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.


Anonymous said...

nice work
sweet panel
zaon work any better with the R&R?

Steve said...

Great write-up Gary! You guys racked up some impressive stats yesterday. Neat photos of the wx on the way home as well.

I hope you got my email with the link to the rest of the photos I took - let me know if it didn't come through.

Gary said...

Zaon still having its moments.....I will recalibrate it this week now that my encoder is back online. Thanks on the I need to get the A/P fixed and I am done!

Steve, downloaded all the shots, great job!!! and thanks!!

Rob said...

Sure was a great trip. Just think, that full day of flying would have just gotten us to 6Y9 or Gastons. That Stearman sure was a blast and I need to find another airport as cool as Stewart to visit around here. Cub flying was neat too, and I can see why Steve likes it so much. Thanks again for the trip, looking forward to flying with you again soon.

Gary said...

Yes, Stewart is a gem. It's depressing walking on the ramp at ILG after visiting a place like that.

It was a fun day of flying, looking forward to Windwood, at least it's not so many hours in the saddle.

By the way Rob, nice landing in the Stearman!!

ddf said...

Gary, best of luck with the check ride. While not worth too much...I have confidence in you. Enjoy the ride.

Gary said...


Good mojo is always a plus! Thanks for the well wishes.....I just want it to be finished.