Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cross Wind Practice

I decided to once again take to the sky!  My drywall/painter canceled this morning but not early enough to allow me to meet up with the Woodbine Airport bunch that headed out to Sky Manor - N40   for breakfast.  I did manage to get some homework done and did some reading for the quiz due for each class by tomorrow morning. It's too nice to sit here and read, I decided to head to the airport.
Philly in the distant haze
I sent a text to Vince to see if he wanted in and he said he would meet me at the plane. The plan for today was just to get some cross wind practice in at a different airport with a runway that isn't as wide as Wilmington's 150 feet.  Brandywine - KOQN, with its 50 foot runway width is just a short hop to the north and the winds can be fun as you cross the gully at runway two seven, that's my plan.  I took on a few gallons to replenish yesterdays fuel burn and completed the pre-flight.
I was launching off runway one niner and making a right turn on course, the winds were kicking! I had a great tail wind pushing me north at 120+ knots. I tracked the Modena VOR and then broke it off to enter on the forty-five passing between two water towers like a football heading for a field goal. I announced a three mile forty-five and continued in. Down wind, base and final has me high and fast. I pull the remaining power and slip to the numbers adding the last notch of flaps as I clear the gully (roadway). Not bad for round one as I taxi clear.
KOQN Short Final RW27
The second round has us climbing out of Brandywine and headed to Chester County-KMQS. The winds here should be a direct cross wind and add to the challenge. Winds were from 200- 210 and I pointed for runway two niner. I had plenty of Aileron in as I touched down and still got a bit of a side load push until my right main was solid on the ground and the flaps were retracted. We taxied clear and headed back for the hop home.
On the ramp at KOQN
Departing runway two niner and maintaining noise abatement I turn cross wind to the south. I hear a call from an aircraft on the forty five for the left down wind two nine and start an immediate climb at 1000 fpm to get above pattern. Searching for the traffic at my one o'clock Vince makes the call, traffic low right to left passing under us by at least 500 feet. See and avoid at all times, at least he made his calls.

More bumpy air as we contact Wilmington with the current info, intentions and final parking request.  We are directed to make a straight in for runway one niner and after avoiding the VP's TFR we line up on a 3 mile final approach. I grade this landing as ok while my main concern is clearing the runway with three aircraft behind me. I make the first turn off and clear one niner as I  spot the Archer passing over the numbers. There was a jet behind him and another piston pounder as #3 to land.

A fun quick hour of bumps and crosswinds! Ok, my fun is over, back to the kitchen remodel.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lunch Hop to WWD

I had enough of kitchen remodel and decided I needed some flight time.  Mary had a few things to do so I posted on FB then Vince sent me a text message. We decided on a 1pm departure from Wilmington.  Vince sent a second text asking if his brother could join us, I responded no problems but I just took on 40 gallons of fuel, what's Joey's weight?  Ok punching in the numbers I come up just 3 pounds under gross and that's before start up and taxi fuel burn, we're good to go.

The brothers followed me in the gate, it was good timing. Vince and Joey followed me around while I did the pre-flight and I was worried about the battery acting up. I didn't get any stall horn when I checked.  We all climbed aboard after the pre-flight and fuel sump and crossed our fingers. Come on STEC starter do you magic! Maybe three blades and 08Romeo roared to life, there wasn't much battery power left. The amp gauge showed a charge and we waited for the oil temps to come up in the green.
File photo Bellanca Triple Tail
Vince made the calls and I taxied for the runway. I had my hand on the controls but let Vince get us in the air, he did a nice job despite pitching up a bit to much on wheels up but he quickly settled in and held a nice steady climb. I had him make the call for a turn on course and had him keep in the climb, he was rock solid at 500 a minute and a smooth turn, impressive.

We continued into Cape May and since we had traffic in the area I took controls and got us on the ground with a good landing. There were a lot of planes to see on the ramp. I counted five Yakovlev Yak-52's a Soviet primary trainer aircraft and a pair of Bellanca Cruisemaster's the "triple tail" 14-19-2 model. We also passed a bright yellow Pitts.
file photo YAK-52
We had a quick lunch then saddled back up for home. Once again Vince did a fine job on the take off and positioned us over the edge of the Delaware Bay to gain some altitude and let his brother enjoy some of the view. We turned for home and eventually made the call to Wilmington for landing instructions. We were to report a 3 mile left base for runway two seven. Vince took us to short final and then we transferred control for my landing. I'll grade this one as an ok, kind of firm, should have let it keep flying a bit more.

The three of us covered and secured 08Romeo then bugged out for home.  Thanks guys for a great time flying, hope we can do it again soon! Joey you did great for a first time ever flyer!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No Flying?

I haven't been flying in almost two weeks, not the norm for me.  It's been busy here at the Mascelli home as we worked through the design and now demo of our kitchen.  I get to play project manager, bringing what I do everyday home, as we coordinate the schedule and various crafts to get the job done.
Before pictures with old appliances
Our custom cabinets are going to be made in Amish country, New Holland, PA.  John B is, to say the least, a master craftsmen.  Bruce drew up our final design and put in on paper, providing a 3D concept view. Yours truly is the demo man along with help from my brother Joe to remove a half wall, appliances and eventually install the new floor.

Ongoing Demo!
Electrical is almost complete with eight new recessed lights, new track lighting over the breakfast nook area and a new ceiling fan. Joe E added multiple outlets above the additional counter space and to accommodate our wine refrigerator.  John D will begin drywall repairs and painting on Tuesday and be completed with plenty of time to spare for the scheduled cabinet install on December 9th.

Thanksgiving you ask? Yes, we will enjoy Turkey day with Mary's family at her Mothers home. From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

Please remember our troops and the sacrifices they, and their families make so we can sit at the table with our loved ones.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back to Basics

One of the many "favorite links" listed on the right side column of my blog is the N631S Blog.  Frank posted a video that was posted on the AvSig online forum that really hits home to those of us who fly with IFR certified GPS equipment.

I don't want to steal Frank's thunder so please, take the time, read the blog post and post your thoughts. Here is the direct link to the post; Children of the Magenta Line.

Frank, thanks for sharing!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Breakfast Hop to KGED

Direct to KGED flight plan
Swapped facebook messages yesterday with Jeff D from Woodbine about a possible breakfast run this morning.  Wx looks great and the VP's TFR starts around noon so I will be good to go and not have to file. I contacted Vince if he wanted to fly right seat since Mary took a pass.
South View
I walked through the gate and loved the chilly breeze blowing, it smelled clean. I went through my pre-flight and had to sump fuel since AeroWays delivered per my request last night. Everything looked great, cleaned off some bird souvenirs and climbed aboard.  Vince texted me saying he would be 15 minutes late getting to the plane. I started up and got the oil warmed then shut down in front of the Red Eagle hangar.  Vince climbed up on the wing and I picked up my check list and proceeded with an engine start.
Looking SE, Delaware River and Bay
I climbed out of Wilmington with a head wind just off the nose to our right and managed to hold 100-102 knots heading south. The Gods hopefully will reward me for not complaining and provide tail winds coming home, we shall see.  Vince wanted to do some radio work since flying was hands off and feet on the floor.  He contacted Dover approach for flight following and we flew together until 10 miles out of Georgetown.
Dover AFB Ramp, C5's
Dover Museum
I have really been working on the shock cooling and now nose over with slight reductions in RPM, sort of stepping down the power or at least trying to be even more aware of it. As we descended below 2,400 feet the winds really kicked in, it was like riding a bucking horse.  There was a Cherokee joining the pattern coming from the south west and he followed me in number two to land. I crossed mid-field and entered the down wind. We each reported our positions and as I turned base to final I had visual contact. Two notches of flaps and riding the winds, dodging a few turkey buzzards just over the trees on short final.  I decided to add a final notch of flaps even though that's not normal for me in gusting winds. Sure enough, I ballooned but made a nice landing with a quick turn around and taxi off to the terminal. The Cherokee followed suit dealing with the winds but his attempt looked better than my landing felt.
On the ramp at KGED
Jeff's Mooney at KGED
Vince and I secured the plane and I talked with the two men in the Cherokee.  I had given him a heads up about the buzzards on final and had mentioned my previous close encounter with the red tail hawk at Wilmington. Small world, he said "you write that blog" ah, yep that's me.  He said he reads along and follows my travels, that always makes it worth my time to document my ramblings. He had mentioned Bill ( Bills RV-7 Project and Travels) from Essex Skypark, one of my favorite reads on aviation.  I hope one day to cross paths with Bill and see his RV7, the pictures are awesome.
The Breakfast bunch!
Jeff and John rolled in in Jeff's immaculate Mooney, I think bugs avoid him.  We had a nice breakfast, good food, aviation chatter and of course watching the planes come an go on the ramp. When we finished up we saw a B25 taxi by, it was Tom Duffy's Take-Off Time based at Millville. It was nice to say Hi to Tom and I did ask about his recent purchase, a Mustang.  The Mustang is being painted and he gave us a snip of info on the scheme.

Tom Duffy's B25 - Take Off Time

I followed Jeff's Mooney out to runway two two and completed my run up. I launched into the gusty winds and bumped along to 3,000 feet and smooth air. No flight following on the way home, just enjoyed the flight and chatting with Vince.  We were spotting some aviation related items; the Smyrna VOR (ENO), Delaware Airpark 33N and a picture for my friend Jeff who moved to Champagne IL, Smyrna Airport - 38N and its grass strip.
Beat the VP TFR, nice tail winds!
I had the ATIS info for Wilmington and made my call. I confirmed, report mid-field down wind runway one nine. I extended so a jet could depart then made a nice landing with enough power to taxi clear on Kilo. Vince cleaned the leading edges and I covered and tied down. A fun day flying and catching up with friends.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Night Current/Safety Pilot

On the ILS RWY 1 at KILG
Mike and I traded text messages late in the day trying to schedule some flight time, it was to nice not to be in the air.  We agreed on 5ish and I bugged out of work for my haircut appointment. I got in the chair early and was walking out the door exactly at the scheduled time of my appointment, I love being early.  I had to turn and burn at the house to take care of the Maggie muffin and grab my flight bag.

I was heading south and ran into the traffic snarl on I-95 as I approached the ramp.  I diverted to a back up plan of heading into Wilmington and then jumping on south of the back up, it sounded good.  I managed to get back on I-95 and make the crawl to the plane.

Mike was running late so I got the pre-flight completed and climbed aboard. I was left seat tonight and got myself set up as Mike climbed on the wing. Mike did a second walk around then climbed in for the flight. Traffic was busy at ILG with corporates and the Air national Guard flying. We taxied to runway niner at kilo 5 and once cleared we were headed towards the south east, to Millville, KMIV.  Mike shot multiple approaches, the ILS RWY 10 and VOR A and I mixed in three landings and take offs for night currency.

I made two nice landings and one really crap, and I hate to call it a landing, more of a bounce it on in.  I had decided to bring up the lights on high intensity when turning base, wow, they look nice.  However, on short final I could not see the runway from all the glare and the bright lights messed with my night vision.  Like I said, I found the runway and it wasn't pretty.

The only traffic at Millville was a King Air departing on an IFR flight to the Carolina's.  I watched him depart as Mike was on the VOR A inbound.  We headed back to Wilmington and Mike worked Philly approach for the practice ILS RWY 1. We got one vector towards the final approach  then when we should have gotten a turn to intercept we were instructed to turn away about ten degrees for traffic. Approach followed up with a large right turn from heading 280* to 030* to intercept. Mike captured the localizer and road the rails to the runway, super nice job.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

OCMD Meet Up

Facebook has it benefits.  David and I started to correspond through facebook since we "friended" each other through another pilot.  I followed Davids posts on his Instrument Rating quest and he tortured himself enough to read a few of my blog posts.
Crossing ENO looking south west
Out of six for four
Fast forward to this weekend.  David and I traded a few posts and decided that we would take our Brides to Ocean City Maryland for an afternoon lunch at the Captain's Galley. Mary and I launched for the beach around noon and made the fifty minute trip. We climbed out of an overcast Wilmington on an instrument flight plan and soon entered the clag. The layer was smooth and around a thousand feet thick. We broke out on top in the bright sunshine and enjoyed our ride over the sea of white.
South of ENO
Looking out over the Delaware Bay
Philly handed us off to Dover and they turned us over to Patuxent. Patuxent descended us from six thousand to four which had us now sitting just under the layer. I did manage to log some actual and that made it fun. I got a few traffic call outs as we broke the ten miles out mark. I canceled in the air with approach and flipped to the CTAF to make my calls. I entered a left down wind for runway two and followed with my base to final turn and a nice soft landing.
David and his Cherokee 235
Dave, Mary, Lynn and Danelle
We taxied in and secured 08Romeo then noticed a text message from David alerting us to some battery problems. I ordered some fuel on check in and then settled in waiting on David and his family. I didn't know it but he was flying a Cherokee, a Cherokee 235 that really hauled the mail, they got in just fifteen minutes past our 1PM scheduled time.
RT 50 Bridge
Ocean City, MD
We grabbed the cab out front and made the quick trip to the Captains Galley. The menu had a wide range of sandwiches, appetizers and soups. I had shrimp salad that came with a cup of beef barley soup. Mary spilt the crab dip appetizer with me and had a bowl of cream of crab soup. We really enjoyed our lunch get-away with David, Lynn and Danelle and their friends Don and Dori.
Indian River Inlet Bridge
After lunch we decided to saddle up and head for home. The wx had cleared and the flight plan I previously filed was left unopened. Mary and I launched and climbed out of Ocean City turning north and enjoying the view. The Lewes ferry was coming in to port ,the tankers were making their way out of the Delaware Bay and it was a nice flight home as the time change ushered the sun to its early setting.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

POA Dinner

Me, Mary, Adam, Tam, Gary S, Anthony, Jennifer
Anthony from Pilots of America (POA) posted;

"Its been a while since the Wings FlyBQ, and a while since we've gotten together as a group. Anybody interested in meeting for drinks/dinner in King of Prussia or somewhere relatively central for us? Spouses included."

This sounded like a fun get-together so Mary and I responded that we would attend.

We had started our day with a nice ride south to Helen's Sausage House, a local favorite. I have made the stop on many occasions while heading to work at our Delaware Airpark facility or the Lewes Ferry facility. This would be Mary's first stop. The ride south was gorgeous, finally getting a chance to enjoy the fall colors since our Halloween snow fall.
The food was great! We couldn't finish our sandwiches so we saved them for tomorrow's breakfast. Mary and I purchased five pounds of raw sausage to take home so we could give some to Mom and her Uncle Reds. Full tummy's for both of us and we were ready to head back home. We made one additional stop at Willey's Farm Market and of course we brought some new holiday decorations home with us.
Once home we putzed around for a bit.  I decided to stop stalling and take my two tests for my Wilmington University courses and Mary took a nap. We were up, showered and dressed to go by 5:30 for the dinner run to King of Prussia and the Rock Bottom Brewery.
We ran into construction traffic on the way, but sat it out and kept on course. When we finally arrived at the mall I found a parking spot in the first row, no good deed goes unpunished. I made a quick call to Adam Z to find out where this place was located in the mall and he talked us in. About that no good deed, well that great parking spot was on the opposite side of the mall from our destination, you can tell how much I shop at that mall, or any for that matter.

We were seated quickly and our food and drink order was served in very short order, impressive. Dinner was great, conversation even better.  The ladies decided to send the men to one end of the table so we could talk airplane stuff while they gathered at the other end to chat about who knows what.

Great call Anthony! We had a fun night out with friends and we look forward to the next get-together.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Annual 2011

Day 1 -  Monday 10/31/11

I hit the road early with a few tools, lunch and my flight bag.  I always get excited at annual, the chance to work on the plane, play with power tools and hang out with the guys in the shop.   I made a stop for donuts  for the guys and a large tea for me.  Frank was already in the shop making coffee and answering the phones, it seems to start early. Keith and Stan rolled in and after the morning coffee we got started.
Stan on the nose wheel
8Romeo was quickly coming apart.  Keith and Stan did the compression checks (79 PSI each cylinder)as I was opening up all the inspection covers. Each wing has four inspection covers with eight or ten screws holding them in place.  The gascolater has a cover along with the wing center spar.
Dirty plug
Lead build up from a bottom plug
Inside the bead blaster. Where's the moon rocks?
I moved to cleaning the plugs. The bottom set had a lead build up, more than I remember from last year.  I used a dental type pick to clean out the deposits then a quick scrub in the parts cleaner to remove the old anti-seize from the threads.  Next was a trip to the bead blaster and time to play with the machine.  Once the plugs are set inside I lock down the door and get the air flowing.  There is a foot pedal to get the fine grit blowing and it's fairly responsive.
Spark plug gap tool
Gap tool with clean plug ready to set
The next phase of the plugs is to prep for install.  New copper washers  for the top plugs and none for the bottom since they have the CHT washer probes. I also gapped the plugs and that was a first, for airplane plugs, God knows I did more than I care to count for cars. The gapping tool was interesting, I attached a few pictures. It was sort of like a mini press that only needed gentle pressure.  How do I know you wonder, I gapped a few to tight and could not pass the .015 gap gauge through the plug.
Gap gauge

No go .019, good to go .015
With the plugs and wires complete I moved on to other fun stuff. Stan finished with the nose wheel while I buttoned up the inspection covers. The vacuum system filter needed a change and obviously the designers at Beechcraft had a sick sense of humor, who the heck put that there? Keith took the under panel position and I took the topside to double team the vac filter, Keith also changed the relief valve filter. Day one comes to a close and we pack up for the day and clean up in prep for tomorrow.
From the outside, vac system filter nut

Day 2 - 11/1/11

Is it 6am already? Another early start to my day with a large dunkin tea in hand. I didn't pack lunch today, instead, I planned on a treat at the local deli for an Italian hoagie, sub or whatever it's called where you live.
Ready to roll out for the run up and leak test!
I arrived at the shop ready to go and Frank already have the coffee on. Everyone rolled in and got right to work.  Frank and Paul were working on the Cardinal parked behind 08Romeo and they were just about done. I buttoned up the tail cone, installed both batteries that checked out fine and closed up the interior. Keith cleaned up the engine room and then oiled the chain that connects/drives the yokes as the last cabin item "to do". I helped hang the bottom cowl and then finished up the touch up on any scratch or chip on the plane. Roger had all three of my colors in stock since the shop cracked the wing tip my very first annual in 09.

I did some clean up, including the belly, and made sure any finger prints were removed. Keith and I went over the check list of annual items. Keith told me to plan on new brake hoses next year for the mains and I think we will also replace the rubber door and baggage seals since we found a few areas just starting to crack. The last two remaining items that should be in today is the ELT battery and the Bracket air filter.

08Romeo was pretty much complete and ready for her run up and leak test. We all moved the planes around so my Sundowner and Paul's Cardinal could perform the required tests. Both aircraft did fine and we followed up with some high speed taxi brake test to burn in the new set of brake pads. I taxi to the main ramp area and secured 08Romeo complete with her covers, I'll be back for her tomorrow.

I decided to head for home and get some work done around the house. Mary and I swapped text messages and decided that we will drop off my SUV at Wilmington Airport tomorrow morning then she can drop me off at Cecil Aero before heading to work. Another annual in the books!

Items addressed:
 - Brakes
 - Oil filter (oil was changed 10 hours ago)
 - Repair nav light wire so new LED will work
 - Vac systen filter
 - Relief valve filter
 - Bracket air filter
 - ELT Battery
 - Install fuel sump (I already had the part)
 - Replace one C-Spec fastener (lower cowling)