Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stormy wx

Saturday July 28, 2012

Mary wasn't feeling well this past week so we canceled our typical beach run and instead made it an overnight. I filed for OXB trying a new route that would allow me to maintain above 4000, Dover always drops us down when we go inland on V29.
Some clouds but not a bad flight south
Looking across the bay at the layer over south Jersey
The route was simple and efficient, ILG ATR Direct, sadly, it was a no go.  I copied as directed radar vectors to join V29 SBY KOXB, but I did get 6000.  The difference in altitude directly relates to the difference in temperature and makes the flight comfortable on us and our Maggie girl.  The weekend was enjoyable all be it to short.
turning direct to the hold at PFAIR
The hold (racetrack)
Descending out of the hold and in the clear for a short while
I didn't hear any traffic into or out of KOXb but Patuxent decided to put me in a hold, as pictured above. Not a big deal and the practice will do me good. I was directed to hold as published, NW at 4000, expect one lap. I proceeded direct to PFAIR and reported entering the hold at PFAIR reporting altitude but forgetting the time.  Approach responded expect further clearance at 1223 Z time now 1220Z. I acknowledged and continued on my four mile outbound leg. Once inbound and crossing the fix I was cleared to descend to 1700, 200 above the plate altitude at my next fix but not a big deal. I entered the next layer around 1200 and broke out just under 850, 150' above minimum descent altitude. It's always a blast to see the runway right where it should be!
It was a lazy Saturday but we did manage to make it out for dinner. We tried a new place, OC Steamers.  It was great food and good service despite the crowds.  We plan on making this stop again soon.  As we left the restaurant and started across the RT 90 Bridge west back to the Motor Home I snapped this picture, over the Assawoman Bay.
Sunday July 29, 2012

It's departure day and the terminal area forecasts look great! We decided to stay and cookout, enjoying dinner off the grill.  I had just said to my Bride I guess we'll head to the airport and head out around 4:30 when we heard a loud rumble of thunder. I grabbed my iPhone to check wx and went outside for a visual.  Both the phone and visual confirmed, it was getting dark and lightning was just off to our north.
This storm cell popped up over our Motor home location on departure day
We sat out the downpour and light show as the red eyed blob on the iPhone shows, then decided to head out for the airport early.  There was a large cell moving across the Cape May Atlantic City NJ area as well and I was watching to make sure it didn't decide to cross the bay and head down the coast.
The view to the NE, the building clouds are pictures on the GPS shot above around 15-18 degrees
Cape Henlopen state park at our 3 o'clock
Upon arrival Saturday morning I had decided that 25 gallons was good to get us home on Sunday leaving us a 15 gallon reserve. After watching the wx come up so quickly this afternoon I taxied over to self serve and added to my safety factor bringing my total to 40 gallons or 4 hours for my one hour trip home. I rather have extra fuel for deviations around buildups if necessary and fuel to fly to an alternate place to land.

I had filed for the flight home but decided to make the flight VFR, having the IFR flight plan handy if I needed a pop up into our destination.  We launched into very good VFR conditions and quickly identified the new cells we were seeing miles off in the distance moving into KGED, Georgetown, just west of our route. This was a slow mover so I worked my way to the coast of the Delaware Bay around Lewes DE., and followed the Delaware shore line home.
The visual to match the GPS shot above
It was smooth flying until Dover, I had passed the storm cells to our west and the cells over NJ were at a very safe distance heading more south east then my direction west south west.  I did have one layer of clouds that spanned the bay at the mouth of the Delaware river.  I was at 3,500 and requested 2000 from Dover to maintain VFR. It was granted and down we went.
A gradual descent that was timed right. As we got closer I started to descend to 1500 to give myself clearance, I was maybe a half mile off shore.  Fly the plane first so I started down as as soon as I broke 1900 Dover asked to advise Altitude.  I responded out of 2000 descending to 1500 for a layer will get back to 2000 as soon as I clear, Dover acknowledged.

We dipped under the layer and then climbed right back to 2000 to continue the last 14 minutes or so into Wilmington. Dover called out two targets heading west at our one and three o'clock, five hundred high, we never saw them and if they were at that altitude they were in the cloud base flying VFR, bad mojo.

Dover turned us loose and we contacted Wilmington tower as we crossed the C&D canal, our ten mile marker from the south. I was cleared straight in runway one, report four mile final, I acknowledged.  I set up for the ILS RWY one on the Garmin 530 and reported four miles as directed. I made a nice landing, a bit long on purpose, in order to speed up my exit to the taxiway for the twin holding short for my arrival.

Mary and I went through the routine and had 08R secured in short order. We made one stop for dinner to go at Bertucci's and headed home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coastal Flight

Mike shot me over a text or two and we collaborated on a go time for flying this evening. Mike wanted to shoot a few approaches in the Diamond DA40 and I figure any additional time facing the glass panel will help me understand its functions a bit more.
 I had worked in Cape May today so I had some travel time to contend with and I also wanted to catch up with my Friend John, my computer guru, to pick up my computer that suffered a fatal lightning ground strike at the house. I also made a pass through the Walgreen's pharmacy drive through and picked up my Brides prescriptions, it was a busy drive home!
With a quick clothes change complete and flight bag in hand I was motoring for the airport. Mike had the pre-flight completed and I just helped with  the electrical cord as he used the tug to pull out the plane from its hangar.
Heading North, approaching the RT50 inlet
The beach at OCMD
We were soon airborne and heading south for KOXB, Ocean City, MD.  Mike went under the foggles and shot the RNAV GPS 14 approach into OCMD. Mike intercepted the ATR to PFAIR leg and did a real nice job on the approach.  I got the chance to really see what is out there as we dive and drive to the minimum descent altitude (MDA).  I picked out the terrain obstructions, a few towers. The approaches provide the means to get into airports in wx conditions but you best be on course and at proper altitude.
Glass panel, moving map
Mike having fun
This approach ended with a full stop and a taxi to the terminal ramp.  We jumped out of the plane and walked across the parking lot to my airport car to retrieve the registration.  I upgraded to a black and white tag and need to pick up an inspection sticker that is good for two years, tomorrows mission after work.
Charles W. Cullen Bridge at the Inlet
We soon saddled up and departed runway one four climbing out to follow the coast north.  We crossed the RT. 50 inlet just a few thousand feet off shore and took in the sights. Mike made his way to the Charles W. Cullen Bridge at the Indian River Inlet and I took a few shots. From the bridge we continued north to Rehobeth's boardwalk area then turned to follow up the bay towards Lewes.
climbing out of KGED
Mike once again replaced his sunglasses with the foggles and set up for the RNAV GPS 22 approach into Georgetown, KGED. We coordinated with a Cardinal that was inbound and completed our T&G as the Cardinal turned final.  Nobody was in a real hurry to land tonight, it was just to nice to fly!
What a sunset!
It was time to head north for home and Mike got us pointed in the correct direction.  As we road along enjoying the view we discussed the final approach back to the home base.  Mike was going to shoot the ILS RWy 1 approach and I would contact Philly for vectors.  Philly obliged and we were heading in, maintaining VFR.  I was eyes out and mike was once again wearing those really spiffy foggles.  A nice landing and taxi back to the T-Hangars brought a great flying night to a close.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vacation Plans

At least once a year Mary and I try to stretch our wings and try some place new to explore. This year we are going to attend the Beech Aero Club Festival in Gulf Shores Alabama. So, as a pilot I get to explore every potential route, fuel stop and a possible overnight stop that could interest us.

The total trip is just over seven hours and eight hundred thirty miles.  We could make the flight in one day with an early departure from Wilmington arriving at our destination around three or four.  We will need a fuel and nature stop at some point so I figure on midway or about four hours. We are also exploring the possible two night stay in the Myrtle Beach area and a full day of beach and fun. With an early departure from Grand Strand we could make the leisurely 5 hour flight with one stop along the way arriving in time for lunch.  I guess this will hinge on me taking an extra day off, giving it some thought, ok works for me!

Ok on to the fun stuff, the flight planning.  Below is my plan B, the overnighter in Grand Strand (KCGE) and the five hour hop to Gulf Shores (KJKA).
FBO's along the way will be investigated.  We visited Grand Strand back in 2007 and Ramp 66 provided excellent service.  I read through all the AirNav remarks as well as doing a "cheap" fuel search prior to the final plan. The FBO at our final destination will be Gulf Air Center with discounts and service prearranged with the BACFest group.Our reservations are secure at the Island House Hotel and we are looking froward to sitting on the beach sticking our toes in the warm gulf waters.

If I can be pried out of my beach chair I'll join the group and visit the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL and we'll make a stop for lunch at the famous Lambert's, home of the throwed roll!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lunch Run, Photo Op

The plan was to fly out for breakfast this morning to Cambridge MD, then continue the mission to Ocean City MD to pick up the airport car registration form. I filed for four thousand and would be in IMC the entire trip, around forty minutes. I was ok with that although I would rather have another pilot with me since I don't feel as proficient as I could be.  I am instrument current until the end of October but single pilot IFR needs a proficient pilot, I admit, I have some rust.
I changed my destination following my latest wx update that was showing lightning across the bay near Chesapeake Beach, located just west of Easton and  Cambridge. After a few text messages with Jeff from Woodbine we decided on Millville, KMIV.  I launched following our VP Biden's departure in a Gulfstream.  Right turn on course approved and I am tracking away from the DuPont VOR on the 139* radial.
trying to get in before Biden's TFR goes active for the second time today
wx looking better
Jeff and I made contact on a prearranged air to air frequency and he followed me in on runway one zero. One of my coworkers, Joe C, was adjacent to the runway in his ops vehicle and took the following shots, awesome job!

short final

looking to set down on rwy 10
Jeff and I had breakfast and welcomed fellow Mooney pilot Peter.  Excellent conversation concerning lycoming engines and lubrication followed by some discussion on recent NTSB reports on some local accidents over the last 5 years or so.  Sobering reminders that we need to do it right and be responsible to ourselves and passengers.
On the roll departing KMIV, Jeff's Mooney  in the background
Peter's Mooney as I am almost wheels up
Climbing out of KMIV
We all saddled up and headed out. I was number one then Jeff, who you can see in my departure picture, then Peter.  It was a quick hop home with some light chop riding below the layer.  I was directed to report the bridges, twin spans across the Delaware, and did just that.  I made a much better landing coming home then going to MIV and followed with a taxi to my tie down.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Updates and Currency

We finally got some much needed rain, a soft gentle soaking rain that made the plants and yard happy. Mary and I decided we would get some things done around the house this weekend like cleaning and wash. I wanted to trim  up the front bushes and putz around outside but if it's rain we're getting that will work too.

I checked on my last update for my Garmin 496 and it was July 2010.  With my Garmin 530 in the plane and its monthly updates I decided to only update the 496 data base and obstacles once a year.  I headed south and disconnected the 496 and with a quick turn around headed home.  I passed the AeroWays fuel truck on the ramp and paused long enough to wave, deciding I was not flying today so why take on fuel.
I logged into the Garmin home page and found my way to purchase the  following updates. NavData, Single: $49.95 and the Obstacle, Single: $49.95.  I also decided while the unit is here on the desk I should update the GPSMAP 496 software version to 4.50, which was available as of April 29, 2011.  The changes made from version 4.40 to 4.50 improved TFR display and upgraded the software in my GXM30 antenna to version 2.30.  The update took less than thirty minutes and I was good to go.

I had sent Mike a text to let him know the 496 was updated and he asked if I was up for some flying, he was available.  I had texted Mike on Friday to let him know I needed to knock out some approaches and that I would like to schedule a BFR with him.  We went back and forth a few times and both decided to head to the airport for some flight time since the wx was clearing up.

After our pre-flight we fired up and headed towards Millville, KMIV. We were cleared for a left turn on course and climbed out across the Delaware river for new jersey. The air was smooth and temps in the low eighties. I leveled at two thousand five and briefed for the ILS Runway 10 for KMIV. We role played ATC and I was cleared direct LADIE. I happily road along thinking vectors since that's what we had talked about, totally blanking out what I was given by Mike. I had set up Nav 2 for Cedar Lake, VCN as a cross check for LADIE and as a back up for my missed if needed.

I reached LADIE and turned inbound on the final approach course of 100*. Bust! I needed to do the procedure turn (PT). I quickly turned out bound on a 280* heading and once on course I reprogrammed my 530 for the approach so I could see the PT racetrack. I got caught on the age old expect vectors and plugged the 530 for that then the switch caught me with my pants down, sigh....I was embarrassed, I know better and train for this. If there was one saving grace it was that I continued to fly the plane. I had briefed the plate so I knew the outbound for the PT and flew it! I would reprogram the 530 once headed outbound, safe in the racetrack.
I turned inbound once again,after the PT, and tracked the ILS.  I was slow to step down and could not capture the glide slope w/o really making a steep descent, hard on the ears and ego.  I managed to catch up on short final and would have made a landing but  ended the first round going missed and headed to the hold at Cedar lake.
Round two was much better, good PT and solid tracking to the runway for a Touch and Go, much nicer. Upon climb out we swapped controls and Mike did a few approaches. His ILS 10 was rock solid and he banged out a VOR A too. I picked up on the missed and after a lap around cedar lake VOR I also did the VOR A. This approach was very good, dive and drive to the altitudes listed and ending with an early turn out to keep clear of a helicopter doing a simulated engine out.
It was time to head back to Wilmington and I decided to give Philly a call for the practice RNAV GPS 27 into Wilmington.  I was given direct Woodstown-OOD, maintain at or below two thousand five hundred, cleared for the GPS 27.  Wow, he shed me pretty quick. I road along stepping down as noted and making my way to ILG. I was handed off to the tower and made a nice landing with a bit of a crosswind, borderline tail wind.

A fun night of flying was followed up with a debrief at Border Cafe' (EATS).  Good times Mike! Thanks for the safety pilot time and the instrument workout.

Monday, July 09, 2012

BFR Time

They say a good pilot is always learning...

The purpose of a Biennial Flight Review (BFR) is to keep a pilot both current and safe. The flight review required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) 61.56 is to provide for a regular evaluation of pilot skills and aeronautical knowledge.

Ground Review

  • Regulatory Review
  • Cross-Country Flight Plan Review
  • Weather & Weather Decision-Making
  • Risk Management & Personal Minimums
Flight Activities

  • Physical Airplane (basic skills)
  • Mental Airplane (systems knowledge)
  • Aeronautical Decision-Making
Post flight Discussion

  • Replay, Reflect, Reconstruct, Redirect
I'll review the regulatory information as I prep for the review. I should really be reading and reviewing more often than I do. I do take all the online FAAST courses and attend local safety seminars when they are available which I believe helps keep me sharp.

I'll get scheduled for August and report back! 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

New Probes

Trying to beat the heat I launched for 58M after breakfast this morning. Roger from Cecil Aero called to let me know my CHT adaptors were in. Headwinds from the north had to be calculated and a decision on fuel. With twenty one gallons on board I took off from Ocean City. I climbed to 4,500 for cooler temps and fought a 15 knot headwind. I pounded out 85-90 knots and decided it would be best to recalculate my fuel burn as I approached the Dover area. I would pass over 33N on the flight north, a potential fuel stop.

CHT Adapter for jug
The garmin 530 was showing fuel required and fuel remaining of 10.6 gallons, just over an hour reserve. I made a nice landing at Cecil county and taxied to the hangar. Frank and Stan double teamed my Sundowner and as fast as they snipped the ties it seemed they were rebundling and cleaning up. I settled up my bill with Roger then taxied to the fuel pumps.
CHT Probe

EGT Probe
After I started up I noticed I had no temp reading on CHT 4 and a bad EGT probe error code  message. I returned to the hangar and the guys tested the CHT probe and reassembled. The EGT probe was not working despite multiple attempts to test and retry. I had the number 4 cylinder EGT probe replaced with a new type k unit. I climbed aboard and refired, everything looked fine on the JPI unit, I was good to go.

I launched out of 58M and pointed south into the thick haze.  Traffic seemed lite as I road along with the new found speed and tailwinds. I saw speeds of 125-130 and enjoyed the cruise at 3,500.  I made a slight detour and made a few turns around the RV park where we keep our motor home.  Mary and my Goddaughter were at the pool so I got to see them waving.  I was hot and sweaty so after a few turns I headed in to OXB.  2.3 hours flying today, I'm beat!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Visual Confirmation

Mary and I headed to Ocean City Maryland this evening and the trip was uneventful. OK, with that said I must also add I was concerned about pop-up thunderstorms with the high heat and humidity.
Wilmington amended my clearance as I announced to the tower I was ready for release.  Ok, the initial plan was KILG ATR KOXB, @ 5000,  pretty simple. I was cleared "radar vectors ATR as filed"  at the hold short it was changed to runway heading, ENO, as filed.  After I read back the tower changed to direct.  I repeated and  confirmed KILG ENO KOXB.  We were rolling.
Once handed off to Philly and then to Dover I once again confirmed my route. Dover confirmed, take notes here, ENO SBY direct.  Say what?  I confirmed the "new " routing and in less than 2 miles turned on course to Salisbury, SBY.
I passed my typical fix that I file for and was handed off to Patuxent. Pax turned me direct and advised expect visual approach.  I was busy monitoring a nasty looking cell just off shore, as we made our way to Ocean City.

We made it in with no storm related issues but had to ride the gusty winds in for a fast approach/landing.