Monday, December 01, 2014

Turkey Day Travels

Tuesday 11/25/14

The previous days fog that didn’t lift until 1pm was nowhere in sight.  Maybe the aviation Gods were going to smile on me. The sky looked good with some scattered clouds so it was safe to depart and have an out if I needed to get back in.
The Route
The storm
250853Z 25008KT 10SM SCT110 17/14 A2988 RMK
250520Z 2506/2606 21010KT P6SM VCSH SCT050 OVC120
FM251300 01005KT P6SM SCT015 OVC035
FM251800 02006KT 5SM -RA BR OVC020
250525Z 2506/2606 22006KT 6SM BR VCSH BKN050
FM250900 VRB03KT 3SM -RA BR SCT006 BKN015
FM251500 33006KT 5SM -RA BKN008 BKN020 OVC050
FM260000 03006KT 4SM RA BR OVC006
crossing the Chesapeake Bay - Bay Bridge Tunnel
I filed KOXB – KCRE, ETE 3:39, FOB 5:30.   We were wheels up and on course checking in with Patuxent approach.  Time off noted at 7:25 am and on course to Snow Hill (SWL).   We were on the west side of the storm system along the peninsula but it wasn’t looking to good over the nose.  Newport News was dealing with the storm system and farther south XM weather was painting a slim chance of running the gauntlet to Grand Strand KCRE. Airspeeds were bottoming out at 74 knots. I continued on and decided I would have to divert to one of my safe options.  The best plan was to make South West for Triangle North Executive Airport in Louisburg, NC (KLHZ). 
Red-Intended route - Blue diversion to LHZ
I was North East of Cofield (CVI) solid IMC and the light to moderate rain along with the brutal headwinds were taking a toll. Approach had previously alerted me of moderate to heavy rain twenty miles ahead and now they were again providing an update. Ok, I got the hint, I’m watching the wx too. Commercial flights were also looking for a better ride and complaining about mother nature.
A few more miles under the wing and I made my call to divert. Approach, Sundowner 08Romeo would like to divert to Kilo Lima Hotel Zulu, we’ve also had enough of mother nature. Approved direct, maintain four thousand.  I eventually worked my way out of the rain and broke out a time or two along the way.
All business
Mary did get about 15 minutes of VFR flight time. My Bride has been talking about the companion courses. I must say after the initial ham fist she settled in and flew altitude and course to Practical test Standards.
Silly Girl....
Mary and I both needed a break, it was a good time to regroup and give the wx another look from the safety of the FBO. I shot the RNAV GPS 23 approach direct MIDVE with Raleigh and thanks to the LPV minimums the runway showed up right where it was on the sectional. I love how that works! 
After a topping off the fuel, Mary and I saddled back up with a revised plan. I was going to run the west or backside of the storm system.  I filed for KLHZ – KOPN.

251515Z 00000KT 7SM OVC008 16/14 A3008 RMK AO2
251515Z 36004KT 10SM SCT041 11/02 A3010 RMK AO2
The ride was pretty good as we made our way through Georgia.  I was actually enjoying the VFR flight time until west of Columbia, GA.  There was light rain and some additional IMC time as we were in and out of the wx, nothing near what we flew in approaching Cofield.  Once again we broke out into the clear and today's flying had my eyes tired and my head feeling like I absorbed punches flying this rope a dope style of continue but verify wx. 
I had an airport approaching off the left side of the nose and the closer I got it looked good.  I did a quick check on the Garmin 496 for info on cars, hotels and eats, this was my limit. I advised approach we were diverting to KHQU and before he thought about asking me I offered up I am tired of dealing with wx and was calling it a day.  Approach acknowledged and gave me a frequency change, squawk VFR.  With a few twists on the Garmin 530 I was making position calls on CTAF and turning back for the pattern.  The Lineman met us at the plane and was really helpful.  Thanks John for your service hooking us up with a rental car and advising on the good eats at Hogie Joes.
Mary and I secured 08Romeo with her covers, plugs and tie down. Her belly was full of fuel and she would be safe for the night.  We got a lift to Enterprise and rented a Dodge Dart for a stroll in town.  We checked into the Hampton and went straight out for eats, the bags could wait.  We checked out the Italian place the car rental lady told us about, didn’t look so good.  We made a U turn and found our way back to Hogie Joe’s located in the old downtown that looked like it was being revitalized.  Great atmosphere, excellent service and awesome food!  We even got dessert to go as we waddled out the door.  It was just a short hop to the Hotel and after we schlepped the bags to our room we both passed out.

Wednesday 11/26/14

It was once again raining, very light and the sky looked like it was struggling to clear.  By the time we showered and packed up we opted for the free breakfast Hampton offered instead of making a stop at the Waffle House.  Today’s flight would be with a tailwind and a forecast of clear skys.  The plan was one hop to North Palm Beach County, F45.

261355Z 30003KT 10SM BKN004 BKN007 10/10 A3008 RMK AO1 T00950095
261353Z 25011KT 10SM SCT013 BKN020 OVC030 24/23 A3001
261132Z 2612/2712 23008KT P6SM VCTS SCT030CB BKN050
TEMPO 2612/2613 VRB20G30KT 1SM +TSRA SCT015 BKN025CB OVC040
FM261300 27013KT P6SM VCSH SCT015 BKN030
FM261600 32013KT P6SM VCSH FEW020 SCT050 BKN120
We departed HQU, I was loving the tailwinds and clear sky! 08Romeo sailed along at 135+ knots. I was hands in my lap, XM radio on and life was good.  Well pretty good, Mary didn’t feel that great so I diverted to Waycross-Ware County (KAYS) after just an hour in flight. Better safe than sorry and Mary ended up being fine.  I did top off the fuel since F45 was so much more expensive and we walked out with a bottle of water and Mr. Pib for our flight goody bag and a bag of FBO popcorn.
We quickly climbed back to altitude and picked up the tailwinds right where we left them. The ride was sweet all the way to the coast. Once turning south we had some wx that I slipped through with some showers along the way.  We were rerouted over lake Okeechobee direct Pahokee VOR (PHK) This would set us up for the ILS 8 approach that we would need to get through the layer.
turned south along the coast
Miami center handed us off to Palm Beach approach and they gave us direct YIGBO, it would shave off some time and kept us away from the ‘feet wet’ scenario. I advised I had the wx at North Palm Beach and that I would be doing the procedure turn to loose altitude.  I always like to make sure approach and I are on the same page.
I entered direct, got my speed and altitude under control and turned inbound.  I descended through the layer and with a clear view of the airport I canceled IFR and switched to the advisory frequency.  F45 was busy with training flights and helicopters so I switched from runway eight with a tail wind to runway three one and a smooth flow to landing.  My brother and his wife were there to meet us, it took a while for the folks at Landmark to come out. I worked on securing the plane and the family wheeled the bags into the FBO.  Not very good on Landmarks part.

Turkey Day – Thursday 11/27/14

Janice and Joe opened up their home and provided a great feast!  I cooked breakfast for everyone and we followed up with an awesome tour of the area.  It’s very different from home, everything is hidden behind the beautiful landscape, no malls or gas stations cluttering up the highways.  Also the roadways are built really wide, multiple lanes in each direction which has to eliminate traffic jams and work day bottle necks.
We returned home and the smell of the turkey cooking filled the house…yummy stuff!  Mary worked on some new recipe that Janice had for the asparagus and Janice got the rolls, mashed potatoes and dessert lined up.  The table was set and we were ready to enjoy family and fine food.  I am thankful I got to spend time with my Bride visiting with family and breaking bread, that’s what the holiday is all about.
 Once everything was cleaned up  we all settled in for some E-A-G-L-E-S football. The Eagles pounded the Cowgirls so that was like having an extra serving of pie.

Black Friday 11/28/14

Joe cooked up sausage and pancakes for the boys and the ladies did yogurt and fresh fruit. The plan was for the ladies to shop the outlets, yikes! The boys packed up a few things and headed to the airport to load them in the plane. Joe and Janice sold the Florida house along with the furniture but a few sentimental items needed to get back to Delaware.

Between packing things up to ship home in 08Romeo and driving back and forth we ate up a good bit of the day. We were home for a short time when the girls called for a ride home. Traffic did get backed up on the exit ramp as the number of cars far exceeded the turn lanes into and out of the outlets.

We finally got back home and 'my brother' made dinner.  Chicken Marsala was on the menu and I have to say he hit a home run. I never knew he could cook like that! Once again we were stuffed and it was good to relax for a spell.  Ryan brought the grandkids over to visit and it was fun watching them interact with Nonna and Nonno.

Saturday 11/29/14

Departure day. Mary and I both passed on breakfast, instead grabbing a bottle of water each and our freezer pack for the goody bag. We had dried fruit and some crackers for the first leg.

We said our goodbyes after loading the plane, I always hate goodbyes. We both had so much fun with our family, we hated to leave.

I settled up the fuel bill and we climbed aboard after the preflight was completed. 08Romeo was ready to fly and the wx looked perfect. The flight plan showed tailwinds for both legs.  This is going to be a one stop gas and go in Charleston, SC (KJZI).

I picked up my clearance as filed, I got that a lot this trip. I had worked my Weight and balance to 10lbs under gross at start up, figuring the antique coffee table, pictures and beach stuff heavier than they were to keep it conservative. With the fuel burn for start, taxi and run up I had plenty of safety factor.  My brother asked a zillion times if weight would be ok as we loaded the previous day.
08Romeo was off and climbing, windmilling into the wind. I contacted Palm Beach approach and we were on our way north. It was fun to fly the coast and Mary got a great view. We cruised at 140 knots. Once we got to halfway between Brunswick and Savannah we were turned direct Charleston, every little bit helps.
I got relaxed cruising along looking out the window on this first leg. When we were turned loose to land from approach I made a nice circle to landish turn and came in low and slow over the numbers....thought I was in then mains, nose, mains.  I added power, leveled off and flared once again for the real landing. Down right ugly! Taxied clear gave the sock a look and hey did I think about that cross wind....duh!
CAVU Bay Bridge Tunnel
My wounded ego limped into the FBO. While the lineman fueled 08Romeo to top her off I gave a look at the gear trying not to be to obvious.  Everything was where it should be and there were no parts dragging or falling off.
Another gas and go with some warm chocolate chip cookies from the FBO. Nothing for 08Romeo but a pat on the cowl, sorry girl.  We picked up our clearance and launched for home. Climbing to seven thousand we picked up nice tailwinds and made the hop in under three hours and twenty minutes.
We got in before sunset and had 08Romeo pushed back in the hangar in short order. A well deserved bath and wax is on tap after this weekends out and back to KILG.


Anonymous said...

Gary, is a true flying machine!!

ddf said...

Great write up Gary!

Chris said...

Way to flex the IFR muscles, Gary! Great trip, thanks for sharing.

Gary said...

It was a test of the skills and patience heading south and a chance to work through those decision making lessons we train for.

Being with family is priceless! Keeping 08Romeo fueled.....ah not so much. I haven't tallied the final bill and most likely will not.

It was great to fly on our schedule...and mother natures. Instead of being herded around like cattle and dealing with idiots on commercial flights our plane added some fun to it all.

Besides, some poor person working the full body scanner didn't loose his/her eyesight when I would have walked through. It's my holiday gift to TSA. ;)

Chris said...

Gary, you crack me up!

By the way, Mary looks very at home on the controls. Good for her! Maybe someday she can convince Kristy that it's a good idea to be comfortable at the yoke.

Steve said...

Love the photos of Mrs. M on the controls! I'd definitely encourage her to take the course. Even though Gina has made it clear she has no interest in getting her license she really enjoyed taking a few lessons in the Cub for some "just in case" insurance.

Looks like a classic time so spare, go by air trip. But there's still nothing like flying yourself. Great recap, Gary.