Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dayton Adventure

What a wacky start to what turned out to be an unforgettable day. I was on the phone late yesterday afternoon with Red Eagle Avionics, they were not going to have my plane ready. We discussed the problem and I got it squared away. It was an audio snafu that they were working on when a simple call to Zaon or myself could have saved their headaches. The Zaon PCAS is coupled to the Garmin 496 with the harness I provided, a simple plug from the Garmin to the audio port on the panel would work just fine. Keeping the cable intact would also enable the auto mute when there is a radio call, a very important feature. Fast forward to this morning and I am conducting my pre-flight and notice I have no POH. That's right they left it in the shop. No POH means no-go, so at 5:45 am I am on the the phone calling their cell phones, I need my POH. The plane to be at KLOM by 6:30 is history, Rob is now driving to KILG so we can immediately leave when they open the shop. As Rob pulls in the parking lot, I "obtain" the POH.

We finally climb aboard and get underway. Cleared to taxi to runway two seven, run up completed and cleared to take off, the adventure truly begins! Rob is going to fly 08Romeo on the first leg to our planned refueling stop at KVVS, Connelsville Airport. The entire first leg had headwinds to contend with which made for a slower then planned flight. Rob handled 08Romeo like he has been flying her for years. I did the radio work picking up flight following and playing with the 496 and 530.

After topping off the tanks at KVVS, Connelsville we launched for Dayton Wright Brothers, KMGY. The 496 provided an excellent weather outlook and our path to MGY would be in the middle of two storm cells tracking east. With the storm cell to our north we decided to go direct once crossing the Zanesville VOR (ZZV). It was hard to pick out the field as we approached but I reported our best guess for field in sight. I was cleared to switch frequency and made a position report for MGY's traffic. In just a few minutes the original "airport" was incorrect and instead we were entering on a perfect left base but almost a thousand feet above pattern altitude. I made the call to advise entering a left base for runway two zero as we slowed down, added approach flaps and ran through the landing checks. I made an ok landing with a roll out to the second taxiway turning for Commander Aero. Thanks to Steve for the arrival shot

Steve D, (A Mile of Runway) was waiting for us and had pre-arranged some flight time in the Stearman and the Cub at 40I, Red Stewart Field. Rob made a good suggestion that we should ask for a tie down location just in case the wx moved in before we got back. That was a very good idea so I asked the lineman if he could get us a tie down and he said no problem. I also asked for the fuel to be topped off. We gathered up our gear, locked up 08Romeo and headed to Stewart Field (40I). This would be my very first experience at a grass field.

The office was attached to the main hangar and it was busy with chatter. Good stuff, pilots doing their thing with wx on the computer, a few instructors hangar flying no doubt and two guys from out east looking for fun. A simple observation on my part as we headed out to the Stearman and cub to fly. Nobody asked for a dime it was more important to get saddled up and watch the exchange between the instructors who was flying which plane. I took the Stearman ride and had no clue how I was going to get my right leg, and fat butt,in after watching Joe demonstrate. Hell, the fun factor alone would get me in the plane somehow. I would dive in head first if I had to and sort it out later. I managed to get in by backing right leg first then following with the left, it wasn'tr pretty I'm sure but it worked. I adjusted the belts and was ready to go. I advised Joe I had no tail wheel time or grass field experience and in fact I had gotten rather lazy flying the Sundowner. He told me more than once this will require plenty of ruddder. We climbed out leaving the grass field behind and seemingly stepping back in time. The sound of that radial engine and the smells blowing in my face blanked everything out of my mind, it was awesome! It seemed like we were in slow motion, all that open air rushing by me, the wing struts in every view somehow framed every picture I was locking into my brain. Joe brought us around the pattern and did a low pass over the field, what a rush. We were off towards Dayton Wright Brothers field and got a glimpse of 08Romeo on the field. I got to fly for a bit making turns and climbs, the response not anything like I had imagined. Joe showed me how to do wing overs but I pretty much sucked at them. Steep bank turns were ok to the right but the first turn was to the left and I let the nose drop. I found myself being more eyes in then out, way to much instrument trainning, it's sucking the fun out of flying. Joe asked if I could find the airport, yeah right, like I had a clue. He vectored me around until I almost stumbled across the field, obviously God does protect grown men flying around feeling like a child with a new toy. Joe took very good care of me as I entered the down wind base and final leg of the pattern. With the my plane, your plane, my plane transfer of controls Joe brought us in for a nice landing. I'm sure he would be an awesome instructor, he was very patient with my lazy rudder work. I could not wipe that perma-grin off my face

I watched Rob saddle up in the Stearman and roll for takeoff. He and Dave did a low pass then climbed back out of the pattern. I watched them do a stall spin then fly off out of my line of sight. It was just starting to sprinkle as you heard the the big radial making its way back to the field. Rob did a great job landing the Stearman! We both had more fun than any person should be allowed to have!! We once again loaded up in Steve's car and headed to his house to pick up Gina. Great timing as she pulled up right behind us. We did a quick wx check then decided on a place for lunch. Millanos Restaurant was the choice and it was a short hop to get there. There was a good selection including cheessteaks which in itself led to a whole different discussion right down to the cheese with or without from Gino's in Philly. All I know is my salad with chicken tenders and honey mustard was good along with a tall ice cold raspberry ice tea.

We headed back to the airport so I could square up the fuel bill and we could pre-flight. I finished up by sumping the fuel, saying our goodbyes and climbing in 08Romeo. Rob and I knew we had four hard hours to go and we were going to be dealing with wx issues most of the way. 08Romeo came to life and we taxied out to runway two zero for our run up. Traffic departed in front of us and there was one plane inbound. We announced and were on the roll for home. No sooner we got in the air and we noticed solid rain moving towards the airport from the west, a wall of water. I did the flying on the leg home and rob did the radio work. We both played through the wx options and made good decisions to keep our flight home going. The radio was buzzing with planes looking for an out, any vectors from approach or center that could steer them clear of the wx. The newly mounted 496 worked like a charm and it really help paint a picture of what we were looking at. I found it to be most helpful giving us a better look was was building inside all that mucky haze. We varied our altitude from 7,500 to 5,500 down to 3,500 along the way.Here are a few shots of the wx we dealt with on the way home thanks to Rob.We passed by Somerset and noted our fuel burn times were running pretty close to the plan. It was possible to make the sprint home to Wilmington, KILG. Rob and I discussed our fuel and while I felt confident but not real happy landing with 15 gallons, only because when you look in the tank there is not much to see sloshing around. Together we checked our route, time and potential stops for fuel, We decided on making a stop at York KTHV to top off, just thirty five minutes or so off the nose. We checked the AFD and the AOPA notes on the Garmin 496 and noted runways, pattern altitude and radio frequency's. I dialed in unicom on Com 2 and called for information. There happened to be a Cessna in the pattern and he advised York was already closed for fuel. I thanked him and we went with a back up plan. I calculated time and distance for Wilmington once again but went with the joint decision to land at Lancaster, KLNS to top off.

Harrisburg handed us off to the Lancaster tower and we made a straight in for runway 8. Progressive taxi instructions to the self serve fuel island and 08Romeo was getting a much needed drink of go go juice. I think we took on 41 gallons so that left us 16 gallons until dry, it was worth the stop just for the warm and fuzzy factor.

Todays Recap:
9.5 hours hobbs
840 miles
New Airports - Three, KVVS, KMGY, 40I
New States - One, Ohio

I almost forgot here is a picture of the finished panel upgrade with the 496 mounted and new hedset/mic jacks.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Panel Progress

Things are moving along day by day. The panel is still open, the gizmo dock installed and new mic/headset plugs are drilled. I've gained some weight with the old, inop DME and antenna removed along with the Loran M1 and its antenna. I'll gain a whole 12 lbs in useful load, yep, two gallons of fuel. Woooo Hoooo!!
08Romeo should be completed today, hopefully before noon. I want to get a new tire put on at Cecil Aero but they can only fit me in before lunch. More to report when I get the plane back on the flight line.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Encoding Altimeter Update

I just got off the phone with the Avionics shop. As always there is good news and bad news. The good news is they located a wire diagram for the encoding altimeter wire harness plug and the harness checked out perfect. The bad news is the altimeter is not sending the correct signals to the transponder and needs to be repaired or replaced. I made the decision to leave the altimeter in place because it provides the correct info on the panel, however, I am going to add the blind encoder noted in the previous post and have that wired to the transponder. This change will require some additional plumbing for the static pressure line to be T'ed off the altimeter in order to supply the Trans Cal Nano.

The Garmin 496 will be installed as planned and the extinct Loran M1 will be retired to the boat anchor department or make for an interesting door stop, heck maybe even a wheel chock. Jason at red eagle is going to test the existing panel mounted DME since it was unplugged. If the unit works I am going to have that wired to the Nav 2 radio as a back up to the Garmin 530 and Nav 1.

  • Potential overhaul/exchange Encoding altimeter - $1500 - $2000 (I'll pass on this)
  • Trans Cal nano blind encoder - $275 (unit only)
  • Labor to Troubleshoot, rewire and mount - @$550
  • Status on Garmin 496 install - waiting for an estimate sometime tomorrow.

Friday, July 23, 2010

R&R Altitude Encoder

The new Trans-Cal "Nano"! Reputed to be the world's smallest, lightest weight altitude encoder. No warm up time, best warranty in the business and is pin for pin compatible with many other manufacturers installations. Mounting plate adapters are available to mount the Nano in other manufacturer's mounting trays!

  • Operating temperature: -20ºc to +70ºc
  • Operating altitude: -1000' to +30,000'(Available in altitudes from 30,000’ up to 100,000’)
  • Accuracy: + 50' from -1000' to +30,000’
  • Weight: 5.9oz.
  • Will operate on either 14 or 28 VCD at 0.270 Amps
  • No Warm-up time: +20ºc to +70ºc -20ºc to +20ºc 30 seconds
  • Best Warranty in the business: 42 months manufacture direct replacement. If your Trans-Cal encoder experiences a warranty covered failure, we will replace your unit with a brand new unit with a new 42 month warranty.
  • Average MTBF: 9.7+ years. That’s right Trans-Cal encoders are among the most reliable on the market, commonly providing reliable service for over 10 years.
The transponder depends on an external altitude encoder to provide the digitized pressure altitude that the transponder needs for its Mode C replies. The encoder is connected the same static air line as the altimeter and is wired electrically to the transponder.

The encoder may be either a separate unit "blind encoder" or integrated into the aircraft altimeter "encoding altimeter", which I now find out I have. Encoding altimeters save space and help ensure that the encoder and altimeter agree, but they are fairly expensive

At one point Wilmington had me at -1000 feet, neat trick, maybe use that next time to go "under" class Bravo airspace. While the panel was out I decided to get the 496 mounted, it would save some $$ in accessing behind the panel a second time and I really need to get it completed. Red Eagle is really busy and the shop is packed with planes. Jason said he would get me in Monday for the encoder work and have 08Romeo ready for the check ride.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

IR 2.10 Partial Panel Fun

Pitch instruments - partial panel (red)
altimeter (ALT)
airspeed indicator (ASI)
vertical speed indicator (VSI)
Bank instruments - partial panel (green)
turn coordinator (TC)
magnetic compass (MC)
What a long night flying. I logged ‎2.5 of 2.8 hours flying partial panel to include a VOR A (2), ILS and a GPS approach along with tracking VOR to VOR, two procedure turns and a hold.
Tom worked me pretty good this evening and I was a bit shaky tracking that first leg from the ENO VOR to VCN. I was able to use the collins nav radio to assist in tracking the TO radial. I started heading more north then north east and had to make aggressive turns to intercept and hold the course. Let me just add here that I absolutely hate the wet compass. A new vertical card compass has moved to the very top of my want list, ASAP.
Having went through WIRE and GUMPS I made a pretty good procedure turn (PT). Once crossing VCN (Cedar Lake)I shot the VOR A approach into Millville. I was going through the motions but not verbalizing the 5 T's, I need to do this. Not a bad approach partial panel and the rust is finally off. I tracked out bound for the missed, did a lap in the hold and shot the approach one more time. Next up was vectors to the ILS RWY 10 and I got the garmin 530 back, well partially back, I didn't get my favorite Nav 1 screen with the CDI. I made a nice PT at LADIE and continued in. A tad high on the glide slope but better that than low especially on partial panel. Simulated breakout was at five hundred feet, just wide right, followed by a full stop landing that was flat.
It was a quick turn around and we were soon back in the air heading home. I contacted Philly approach, gave my position and requested the practice GPS RWY 27 approach into Wilmington. I was given a direct to OOD, Woodstown VOR. I did get to plug the direct to on the GPS but only used the Nav 2 page. I reviewed the plate and was eventually handed off to the tower as I continued inbound. With a quick wind check I was cleared to land runway two seven. I kept a bit more power in and tried to extend my view down the runway which made for a very nice landing.
I couldn't wait to take off those stick-ons that cover up the instruments!! Two night landings in the book and, dejavo, my transponder may be trying to S*^# the bed. Bad thoughts of the Archer's nav/com failure the day before my checkride a day prior to my hip surgery last year. The transponder was acting up with Wilmingtons Tower and Philly approach.
I'll be making a stop at Red Eagle tomorrow during my lunch to get it checked out. We meet up Monday afternoon for a quick hop to work on any last minute items, then meet with the DE on Tuesday after going through all the paperwork, airplane logs and my flight log books. Maybe late next week for the ride!
I am beat!! Time for a shower and then crawl into bed.

2010 Mid Year Review

I am Sitting here adding up my log book hours so I am ready for todays lesson and hopefully my sign off for the IR ride. I searched for goals and found the 2009 in review and 2010 look ahead posted by Ed Fred and thought I would post my mid year review.

Taken from the POA forum post...

2010 Wish List
  • Complete my IR check ride before my written expires (October 2010).
  • Attend 6Y9 - No problems with grass now, bought our own plane!
  • Attend BAC Fest in San Antonio Texas
  • Try to break the 500 total hour mark (need 131).
  • Get started with ARF flights

2010 Wish List updated

  • Check ride will be scheduled for next week.
  • 6Y9 is looking like another year off for me. By the time I get there it will be paved with an FBO.
  • BAC fest is looking like it will happen in October. Working out the details with fellow Pilot Mike B for the four day round trip to San Antonio, TX. Mary does not have enough vacation time saved up yet.
  • Venture a bit west of the normal east coast flying with a scheduled trip to Dayton OH with Rob, CLR2TKF (Robs Flying Adventures)to visit fellow blogger Steve (a mile of runway) AND take a one hour ride in a Stearman!!
  • Researching for a trip to the Bahamas with the Beech Aero Club around new years. Mary is on board and will have vacation time saved up.
  • 500 hour mark is looking like a no brainer, I have 470 to date and six months to go!
  • ARF flights, not a single hour donated, to busy spending money on IR le$$ons. Hope to change that in the last half of the year.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

25U Safety Time

I worked around the house on Saturday and ended up not flying at all. Sunday, Mary and I had plans to attend a family christening and I had hopes of maybe making an early morning flight or a late afternoon flight. Our dogs had me up around 5:30 and I figured once finished with the zoo I would catch a few more Z's then head to the airport. Right, great plan, I woke up around 9:15, first time in a long time I slept in that long. No chance at flying this morning so Mary and I putzed around the house.


We attended the church at the grade school I attended, St. Mary Magdalen, what a flood of memories. I was reading a plaque just inside the main entrance doors that noted the new church dedication back in 1968. As I read through the list of people that donated items for the new church it read like home room roll call in the eight grade. It was good to think of each and every person as I silently read the names. After church we headed to Mary's Aunt and Uncle's home for lunch. It was nice to catch up with family and spend some time together.

Mike and I planned for an afternoon flight, After swapping text messages I was rolling out the door for a 2:15 meet up at Atlantic Aviation. The pre-flight was completed with no problems and we were soon feeling some relief from the heat with the fan now turning. We split the duties for flying and radio work as we often do and made our way to runway three two. The plan was to knock out a few approaches with the Dover Air Force Base, just a short hop south of KILG.

Dover AFB is home to the 436th Airlift Wing, known as the "Eagle Wing" and the 512th Airlift Wing, an Air Force Reserve associate referred to as the "Liberty Wing." The Dover Team’s mission is to provide strategic global airlift capability. In order to accomplish their mission, Dover AFB houses the world’s largest aerial port, which moves more cargo than Federal Express and UPS combined. Dover is home to the mighty C-5 Galaxy and the the C-17 Globemaster.

First up was the ILS RWY 19 and approach was pretty good providing vectors. Mike shot a nice approach riding the rails down to one hundred feet above the touchdown elevation. We can not land at Dover, it's a low pass only. We both got a chuckle out of the wind check with the added gear down advisory.

We were directed for the missed; maintain runway heading, climb and maintain three thousand feet, I acknowledged. We switched back to approach when directed and advised our heading, altitude and climbing to altitude. Once again we were vectored, this time for the ILS RWY 1 approach. Mike beat himself up because he chased the localizer (yeah a whole dot maybe) but it was good to hear him verbalize. I like the checks along the way at one thousand and five hundred and the secondary GUMPS check too. A good IR pilot is always ahead of the plane and should have something to do or check to stay ahead. Good lessons for me to make a mental note.

I had mentioned to Mike about responding to the wind check/gear down advisory with down and welded but I chickened out. Instead, maintaining the proper phraseology. We decided to cancel a third approach and point 25U home to Wilmington.

I am scheduled for a 4:30 lesson this evening but the wx is not looking so good. Maybe I'll do some ground work review and get my paperwork squared away.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Atlantic City Hop IR 2.9

Last nights lesson plan was fun stuff! Tom wanted to make a short cross country flight in the system in order to see all the phases of my training come together. This flight will also be a good indicator of my "ready for check ride status". I flowed through my typical pre-flight planning. Wx checks through out the day, fuel for the plane, charts, approach plates, NOTAM and TFR checks. This was going to be my first time into Atlantic City so I made sure I printed out the airport diagram and necessary plates for the flight. Work seemed like it took forever! I couldn't wait to get in the air tonight. I bolted from work and made a stop for my scheduled haircut then headed straight to the house. Mary and I had a quick dinner of leftovers, Ossobuco and Risotto.

I headed to the airport early so I could lubricate the door hinge pins and latch systems. The spray lube seemed to take care of the sticking latch and now made for an easy swing and movement for the top of the door locking pin and side latch assembly that really looks like a normal door latch in our homes. I cleaned up any over spray and stored the tools. I moved to setting up the office for my flight. Charts folded, approach plates tucked in plastic protectors, NOTAM info updated on the plates I needed for this evening and the garmin 496 powering up for wx.

On the MidAtlantic Ramp surrounded by the big boys

I filed my flight plan with but did not receive a confirmation text message with the ATC confirmed route. I was pretty much ready to go as Tom walked to the plane. We pulled the remaining sun shields and got the fan turning. I had already switched on the battery and avionics long enough to chug and plug my route into the Garmin 530 so once running I just had to recall it. Wilmington does not have a clearance delivery so you pick up your clearance with ground. I flowed through this pretty easy and used the CRAFT mnemonic to note the essential elements of an IFR clearance. The clearance in long hand.

C- Cleared Atlantic City
R- Runway heading, radar vectors, woodstown, as filed
A- 2000, expect 3000 in five minutes
F- 119.75
T- 7041

I was soon climbing out of Wilmington headed for KACY and having a blast. Once handed to departure I changed frequency and advised my current altitude and altitude I was climbing to. I was quickly handed off again to another sector for philly approach. This controller had no Idea who I was and directed me to squawk VFR. I don't think to so Tim....I advised I was on a IFR flight plan and gave him my squawk code, I was given a standby. The controller came back and gave me my filed altitude and direct Cedar Lake (VCN). I was handed off to Atlantic City approach and given a vector for a straight in runway 13. I advised I wanted to shoot the ILS RWY 13 and with that control vectored me in a box pattern to allow some bigger traffic to land. With the heavy traffic clear I was given a final turn to intercept and cleared for the approach. I was very steady tonight, on glide slope and localizer solid, it felt great. I broke out of the simulated clouds at 500 feet (flipped up the foggles) and made a nice landing. I have really poor pictures tonight, I was walking across the ramp and shooting with the cell phne. The FlightAware Flight Track for the first leg.

Making my own space among the big boys

It was a quick stop at MidAtlantic Jet Aviation for a cold drink of water, wx check and to make sure my flight plan was on file. Tom tried to file but his was kicked back stating that there was already a flight plan filed for that route time and tail number. Heck, at least we knew mine went through. We walked across the ramp to the "little guy" as referenced by the young lady working the desk. Once I walked around and checked fuel we saddled up for home. AC has a clearance delivery so I made the call and copied the info. We were ready to taxi and I was anxious to get in the air.

Once again our climb out was runway heading, radar vectors to Cedar Lake, as filed. I made a nice smooth climb and was directed to right turn direct Cedar Lake. I clicked on "Direct to" made three turns of the GPS outter dial to FPL , a turn or two of the inner GPS dial and selected VCN followed by enter and I was on my way. The Garmin 530 is a joy to fly with! I was given direct Woodstown (OOD) and requested the GPS RWY 27 approach into Wilmington. Philly Approach was great this evening and kept things flowing. I was cleared for the GPS 27 and on my way. I did a nice job shooting the approach and ended the evening on a flat kerplunk back into ILG. Grrrr....not the ending I was looking for but we're homeand 08Romeo will fly again. FlightAware Flight track for the leg home.

Next up some ground review and a flight or two for some additioanl partial panel. Tom would also like to see me be a bit more aggressive correcting for course. I hope to get up this weekend or monday night.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

SR20 Time, Maybe?

I awoke to a beautiful day and just had to go flying. Mary decided she was going shopping with her Mom for shoes so she said go play with the boys. Who am I to argue? I traded text messages with MikeB and made plans to fly this afternoon. Mike had a lesson at 11am lasting until 1:30ish and also had a reservation to fly the SR20. Instead of driving to Lancaster the plan was for me to make the hop from Wilmington,(KILG) to Chester County,(KMQS) to pick him up and together head to KLNS.

I secured 08Romeo on the flight line and walked into the terminal, I figured it was better to sit and wait in the a/c then out on the ramp and bake. Mike finished up and we headed out to climb aboard 08Romeo and get in the air. I departed runway two nine and turned out for the noise abatement. I was pointing for home when Mike asked if I was going to turn on course....LOL...sorry still laughing at the thought. Well Duh, I'm a dope, we're headed the opposite direction if we are going to LNS. It's like driving to work, your car knows the turns and you just do it, even on the weekends when your headed somewhere else. Ok, you know you have all done it at least once.....right?

I shot the RNAV GPS RWY 31 approach direct AYOSA with a procedure turn and followed up with a decent landing. Mike was working the radios as we split up the duties. I was directed left turn on Foxtrot, right turn Delta for our destination of choice. I pulled the throttle back and Mike made a quick hop out to the office and then back aboard 08Romeo. I would not do this with anyone that was not a pilot and even then I have to feel very comfortable with that person. Mike was buckled in and we called ground for a taxi across the field. I did a full turn around an aircraft looking for the best tie down while trying to avoid the sun heating up the cockpit. I no sooner said the tower guy will think I'm nuts when sure enough, he asked if we were ok. I answered, yes, while I was laughing, I was looking for a tie down with ropes, we have it under control. The tower no doubt thought I was indeed nuts.

Mike opened the hangar doors and started right in on the pre-flight. I assisted by staying out of the way and pulling the nose plugs and pitot cover. We took on maybe twelve gallons of 100LL to top off and we're set to start this baby up. The checklist is extensive and Mike flows through it very well as the SR20 comes to life, I really love the sound of the Cirrus when she starts up. As we begin to taxi out a message on the Avidyne Primary Flight Display (PFD, left screen in the above photo) Advises of an Attitude & Heading Reference System (AHRS) Failure followed by a communications error with the magnetometer.

From the Emergency Checklist:
Failure of the Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) is indicated by removal of the sky/ground presentation and a “Red X” and a yellow “ATTITUDE FAIL” shown on the PFD. The digital heading presentation will be replaced with a yellow “HDG” and the compass rose digits will be removed. The course pointer will indicate straight up and course may be set using the digital window.
1. Verify Avionics System has switched to functioning AHRS
If not, manually switch to functioning AHRS and attempt to bring
failed AHRS back on-line:
2. Failed AHRS Circuit Breaker - SET - If open, reset (close) circuit breaker. If circuit breaker opens again, do not reset.
3. Be prepared to revert to Standby Instruments (Altitude, Heading).

Well, we were still on the ground so Mike attempted to restart the system twice. No luck, the flight was scrubbed. We taxied back to the hangar and tucked the SR20 back into the nest. We walked back out to the flight line and gave 08Romeo a once over and checked fuel for the hop back to Chester County. We climbed aboard and of course I said no matter what 08Romeo, steam gauges and all, is ready to go, I think she liked that. I was working radios and Mike was on the controls flying us back to MQS. Run up completed we were on the go and climbing out. No flight following for the short hop but we did have Harrisburg tuned in. Mike was going to shoot the ILS RWY 29 into MQS and he was getting set up.

I don't remember what Mike was reaching for or exactly what was going on when his door popped open. Yes, the second in flight door open in two weeks! We immediately transferred controls with the typical your plane, my plane, your plane. After quick evaluation I advised we would try to close the door per the POH procedures. Mike kicked into *CRM mode and went right to work. I slowed 08Romeo and applied right rudder to slip the plane and take some airflow off the door. Mike tried to secure the door but it was a no go. Having went through this not long ago I knew the buffeting would be strong and the plane almost feels like there is an engine failure going on. The vibration picks up, the yoke gets heavy and pulls at your hands and the noise makes you think the power plant is missing on a few cylinders. I kept the radio and made a call that I was going to enter a left down wind for runway two niner with a midfield crossing entry. The Vertical Speed Indicator was falling off the table at one point showing -1500 feet. I know the static port was robbed of air with the door open and this had to have an effect. The airspeed was not winding up and we were pretty much level checking with the attitude indicator. The key was holding altitude and speed while getting to the runway, Just FLY THE AIRPLANE. Mike called out altitude and airspeed along with holding the door tight as I turned a circle to land final approach. Mike asked, Flaps? My response, not yet as I crossed the fence then said, one notch approach flaps. A smooth landing and roll out followed.

Once we climbed out we looked things over and came to the conclusion that the strong buffeting and heavy yoke was due to so much air being taken off the stabilator. In review the combination of low air speeds and the base to final turn could cause a problem if your not on top of the situation. Mike and I always have great CRM when we fly and today's "excitement" reinforced that.

Next up for me is a short cross country hop, filing in the system. Mike has his check ride scheduled for his CFI ride this week. GOOD LUCK MIKE!!!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Oil Filter Add On

I was scheduled to leave ILG around 6:30 but there was plenty of low layer scud hanging around the airport just trying to tick me off.
SPECI KILG 091009Z AUTO 05003KT 10SM FEW009 SCT038 24/22 A2999
I sent Vince a text at 5:30 letting him know I was pushing back departure time to 7:15. I had Aero Ways bring my fuel to the tabs, 15 gallons each side for today's quick hop. The plan for today was to make the hop to 58M, Cecil County Airport located in Elkton, Maryland. I had scheduled the Oil Filter add on and Roger's shop could get me in this morning for the oil change, we doubled up and took care of both items.
METAR KILG 091051Z 09005KT 10SM FEW018 24/22 A2999
I climbed out of Wilmington on runway nine with a left turn on course. I decided to climb over the top of the layer and planned on looking for a hole near Elkton. Vince got a real kick out of flying above the clouds and we had a smooth ten minute ride. Just east of 58M there was a good size hole that we descended through as if it was put there to guide us in. I crossed midfield a couple hundred feet under the pattern and had to climb to enter on target. Midfield left down wind entry followed by base and final. I was hot and high, I made the decision to go around. Once around the pattern and I was back on final, slow and working my short field for a smooth landing. I let 08Romeo roll out with little braking action and made my way to the Cecil Aero hangar.

Old Screen

New Adaptor

After reading about the screen vs filters this is what I take from it all. The reason the screens were issued originally is that back when these engines were first designed the most common oil used was a straight-mineral oil. The oil was cheap and thus not as big an issue with frequent oil changes. Heck, I still think oil is cheap insurance for our engines. The screen kept larger particles from damaging an engine, but smaller particles continued to circulate until the engine was shut down. Then they dropped to the bottom of the sump and settled out. Dispersant oil was invented to keep the small stuff suspended so as to drain out with the oil, the idea being to extend engine life and reduce crud remaining in the engines and subject to being dislodged and sent through the system. That is when filter elements came into popular use in order to filter out particles re-circulating with the dispersant type oil. If using AD type oil then an oil filter is necessary to keep those suspended particles from recirculating.

New adaptor added (just in front of the blue oil cooler line coupler)

Run up/ Leak test

Panorama of the shop

With the new parts installed, the aeroshell oil added and the top cowling installed it was time to get home. Roger added the notation in the Adlog for the work, I paid the bill and we saddled up. I taxied out to runway 31 and departed to the north. I gave some thought about lunch at KMQS, Chester county but diverted back to Wilmington. We flew through a light shower but the clouds were not looking good. I decided it was best to get on the ground and find a place to eat rather then get stuck away from home if thunder boomers moved in. A fun day flying even though it was only .9 in the log. As always great to have Vince along and what would I do without his photo skills!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

IR Lesson 2.8

Thursday night and the temps are looking good for my instrument lesson. I arrived at the airport early to complete my pre-flight and be ready to go when Tom comes through the gate. I had to take on fuel which means waiting on the fuel truck, I should have pre-ordered. Tom walked in as I was setting up the office. I got my charts and plates squared away and was waiting for the Garmin 496 to show me wx and TFR updates.
The plan for tonight was heading to Millville and shoot multiple approaches. My altitude was spot on this evening and on course very good. I worked on the five T's while chair flying at home and for the most part incorporated them into my flight. Tom did say that when my workload got busy I would say the five T's but was late "talking" to approach or just late on my throttle setting. I did meet the approach altitudes and did really well on the ILS glide slope. On the way home from Millville I contacted Philly and received vectors into Wilmington for the GPS RWY 9 approach. With the second vector I was also given direct DREFF, cleared for the GPS RWY 9 approach into Wilmington. With a chug and plug on the 530 I was on my way, hmmm,...she's good (Controller)I was pointed right at the fix.A fun night flying, tying it all together.
We plan on a short xc to Atlantic City or Lancaster next week filing in the system and letting me work through everything. It will be a good refresher from my cross country over a year ago and a boost for my confidence. I want to get some additional partial panel time in and some unusual attitudes then schedule with the DE. It's nice to know that light at the end of the tunnel, it really is just the end of the tunnel......and not a train.
Approaches at Millville: VOR A, ILS RWY 10, GPS RWY 32
Approach into Wilmington: GPS RWY 9

Monday, July 05, 2010

IR Lesson 2.7

Lesson time updated from 4:30 this afternoon to 9:30 this morning. It's a good thing because it was hot enough this morning and I ended the lesson with a nasty headache, heat and hydration induced. Tom switched gears today and made it a "fun" flight, his term. The plan was fly to Georgetown, pick up wx and choose the approach, pick up Dover approach and treat it as a regular IFR flight. From GED we would head north to Delaware Airpark, 33N for a stop and go. No, we're not done yet, next on the list was an approach into Summit, KEVY and finally home to KILG.

All the approaches were my call based on wx, mirroring the real deal and putting the puzzle pieces together. I stayed ahead of the plane for the most part, seemed to track just right of my course today and tangled with the thermals to keep altitude. At least I recognized the +/- and was a bit more aggressive to correct. Overall not a bad day and Tom's debrief will be good to read and apply to the next lesson. My in flight checks; WIRE, GUMPS and DAD were fine but I skipped over the five T's and that will need to join my mental and verbal scan. Tom suggested vebalizing everytime Mary has me take the trash out, each turn, each doorway...THE 5 T's.


Approaches flown today:
KILG RNAV GPS 27 w/vectors

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Breakfast Run, Door Fun

A gorgeous Saturday morning!! Mary and I had to run down to the airport and pick her car up that we had left parked last night. Since she had an extra dirty martini and a glass of wine she decided to take a pass on driving and let me drive us home in the SUV. This morning we wanted to invade Kay's at KCGE, I've made mention of this place in the past. Great crab omelets and mason jar size servings of sweet tea. It was a plan and we were soon headed for the airport.

It was nice to finally get some fly time with my Bride, it's been way too long. All this push to finish the IR does not allow much time for our fun flying or the budget dollars required for the four day get-aways. We climbed aboard 08Romeo and got the fan turning with a long taxi to runway two seven full length. I held short for a Cessna on final then a Citation departing on an IFR clearance. Finally last checks complete and the final switch to boost pump on and cabin air off, we're rolling.

I turned on course at 400' and continued to climb out headed for CGE. The engine sounded different, louder and it seemed almost like my headset batteries were dead and I could hear air rushing buy me. I gave the door a second check and the top end seemed latched but when I gave the bottom a shove she popped open about six inches. Great....I was still climbing out. I know, FLY THE PLANE.

From the Sundowner POH:

If the cabin door is not locked it may come unlatched in flight. This usually occurs during or just after take-off. The door will trail in a position approximately 3 inches open. A buffet may be encountered with the door open in flight. Return to the field in a normal manner. If practicable,
during the landing flare-out have a passenger hold the door to prevent it from swinging open.

If it is deemed impractical to return and land, the door can be closed in flight, after reaching a safe altitude, by the following procedures:
1. Slow to approximately 90 mph (78 kts).
2. Apply rudder on side of open door (which will result in a skid) and close the door.

I thought I would try to slip enough to disrupt the airflow on my side of the aircraft so I could attempt to open and close the door, no luck. I made the following calls;

(ME)9:28am Wilmington Tower, Sundowner 08Romeo will be returning to the field. No answer but they did respond to another aircraft asking for left traffic.
(ME)I made a second call; Wilmington Tower, 08Romeo I need to return to the field.
(TOWER) 08Romeo roger, would you like runway three two?
(ME)Three two is good, thanks .
(TOWER)08Romeo, cleared to land three two.
(ME) Cleared to land three two, 08Romeo.
(TOWER) 08Romeo do you need any assistance?
(ME) No, we're good, have a door that popped open.

I added approach flaps on short final and made a nice landing. Once clear of the runway I shut the door and taxied back for departure. The rest of the trip was uneventful, as it should be. Kay's at the Airport was closed so we saddled back up for KGED, Georgetown and headed out. A twenty minute trip with a long landing on RWY 22 to exit closer to the restaurant. We were greeted by a lineman and marshaled to parking. I secured the plane and we headed inside to have breakfast. I also decided to top off the fuel taking on 21 gallons while taking advantage of the discount if you eat at the restaurant, hey, ten cents a gallon helps!

Once our tummy's were full we loaded up for home. Mary slept, I looked for traffic and took in the sights. I'm back to the IR lessons on Monday with Tom.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Quick Hop

Mary and I decided to meet up at the airport for a quick hop to Wings field. I scooted home and got the zoo squared away and I showered. Mary picked up her car from the Benz dealer since the service was complete and went straight to the airport. I had already completed the pre-flight and I was ready to get started. I was cleared for take off on two seven with a right turn out. It's maybe twenty minutes tops to Wings. I picked up flight following since Philly sounded busy and was quickly handed off to the next sector on 124.35. I checked in, Philly approach Sundowner 6708Romeo, seven North East of Wilmington, VFR to Wings Field, 2,900 level. He responded well your already in the bravo so your cleared maintain 4,900. Say what???? I replied altitude 2,900 for 08Romeo. He gave me the current altitude which I had already picked up and dialed in, then he asked me to change my squawk code. Now Philly was reading altitude 1000, still not correct. I recycled and went back to squawking 1200, altitude finally came up at 2,900, we were on the same page. We did have one traffic call out, the met life blimp. That's right, Snoopy Air One, very cool. (file photo)
After that ordeal I was glad to get on the ground and did so with a smooth landing at Wings. Mary and I secured the plane, I cleaned the transponder antenna and made sure it was secure along with giving the radio a wiggle to make sure it was secure. We headed to the club for some refreshments, I had ice tea, and some great food. BBQ Ribs, some sort of hot pocket stuffed dough thing, cheese, veggies and other delights.
It was getting late so we said our goodbyes to Adam,Tam and other guests then headed for the plane. Adam walked acroos the ramp with us and we chatted as I checked fuel and untied. Adam and I drooled over the Cirrus tied down next to me with air conditioning, it had some strange mesh grill on the right side rear with what looked like a condenser of some sort tucked inside. This will require more investigation.
We climbed out of Wings and headed for home. No flight following just a beautiful sunset and my Bride, very peaceful. Another smooth landing with a longer roll out than normal and we are clear of runway two seven. We secured 08Romeo and called it a night. We'll pick up Mary's car in the morning sometime after breakfast.