Sunday, April 29, 2012

Double Round Trip

Sunday was a busy day, trust me, that wasn't our plan.  Mary and I had spent the weekend in Ocean City Maryland and we decided to head back north this morning, sometime after breakfast.  Saturday we made the stop at Dunkin Donuts for bagels and planned for that to be our Sunday eats.

With a fun weekend in the books and the both of us agreeing that a lazy Sunday would be nice we packed up for the ride home. I thought I would be able to get home, take a nap, then head to the airport for some much needed flight time. How's that go about the best made plans....

The trip north was a quick two hours that included additional stops at Dunkin for a hot tea and bottled water and a second quick stop at the DQ for a peanut buster parfait for the humans and a childs soft ice cream for the Maggie muffin.  About the time I thought the childs was to large a serving Mary advised Maggie was finished.  Hmmm, do dogs get brain freeze?

Upon our arrival at home we quickly unloaded the SUV and got settled in. Perfect timing, I can get a power nap and then be ready to meet with Mike for some flying.  About that time my lovely Bride asks where are the remaining bags that have her meds.  What bag? I unloaded everything in the truck.  Good grief, Mary left her Asthma and blood pressure meds at the beach.  I was not looking forward to "driving" four more hours for this round trip.

I sent a text to MIke and let him know I had to fly back to Ocean City and if he was going to be available, no answer.  I knew Mary would sleep each way and I wanted some company to talk to and spot traffic, time to call Vince.  Vince was ready to roll and he would meet me at the airport. I grabbed my flight bag and was on my way, I had a mission.

I rolled through the gate and said a prayer that 08Romeo would start. My last few flights were so many weeks apart that my battery was going dead(calling for two new in the morning). Sure enough, one blade and clicks...GRrrrrr.  Bring in the SUV, open up the baggage back panel and remove the battery for a jump start charge.  Twenty minutes later I button everything back up and give it a go.  three strong blades then dead, rinse and repeat. I needed to take a break because my patience level was pegged. Vince and I headed to Wawa for some cold water and I took on some fuel.  Back for another go.

After another solid 30 minutes on the jump start type charge we were ready to fly.  I should back up a bit and mention that Mike and I swapped text messages and I was going to fly to 33N and pick him up for the flight to the beach since it was on the way.  However, since the battery needed additional charge time he jumped in the car and headed north, he had to come north to get home so he got rolling. Mike was flying with Frank today getting time in the twin Comanche, lucky dog. Ok, button up and climb aboard. 08Rome screams to life, maybe it was the promise of a bath and wax this weekend or maybe she felt I was tortured enough for not spending time with her of late, lesson  learned.
This was a VFR flight with advisories from Dover approach.  The ride was choppy with sheers around three thousand and bumps just about everywhere else in between. It seemed to ride best around four thousand five hundred so that's where we hung our hat. I asked for lower once south of Georgetown and Dover cut me loose to squawk VFR.  I put the foggles on and Mike roll played ATC for the RNAV 14 approach into OXB.

Unlike my last flight I was briefed and ready to have at it. Descended to two thousand and direct PFAIR. No procedure turn, instead roll playing ATC cleared me for the GPS straight in. Mike threw in distractions but I crossed PFAIR at two, then descended to one thousand five hundred for LANDY adding in my calls for Ocean City traffic multiple times. I was back in form, on course and altitude on the money. Once crossing LANDY I descended for the MDA of seven hundred and drove in steady holding speed and altitude. Verbally adding into my scan for ground contact and runway environment I am told to remove the foggles.  Runway one four over the nose, time to add flaps and get on the ground.  Adding a second notch of flaps and pointing for the numbers I wait on the full flap then gently set us down, a sweet landing.

I met Don from Express Rentals as I walked in the terminal and he provided me a car (PT Cruiser) for an unbelievable price. The three of us headed 13 miles to the Motor Home and fetched the meds along with the banana bread we left behind. Mission objective secure, time to return to base. I took on some fuel so I needed to sump the tanks and Mike did the pre-flight walk around with Vince. It was a teaching moment since Vince is getting ready to start his PPL lessons.

We saddled up and taxied out to runway one four for departure. A quick discussion after the run up while sitting at the hold short convinced us to file in case we didn't make the TFR time back into Wilmington. A second option was to land at Summit to wait it out if we had to.  While we enjoyed a nice tailwind coming south we were now faced with 13-15 knot headwinds for the ride north. We did file from 33N direct KILG and would pick that up in the air while on with Dover Approach. Ok, bases covered we were off.

It was a smooth ride north, unlike the ride down. I bumped up the RPM to 2600 and made 08Romeo work a bit. I was holding 105-110 knots once in level flight despite the forecast headwinds. I opened up the instrument flight plane with Dover and they handed me off to Philly.  Philly asked me for my best forward speed with the TFR scheduled. Star Trek quotes popping in my head and in my best Scottish accent....I'm giving her all she's got, Captain! almost blurts out. We beat the TFR for VP Biden and I finished with another nice smooth landing.  2.2 hours logged and our mission completed!

FYI, 08Romeo wash is scheduled for this weekend. Also, two new G-25S batteries are ordered and will be installed ASAP.  I will get my oil changed too, just 12 hours left until it's due so may as well knock out two items on my to-do list.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Charge it up

I made a quick run to the airport after visiting Mary's Mom in the hospital today.  I wanted to pull the battery and make sure it was charged for a possible beach run next weekend.  After uncovering and a pre-flight inspection I tried to start 08Romeo.  I only got a few clicks then gave up. I pulled the one battery that seems to have an issue and charged it with Marys car.

It seems if I let 08Romeo sit longer than three weeks she won't start. With a 15-20 minute charge with cables she'll fire right up. I'm going to order a new battery and when I change the oil, in ten hours, I'll have the battery installed.

Once 08Romeo started I decided to take her up for a short spin and really let the batteries charge. I contacted ground for a taxi clearance then over to the tower when my run up was completed. I headed to the south east and did some slow flight and steep turns then turned back for the airport. With the current ATIS info noted I made my way for runway two seven as directed. A super sweet landing without even a squeak of the mains, I had to feel it rolling to know I was indeed on the  ground. I made the first turn off and headed to the tie down.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


It's been a few weeks since my last post and I am itching to fly.  Tried to get out today after work but it was overcast with showers and gusty winds.  I didn't think it would be to much fun knocking out some approaches and just enjoying the flight time in those conditions.

I have been busy keeping things up around the house and the beach house while Mary is on the mend from shoulder surgery. We both hope to be making beach runs in the plane soon. I just need to get back to flying and knock off the rust! Keeping current is fine but maintaining proficiency is what matters most.