Sunday, July 31, 2011

Breakfast at Kays

A quick turn and burn for breakfast at Kay's.  Kay's is located at the runway one six approach on the south side of the field, in the terminal at Cambridge-Dorchester Airport-KCGE.  I woke the princess and asked if she wanted to do a breakfast run or boardwalk run.  Together we decided on a breakfast run to Kay's and we would think about the boardwalk run over to Ocean City MD.
West view, Chesapeake Bay
We launched out of Wilmington and enjoyed a smooth flight at two thousand eight hundred singing with the country hits on xm radio.  I did monitor Dover approach and heard us called out twice before switching to the unicom frequency at CGE.  There were a few planes in the pattern for runway three four but they cleared as we made our way now just five miles north.  A Cessna called out a base entry, right base that's is, non-standard but I had a visual and followed number two from the left base entry.
The restaurant was busy but the church crowd hadn't arrived yet.  We had a window seat and shared the company of two hummingbirds at the feeder just outside our window.  Pictures you, I left my phone in the plane.  Breakfast was perfect and I topped it off with my first sweet tea since June first. How can anyone resist a mason jar of the finest sweet tea around?
Salem nuke plant
We saddled back up and launched for home.  It was already getting humid and the thought of walking the boards did not sound as good after a big breakfast.  Wilmington it is and I pointed north east at three thousand feet.  I tuned in Dover approach and heard Frank in his comanchee N833DF shooting a practice approach. I was going to say hello but Dover seemed busy.  Instead I checked in to request flight following and that way I knew he heard me.  I thought I heard Mike B make a call so I assume he was flying right seat for Frank.

Dover dropped me and I made the call to Wilmington  as I was getting ready to let down for pattern altitude. I was directed to make a right base entry for runway niner.  I acknowledged and flowed through my checks. Since I haven't flown in a while I made sure to verbalize my one thousand foot checks on climb out and at cruise. On the set up for landing I made the Gas, U should know (pattern alt VFR or first two steps for the missed IFR), Mixture rich, Pump on, Switches/safety (GUMPS) check twice, about three miles out and then again turning final.
We buttoned up 08Romeo and headed for home. The Aeroways fuel truck passed us on the ramp so I topped off the tanks to the slots, 20 gallons each side.  We made a stop for Maggie's dog chow and that's it, we are in for the day.  Good eats, fun time with my Bride and 1.6 round trip for some much needed air time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Passed Flight Physical

My Flight physical was scheduled for today and I was eager to get it over with. I have previously held the second class but for now the third class is fine.

Of course with anything related to the FAA there is paper work involved. I filled out the AOPA turbo medical forms but found out they do not cross post with the FAA. My Doctor still accepted the form which saved all that extra copy time.  The AOPA turbo medical also saves your info from year to year which is a big help. Simply update your logbook total time to date and the previous six months along with any additional doctor visits in the last three years and you're golden.

To qualify for a third class medical certificate, pilots must meet the following requirements:

Distant vision: 20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction.

Near vision: 20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction, as measured at a distance of 16 inches.

Color vision: Demonstrate the ability to perceive the colors necessary for the safe performance of airman duties.

Hearing: Demonstrate the ability to hear an average conversational voice in a quiet room, using both ears, at a distance of six feet, with their back turned to the examiner, or pass an approved audiometric test.

Ear, Nose, and Throat: Exhibit no ear disease or condition manifested by, or that may reasonably be expected to be manifested by, vertigo or a disturbance of speech or equilibrium.

Blood Pressure: Under 155/95

Mental Status: No diagnosis of psychosis, bipolar disorder, or severe personality disorders.

Substance Dependence: No dependence on alcohol or any pharmacological substance in the previous two years. Obviously for this test you must submit a sample, so instead of making that potty run when you get up in the morning, try and save it for the cup. I thought I was going to spring a leak, no joke.

Everything else went fine and after a review of my 2009 visit and this years form with an exchange about my hip and my hip revision I was good to go for two more years.  I should add we also talked about aircraft, I guess that would be a given.  The Doc flys an Aztec and he is flying to Richmond, VA this evening with his wife and their Shetland Sheepdog. I hope the heat isn't to bad this evening.

I decided to add info related to the medical certificate that maybe can answer some questions for the wanna be pilots and provide some info for those who read along even if they don't fly.

How do I get a medical certificate?

By passing a physical examination administered by a doctor who is an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner.

Where do I get my medical certificate?

From any FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner. There are approximately 6,000 of them in the U.S.

Where can I get a list of FAA-authorized aviation medical examiners?

The FAA publishes a directory that lists them by name and address or follow the instructions on the Find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) link.

When required, what class of medical certificate must a student pilot have?

Third-class, although any class will suffice. Medical certificates are designated as first-class, second-class, or third-class. Generally, first-class is designed for the airline transport pilot; second-class for the commercial pilot; and third-class for the student, recreational and private pilot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maintenance Items

Poor quality shot but shows location of work
08Romeo is in the shop tonight getting ready for a few small issues I want to update.  I noticed the co-pilots mic/PTT cable located under the yoke was starting to come apart.  I guess age and heat in the cockpit have taken its toll.  Of course I had to investigate and pick at the thing, yes, about 3 inches of black outer coating from the cable is gone.
Since it's to darn hot to fly I figured I would get the cord replaced and while the shop has it apart replace the PTT switch. A little extra preventative maintenance goes a long way.


Items replaced.  Everything is working fine and the new PTT switch has a better feel then my pilot side, I may have to update my side too. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Angel and Polo Rescue

I can not say enough times how dedicated the folks at MAESSR are to taking care of these furry kids.  I wish everyone could see how folks line up for the ground transports and pilots for the "Springer air" missions. Just watching the emails roll along and the coordination involved to make this all happen is amazing.  There are good people in this world and getting the chance to help out with this group reinforces those beliefs every time we take on a furry passenger.
The emails went out and I could not just move this one to the MAESSR folder.  The wx forecast was looking good and Mary and I had a choice of getting some cleaning and yard work done or flying a rescue...after reading the email it had to be the rescue.

Who wants puppy kisses from a handsome black and white fella named Polo?

Polo is an energetic, bouncy 5 month old intact boy! Polo has not been to the vet yet as he is still a puppy. He also has had no experience with being in the car, what an adventure this boy is going on! So, it would probably be best to either crate or at the minimum, harness this boy for safety - he may get a bit excited!

Mary and I were hooked, we wanted to transport this fella. I worked through some emails Thursday and the transport took shape. Another Springer passenger, Angel, was a potential rider if the ground transport could work. Vern agreed to pick up Angel in Chesapeake, VA (Hampton Road Executive Airport) and take him to Goochland, VA for Debbie. Once at Hampton Roads Executive (KPVG) we would pick up Polo and take him north with us back to Wilmington.

We were off for the airport with a single stop planned for a Dunkin Donuts breakfast. Traffic wasn't to bad and despite the ramp to I-95 being closed due to an accident, we still made good time.  Meg pulled in with Angel shortly after Mary parked the SUV and we all walked back to the plane. It was so nice to meet Meg and to think we all grew up in the same area. We loaded up Angel and he settled in finding a comfy place where the air vent was blowing on him.

Meg and Angel

I'm comfy back here, just fly the plane
I picked up my clearance with Wilmington ground and was soon heading for runway two seven.  Run up completed and advised ready for release we were number two to depart. The tower amended my clearance with a specific turn and climb, hey it works for me.  Handed of to Philly and they clear me to 6000 direct Salisbury (SBY), again every little bit helps when given short cuts. We did get to see a C5 pass by us going north and I managed to get a picture!
Pick your passage
We made our way following the Delmarva peninsula just out over the Chesapeake Bay.  I had one large wall of build ups in front of me and asked to deviate around them. I ended up splitting the twin towers of clouds and peaking through over the Bay. Shortly after that build up we could see across the Bay to the next one, hanging over Norfolk.  As I approached Cape Charles we were turned direct Hampton Roads, this was a GREAT change. This course change and descent to three thousand brought me directly over the fleet and I got to snap a few pictures, just an awesome sight.
Layer over Norfolk
The Fleet!
I had the wx noted and field in sight so I canceled with approach.  I made my calls on unicom and like a dip stick did not double check the pattern for runway one zero, it was right. Immediately following my position/intention call unicom noted that traffic was right pattern.  I updated my call with a fly over the field and circle back for a short 45* for the RIGHT down wind for ten.
Vern and Angel

I taxied to the new Terminal, very nice. Mary and I  helped our Angel boy out of the plane and over to a shady area.  We met Vern and he headed out to his SUV. We exchanged some info but he seemed anxious to get on the road, he had two more hours of driving just to drop Angel off to his new FURever home.
We said our goodbyes and headed back to the ramp, making the exchange for Polo. This little fella almost caused mission fail, no joke, we were really thinking about just taking him home. Polo was a bit scared with all the new sounds and surroundings. Mary escorted our little passenger into the terminal where everyone fussed over him, I saw that tail start to wag.
Asleep as we cross over the bay Bridge tunnel

Polo loaded up once the fuel was complete and we were ready to go. It took me a while to get through to the Clearance Delivery number at the FAA because my blue tooth wasn't working. I finally got it squared away and made the call. I had already entered our flight plan matching what was sent to my iPhone. Things changed quickly. I was give a departure procedure then turns and altitude changes prior to departure.  Ok, no problem, I looked up what I needed on the iPad made some notes then launched just making the void time by two minutes. Approach was really good and they even asked what type of dogs we were flying.
Polo was curled up in Mary's lap for the first half hour then decided to be a big boy and venture to the rear area.  I always remove the seats and provide a shipping blanket for our passengers to curl up on.  Well this little fella found a small area behind the seats but in front of the wing spar and wiggled in.  Cute, one problem, he was now doing the wiggle butt under my seat. I could feel his head under my seat as he crawled in to get comfy. Polo had his nose sticking out the front of my seat and his tail sticking out the back, he was settled and happy, who am I to make him move.

Yep, in my path

Ducking under at 3000
Is this how I get out?????
The north leg required some changes to avoid some large build ups that stretched up the peninsula. I gave up looking for a spot to get back on course for Salisbury and requested lower, knowing it could be a rough ride.  It was, bumpity bump the whole way .  Dover never looked so good then the same thoughts for the C&D canal followed by Wilmington over the nose, we were almost home. Philly handed me off to the Wilmington tower and I was cleared to land on runway two seven.  Good landing and quick taxi to the tie down.
My house, I feel safe

Wade and Jill, Foster Family

Mary walked out to meet Polo's new foster family and bring them on the ramp.  I was still trying to figure out how to get the little guy out from under my seat. Polo finally crawled out from under the front of the seat when Mary did the little kid happy voice.

Another great mission in the book, we are happy to do our part. Time for some cold water and a nap!


A quick note from foster parents Jill and Wade. Polo George wanted to pass along a thanks.....
You're welcome George!!  Aunt Mary and Uncle Gary hope you settle in and enjoy your new home and parents, you've got it made! Play nice with your big sister Gracie too!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jackson's Rescue

Meet Jackson
It was a typical  work week, dealing with contractors and finishing up paperwork to close a few projects. While working on setting up cost summaries for some new work my email notification went off.  Adam S, MAESSR Transportation Coordinator had sent a request for a possible weekend flight.

" This is another short mission request for a ground transport that is having trouble being filled. This is for Jackson, a 9 year old male who is coming back into MAESSR's care. He's a good traveler and good with people, but less so with other dogs. Take a look and see if this peaks your interest for some weekend flying.

We would like to get the dog all the way down to Louisa, however an I'm putting an alternate drop off location in Frederick MD if that is the better fit with someones schedule. We could get the ground transport to pick up the rest from there. The trip to Louisa is about 175 nm, while the trip to Frederick, is only about 90 nm. This is a Sunday transport. "

I read through the post and decided to give Mary a call before I responded to volunteer our services. Mary was all in, and she was as excited as I am to make the run. I sent my response with information on our availability.
Leg one is from KILG, Wilmington to KSEG, Penn Valley Airport in Selinsgrove, PA. This morning we were heading south for Wilmington ready to have some fun.  Our planned departure is at 8:15am arriving at KSEG around 9:15ish.  The plan is to meet with Ray and Tina and make the transfer of Jackson to our plane. Ray and Tina drove from Montoursville to complete the ground portion of the transport, a big THANKS for making this happen.

I had filed my instrument flight plan early this morning and picked up my clearance with Wilmington ground. We were soon climbing out for Penn Valley KSEG.  Philly approach handed us off to Harrisburg for the ride along to our destination.  I was maybe 8 miles out and canceled IFR with ATC and made my calls to Penn Valley traffic to advise I was inbound. I did ask the man on unicom if a furry passenger had arrived, he said not yet.
We made our way over the last ridge and made a nice landing on runway three five. It was a short taxi in and we shutdown right across from the terminal. I met up with Ray and Tina and gathered some info on our furry passenger. Jackson was full of energy, he was checking everything out. Mary and i took a few pictures and decided it was time to load up for the next leg south.
I called  Harrisburg on the number the last controller gave me since he advised my next flight plan was waiting for me when we were on our way in to Penn Valley.  I dialed up the number with my bluetooth connected to my lightspeed zulu, what a great tool to have in the cockpit. My clearance was as filed (AF) that was a first for me, no radar vectors runway heading just plain ole as filed.
Mountains west of MRB
08Romeo climbed out of Penn valley departing the area between the two ridge lines then turning on course. Harrisburg gave us the go to climb to six thousand and amended or flight plan. ATC gave us direct SCAPE then AF, ok, not to bad just helping us keep clear of the presidential TFR around Camp David. We were handed off to Washington center followed by Potomac for two different sectors. 
The last Potomac controller had a stuck mic and I heard him ask another person if they can get me direct Louisa (KLKU) and save me some time, what a good guy!!  Sure enough after they figured out the mic was stuck and I got a few vectors for traffic I was turned direct Louisa.  I had entered dog rescue in the comments so maybe that helped. Jackson was still wide eyed, hadn't slept a wink the whole flight. At least he settled right in and was a very good boy. I requested the RNAV GPS 27 approach and ATC vectored me to an initial approach fix BECBA.  Never did figure out why they just didn't give a direct to, who knows. 
Louisa airport is now over the nose as I make my way down the GPS approach. I canceled in the air and switched over to the unicom to announce my position and intentions. Another smooth landing and taxi back to the terminal. April was tracking us on flightaware so she was already waiting for us at the airport.  Jackson saw her walking to the plane and he started singing us a tune. Mary held his leash while I climbed down the wing and opened the baggage door. Jackson was on the ramp, he hopped out the door like a pro.
Mary and I helped April load up Jackson's box of info and get his bed situated in her vehicle. With a tap of the hand and a kennel command Jackson jumped in the SUV and was ready to go, a ball of energy. We said our goodbyes, which is always the hard part, but asked April to give Debbie a big hug from us both. Nice to meet you April!! Thanks for helping us out with the pick up.
08Romeo need some fuel so I took on enough to bring us to forty. I figured it would be an hour and forty-five home and having some extra beyond the required for IFR gives me a warm and fuzzy. I made a call to Potomac and picked up my clearance for home.  This one is pretty straight forward; launch out of KLKU TAPPA PXT ENO and home.

Clear sailing up the Bay
The flight was really smooth, hands off most of the way.  Once north of TAPPA I did log some actual along with a request to deviate around some build ups, I wasn't the only one. We made our way up the Delmarva peninsula and as usual got lower which stuck me in the middle of the layer.  It wasn't bad a first then we got rocking pretty good and it woke Mary up, I asked for lower. Dover always drops me down lower in their area, must be some feeder for Philly.

Finally handed off to Philly followed by the Wilmington tower, we're almost home.  I reported a right mid-field down wind for runway one nine as directed and finished off the day with a short field landing that was oh so sweet. I had to add power to get to taxiway Kilo.  We buttoned up 08Romeo and headed for home. I did drink water along the way but we didn't make a breakfast stop this morning. With 5.4 hours flying today we were hungry and thirsty. We decided on Johnnies Hot dogs with some root beer that hit the spot!!  Thanks to my lovely Bride for all her help and thanks to the folks associated with MAESSR !!!!