Thursday, March 17, 2011


The glow of the sunrise with the sun peaking out under the cloud layer off the coast of Cape May, NJ
I was up and out of bed early this morning, around 5am, excited about the chance to fly to Cape May/Wildwood NJ.  The company that I work for has me managing a taxiway improvement project at KWWD.  I had the discussion with my supervisor and we agreed it is up to me how I would report to work. The drive in the company car would take just about two hours each way, the flight is twenty minutes each direction. To and from work would be acceptable, flight time during work no go, that seems fair enough.

The scheduled work on the project was concrete removal, fifty feet wide and just a touch above twelve hundred feet long.  At least a two day job or so I thought.  It seems the general contractor did not relay to me that the sub was waiting on equipment to be delivered on site for 'Friday'.  Nice, real nice, so glad I didn't drive two hours to find that out and have a two hour ride back to the office. What really sucked is that I did not find out until I was on the ground at Cape May for maybe thirty minutes.
The flight went very well with an IFR flight plan filed for the mission. Wilmington tower came up on frequency as I was noting the ATIS info. I made my call to ground with my info and request for clearance.  I had filed direct WWD but copied the following route. "Sundowner 6708Romeo you are cleared Cape May, fly runway heading, radar vectors woodstown (OOD) direct, 2000 expect 5000 in ten, 119.75 and squawk 3347." I read back the instructions and ground acknowledged,"read back correct". I advised ready to taxi and headed out to runway two seven at intersection mike.  Following my run up I requested my release.  Philly had me standby for maybe five minutes then Wilmington turned me loose. 
It was a steady climb out at eight hundred feet per minute with engine temps looking good. I was switched over to Philly and reported in. "Philly Departure sundowner 6708Romeo nine hundred climbing two thousand. Philly came back with "climb three thousand direct woodstown (OOD)".  I was on my way enjoying the morning sky as the sun was glowing to the east but not ready to show itself to the world below.  I tuned in some 70's music for the ride and settled in for the hop. Philly cracked the squelch and directed me to climb to five thousand, direct Cape May. I responded; Approach, 08Romeo three thousand climbing five thousand, direct Cape May. Time to update the 530 and 496 along with checking my path against the heading from the DuPont VOR as a back up.  It's so beautiful in the air this morning, I'm tempted to call in and just keep flying.
I was handed off to Atlantic City for a short ride along. I requested to let down for Cape May and advised I had the current wx info. Around fifteen miles out of Cape May I canceled with Atlantic City and switched over to unicom at Cape May. There was one Mooney departing towards the north and we swapped location info, I never had visual contact with that plane.  I made my calls and entered the pattern midfield for a left down wind for runway two eight.  A super smooth landing that got a 9.9 from the operations folks on the field, I'll take it!
As mentioned at the start of this write up the contractor never showed.  I got to review the closure they put in place and the area that required saw cutting. After about thirty minutes on the ground and a confirmation to the no show I decided to head back to the office. I fired up 08Romeo and taxied out for departure. I shared some airspace with a flock of geese but they were to my north east and pointed 08Romeo for home.  I had a twenty plus knot headwind to contend with but turned up the music and settled in for the ride.

The contractor dropped the ball today on notification which would have normally made me miserable at work but, I did get to fly, I was able to be productive and not waste four hours of my life is good.


Steve said...

Now THIS is why being a pilot is both awesome and useful. Great way to use the ticket and the airplane - wish I could fly to work!

Chris said...

I completely echo what Steve said. Nice job melding work and fun!