Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Change of Plans

There has been a change of plans. Mary and I sat down and talked about the Florida get-away but spending around eight hours to get there and at least eight to get back would really limit our vacation time. If we had a week or so to play it would have been a no brainer, we could have spent some time in the Keys and explored a bit more.
Ok, update our plan with a two and a half hour leg and we can make it a leisurely flight south after getting Maggie to the kennel.  That means my morning tea at Dunkin and maybe breakfast at our favorite place. No 7am departure needed for this hop. I reserved a room and will make the call for a rental car tomorrow. Now I just have to hope for good beach wx. Nags Head here we come!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Getting In The Air

Your flight crew
Mary and I hung out most of the day with plans to meet up with Jamie and Jason later this evening.  I swapped text messages with Mike B who had planned to overnight with 08Romeo in Leesburg, KJYO  but changed to a no go.  I did mention I was available but had to be home around 5:30ish to get ready for dinner, just in case he still had an itch to fly, he did. I was soon heading south for the airport, flight bag in hand, water bottle left sitting on the kitchen table.
Climbing out of Wilmington
Mike and I went through the pre-flight and had to remove the top cowl for some nesting investigation.  Some stinking bird decided to mess with me and scatter a few twigs around and various other home building materials.  It really wasn't to bad and we had the engine compartment cleaned out and buttoned back up rather quickly.
Farmland over Chester County
Flight Line KMQS
I was right seat this flight and ready for some safety pilot time.  We headed to KMQS, Chester County and Mike shot the ILS RWY 29.  I didn't role play comm's at all but did make a position report or two. Mike shot a very nice approach but ballooned a bit when reaching for the flap handle. The pull bar that is attached for making my life easier had slipped to the side and made clearing the seat difficult. He recovered quickly, pointed the nose to the numbers and announced at mid field will initiate a go around if not on the runway. I was just ready to call midfield as the mains touched and we rolled to a safe slow speed for the turn off, a good job making the landing and keeping it safe. We had lunch at the flying machine cafe' while enjoying the air conditioning and eventually saddled up for home.
UofD Campus on left - Chrysler plant removal on right,
Christiana Mall
Base to Final 18 at ILG
Short Final
Only 1.3 in the book for Mike and .3 for safety pilot time for my records. Flying in the haze, getting kicked around under the clouds and riding the thermals and I still had a great time! One note about 08Romeo, I am so thankful for the high power blower that we have to move the air once on the ground, can't imagine not having it when it really gets hot.

My flight review always takes something away each time that teaches or reinforces lessons learned. Today I needed to hear the verbal checks. I need to up my game and not get complacent with my checks when flying, I will work on this.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Florida Planning

While we sat and enjoyed dinner last night at Famous Dave's BBQ with family, my sister-in-law Janice mentioned that her and my brother would be in their new home in Jupiter and asked if we wanted to visit.  Mary and I talked it over today and I think we are going to try and make the trip provided my Bride can schedule off work.
Preliminary flight planning has begun and the wx watch has started. I took Jeff F's advice and gave the Airnav fuelstop planning page a go, I liked it!  Depending on the winds we may, we might (fingers crossed and fuel overflowing) have a slim chance on making this in one stop. The first leg, 4 hours, 398 miles to North Myrtle is doable if the winds are calm or the always welcome tailwind decides to ride along.
The second leg to F45, West Palm Beach is 487 miles and 4.5 hours. The Sundowner holds 57 gallons with my flight plan numbers of 10 gal/hr fuel burn. To close for my comfort zone and I'll still need reserves for my IFR flight, I'll need a stop. With a second stop required I let Airnav help out and run the numbers. St. Augustine looks to be my best bet and fuel is cheaper than other local airports.  The Myrtle Beach to St. Augustine leg would be a very comfortable 2.8 hours.
With full tanks it would be a 2 hour hop to West Palm and leave just enough room in the tanks to take a few gallons required to wave an overnight parking fee.  I did mention I was cheap, right?

Enough flight planning for today. Mary and I are off to find dinner, walk around the Farmers Market and visit family.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Collins VHF 251 Check Out

Comm 2 is back in service after a quick turn around from Stellar Avionics. As mentioned in a previous post I lost receive and I assume transmit on my comm 2.  The Collins is an old radio but every shop says they are pretty much bullet proof and they recommended the Collins over an upgrade to a King KX 165. Unless I really needed the flip flop and additional frequencies in stand by it wasn't worth the cost upgrade.
I headed out of Wilmington with the plan to work on some landings.  KOQN, Brandywine airport is close by and really requires me to focus on my airspeed and wind corrections with a narrow runway compared to the monster wide at Wilmington.  I entered direct KOQN on the 530 but tracked to the Modena (MXE) VOR on NAV 2 so I could practice.

I entered the procedure turn for the VOR A, did my one lap and headed for the airport. It felt good tracking the VOR and keeping the needle so steady. Inbound on the 054 radial, cross the VOR and adjust for the 052 radial and a descent to @1100 feet. I broke the approach off a bit early and set up to enter a right base for RW 9.  Winds were blowing but I managed an ok landing setting one main down at a time into the crosswind.

I taxied back for the short hop to Chester County (KMQS). No approach work here, it's getting way to hazy to play around Modena (MXE).  I made the call for a 45* for left downwind runway 11 since winds were from the south east. I kept this one real tight working on my circle to land but didn't have enough to set myself up on final. A bit hot, some balloon and mains down then up in the air.  Full power, going around, shesh....let's try this again.
Two shots of New Garden  N57
Pattern two looking good with a normal base leg to final and slip to the runway. Hold it off, some stall horn, arrest the sink with some throttle, hold it off and I'm in.  Not to bad, I'm on the ground, it felt smooth and the wheels are still on. I walked in to the terminal and had lunch at the Flying Machine Cafe'. A BLT and a few ice tea's, I was ready to head home.

I taxied out for runway niner followed by two T6 Texans, sweet planes.  I was climbing out and making my last call headed towards the south east.  I listened on frequency for a bit since there was a helicopter that departed in front of me heading south and I wanted to hear which direction the two T-6's were going.  The haze was brutal and from 10 miles out Wilmington was non-existant.  I managed to take a few shots of New garden (NB57) along my route home.
Wilmington...are you out there???
I made my call and advised that I had the current ATIS info Yankee.  I was directed to enter straight in runway one four. Another smooth landing and following my U-turn on the runway I was headed for my tie-down. It's hot, I'm really thirsty but I cleaned off the bugs and covered "Gnomeo". My kingdomn for a pineapple sundae....and cold water!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

50 Hours Later

Fifty hours have passed through the tack since November 10, 2010.  It was time to get 08"Gnomeo" to Cecil County (58M) so Roger could have some quality time.  My computer training class was canceled so I decided to make the hop and get the plane serviced.

I took a pass on taking an oil sample this time and figured every one hundred hours will be sufficient.  Roger let the champion filter drain while we added seven fresh quarts of aeroshell 5W50 golden honey engine life blood. Upon examination of the cut open filter we found the paper to be clean, no metal at all and no carbon, all excellent signs for a healthy power plant.

I helped button Gnomeo up and headed for home. I didn't have my flight bag today so I was flying with Foreflight on my iPhone instead of the iPad and a Washington paper chart.  What I really missed was my Zulu headset, I will never fly without my headset again.  I really do feel bad for our passengers, maybe I'll pick up two pair of David Clarks for the back seats.

I finished up with .7 in the log book and a great start to my work day.  Next up the return of my Collins 251 from the radio shop and the install.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wings Fly-B-Q 2011

I didn't take pictures, I didn't even have a chair or cooler with me. I really had no plans on attending this year due to work.  I was scheduled for work in Cape May (KWWD) Saturday morning and no clue how late I would be.  The one good news item was no hot mix today which means it would not be an all day and most of the night type of work event. 

With work on tap for me Saturday, Mary decided to head to Lancaster with her Mom so the ladies could shop. Hey, it sure beats working.  As my previous post stated, I finished up very early and the core drilling team did not need me to babysit. I decided to try and make the run to Wings field (KLOM).

The write up about the flight is in my last post so I just wanted to cover the Fly B Q and return flight with this posting.  As I already mentioned I did not take pictures, I was to busy talking with the other attendees.  It's always fun to catch up with the group. Gary S was hard at it, as always, making the event take shape along with Ed F, Anthony and the maestro of this rag tag orchestra, Adam Z.  Here is Adam's write up from the Fly-B-Q on the Pilots of America forum.

Wow! FlyBQ 2011 is finally over it was a crazy weekend with crazy Wx and I am EXHAUSTED but as always a lot of fun. We certainly missed Andrew Stanley and look forward to his return along with Matt Teller next year.

It seems to be an odd year for flyins, Wx and 100LL price seem to dampen folks planning but we still had a great turnout. My count shows 96 people attended including of course our awesome POAers. Thanks are due as always to Gary Shelby who is integral to the event as well as all those POAers local and long distance who attended, Grant and Leslie, Ed Fred and the Steingars as well as Todd Kooser ( Blue Sky) from Cleveland and Liz who busts her butt in the Yankee to get here. Of course Andrew Morrison who is still local in his heart and the Drivers AdamB who drove from NH and Missa from IPT. And absolutely everyone who helped shuttle and pick up the slack Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Also a big thanks to Smithfield again for being a food sponsor their hot dogs were awesome and thanks to Montgomery County Aviation for all their help and support for this great event. We had some cool planes come in including a Defiant two beautiful RVs, a Piper Sport which really was quite impressive. We also had the AOPA Cherokee Six Sweepstakes plane N164U show up.

We raised some good money for some good charities and Did good things. I wish I could take a 2 day nap now but can't.

So I hope to see everyone again May 18-20, 2012 for Wings FlyBQ VIII

A great time indeed and good food.  I decided to head south for Wilmington and slipped out VFR to enjoy the ride.  I had Philly approach tuned in to listen for traffic and the 70's hits playing on the Garmin 496 while riding out some bumps under the cloud layer.  I was getting close to ILG and tuned Com 2, the Collins 251, to 123.95 for the current ATIS info.  Hmmm....odd, not a sound. I turn the unit off and on again like that will magically make it work but still not a peep.  I plug in the ATIS frequency on the Garmin 530 and make note of the wx, everything is fine on Com 1.

A smooth long landing on runway one and a short taxi to Kilo for red eagle. I button up 08Romeo, exhausted and really thirsty. I did note on the flight log I keep in the plane that com 2 is INOP, just in case Mike wants to fly.  I'll schedule with Penn Avionics for the radio fix and schedule my oil change with Roger at Cecil Aero since I have 49 of the 50 hours clicked off.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day of Flying

Over NJ, above the layer, enjoying the sun
Hey!! Whats that big shiny thing in the sky?  Well, I guess that would be the SUN!

That's right, Mother Nature decided to provide us with a teaser of what Spring is really all about. I was up early and out the door having made plans to meet the contractor in Cape May. I grabbed the iPhone and filed from bed, gotta love electronics, and then proceeded to take the dogs out. I'm not sure what the Terminal Area Forecast (TAF)was talking about, there was no mist and no low ceiling.  I could only figure it was so used to reporting the poor conditions all the previous week, it felt the warning was required.
All kidding aside it was gorgeous out. I took care of the critters and hit the shower. I was excited to fly, even if it was just for the  reason of going to work. The flight plan was simple and the typical for this hop. ILG-OOD-WWD, the route is as common as going to the corner store, or so it seems to be. Pre-flight flowed smoothly and I was soon plugging in the flight plan and letting the oil warm at a low idle. Maybe I should save this trip in the Garmin 530 memory instead of going through this routine every trip?
Looking south/south east over the Delaware Bay

I picked up my clearance and was directed to taxi for departure to runway niner. 08Romeo was climbing out with a quick change to the plan by Philly departure.  08Romeo climb 3000, upon 2000 direct Cape May/Wildwood. I acknowledged and was actually giddy that I pretty much got direct before leaving the airport environment. I was handed off to Atlantic City and rode along enjoying the cloud cover below, thinking I may get to shoot an approach today.
As I crossed Millville, covered by clouds, I could see across the bay and soon realized that Cape May was indeed clear as the AWOS was telling me. Atlantic City did ask what approach I would like and I requested vectors for the Localizer 19. An ILS of sorts, but with no glide slope for vertical guidance. AC Approach gave me a few turns and I soon intercepted the localizer. I did not cancel so I had some extra eyes as I split my time on the needles and checking for VFR traffic, it took away from a rock solid approach. AC gave me the cancel in the air or call a number so I cancelled and announced my position on unicom.

I was early and had time to have some breakfast at the flight deck which I really enjoyed.  I ordered the crispy french toast but hadn't read the whole description.  Out came this monster plate with banana's, walnuts and carmel along with the toast covered in corn flakes. Strange but a very good breakfast that Pat, our Op's specialist, referenced to cruise ship food....yep that about hit it on the head.

I finished up in time to meet the work crew and got the new stationing for the core tests squared away. The work for today consisted of drilling eight cores for testing, material testing of the previous day's hot mix placement. I didn't stick around to long since I really wanted to make the annual Wings Fly-B-Q at KLOM.

More great electronics at my disposal as I enter my flight plan with foreflight on the iPad. I know a portion of the route KWWD-SIE-OOD and tap on the fltplan.com connection to research any previous plans.  The remainder of the plan was MXE-KLOM.
I taxied out and called Atlantic city on the clearance delivery frequency of 121.7 for my info. I copied my flight path and repeated it back, received my not off void times then announced on unicom my departure. I made a last call on unicom to state my intentions for potential area traffic then contacted AC departure. I reported direct Sea Isle (SIE) and altitude.  We road along together for a few then I was directed to turn to 360 degrees intercept V166.  Sort of like merging on the interstate but less traffic. My review last week with Mike paid off and with a button push on the Garmin 530 and turn of the CDI I was tracking along nicely to the Woodstown (OOD) VOR.
Over NJ, about to cross the Delaware

Philly downtown, over the nose
After my hand off to Philly I was given my last climb, now working on getting to 4000. Philly gave me a new heading cutting off the remainder of my current leg and the next two, now pointing me direct KLOM and the chance to fly over downtown Philadelphia. Flying over Philly would be a first for me, we always seem to get routed around. Par for the course, a chance for some great photos and I only have my iPhone, meh, better then no pictures I guess.
A great look at KPHL and the mothball fleet off my left wing and a great view of center city off the nose. Sorry the prop shows in the iPhone pictures. Off my right wing I am looking up river and catch a glimpse of the mighty USS New Jersey. Philly hands me off to the next sector as I clear the city and I am directed to descend to 2000 and advised of the cluster of towers to my 10 o'clock, can't miss them.  I have the field in sight and cancel with Philly, now starting to let down for Wings.
The plan was to enter a left base for two four but traffic was active on runway six. I joined the pattern and made it a crosswind entry for six, see I can play nice. I botched a good approach and set 08Romeo down very soft, so soft I didn't feel her rolling and pulled the yoke back a bit more thinking I was still holding it off.  Duh! I was now pulling a wheelie and when I realized and set the nose down it went thump thump...full power going around.  Landing number three, er um, one, was smooth and soft, my face was bright red.  More on the Fly-B-Q and a lost comm radio on the flight home in my next post.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Safety Pilot Time

 After a fun flight home from Cape May and adding some actual time I was pumped for acting as safety pilot for Mike B.  Mike and I swapped text messages and a phone call to schedule our start time, we met up around 4:30ish.  I needed some extra time to run to Wawa so I could get bottled water and something to eat to help rehydrate.  I selected a large bottle of water, fresh fruit and a small mac/cheese.  I took a few bites of the mac/cheese and as good as it tasted (for store bought) I just couldn't finish it.  a few forkfuls and I switched to the fruit, it hit the spot.
passing over 58M, 08R,s annual location

Mike rolled into the parking lot and changed, I walked through the gate and found some chairs located on the shady side of the building. Yep, set my flight bag and water down on the matching table from the set and parked my bones in the chair.   Ahhhh...it was a cool breeze the water cold and jet engine noise from just across the ramp.....was this heaven? Well, I think not, but it sure felt good.
Mike completed the pre-flight and I tried to stay out of his way. We finished up and climbed aboard for some approaches, air work and holds. Mike laid out the plan and we soon taxied for our departure to the practice area, just to the airports south west. The foggles went on at 500 feet and once on station inthe practice area we did some clearing turns,  climbs and descents while turning 360's along with some slow flight work and steep turns. Mike quickly brushed off the rust, his words, I think he was as sharp as usual.
outside the final approach fix ILS 10 KILG
almost to the FAF - HADIN
Mike also knocked out the GPS 17 at KEVY, a procedure turn and two laps in the hold. Next up was the ILS 1 into Wilmington. We did the practice approach with the tower vs calling up Philly approach. The ILS was a low approach to accommodate traffic ending in a step to the right and landing on runway one niner. A fun night flying followed by a good dinner at EATS, Thanks Mike, my turn to buy the next time out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Report to Cape May

This morning I made the quick hop to Cape May for my project.  I tried to file direct but that was a no go and instead I got ILG-OOD-WWD.  Ok, almost direct with a slight trek towards the Woodstown VOR. The sky was gorgeous and winds favored the south east leg. I was soon climbing out of Wilmington and checking in with multiple philly approach sectors and finally Atlantic City.
my ride today
Testing  for compaction
AC asked what approach I wanted and I responded the visual for runway one. It was a ten mile forty-five entry  with multiple call outs for position once my IFR plan was canceled.  A super smooth landing and taxi to the FBO for parking, the fun part of my morning was over.  Work was busy but being on site early  enabled me to accomplsh so much more than a normal driving day.
low ceiling
It was soon time to head home, where did the day go? I decided I would need to file if I wanted some actual with a good safety margin available,  bases were 2500 and tops 4500.  I'm still expanding my minimums and experiences every IFR flight, today would add another building block.

I called Atlantic City departure on 121.7 from the ramp at Cape May. The plan I filed was changed but not by much.  KWWD-SIE-OOD-KILG.  I was cleared 2000 feet and 4000 in ten minutes, I would be in the thick of it, temps were perfect and freezing level at 12000, plenty of safety to get some actual.
breaking out
At 2500 I entered the solid IMC. Flying in the proverbial gallon of milk. Clouds were white and bright as I sailed along just about 500 feet below the tops and a pretty blue sky. Instead, I bumped along dealing with erratic yaw movements and the changing winds. Approach vectored me to a 360 heading with the instruction to intercept victor 166 airway. I should have made the changes on the Garmin 530 by activating the SIE-OOD leg and the CDI would have acted as if I was intercepting a new course or established on an ILS (great explanation Mike),  Instead, as I crossed the victor airway I hit the direct to, cursored to OOD and hit enter.  It worked but maintaining the precision of the airway could have been an issue.

I was clear of the clouds just as the Garmin 496 had displayed. I settled in and ran through the actual flight time in my head over and over. I was happy with my performance and am excited about getting more actual as conditions warrant.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Anual Trip North

Mary and I decided we would head north today to take care of my parents grave.  This is an annual trip to ready the cemetery site for memorial day.  I grew up spending each memorial day holiday in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania making the rounds, paying respects to each family member that had passed.  The men folk would load up all the flowers in the pick-up trucks and head out to make the delivery/set up at each cemetery. Next, it was home to get cleaned up and head back out with the rest of the family to make the rounds, sort of a social event, well, at least it seemed that way as a kid. Every year the Italian ladies would say oh Clara...that's your baby?  Oh, look how much he's grown, such a nice boy (with the pinch of the cheeks). Mind you this routine went on well into my late teens.

We arrived at the airport early,somewhere around 8:15AM.  It's been a while since Mary and I went through the pre-flight together but things flowed very quickly. I had filed my IFR flight plan yesterday; DQO V29 LVZ. Mary parked the SUV out in the lot while I chugged and plugged the flight plan. Once my Bride climbed aboard we got 08Romeo started.  I contacted ground and was ready to copy my clearance.
Approaching Allentown
Through the clouds
Last one, just missing it
Philly was busy today but kept things moving at a good pace. We were held at 4000 then cleared to six once clear of their flight path. We were handed off to multiple sectors at philly then off to Allentown for the ride up to the Wilkes-Barre Terminal Radar Service Area (TRSA).  Wilkes approach is always great to deal with and they cleared me to land once I reported the field in sight.  Heck, I don't think I was clear the mountain and into the valley yet. Base to final and my speeds were looking good for the landing. I remembered the air drops out of your sails as you cross the big drop just before the runway, and it did. Power power....ok sink arrested, ease it out, nice smooth flare with a slight thud to the numbers.  Not my best but we are in and 08Romeo will indeed fly again.
Wind Turbines, last ridge before AVP
I took on maybe 8-10 gallons and secured the courtesy van for the ride across the valley.  It was 27 miles door to door round trip, yes I wrote it down.  We stopped for flowers at the flower warehouse then headed to the Italian cemetery.  The ground was soft and damp, easy work to plant a monster geranium and two dusty millers. I made a few rounds saying a prayer at my Aunts and Uncles. You know, all of them used to crack jokes about once they were all there they would have a party since the family is so close together, heck, my Grandparents are just across the drive from the rest of the gang.
Heading south to Wilkes-Barre LVZ VOR
Vector for avoiding large storm cell and heavy rain

Not much better off the right wing
We decided to head back to the airport and get on our way.  The clouds were rolling in and a few were big dark ugly monsters, not something I wanted to tangle with. I filed from the plane with my iPad and made the call to pick up my clearance.  Ground threw me curve and added the Scranton Four departure to the typical runway heading, radar vectors blah blah blah. I was directed to taxi to runway 4 for departure, contact the tower when ready for release.  I did exactly that and was soon climbing out for 5000.
A few shots approaching the Lehigh Tunnel from the north
It was a bumpy ride at 6000 but better then most altitudes since everyone was looking for six.  I retraced the approach frequencies for the trip home; allentown, multiple philly hand-offs and finally over to the Wimington Tower. Wilmington Sundowner 6708romeo visual for two seven. I was cleared to land and worked to shed altitude making my way to the runway. An ok landing at home with a short taxi to my tie down. Aircraft secured, covered and just needing a few gulps of fuel to bring it back to 20 a side.  My Bride slept both ways today, falling asleep before we even took off from Wilmington and the same for leaving Wilkes-Barre.  It felt good getting back in the air....looking forward to our next adventure.