewhere in the middle of dreamland (2:30 am)my phone signaled a text message was received. Dang, Mike was home and the mission was scrubbed. I sent Vince a text advise him that he could sleep in, we could head out a bit later and run for breakfast. My phone rang soon after I was finished feeding the zoo and I traded text messages with Vince. The plan was to still meet at 7:30 but the trip was cut way short, a quick hop to Millville to sample the Flight Line cuisine would be today's run.

On the way to the airport I decided he and I both needed to get additional air time so I decided we would head to Georgetown, KGED instead. Vince did the pre-flight with me following along taking pictures and helping to get things ready for our flight. 08Romeo started up and we plugged in the course for today. I picked up the taxi clearance and we were on our way to fun flying in gorgeous wx.

The trip south was smooth, only a bit of brown yucky haze to deal with. I switched over to Dover Approach and after getting my call wrong a half dozen times I was alerted to traffic at my twelve o'clock same altitude, ten miles. Approach alerted the other traffic who jumped right in and advised descending to 4000. The traffic passed off our right side two to three miles no factor.I picked up then wx at Georgetown/Sussex County and cancelled my flight following. As is the norm I reported ten miles then five miles adding a three mile 45 for the left down wind runway four.I carried a bit of speed but set 08Romeo down with a long taxi to the last turn off not having to touch the brakes, we were the only one in the pattern. We taxied to the terminal passing the new Delaware State Police helicopter and a life flight helicopter. Unicom directed us to park as we passed by a few biz jets and finally picked a spot next to a very clean twin.

Breakfast was good and we had the place to ourselves, obviously we did get an earl;y start. As we finished up a few more planes and locals made the stop for good eats. Vince and I headed back out to 08Romeo and did the walk around. A quick fuel check in each tank for my start up choice and we climb aboard. Winds seem to favoring runway two two so we taxi for our run up. There is a helicopter turning base and I acknowledge Sundowner 08Romeo holding short two two, has the traffic on base. I could have just sat there and watched but I know I always like to hear the aircraft holding short advise they have me on base or final. It's a quick easy call that let's everyone know whats going on, besides, it's an easy safety check for all the players.

Our turn to play as I push the throttle forward and 08Romeo comes to life. We are wheels up and climbing out, heading for home. I didn't pick up flight following for the ride north but I did monitor Dover approach for situational awareness. We passed opposite direction of a KC135 taking off out of Dover heading over towards New Jersey as we made our way north. Vince wanted to take a few pictures of Summit airport and his Grandma's house so we adjusted the flight path to accommodate. Once positioned to cross well above Summit (KEVY) I switched frequency to the Wilmington tower. I had noted the ATIS information.

ATIS broadcasts contain essential information, such as wx, which runways are active, available approaches, and any other information required by the pilots. The report is given a letter designation (e.g. bravo).The letter progresses down the alphabet with every update and starts at Alpha each day. When contacting the control tower or ground station, a pilot will indicate he/she has "information" and the ATIS identification letter to let the controller know that the pilot is up to date with all current info.

Wilmington advised we would be following a Cessna for a right down wind runway one nine. I had the traffic in sight and followed it in. The Cessna was a training aircraft form the on field school and it took it's sweet time rolling down the runway before exiting, despite the tower giving the without delay. 08Romeo was on the ground and rolling, looking to make a right turn on runway two seven, right on taxiway Mike and left on Kilo. Sort of like following the yellow brick road back to our tie down. Vince helped secure the plane, leaving the cover off since Mary and I were headed back out this evening. A fun morning flying and a good breakfast!

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