Thursday, December 31, 2015

Departure Alternates

A departure alternate is an airport and approach you'll fly if trouble finds you after you enter the clouds.

Honestly, I haven't planed this before and usually figure on getting below a layer and picking the best landing place I could find. However, if I had enough altitude I normally would have used the OBS function and dialed in the runway heading, intercept it, and ride that until I drop out of the clouds and hopefully make the runway. If not, the best place I see to set the plane down will work. I normally don't depart unless I have 1000-1200' ceilings.

I will say some of the worst conditions I have taken off in, have been out of Ocean City. Noting our recent trip out to Dubuque Iowa, it started at 800'overcast, visibility 4 miles and mist. I launched below my minimums, but with good visibility below the layer and armed with the emergency plan to turn back and drop out of that forecast and make for the pre-planned runway. As a secondary option I would pick a spot along the highway, or if all else is no-go I would shoot for the coastline. None of the above was a comforting thought in an emergency situation, but at least I had a plan ready when we took off.

Having read through the latest online IFR Focus #7, my Ocean City departure scenario kept running through my head. I should have used more of the options my avionics could have provided me.

If we have altitude, setting up a pre-planned approach can be a viable option. So lets do a little planning, while still on the ground, for that what if situation.
I failed to video the process required to delete the approach portion once safe and on your way.  It's a simple few clicks on the Garmin 530W.
Click on the FPL button to bring up your complete plan. 
Click on Push CRSR then turn the outside knob until you find the approach you selected.
Click on CLR, confirm you are removing the approach selected and then click on ENT.

It seems pretty easy to take advantage of this procedure with the Garmin series GPS units. I'll be adding it to my pre-flight flight plan set up.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good flight!
To all our readers...
Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

ForeFlight, Flight Stream, Connectivity with Garmin

From Foreflight...

ForeFlight Mobile connects to Garmin avionics via the Flight Stream 110 and 210, Garmin’s Bluetooth wireless gateway, enabling convenient two-way flight plan transfer, and the display of subscription-free ADS-B weather, traffic, backup attitude, and GPS position on your iPad and iPhone.

Wirelessly transfer your flight plan between ForeFlight Mobile and Garmin GTN and GNS navigators when connected via the Garmin Flight Stream 210, and the Garmin G3X Touch display.

Load a simple route, as well as approaches, SIDs, STARs, routes with airways, and search and rescue patterns. ForeFlight Mobile also receives route changes made on the Garmin navigator, keeping your panel and iOS device in sync.
Today, with the help of Mike B, we are going to show the creation of a flight plan, transfer of that plan from the iPad to the Garmin 530W, amending the route and send it from the 530W to the iPad and add an instrument procedure.

If I had to add a comment it would be on the load from panel segment for the approach. I think it would be faster to 'clear all' on the Foreflight, flight plan menu, before you load from the panel/Garmin 530. This will give you a clean slate and load the approach without having to edit the iPad plan.

I hope this helps pilots who are just getting started with this system and those on the fence wondering how easy it really is and if it really does work.

Thanks Mike B for the intro, camera work and buttonology on the 530W.

Questions?  Leave me a comment!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Year in Review

2015 Totals

Hours: I surpassed 1000 hours! TT 1048.4

ASEL: 118.6
97 Landings (97 Day), 20 Approaches
Approach ILS: 2 
Approaches Localizer: 1
Approach RNAV/GPS: 16 
Approach VOR/DME: 1 
Cross Country: 96.8 
IMC:  7.4 
Simulated Instrument: 5.9 
PIC: 118.6 
Total Time: 118.6

New Airports:9

New States:6
Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas

Fun Flights:
Kayla's Foster Flight - Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue (MAESSR) flight. 
Lucy Finds Her Forever Home - Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel Rescue (MAESSR) flight.
BACFest Dubuque,IA - Annual get together for Baby Beech owners. Record turn out; 33 planes and 88 people.
Rapid City, SD - Cross this off of our bucket list.  We finally got to see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse!
Olathe, KS - Mary and I wanted to stop in and say hello to our friends in Kansas.  Mary helped out in January taking care of their new born twin girls when they were in Ohio, so this was a great reunion with their family.

I went ahead and had the ADS-B added to 08Romeo. Equipment installed is a Garmin GDL88 and the FlightStream 210. This upgrade really has added to the Garmin 530W usability with flight planning. The ADS-B traffic is amazing, the weather, meh. I'll keep my XM weather subscription.
A new Alternator was required following annual. The existing Kelly quit in flight and a new Hartzel unit was ordered and installed.
It was a strange year as Mary and I entered into our retirement. I thought I would be flying more but the weekend hops to the beach were now old news since we were living here full time. There wasn't much need to fly north with no home to go to.
Through the first three months up until retirement in March I had just 13 hours. Thinking my flight time would still increase, I saw a slight rise after the first quarter. New house projects became the norm and occupied most of my time. From April through the end of September I noted only 46 additional hours for a total of 59 through nine months.
With the house renovations completed and a fresh third class medical in hand, we decided to head west for BACFest. The group dubbed our trip BAC to BAC since a few of us decided to add on Rapid City, SD then for some members on to Colorado, for us Kansas City, so it was BACk to BACk adventures.
October through December was very busy, racking up an additional 59.6 hours despite being down for annual, the ADS-B install and an alternator replacement that required a VFR only day to fly back to the shop.
I'm not really sure what's in store for 2016. Mary and I want to travel more and we would like to attend the next BACFest in Branson, Mo. If we do make Branson we would like to visit Sandra in Plano Texas and then head south to Waco Texas and tour the shops of one of our favorite tv shows, "Fixer Upper".
We still have Jekyll Island, GA and Mackinac Island, MI on our list of places to visit. We love the Florida Keys and there is talk of a BAC flight to the Bahamas in the Spring. So many places to visit and explore!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Training, Part II

Day two of flight training torture. Mike B and I were out at the airport early this morning so we could get another day of flying in. I had taken on twenty gallons of fuel last night so I could sump this morning and be good to go.  Pre-flight checked out and the engine was nice and toasty. We tugged 08Romeo out on the ramp, closed the hangar and got the fan turning.

Winds had already started to pick up since we arrived at the airport. It looked best to take off runway two-zero so I taxied to the far north west end for my run up. We launched for Millville NJ-KMIV, working our way up the coast passing over the deserted summer beach destinations. Great visibility today as we made our way to Cape Henlopen to cross the mouth of the Delaware Bay towards Cape May NJ and then turn to Millville.
As we crossed the Bay we aligned ourself with the winds and road along at times hitting 156 knots. I did manage a shot at 148. Once crossing Cape May I set up for the GPS 32 approach into Millville. Winds were really blowing as I descended for the approach turning for initial fix, LAYIB. I took advantage of the no procedure turn coming from the VOR Sea Isle (SIE)and continued on. I was shooting the LPV approach and was cleared to 380' but instead broke off early and did a circling approach at 700' to runway two-eight for the winds. Mike mentioned on final that I should see the crab angle...great I'm missing all the fun views. I made a nice crosswind landing.

We took a breakfast break at Flight Line and made plans for the remainder of our flying day. Neither of us wanted to cross the mouth of the bay at 55knots going home so we decided to fly to Summit airport, KEVY. The over water portion was much narrower and we'll get to feet dry quicker since were crossing where the river opens to the bay.

As we crossed the river Mike B wanted me to fly partial panel so I broke out the covers and had at it. This would also be a great time to use the iPad and Foreflights AHRS.  We covered the attitude indicator, Directional Gyro (DG) and the turn and slip indicator.
It's been awhile  so it took a few minutes of straight and level to digest this new view of the iPad and my new scan. Muscle memory kicked in and I kept trying to set the heading bug on the DG. It took me a bit to register that I needed to keep cross checking the Garmin 530 course and what I was tracking, as I always do, but now transfer that to a heading I need to hold on the iPad. I did pretty darn good and shot the GPS 35 approach to a low pass.
No relief in sight as we kept the covers on and proceeded to Delaware Airpark for the GPS 27 approach. Another nice job flying the approach partial panel in the gusting wind conditions. For you IFR pilots out there I have to say as the box got tight the winds really gave me fits, pitch & power inputs were almost happening faster than two hands could move and still keep the eyes and brain in the same loop.  Truly one of the hardest approaches I have flown and did it partial panel. I went missed and climbed back out, now pointing home. A chance to take a breath!

We finally peeled the stickers off and returned to normal, I think my eyes were still spinning like a carnival toy. Mike flew some of this leg and he shot the next approach, the Localizer 14 back into Ocean City, KOXB. The winds were kicking pretty good as Mike made his way in. Check out the crab angle around :48!  I took this with the iPhone so its not the best.
We all went out to dinner at a new to us place called KY West, pronounced Key West. Great service and food. We'll be back to this place and try to get the happy hour bunch to try it too!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Catching Up & Training

Over the last week or so I've traded text messages with my friend Mike B. Since I retired and moved to Ocean City it was difficult to coordinate our schedules and get flight time together. Between my retirement and now Mike and his Bride relocated to the Boston area it's even harder. Talk about coordinating schedules.
All the pieces fell into place and Mike hopped a 6:30 am flight headed to Salisbury by way of Philly. It was great to see my friend and flying partner in crime.  We headed straight for the airport and 08Romeo. I had the pre-heats on since last night so she was ready to fly.
Turned out towards the Delaware Bay after circle to land, T&G runway 28
The plan was to head to Cambridge, KCGE for lunch and then shoot some approaches.  Mike settled right in and we transferred controls after I climbed out, 08Romeo knows him well. I briefed the GPS 34 approach, set up radios and confirmed the weather.  Mike did some ATC role play and vectored me to the approach. The area was busy with traffic but everyone seemed to coordinate for the pattern very nice. So much for my string of nice landings, I planted one big-time.
Heading to IAF HUVOX for procedure turn GPS 22
We both enjoyed our lunch and catching up, it's been way to long. With full bellys we once again climbed aboard 08Romeo and pointed towards Delaware Coastal, KGED.  The next approach was the GPS 4 with a circle to land runway two-eight. Actually it was a touch and go with a climb out towards the Delaware Bay to set up for the GPS 22 approach. This approach terminated in a low approach only, followed by a climb out in order to set up for ocean city's localizer 14
heading back to KOXB
Mike took the first round and his approach was a low approach only. Someone not talking on the radio jumped the pattern, very annoying.  We were circling to land at 700' and there was bonanza shooting the GPS 32. We were number one, the Bo number two less than ten out and a Cessna entering down wind number three, everything coordinated between aircraft. It's 2015 people! Get a radio and use it, ocean city is a busy place!.  I know, see and avoid, we did.
Mike had shot the one approach then I tried my hand back into the home field again with the same localizer approach. I did a nice job and circled to land for runway three-two bringing today's flying  to an end with a better landing than what I started the day with at Cambridge.
As always, it was a fun day of flying with Mike. I've missed our training flights, lunch runs and debrief sessions.  We tucked 08 Romeo in for the night, refilled the tanks and switched the pre-heats on. Tomorrow will be another day of flying fun and adventure.
After getting settled in at the house we all decided on dinner at Fagers Island. Dinner and service was very good. Having some time to break bread together and catch up with what's going on in our lives is priceless. We missed you Kim, hope we can ALL get together this summer.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nav Light Lens Upgrade

There is not much to do around the house this morning but wrap a few gifts for my Bride, this can wait.  With the rainy weather it wouldn't be fun on the driving range or playing a round of golf so off to the airport I go.  I thought I would take Ziva with me so we could find something to get into, hopefully not trouble.
I photo bombed Ziva Diva!
I received a package from Aircraft spruce yesterday afternoon that contained my new clear lens for the nav lights and a new LED white bulb for the rear marker light. I loaded up the princess and headed out. It's only a few miles and Ziva does enjoy looking out the window and watching the rear wiper...such a simple life she has.
Once Ziva ran around turfing up the grass adjacent to the hangar taxiway, she decided it was finally time to join me in the hangar. I held the door open and she jumped over the step then sat and looked for a treat, so spoiled.  I gave her some water, she has a gallon in the fridge, and set her up with a moving blanket to get settled.
The lens switch was easy peasy. Loosen three screws on the nav light, pop out the green/red lens and insert the new clear lens. Don't tighten anything until you make sure the nav lens gasket is not stuck on the original lens, rolls eyes, don't ask how I know. With red and green completed I moved to the back of the plane. Two screws and the rear fixture is carefully removed. The existing clear lens was stuck in place, I mean really stuck. I tried to turn it, pull it, and rock it back and forth with no success. Without having a spare lens I didn't want to take a chance forcing the lens off. So, the new rear LED lamp will have to wait.

Ziva got a few treats and we cleaned up the hangar then loaded up for home. I hope to get some flight time in this weekend. I should be out shooting approaches today in this crap weather but I just don't feel like dragging out the plane. The continuous struggle to keep current and proficient.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


I upgraded my Sundowner with ADS-B so I am selling the Zaon XRX Onyx unit.  SOLD!!
Traffic awareness is everyone's concern, but so has been the cost of traffic systems, until now. PCAS XRX is the first ever portable, passive, stand-alone collision avoidance system for general aviation to offer direction from within the cockpit. PCAS, or Portable Collision Avoidance System, is Zaon's solution for providing high-quality, low cost traffic information to the general aviation pilot. XRX is the flagship model, providing a complete picture in a simple, easy-to-use device. PCAS represents Zaon's third generation of proven traffic detection technology. XRX is truly a "Plug and Go" device with its built-in antenna system and built-in display.
The one that gives direction
An industry first, XRX detects threat aircraft direction from within your cockpit using a cutting-edge, proprietary, self-contained antenna design. With direction, locating and identifying traffic is simple and easy, and traffic information is "three-dimensional", which means it can be displayed on third-party systems, such as moving map GPS devices. Read more about this below.
Don't let the tiny size fool you XRX was designed to be placed on the glareshield. Yet despite its incredibly small and self-contained, XRX sacrifices none of the accuracy found in much more expensive, installed systems. The majority of the height is for the enclosed antenna array. In most cases, the unit sits below the visual line of the propeller, out of the pilot's line-of-sight and presents useful traffic information in plain sight in front of the pilot.
Included but needs Garmin plug - The existing white connector (pictured) needs to be replaced with a garmin connector pictured in the red circle.
Get XRX traffic on your Garmin 396 or 496! This cable allows XRX-generated traffic to appear on the Garmin screen similar to the way TIS traffic appears. This simple cable powers both the Garmin unit and the XRX unit from one cigarette plug. From a central "Y" point generous cabling allows 68" to the cigarette plug 48" to the Garmin and 68" to the XRX unit. Uses a single lightweight cable for both power and data transmission. System Requirements: Garmin 396 or 496 with firmware 2.90 or higher (available as a download from Garmin) PCAS XRX with firmware 2.0 or higher (available from Zaon)

Monday, December 14, 2015

N/A New Bikes

Mary and I decided to ask Santa for bikes this Christmas.  Fortunately, both were delivered early and I assembled them fairly quickly. I took my cruiser on a test ride, I nearly gave myself a heart attack! Where we all those gear selections like my old ten speed? Hmmm, I should have asked Santa for at least a three speed instead of this fixed/single speed, this thing doesn't coast.

Mary's Cruiser
I did some research online and ended up purchasing two Shimano Nexus 3 speed upgrade kits. Both kits cost zip, thanks to American Express points. My only added cost will be sweat equity to make the change.

Shimano Nexus 3 Speed Wheel Set with Shifter
I removed both tires and tubes from the original bike rims and transferred them to the two new rims.  Pretty easy, no tools needed but some hand strength is required. I did have to reuse the rubber protection that covers the spoke hubs since the new set of rims did not have them.

My ride
I bolted the new front wheel back on the bike and started with the gear assembly. I would say it went smooth with the only issue getting the snap ring in place since my spreader didn't open wide enough. I ended up using a pair of needle nose pliers working in reverse to open the ring and a flat screwdriver to hold the clip in place. Once I got it started I worked the remaining portion around the gear assembly until it locked in place.
I did watch a video prior to starting the upgrade to make sure I understood the process. The video wasn't in English but it's the best I could find and the guy provided an excellent detail of each step. Tomorrow I will air the tires up and take test ride number two.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

N/A Golf Day

I played nine holes at American Classic Golf Club in Lewes Delaware today with my brother. He kicked my butt by nine strokes!
There was some work going on through out the course. Plenty of pallets of sod strategically placed clear of the course and sand piles to freshen up the bunkers.
I was the one that found one of the fresh piles of sand in the bunker on the last hole. I did make a real nice chip shot just short of the pin.
9th hole left bunker....Ughhhhh
Despite getting schooled it was a fun day in the sun. While the men played a round the ladies shopped the outlets. We all caught up and had a terrific lunch at Jakes Seafood on the Coastal Highway.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Round Robin Flight

I couldn't resist posting that photo, it just cracks me up.  Todays flight was a round robin of sorts. In aviation, a round robin flight is a cross-country flight which starts at one airport, travels to several other points for fly-over or touch-and-goes, and returns to the point of origin. This flight today would be one full stop landing and one, sort of, fly over. I am returning to my point of origin.
climbing out of OXB on a 270* heading per approach
After approach turned me north this was the view of the OC coast
I really needed to get back to Wilmington (KILG) and stop at Red Eagle to pick up my Zaon portable collision avoidance system (PCAS)and my Garmin GDL88 manual that was waiting for me. I had filed last night for an 8:30ish departure since fog was in the forecast for most of the airports along the coast. I got up today and the sky looked good but reports at KOXB and KSBY were Low Instrument Flight Rules (LIFR), 300 mist.
check out the wind speed change over the water and at the mouth of the bay (bottom)
By the time I had 08Romeo ready to go things cleared up very nice. Wilmington's report was also looking better, not much of a chance for an approach. It was hazy once in the air as I turned to a 270* heading until radar identified by Patuxent. Once ID'ed I was turned north for Smyrna (ENO). Lots of traffic today so I tried to get some pictures showing the ADS-B on the Garmin 530 and the iPad mini 3.
This is just north of KGED, you can see it was busy around Dover
Pax had asked if I wanted five or six thousand, I said five is fine since Dover will lower me anyway, I swear I heard him chuckle. With that exchange I was handed off to Dover and checked in at five thousand level. We road along with one traffic callout, twelve o'clock one thousand low opposite direction. ADS-B already was tracking him and I saw the high wing pass under me exactly head on. I advised I had the traffic and with that I was handed off to Philly.
I checked in with Philly after I picked up the Wilmington ATIS. Philly approach Sundowner 6708Romeo, five thousand level, with wx at Wilmington. Philly lowered me to three thousand and gave me a heading to intercept the ILS Runway 1.
I was eyes out but did glance in to see if I kept the needles centered, not too shabby. This stop was a quick turn and burn.  I picked up my Zaon and the manual then climbed back aboard 08Romeo.  As I climbed up the wing I happened to see Vince leaning over his car at the Boeing hangar, of course he had camera in hand snapping pics of a jet that took off. I couldn't resist, I sent him a text message, "Stop taking pics and get back to work."  He quickly responded "you have good eyes, it's break time."
I was going to file but passed, figure if I need a pop up to get in to Cape May I'll ask Atlantic city. I was in the air and heading south east when the tower asked me to turn east and cross the approach of runway one for traffic inbound on the ILS. I did and made it safe and now clear for the traffic on the approach. With that maneuver complete Wilmington turned me loose. A little more than halfway to Cape May I received a text from Dave that said his plane is grounded with an antenna problem and he wouldn't make brunch run.
ForeFlight track log
I put 08Romeo in a climb and leveled out at six thousand five hundred to cross the Delaware Bay. I was headed home, no eats at the Flight Deck today.
Cape May off the wing as I go feet wet across the Bay
The sun was shining bright, there were ships heading up the Delaware and I even caught a glimpse of the Ferry leaving CM and heading to Lewes. It was warm and quiet, I enjoyed the view from 08Romeo and continued towards home. Here are a few pics along the coast.
Lewes, DE
Indian River Inlet Bridge
Bethany and South Bethany Beach
Fenwick Island
A great day to fly and take some pictures. I made a nice landing on runway one-four and taxied for the hangar. I had to take off my sweatshirt and just wear my BACFest T-shirt, the temps were hovering around 60*. I always clean the leading edges and get everything plugged back in, heaters and battery. Good girl 08Romeo, maybe we'll get back in the air tomorrow and head to Easton Maryland for Christmas in St. Michaels.