Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Rupert Red Two

Jack Broughton’s Rupert Red Two completes the trilogy, Thud Ridge (1969) and Going Downtown (1988) and concentrates on his life from a West Point Cadet in 1945 throughout his distinguished flying career. Jack Broughton flew P-47’s following WWII and F-80’s and F-84’s in Korea.  He led the famed Thunderbirds from 1954 to 1957 and touched on his service in Vietnam.

This book was a great read. I haven’t sat non-stop with a book in ages but this one kept me picking it up at every free moment wanting to see where this mans career turned next.  Here is a bit more info on the Pilot, Colonel and warrior.

Jacksel (Jack) Markham Broughton (born January 4, 1925) was a career officer and fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. He retired in the rank of colonel on August 31, 1968, with 43 separate awards and decorations, including four Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Silver Stars and the highest Air Force decoration, the presidentially-awarded Air Force Cross. Broughton avowed that his proudest accomplishment was being combat-qualified in every Air Force fighter from the P-47 to the F-106. He authored two personal memoirs of the Vietnam War that were highly critical of the direction of the air war there and the rules of engagement.

World War II ended before Broughton could participate in combat missions. He initially combat-qualified as a pilot in North American B-25 Mitchell medium bombers at Enid Army Air Field, Oklahoma, and was in training to become a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress pilot at Hendricks Army Air Field, Florida, when he received orders in December 1945 transferring him to Europe as a fighter pilot.

His first operational assignment in March 1946 was as a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt pilot in the 389th Fighter Squadron, 366th Fighter Group, at Fritzlar Air Base, Germany, followed by a transfer in June 1947 to the 525th Fighter Squadron, 86th Fighter Group at Neubiberg Air Base, where he was stationed in September 1947 when the USAF became a separate service. He returned to the United States in 1948, and after two brief instructor assignments he described as "unattractive", joined the newly created Fighter Weapons Squadron at Las Vegas Air Force Base, Nevada.

Between January and November 1951 Broughton flew two combat tours of duty in the Korean War, in F-80C Shooting Stars with the 8th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 49th Fighter-Bomber Group, at Taegu Air Base, and as flight leader for Project Swatrock, a combat field test of the Swiss-manufactured Oerlikon anti-tank rocket using the Republic F-84 Thunderjet as a test bed.  After Korea, Broughton became Crew Training Air Force (CREWTAF) operations officer at Del Rio Air Force Base, Texas, directing training in F-84s. He transferred in 1953 to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to commanded one of the first F-84F Thunderstreak squadrons, a firepower demonstration team, leading the team to win the 1954 Bendix Trophy Race.

From October 1954 to February 1957 Broughton commanded the Thunderbirds, the USAF aerial demonstration team, leading them through the transition from the straight-wing F-84G to the swept-wing F-84F, and then to become the world's first supersonic acrobatic team in the F-100C Super Sabre. After assignments at Vincent Air Force Base, Arizona, and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, commanding a fighter weapons systems training squadron, Broughton spent a year in Ankara, Turkey, as a member of the U.S. Military Assistance Group there.  His tour was cut short by a medical emergency involving his son, and he transferred in 1961 to the staff of the 78th Air Defense Wing at Hamilton Air Force Base, California.

From September 1962 to June 1964, when he was promoted to colonel, Broughton commanded the 5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, an Air Defense Command squadron of Convair F-106 Delta Darts, and was instrumental in getting the aircraft's deadly ejection seat replaced. He graduated from two professional military education schools, the Air Command and Staff College in 1958,  and the National War College in 1965.  He was then assigned as deputy commander for operations (DCS/Ops) of the 6441st Tactical Fighter Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The 6441st TFW had been activated in 1964 to control both the nuclear strike mission and rotational combat duties in Thailand of three squadrons of Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs.

His final assignment was as Vice Commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base between September 1966 and June 1967, leading 102 missions against targets in North Vietnam in the F-105.

I plan on ordering Thud Ridge and Going Downtown to finish out the series. Colonel Broughton did a fabulous job sharing his story. I thank him for his service and insight into his flying career.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hangar Thoughts

Mary and I made a quick trip to Wilmington Airport to check on our Sundowner.  With the recent high winds and pouring rain I thought it would be best to check my tie downs, covers and chocks. 08Romeo was in good shape and I only needed to reset the chocks and snug my left wing tie down.

I felt bad not clearing the snow but it was just starting up when we were on the road.  I'll head down tomorrow and get our girl cleaned off and maybe get plugged in so I can fly Monday or Tuesday.

Hangars at KILG are $500 going to $550 on January 1st., it's just not in the budget. I'd rather keep flying more hours then donate to ILG.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A license to Learn

A license to Learn....

We have all heard those words; you now hold in your hands a license to learn. With this in mind I have to ask each reader what do you do to further your learning with regard to flying? I sat and thought today, what have I done to keep in the game, keep in touch with technology, and enhance my safety skills.

I thought I would jot down a few of the things I like to do to keep myself “in the game”. I really enjoy the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) Safer Skies Through Education series that provide seminars and online training courses. Another of my favorites is the AOPA Air Safety Institute Online Courses. I take each new course when it is offered and I faithfully review the pilot stories when they are presented. I like to chair fly, shoot approaches on my computer sim, review approach plates and charts along with researching more about wx.

The recent Cirrus accident near Chicago is what triggered this post. I watched the accident case study In to Deep and I was amazed by the Pilots actions or in this case inactions. What happend to PIC? What happened to a plan B, heck, what happened to not going at all?  I have followed discussions on many of the Flying Forums; AOPA, POA and Purple Board for Pilots. Joe Ebert was moved to write the following article, Are We Our Own Worst Enemy? Take the time and read it, it makes sense.

I guess to sum this up I need to say my family, friends and passengers mean so much more to me than “getting there” or “not being stuck somewhere”. I’m not ashamed to say no-go, I’m not worried about what others may think or say because I had to leave my plane and drive. I cherish my pilot friends, I would question their line of thought if I thought they were making a bad decision and I hope they would question me too.
We owe the people who fly with us the comfort factor of trusting us to do it right, being a responsible Pilot in Command and making good decisions. Lets all work to make 2013 safer!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style

Merry Christmas to all our readers, may your holiday season be safe, filled with traditions and may you make new family memories together!

I dusted this oldie off from my 2009 still makes me laugh!

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style

Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.A voice clearly heard over static and snow,Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,I’d have sworn that the call sign he used was “St. Nick”.I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,“St. Nicholas One, turnin’ left onto final.”And what to my wondering eyes should appear,But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glide slope he came,As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:“Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!On Comet! On Cupid!” What pills was he takin’?

While controllers were sittin’, and scratchin’ their head,They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,The message they left was both urgent and dour:“When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower.”

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,Then I heard “Left at Charlie,” and “Taxi to parking.”He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh And stopped on the ramp with a “Ho, ho-ho-ho. ”

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn’t inhale.His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,His boots were as black as a cropduster’s belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,And he asked me to “fill it, with hundred low-lead.”He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,I knew he was anxious for drainin’ the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, “Clear!”

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.“Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,Turn right three-two-zero at pilot’s discretion”

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,“Your traffic’s a Grumman, inbound from the west.”Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,“Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight.”

Author unknown

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MQS Lunch Run

After saying goodbye to Danny and his Mom, Vince and I decided to get a bit more air time. We called AeroWays for fuel then with sumps complete we saddled up for KMQS-Chester County and the Flying Machine Cafe.  Vince handled the take off roll and got us in the air very nicely.  The radio was busy at Chester County with all the other airports on the same frequency, it's a mess.  We did manage to weed through the hornets nest of calls and slowly but surely picked out all our traffic into and out of Chester County.  It was a busy place with pilots taking advantage of the nice wx before the front passes through tonight bringing cold wx and rain.

I suggested entering on the cross wind for runway one one and Vince asked about crossing mid-field and circling back to enter on a forty-five for the down wind. The student in him shines through and as Picard (Star Trek reference) would say, make it so.  We overflew one thousand above pattern altitude and made a wide right descending circle back towards the pattern.  All the while dealing with traffic coming in to enter the down wind.  Vince did a great job and I made the radio calls to get us to down wind, base to final.  I took control and once again made a super soft landing. 
It was time to eat!Vince and I each had a roast beef with cheese, the sandwiches were pretty good. We talked flying of course and plane spotting. We settled up the bill and decided to get back in the air. While we were heading out we heard the call of a flight of five RV's.  Yep, we had to stay and watch them come in. I was hoping it would be Bill from Pilot Bill's RV and Travel Log. I was not disappointed, Bill was in the lead ship and made a sweet landing, I knew that paint scheme from his blog. Once the group taxied in and shut down I went over to introduce myself as a reader of his blog. The conversation was short, I wanted to get in the air and he had his group looking hungry.  A rare moment to put a face with the blog, good stuff!
Vince and I saddled up and headed for Wilmington. Vince wanted to pick up flight following with Philly but it is not worth it for a ten minute ride home. I advised they were busy enough and didn't need to have us since we weren't going to be needing to enter their space. With that a few check in's were picked up but told to remain clear of the bravo.

Upon contacting Wilmington tower we were directed for a left base entry on runway niner and acknowledged. Vince took me to a very short final and just about had us on the ground when I took control and asked him to shadow my control input. I added some power to arrest that "butt sink" feeling and with just a tad of power it made for a sweet landing once again, sometimes we just get lucky.

Once clear and 08Romeo was shut down we reviewed our landing, the approach angle, sight picture and that right time to flair for landing. I tried to compare the Cessna landings with the Sundowner.

That's it for this weekends flying. Tomorrow is football and some house projects. I have one item left to pick up for my Bride and then my Christmas shopping is completed.
One last note.  On the way out of the airport Vince spotted this Red Tail Hawk sitting on the road sign. Great shots Vince! The hawk sure does look better on that sign vs meeting in flight.

Intro Flight

I received a message via Facebook from a childhood friend and neighbor who I had met in the strangest place after many years had passed. I had a contractor that was doing work at the control tower at Wilmington, KILG, and there, the last place I expected to know anyone was Jean.  Needless to say it was fun catching up.

Fast forward to this past week....
Jean had sent that Facebook message asking about an intro flight for her nephew, Danny.  Mary and I had flying plans for Friday and Saturday but we both agreed it would be best to "pay it forward" and take this young man flying on Saturday.  We swapped messages and phone numbers and Jeans sister called to schedule.  I wanted to do a Friday night wx check so we confirmed the Saturday meet up once the latest TAF reports were out.  The wx was looking great, calm winds and good visibility.  We were set for 8:30 am.

I gave Vince a call to ask if he would help me out and he agreed. Vince needed flight time and I wanted to have someone that spent time in CAP and could answer questions.  Well, answer questions and relate to a 13 year old, I'm an old fart you know so you never can tell how these things will go.
Jean was at Red Eagle waiting for us to arrive and Danny and Mom followed in shortly thereafter. We showed everyone the plane and since I forgot the deice fluid we all grabbed clean towels and removed frost.  The things we must do to fly in cold wx when one does not have a hangar to call home. 
North view up the Delaware River
Looking down the Delaware Bay
With the pre-flight complete we all climbed aboard and I managed to get through a passenger briefing as best I could, gezzz it's been forever since I needed to do that.  Vince and I tag teamed the effort while we each took controls.  Vince taxied out and I did the run up then Vince got us in the air. mind you Vince is just 16, yes, taking lessons, but a really good future pilot.  With some command for additional rudder to get us on center he had us in the air smoothly.  Danny was taking in the view and he did excellent on the take off. We headed south east towards New Jersey and then crossed the Delaware Bay so he could get a look at Dover AFB and the Dover Downs NASCAR track.
Vince doing that pilot stuff...
Overall I think Danny did very well. Despite some haze today he seemed to enjoy the flight and picking out landmarks along the way. He got the chance to learn some basics about pre-flight and always asking to verify fuel load.  We made our way back to Wilmington and Vince did a nice job getting us to short final where we transferred control and I, as Vince said, Kissed one in. It's like riding a bike!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day Trip Lewes DE

I decided a day off today was in order since the wx was going to be perfect for a fun flight.  Our original plan was to head to Cambridge MD - KCGE, then KOXB for a quick road tour followed by a short flight north to KGED for strolling along 2nd street.
The crew!
Mary and I decided it would be more fun to have time to stroll around Lewes Delaware enjoying the specialty shops and making a stop at one of our favorite bakery's. We headed direct KGED-Georgetown, Delaware.  We made great time with a ten knot tail wind and entered the left cross wind for runway two eight. A bit of a floater but we're in and headed for the ramp.
Looking down the Delaware Bay to the Ocean. Cape May NJ on the left and Delaware on the right
Mary and I decided to eat breakfast at the Lighthouse restaurant at the terminal, this also got us a ten cent a gallon discount on fuel.  What timing, the FBO lowered the price per gallon from $6.33 to $5.58 WooHoooo!!  $5.58 beats my home airport price even with the .15 cent a gallon discount. I'll also get .23 cents a gallon back with the Delaware Motor Fuel Tax refund.
Love tail winds!
After we enjoyed our breakfast we had the use of a courtesy car for some exploring. We toured the shops on 2nd street, up one side and down the other until we had our fill. Once again we saddled up and had one more stop to make. This was a quick dash at Lloyds market for Mary's family favorite, Milton sausage. I prefer Helen's sausage up the road a bit but to each their own.
2nd Street Mall
With all booty accounted for we headed back to the airport. I settled up my fuel bill and received the print out of this years fuel purchases for submission on the fuel tax refund. With a quick sump of the tanks and a walk around to check the plane we were ready to go.
Birds on the Delaware River
Salem hard at work
I did not file for either leg, instead enjoying quiet time with my Bride. I taxied out and held for a Cirrus on short final then launched from runway two eight. 08Romeo flew very nice today, good steady CHT numbers and solid climb performance in the cool outside temps. Mary slept on the way home (with her neck pillow) and I enjoyed the view. Another fun day thanks to 08Romeo and the good folks at Georgetown Air.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 in Review

It's time for my annual year in review and a look forward to my new goals for 2013. I know I have a few weeks left to hit my 100 hour mark but the next few weekends are busy so I only see a few hours added to my 93.6 total.

With Mary's health issues it was a slow travel year for us. Thankfully she is making progress and that's the most important issue we both deal with.

We'll place the motor home in Ocean City, MD once again in 2013 and we'll take advantage of 08Romeo to beat the ground pounding traffic snarls. I plan on more extended weekends to spend more time with my Bride as we work our way towards her regaining her health. We are looking forward to a better year in 2013!

2012 in Review


States: Georgia
Aircraft: Diamond DA40
Fun Flights: Beach runs just about every weekend during the summer! We also made our one big trip of the year to BAC Fest 2012, Gulf Shores, AL.
Notes: 08Romeo flew just over 3800 miles.

2013 Goals

Hours: At least 100 and I hope to pass a total time of 800 hours
Airports: My typical, as many as possible! Finally land on grass.
States: Again, as many as possible!
Flights: Looking forward to BAC Fest 2013 in Virginia Beach  and as many beach flights as possible this summer. Time to head west and fill in a few states. Mackinac Island is on our list for the annual get-away.
Aircraft Upgrades:  Correct my traffic alert issues with a new transponder. Maybe finally get the WAAS upgrade to my Garmin 530.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Quick Hop

The wx has been turning colder the last few weeks so my flying has slowed down.  08Romeo has plenty of good heat, it's just I hate uncovering and covering after each flight. I'm not sure if it's hangar envy or just being a lazy butt.

While at home last night I got a facebook message from coworker Dave C who works at KILG.  I'm not sure who laughed more, me or my Bride.
You're right Dave, 08Romeo needs a trip! There is nothing worse then a sad airplane, I must fix this!
Dave has a really nice boat and understands the "throwing money into the hole" in the get the point. I figured I needed some fly time and asked if he wanted to go for a hop.
We met at the plane around 3:10, I was a few minutes late.  We went through the pre-flight and climbed aboard for a short local hop. I thought Daves boat was along the C&D canal, in Chesapeake MD, what a brain fart!  Dave keeps his boat at the Great Oak Marina (B). 
A)Chesapeake City MD  B) Great Oak Marina
Not enough time to make the run and get back before I would have to log night landings. Since I am not night current I can't have passengers.
 PART 61 § 61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command
 (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise.
Dave took some nice photo's as we headed back to Wilmington.  When it gets a bit warmer and he has his boat back in the water we'll head south again for a real photo shoot. At the very least I have someone that enjoyed the air time and he let me know he's available when I need company. I'll have to drag Dave and his daughter out on a breakfast run!
Thanks Dave for keeping an eye on my plane and for the heads up that she was looking sad and needed to get out and fly!