Sunday, October 02, 2011

BACFest 2011 Ithaca, NY

BACFest is here!  Mary and I decided to attend BAC fest this year since it's almost in our back yard and we really want to see our friends from Texas. The event is going to take place in Ithaca, NY just one hour and forty minutes flight time north.  

It's been hectic trying to plan a few trips and still get ready to demo our kitchen and have everything ready for the cabinet maker to do his install. One of the chores is to pack everything up prior to demo, I think this is the biggest PITA but obviously a critical step. The demo part will be fun, what guy doesn't like tearing things apart. I do have to remind myself that all this will happen at the same time 08Romeo goes in for annual and I'll be spending three days, of my week vacation, rolling around on the shop floor only to have to come home and start the demo.

I digress, this write up is about BAC fest. I just thought some background into what's going on at home would offset any senseless ramblings off the beaten path, I rest my case.

Maggie has a boarding reservation for Friday and the cats are good to go.  The plan is to be out of the house early and at the plane by 7am. I will have the fuel topped and maybe the cover removed the night before but at least we will be ready to launch by 7:30ish. The logistics are pretty much covered now we await the wx and Saturday's departure.

UPDATE: Friday 9/30/2011

A change in the plan! Our conversation walking out to our vehicles on the way to work this morning went something like this. The wx is not looking good for a flight to Ithaca on Saturday so we both decided to take a half day today and literally get on the road in our SUV. A few hours later as the wx updates it looks very doable for a Friday departure and it's looking better for a Sunday return home, that would work and we really don't want to drive.
Departing two seven at ILG
We make a few calls back and forth and decide on leaving work around 11AM. We only need to drop off Maggie by 2PM so that would be our only time restriction. I arrive first and start to pack, Mary pulls in shortly after me a she starts packing. The dog knows somethings up but she has no clue she won't be going with us. Bags tossed in the SUV flight bag and Marys headset bag loaded along with her GPS from the car. Maggie is all excited and struggles to sit-stay until the kennel command releases her to board the SUV.

It's only a few minutes to the Vet and she is not a happy gal, by the way I always get to drop the dog off so I guess I'm the bad guy.  Ok Mary has dropped her off a few times. We are soon pointed south and heading towards 08Romeo, who is waiting with a full belly of fuel ready to fly.

Mary and I flow through the ritual and have 08Romeo ready to fly.  I contact ground and pick up my clearance.

A- 2000/6000-10
F- 119.75
T- 4272
wx ahead!
eyeball confirmation
Pocono racetrack (NASCAR)
We took off from runway two seven and flew runway heading (RH) until Philly gave us a direct Pottstown (PTW) from there we got four thousand and direct Allentown (FJC)riding along waiting for the hand off to Allentown Approach. Once handed off Allentown we were cleared to five thousand and then in time handed over to Wilkes-Barre Approach.  Wilkes-Barre gave us direct Binghamton (CFB)and a climb to six thousand. We were handed off to Binghamton then Elmira eventually getting stepped down for the arrival into Ithaca.  A smooth landing in clear conditions with a taxi to the ramp full of Mice (Beechcraft Musketeers). We were here, start to stop just two hours with one hour forty minutes of that flight time.
Cayuga Lake
Final One Four - KITH
KITH Tower
The lineman brought out our car, a new grey Volkswagen tiguan. Neat lil SUV with plenty of room.  We loaded up then took a call from Bo and Tom who were waiting in the FBO parking lot, they had tracked us on FlightAware. SO nice of them to come get us since they weren't sure if we had a car scheduled for today's amended arrival plans. We followed them to the hotel. a short few minute drive.

We got everything unpacked and realized we forgot sweatshirts and heavy jackets, the temps were in the low fifties. We will make do and once finished getting things put away we headed downstairs to meet the BAC Fest attendees. Mary and I headed to the bar for a drink and some good conversation. It was so nice to see Bo and his Bride Sandra.  Mary and I mingled and I got to put faces to the names on the Beech Aero Club forum.

The group gathered for a "happy hour" in a private room in the hotel.  Munchies were great and so was the chance to walk around and meet people. There were so many new faces and names, I'm not sure I can remember everyone. 
The Rose
The folks at our table and a few others decided to walk across the parking and have dinner at The Rose, Tap room and grill. Food and service was good and the conversation never stopped from the hotel to the Rose and back to the hotel. Mary and I decided to call it a night since we had been up since 5AM. We were happy to be here a night earlier than originally planned.

Saturday 10/1/2011

Saturday was our day to explore. The plan at breakfast was to invade the Ithaca Farmers Market, Apple Festival, Indian Festival and a second run to the chocolate factory, well at least a first visit by Mary and I.  I think we had four cars in the party and once staged we were off to have fun. Most of the men stayed back for the business meeting, I took a pass, I sit in meetings all the time and I didn't need to make this one.
Farmers Market
First stop was the Farmers Market. This place had a little bit of everything and a lot of produce, breads and wine. Here are a few pictures to enjoy, it's better then reading it all.  The picture of Mary and I is taken with Cayuga lake and the boat ride dock behind us. It was cold and windy but the pavilion helped block most of the wind.
At Farmers Market boat dock on lake Cayuga
Sandra took a pass on returning to the So Sweet Chocolate factory with us so Mary and I went on ourselves with the trusty GPS to guide us. The roads and homes reminded us of Wilkes-Barre, PA....only the names and address was different. Small town USA is everywhere. We both noticed how clean and updated everyone kept their homes, again home town pride. We passed a State Park sign and a sign that read Taughannock Falls, we would need to investigate this after the chocolate stop.
Life's So Sweet Chocolate
We made a U turn at the car wash and found on street parking. This was old main street, the buildings were very old but most had a shop of some sort making a go of it, I like the old towns and the architecture of the buildings. I parked out front of an antique store just a few steps from the Life's So Sweet Chocolates. We walked in and immediately could smell the chocolate! The young lady working the counter gave us a lot of good info and she knew the products and process.

Mary and I literally were like two kids in a candy store! We purchased the following; peanut clusters in milk choc, macaroons, pecan clusters in milk choc, sweedish fish, some chocolate with little white dots and we each got a chocolate bar, one with cashews and one with toffy crunch sprinkles.
With our sugar rush in high gear we saddled up for a ride back down the hill to the state park.  We passed the antique mall that was noted for a potential afternoon visit and finally turned off the highway for the falls. We had our choice of hiking through the woods to a river level falls view or drive on through the park to the scenic view, we opted for the overlook.
The falls were gorgeous and now we understand why the Life's so sweet clerk said most graduates have their pictures taken there. We hoofed it back up the slate stairs and back to the SUV. We weree keeping an eye on time since the BAC Fest had a scheduled luncheon and general members meeting scheduled at noon. I pulled the Volkswagen into the lot with a few minutes to spare and we headed inside, out of the rain, to clean up for lunch.  The meetings were split between members and spouses, I think the ladies had more fun but I will admit I learned about the club and how we operate.

By the time the social hours wrapped up we had enough time to grab a few winks,shower and dress for cocktails before dinner. We all met outside the ballroom to mingle and enjoy a drink or two. I was knocking down sprite since I was flying in the morning. We enjoyed a nice dinner and we had an excellent speaker from Aero News Network, the Editor in Chief, Jim Campbell. BAC also handed out awards and our friend Bo(Flights of the Mouse)took home a gorgeous plaque for his efforts. Congrats my friend!!!
I didn't hang out to late with the group but I hear the party lasted past midnight. I turned in around 10:30 wanting to check on Mary who had left not long after dinner due to a diverticulitis flare up. My bride was resting comfortably and feeling a little better. I'm glad she decided to lay down and rest since we would have a possible bumpy flight home in wx.

Sunday 10/2/2011

I guess we wandered downstairs around 8:30 and met up with fellow club members for breakfast. Everyone looked no worse for wear as we all planned departures, most by car some of us by plane. I checked on the latest updates and it looked like a 1PM departure was our best bet but by the time we finished eating the updates rolled in and they looked worse. Radar was painting an ugly picture (that I forgot to snap) but it was moving west through Ithaca. Once that band had passed we were at least good to go for avoiding heavy rain and winds.  Here is a shot I just took at 4:51, six and a half hours after we left. Update was from 4:30.
Waiting on a Mooney to land, hold short 32
Wheels up ready for IMC
Here we go!
We launched into 800 overcast with a comfort factor knowing I could get in on the ILS if I had to. I kept the fuel load a bit lighter just in case we needed to climb out of a layer to avoid the icing area. Temps were in the forty's when we left and the freezing level was at eight thousand.  I had planned for seven thousand but after looking at the Minimum Enroute Altitude(MEA)I opted for five.
Broke out at 3000'
Thanks Wilkes Barre, heading back into IMC
I sat at the hold short watching a Mooney land and he reported tops at three thousand. That report gave me a warm and fuzzy. Once cleared for takeoff the tower passed along his info and I thanked the Mooney pilot. We were on the roll ready to enter Instrument conditions. A nice steady climb out at six hundred feet a minute with a radio flip over to Elmira departure.  I was cleared direct Binghamton (CFB)and eventually handed off to Wilkes-Barre Approach.  WB cleared me to six thousand (in the clag) and I road along checking outside temps sitting at thirty five degrees. Light rain sprayed the windscreen but didn't even make any noise. I kept a close watch on the temp probe and the corner of my window where I could watch rain drops dance, as long as they keep dancing.
IMC and the rain
Broke out north of Allentown
Thanks Allentown, descends me into IMC at 4000
Pitot heat was on just to be safe as I logged almost an hour straight in the crap. About seven miles north of Allentown I finally broke out for some sun but could see potential layers daring me to enter. I requested a deviation to the right twenty degrees to avoid some large build-ups then quickly returned to course. It was looking like I could make it well into Philly airspace and almost to Wilmington at this altitude.
almost in the clag
The pipe dream didn't last long as Allentown lowered me for Philly traffic.  I thought this might happen but had wished for the best. Goodbye sunshine, into the clag we go. I got blasted with showers but the outside temps were now near forty degrees.  Allentown handed me off to Philly and they turned me direct Modena (MXE)instead of my as filed Pottstown (PTW). I didn't make it to Modena, not even close as Philly decided to turn me towards their airport and vector me for the RNAV GPS 27 into Wilmington. The young female controller advised to expect KAHOE.
DRBA War Memorial and offices ( thats my office)
Misty rain....
Landing two seven at ILG
I chugged through the Garmin 530 but did not see KAHOE on the GPS 27 on the Vectors To Final selection (VTF). It was listed on my approach plate as an Initial fix and available if I choose RUUTH or Woodstown (OOD). No problem I was on vectors so I selected RUUTH then direct KAHOE so I was ready.  I got the final vector for KAHOE and was directed to maintain at or above three thousand. I crossed KAHOE, making my right turn to a loooong final at three thousand. I was looking good on course and altitude clicking off. Down to eighteen hundred at GUSTE. Eight sixty at JEKVO and four eighty say five hundred for the Missed Approach Point (MAP).  I caught a glimpse of the twin bridges and then nothing. Back inside then a peek out still nothing. Mary calls out ground, six hundred descending and I see the Air National Guard C130's off to the right of the runway and finally the runway as I pass through five fifty.

A smooth landing adding power to make the first taxiway.  We are home! Almost two hours of actual and another Approach towards currency. The Instrument rating got us home today, on schedule. We would have been stuck in Ithaca until Wednesday waiting for the ceiling to lift.


BWI said...

Nice stuff! Thanks for sharing this post recently. I'm looking forward to reading more.

D.B. said...

A little jealous here. In Texas recently, the only IMC has been associated with thunderstorms, so it's hard to get actual. I normally wait for days with low cloud and stable air to go up and get some time in real IMC, but there have been none all year. Just sunshine.