Thursday, June 28, 2012

Diamond Star Safety Pilot

I swapped a few text messages with Mike B, he was looking for a safety pilot.  Mike wanted to shoot a few approaches in the DA40 with the glass panel Garmin.  I was on my way home from Cape May and still needed to get home and check on Mary then grab my headset bag along with a quick turn and burn for the airport.

Mike  completed the pre-flight and we hung around chatting about twin engine aircraft and  flight training.  Eventually we saddled up and went through the systems.  I have a long way to go but I think I could work my way through the screens enough to flight plan the garmin systems. 

We  launched off runway three two with a left turn out on course south east.  We headed to Millville for a few rounds. First up was the ILS RWY 10  that terminated in a low pass with an early break to the north for inbound traffic on two eight that we were talking to.  Next up was the GPS 28 approach. This approach went smooth right down to a five mile final when the cessna we had been talking to decided to cut this one short and turned base to final instead of extending. Mike tuned north for a 360* while under foggles and reentered the approach.  The garmin WAAS picked right up and was back tracking us down to minimums.

This one was a touch and go followed by a climb out to the north.  Mike and I crossed the Delaware river and headed towards WENDS for a procedure turn on the GPS RWY 35 at Summit, KEVY.  Mike did a real nice job with another T&G and then pointed us to home.  I got to do some flying and worked on some slow flight, the Diamond Star handles very nice.

It was a fun night flying followed up with our ritual debrief at Eats. Mike and I will try and catch up next week so I can get night current again.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Local Flying Fun

I posted on Facebook if anyone was flying for breakfast and I got a few hits. No takers, but a few folks posted their thoughts.  Hmmm....well I best text Adam Z and see if the Quakertown bunch is thinking about flying.   We swapped a few text messages and decided we were the only ones flying today.

I sent Vince a text so he could join us and then grabbed my flight bag and headed to the airport.  Mary was safe and secure, I had made her breakfast and she took her meds and now was ready to sleep.  My Bride had another go round in the hospital this past week and is slowly getting back up to speed. The Migraines are really bad and the search continues to find the remedy.

Vince was already at 08Romeo and he had her cover off.  I went through the pre-flight and he performed his own.  I listened to him verbalize each step, he's on his way to becoming a pilot. Vince recently started lessons with Mike B.  A great teacher, pilot and friend, he'll make sure Vince is safe and pays attention to all the details.
Pottstown cooling towers
We fired up and Vince did all the radio work.  I taxied to runway niner and soon launched to the north for Wings field. It was a round-about flight to skirt the Class Bravo space and stay under the 4000-7000 ring. Once climbing out past 1000 feet and running my checks I handed the plane over to Vince. We enjoyed the cool temps at 3000 and made our way to Wings, KLOM.  We swapped control for my landing and taxied in to pick up Adam.

The decision was made to fly to Chester County, KMQS. We would invade the Flying Machine Cafe' for a late breakfast. We departed runway two four and climbed out for 2800.  I swapped control with Adam Z and he took us to MQS joining the pattern for runway two niner. I was high and fast turning final so decided to go around for another try. The second time was the charm with a decent landing and taxi to parking across from the terminal.
Philly through the haze
We ordered lunch and enjoyed the airplane chat. It's always fun catching up with Adam and getting an update on his search for the perfect club plane. FYI, it sounds like the group has their eyes on a Cessna 182 that has great avionics and P&I.  Good luck on getting the deal closed!

With full tummies we headed out to 08Romeo. A short pre-flight and fuel sump has us ready to go. No extra flying today since I want to get back home and check on Mary. It's a direct flight to Wings field and Adam takes us there. We swap controls while entering the pattern on a 3 mile 45 for runway two four. I make a nice landing and taxi to the ramp to make the drop.
Terminal ramp at KMQS
Vince and I taxi out for runway two four and soon launch for home. We swap control and Vince does the flying along with the radio work. I figure the best way to learn is total submersion, he handles it very well. His heading and altitude are spot on and he raises the game wanting to contact Philly for flight following. We quickly review the call and he does a nice job with the request, provinding his position, altitude and intentions. He is quickly given a squawk code and he hears the magic words, cleared through the bravo.  We review the airspace radio work for class Bravo, Charlie and Delta, he knows the answers.
the office
Next we are handed off to another sector and Vince checks in, "Philly approach Sundowner 08R with you".....GRRrrr....that is not proper phraseology....the correct response is Philly approach, sundowner 6708R, two thousand five hundred, level. I ask Vince to read up on the proper phraseology, no "check in", no "with you's", he says, got it.  With that he reports having the wx at ILG and the field in sight. Philly dumps us from flight following and we are on our own.
looking west heading back to ILG
Vince takes us to short final advising the tower we are 3 mile final as requested. I have Vince mirror my inputs as we make our landing. I can't wait until Vince turns 16, he'll solo quickly, his flying skills are very good. Mike will teach him well and he'll be a safe conservative pilot. I tease Vince all the time telling him he needs to get his ticket so he can fly Mary and I around!

Thanks to Vince for the pictures!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yankee Lady

While working in Cape May NJ today I was frozen in my tracks, stopped mid sentence during my field meeting rant by that unmistakable sound purr of the four 1200hp radial engines.

I made my way over to the airport and was lucky enough to watch the Yankee Lady (Yankee Air Museum)set up to land.  She crossed midfield south to north, circled with a low pass then a turn out to the north again to enter the pattern for runway one zero.  I had goosebumps as she approached on short final and felt like a little kid watching a plane for the first time as she passed by with one main down then the other......just Awesome!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Instrument Rewards

Another weekend adventure to/from Ocean City, MD.  I filed an instrument flight plan each way just to keep myself sharp working in the system. Not much new to post but I thought I would share some photos I took after climbing out of OC for our flight home. I never get tired of climbing through the clouds and coming out on top in bright sunshine!
Departing KOXB, South view while on a 270* heading
Finally turned North, then Direct ATR (near Lewes Delaware)
layer starting to really open up south of Dover DE
Clearing over Dover AFB. 
After getting a good view of Dover AFB and a pretty nice view of Dover Downs Race track I was handed off to Philly and descended for my approach into Wilmington.  Of course I got a traffic call out and responded that I was IMC at the time.  I did advise approach once in the clear and looking for an update on the traffic along with having the airport in view. I was cleared for a visual approach and handed off to the Wilmington Tower.

We made the customary stop for ice cream and yes, Maggie enjoyed hers too.  I also was surprised to find my new bayonet style probes waiting in the mail box.  My next blog update will be the new probes installation at Cecil aero.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

CHT Issues

I have noticed the last few flights that my CHT numbers are showing quite a difference from the CHT gasket type sensor vs the one CHT bayonet probe.  The number one and number two cylinders, both up front and get the most air,are starting to top 400-415 degrees in cruise climb configuration.  All the while the number three cylinder, in the back, with the only bayonet probe is topping out at 375ish. I think the washers are shot.
The current CHT washers- Cylinders 1, 2 and 4

The new CHT Probe
Example of a baffle system (blue trim)
Last annual we took a look at the the cylinder fins to make sure there was no casting problems with "slag" for lack of a better term, everything was clear.  I also carefully looked at my existing engine baffles. I am scheduling a time with the shop to take 08Romeo in to talk about replacing the baffles while I have the CHT probes replaced. Just ordered the Alcor probes for @$60 each. The JPI home page FAQ confirmed the Alcors can replace the 5050T JPI probes that run $120 each.

More to follow.....

New Probes installed.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

OCMD Airshow and Beach

Friday 6.8.12

I had to work in Cape May, NJ this morning since we were up against the clock to get roadway construction completed in order to open for weekend traffic. RT9 to Seashore drive needed a new rail road crossing, also an additional NB lane and it will have new guard rails and drainage. I started my day at 3am, arrived at work and fueled the company truck and was on the road south by 3:30.  I arrived at the job site at 5:04, the hot mix wasn't far behind!
Sandman Blvd at Seashore RR crossing
Debbie, my consultant field inspector had things well in control so I decided to head north for my office around 1:30.  It was a quick turn and burn, drop off my paper work and lap top, hit the head and switch vehicles.  I pointed my SUV north and made the quick trip home to pick up Mary and Maggie by 3:45.

Traffic was bumper to bumper headed south bound when I came home north bound so I decided on I-495 instead.  Great selection, it was wide open all the way to our exit for the airport, good time, no traffic! Mary and I are back in the swing of tag teaming the pre-flight.  We had Maggie on board and got the fan turning for some cool air as I was picking up my clearance from Wilmington ground.
Looking east over the Delaware Bay to the tip of Cape May NJ off my wing
It was a short flight south with a great tailwind and air speeds of 125 knots once leveled out at 6000.  I was handed off to Dover then Patuxent and finally cancelled in the air about 5 miles north of OXB.  Traffic was a mess, some nit wit parked on the runway but did advise he would wait for us all to land. The Cessna on base to final went around and I headed out over the ocean and fell in behind the Cessna. Once the foul ball took off we all followed in line and landed.  The Cessna pilot thanked me for turning out and making calls to follow him in, I thanked him for the good position calls, some of us try to do it right.
downtown OCMD from St. Martins Neck Road
Finally on the ground and heading to the Coach! It was an early night for me since I had been up since 3am.

Saturday 6.9.12

Saturday was a beach day and we had a blast.  The OC Air Show was scheduled to start around noon so we hung out and watched. We got to see the Thunderbirds, Black Diamond Jet Team, a pair of A-10's, a C-5, The Geico skytypers along with Mike Goulian in the Goodyear Extra and Rob Holland  doing some serious head banging aerobatics!
Geico Skytypers
We ended the day with a crab dinner at Crab Alley.  Food and service were very good and we waddled back to the car and made the drive to the coach in time to pass out.

Sunday 6.10.12

We decided to hang out at the pool today, no way was I fighting traffic going to the beach and airshow. We did make a quick run into town for breakfast. The decision was the Satellite diner, food was good and service too, we would go back.  Once back at the RV park we changed for the pool and walked around the corner. We found a few empty chairs and an umbrella and set up camp. Mary grilled in the sun, I worked on getting some sun on my sticks and caught up reading the latest IFR magazine.
looking north up the beach
The beach at the inlet Jetty
I weed whacked around the coach and Mary did a quick clean inside. We both showered and then picked up an early dinner at Subway. Back to the coach to relax and wait out the TFR over the airport. I guess around 4:30ish we locked up and headed to the plane. Maggie was really good as I preflighted and got the fan turning. I did bump into a friend from the AOPA and POA forums, Av Shiloh.  Av has the sweetest Comanche I have ever seen, it's an OSH award winner.

Av was number one to go and I was number three, stuck behind some Piper who was having some issue with his radio. When unicom said they were glad he figured it out I decided it was time to give him some extra room. It was a good thing too since he did his run up as we sat nose to tail on the taxiway.  What a tool, is it to difficult to turn your plane sideways and have some consideration for the next guy, I know I turned my plane.  What happened to the common courtesy we show for the next guy?

It was an uneventful flight home in very hazy conditions. Once back ground pounding we made a stop for ice cream and Maggie even enjoyed her baby cup. Fun weekend, as always it went by to fast.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Beach Blitz

Mary woke up this morning feeling pretty good so we decided to make a day of it at the beach.  I called for fuel, we locked up the house and headed to the plane.  What a shock, 08Romeo had to be wondering what was up. Two days in a row he is flying.....yeah yeah, I hear ya.
I completed the pre-flight including checking and sumping fuel.  Aeroways has screwed up my last two fuel orders, one was short ten gallons and the other overfilled by at least ten. It really didn't matter but on the real hot days I like to keep the load as light as possible.
Ready to cross the C&D Canal
I filed for OXB just to get some work in the system and picked up the clearance with Wilmington. We soon launched and enjoyed a really smooth ride, hands in my laps once trimmed out. Mary and I were jammin' to the oldies then some country, a fun ride.
Dover downs on race day, The monster mile!!
Ocean City  and the Isle of Wight
Dover handed me off to Washington Center, that was odd and not the normal routine. That didn't last long as Wash handed me off to the typical Patuxent Approach.  I asked for GPS RWY 32 and was cleared after a few vectors. Approach gave me the cancel speech so I was thinking they wanted me to cancel. At that point I was on the downwind, a bit wide, but I was headed out over the water nine more miles for the IAF GOBYO.  I continued on for another mile or so and then once solid feet wet I canceled with approach. I made a left base turn then a turn to final that had me just over three miles out. I announced on CTAF and made a nice landing in gusty winds.
4 mile final rwy 32 KOXB

Our Motor Home
We secured the plane and walked out to our airport car, the Cabrio. The cover had blown off so we needed some clamps to secure it this afternoon.  We tossed in our bags and headed to the motor home. We had some breakfast then changed and headed into Ocean City. Parking wasn't bad now that the holiday crowd was gone so we found a great spot and walked a short distance to the beach. 
I guess we broiled out there for 3 hours or so then called it a day. It's only 4 1/2 miles back to our motor home so it was a quick dash and change for the flight home. I had to self serve fuel today since OXB was having a problem with the 100LL fuel truck.  I finished up and taxied out for the ride home. I headed on my planed course that I had filed; KOXB ATR DQO KILG.  I guess I was 10 south of ATR when I called Dover approach to pick up my clearance for Wilmington. I was cleared direct from my present position and cleared to 5000 feet.
Watching the rain move towards Wilmington
It's here! We covered and secured as this moved in
Dover handed me off to Philly and I was told to expect the visual for runway two seven. Mary and I were watching rain move south and the Nexrad was painting rain mixed with some yellows and red cells. I just wanted to beat the rain to my tie down. I was cleared number two to land behind a Cessna doing touch and goes, I really kept the speed up and the Cessna was asked to cut the base turn a bit earlier to accommodate my arrival. I made a nice landing in very gusty winds planting the right main first and riding it out before the left main and nose followed, it was sweet.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

South Jersey Regional

Mary didn't feel great this morning so instead of flying to Ocean City MD for the weekend she decided to hang out at home.  I could not pass up the gorgeous wx so I sent an email to Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue (MAESSR).  There was a transport available from Goochland, VA to Egg Harbor NJ, that's in my comfort zone. I wasn't sure what the wx would be like after yesterdays powerful winds and light show so I waited to make the go call this morning.  MAESSR filled the transport by ground, so I let them know I would be available if needed.
With the rescue flight shot to heck I decided to just go fun fly.  Mike was busy with his list of things to get done and Vince was going to a concert with his brother, it was looking like a solo flight.

David Stow was working on his interior (airtex carpet upgrade) at South Jersey Regional, KVAY and invited me to meet up for lunch. That works for me, a new airport and new restaurant.

08Romeo at the Runway Cafe'
I headed to Wilmington via wawa with a single stop for cash and water. When I walked up to 08Romeo I noticed a twig or two sticking out of the nose plug.  Hmmmm, what happened to my nose plugs?  I remember, I had asked Mary to get the vehicle and I would secure 08Romeo when we last returned from KOXB. Mary usually does the plugs and pitot tube covers, I forgot. I had to pull the top cowl and remove the handy work of one mama bird. I would have taken a picture except I was to busy cleaning.

OK, engine clean, cowl reinstalled and pre-flight completed.  I launched for VAY deciding not to file, instead just slow and low over NJ. I headed east towards the Cedar Lake VOR (VCN) then turned north when clear of Philly's Bravo but keeping clear of McGuire's alert space. A fun flight with Philly tuned in, but no flight following.
Top picture looking north, bottom picture looking south
I crossed over south Jersey Regional south to north and entered the right traffic pattern for runway two six. I was high on final and really had to pull the power along with an added slip. A nice landing at a runway just fifty feet wide. It's a sight picture difference from Wilmington's one hundred fifty feet wide, but a good work out to keep me sharp.

I called Dave and we met at the Runway Cafe'. Great chili and I added a BLT for my lunch. It was great to catch up and talk flying. We are both looking forward to getting our Brides out for a nice dinner, maybe a beach run will be involved.  Thanks Dave for picking this one up, he only let me leave tip. Next round is on me!
Delaware River over the nose
I filed back to Wilmington in case I needed a pop up.  At launch the layer was working it's way down and ILG was looking good but you never know. I headed south towards Woodstown at a fat dumb and happy two thousand five hundred enjoying the countryside. I picked up Wilmington's ATIS and made my call at ten miles out.  I was cleared straight in runway two seven, report three mile final. I passed right over my office and the Twin Bridges I help maintain.
Delaware memorial Bridges, Twin Spans
It was a fun day of flying and worth the trip to catch up with David. I also got to add a new airport to my list!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Diamond Star

Last night I had a chance to fly with Mike in the Diamond Star DA40CS.  First off  it's a sweet looking aircraft and second, it hauls the mail.  Mike wanted to do some approach work and I was lucky enough to safety pilot for him.
When the aileron is "up" position this scoop opens under the wing.
aileron "up" or banking/turning right
We planned for a short hop to Chester County (KMQS) for dinner and then back to Wilmington (KILG) for a few more approaches.  I got to feel the castering nose wheel when we taxied and it's different from my Sundowner but not to hard to adapt to.  Mike went through the run up and we were cleared for the VFR departure to the north west.
The plane does require a bit more of right rudder than my beech, but the climb difference sure is noticeable. The view is amazing, the windscreen gives you the feeling of an open cockpit sans the wind and noise. Mike let me fly for a bit and while the glass panel is intimidating I was able to follow vectors (role played with Mike as ATC) and shoot the ILS RWY 29 into Chester County.  It was a great experience!!
GPS RWY 9 Final
Mike and I had dinner at Flying Machine Cafe' and scooted out soon after for some night time instrument approaches.  Mike contacted Philly and got the GPS RWY 9 approach for our first go. The only traffic I had to spot was an Army Blackhawk heading into Wilmington for approaches. Mike nailed the GPS 9 and departed runway heading as directed by the tower.

We got handed back to Philly for vectors for the ILS RWY 1 approach for round two. This time Mike worked with the autopilot and as hard as it was not to keep looking in at the panel I managed a few sneak peeks. The Diamond really clips along at a nice rate and does seem responsive to controls.  If I had one gripe it would only be the need to remove the stick for the right seat if they are not or do not fly. Of course I miss the extra width in the cabin but hey, it's a trade off for the speed.