Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Favors Repayed and Current Again

Bob C was so kind last April, he had air shuttled me back to New Garden  from 58M Cecil Aero (Claremont) for o8Romeo's brake service.  Well, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Today I had the chance to pick Bob up and air shuttle him back to his home base at Brandywine Airport, KOQN.  Unpunished you wonder....Bob willingly subjected himself to safety pilot time for me so I could knock out four approaches and thus save myself from turning into a pumpkin, mouse, er...whatever I would be.
Bob had texted me around 7am inquiring if I was busy this morning. Me busy? wait for it........I'm retired I got nutin' to do. While I usually am up from 5am on, today after taking care of Ziva dog I crawled back into bed and passed out. I did manage to respond around 8am so I guess that wasn't to bad.

I was at the hangar and wheels up at 9:09am! Todays forecast was calling for strong winds later in the day, we wanted to be current and transport complete before the winds kicked up.

TAF KSBY 302331Z 3100/3124 28005KT P6SM SCT250 FM310900 24004KT
          P6SM BKN150 FM311500 23014G24KT P6SM BKN250 FM311800
          21020G28KT P6SM BKN100 FM312200 13015G21KT P6SM BKN100=

TAF KSBY 310520Z 3106/0106 25006KT P6SM BKN250 FM311500 23014G24KT
          P6SM BKN250 FM311800 21020G28KT P6SM BKN100 FM312300
          25015KT P6SM BKN070 FM010200 31012KT P6SM BKN100=

I made a nice landing at 58M and taxied clear for a helicopter practicing auto-rotations. It was great to say hello to the guys in the shop and sit a spell with Roger.
RT 90 Bridge  OCMD
Bob and I loaded up and the plan was to knock out four approaches. We headed for Summit, KEVY and I announced my position for the GPS 35 approach. Someone at the airport advised the airport was NOTAMed closed for Boeing helicopter testing, I advised I was low approach only, they asked if we could go somewhere else.  Very strange, but off I went after a lap in the hold at WENDS. I didn't check for NOTAMS because I had no intention of landing there. Off to do some 'other' approaches.
Landing 58M
Next up was a pair of GPS 31 approaches into 58M.  I was good on the needles but enroute, while briefing, I wandered off course.  Bob had his hands or eyes full of traffic so he was doing a good job keeping me safe. After the first approach I mentioned that Mike B would have been feverishly pointing/tapping at the heading indicator, we got a laugh out of that.  I always hear Mike B in my head when I fly along with Bill M, both great instructors.  Mike just gets me, he knows how to push my buttons and make me sweat, he knows to cut me no slack.
Twin Spans...my 'former' employer DRBA
Next up we headed to Brandywine for two more approaches, VOR A and the GPS 9.  First the GPS 9, I quickly chugged and plugged on the go trying to keep fresh on no VTF, vectors to final. I selected direct GLMO then switched to the flight plan (FPL) screen and activated the leg between GLOMO and CEFSY.  I made a very nice intercept and eventually came out from the foggles at MDA of 1020, say 1100 for safety.  There was the runway just where it was supposed to be!
Departing KOQN
I called a missed and climbed back out for a last approach, the VOR A or as I first announced it VOR 9...(head slap...duh) I chuckled and corrected that to VOR Alpha. I climbed out direct Modena, MXE for 2,800.  I know its 800 high but I wanted to practice a descending turn for the procedure turn. I crossed Modena and did a nice teardrop with easy wind corrections. I descended to 2000 and shot the approach with a circle to land on runway two-seven. I made a nice landing and taxied in to drop off Bob C and take on some fuel.
Cape Henlopen
I climbed back aboard 08Romeo and pointed her home. A nice one notch of flap take off and smooth climb. I had to stay under 3000 for the Philly Bravo since I wasn't feeling chatty today. Once clear of Philly airspace I climbed to 5500, it was a poor choice. Winds went from 15 across the nose to 23, it was slow going. I decided to wave the white flag and started a descent across Dover back to 3000.

KOXB 311853Z AUTO 20012G24KT 10SM CLR 12/02 A2972

By this time in the day the winds were there to say hello. This was one of the worst rides and my back spasms are reminding me as I sit and type this. I could not slow down enough to be safe, I was getting hit from all sides hard enough that my shoulder and lap belt would gouge me. Add in tail slides and you get the idea of my rodeo ride. I finally announced my position for landing at OXB and made a sweet one wheeler into the crosswind and then sat the other main down followed by the nose. I was thinking this would have been a flatsville special but I did a nice job. I'm starting to feel like I belong in the left seat again.

I tucked 08Romeo in her hangar with a very full belly of fuel.  I'm loaded up and ready for my MAESSR flight Thursday morning, KOXB KILG KOFP KOXB.  Pictures and a report to follow.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trial Run, Aero Ways FBO

It had finally stopped raining and I was finally feeling better,  With my head and chest congestion along with hacking cough that made me sound like an escapee performer from sea world I was happy to once again have taste and smell senses back in action.

Mary and I wanted to make a breakfast run, I was thinking Williamsburg Jamestown (KJGG) but Charleys doesn't open until eleven or twelve on Sundays. Instead we decided to knock out a stop on our annual pre- memorial day mission of cleaning up the cemetery for our parents. Since I was only back up to speed for a day or two we would keep this first hop limited to the Wilmington stop for Mary's folks.  This run will also prep us for the typical heading north mission for future family outings and visits.
My FBO selection is Aero Ways, I had purchased most of my fuel through them when I was based there and their service was always top notch. I called Saturday night to have a rental car available if there was no crew car. Since Ziva was going with us, we decided to rent.
I had 08Romeo plugged in so the oil and cylinders were nice and toasty, I wish I was after pulling her out of the hangar. The winds were picking up but the forecast was good, besides ILG is wide enough to almost land across the darn runway, keeping in mind I haven't had air time since March 8th.
I went through my checklist in the typical fashion pulling out the card to review my steps. I felt rusty, it didn't feel like muscle memory, I had to think through my flying. I did monitor Dover approach for traffic but it was slow today, just a few Piedmont Dash-8 flights overhead. I used the mnemonic WIRE, weather-instruments-radio-elevation for my review before contacting Wilmington.
I was cleared straight in runway one, report three mile final.  I set up the Garmin 530 for the ILS and followed the needles when I could steal a glance inside.  I made a nice landing with a quick exit on Delta then flipped to ground. I parked out front at Aeroways and secured 08Romeo.
Ziva was a big hit, the line guys fell in love with her and she just soaked it all in. I think she shot me a few looks when I made her heal as we walked in the building like I was cramping her style. We loaded up in the rental Ford SUV and headed south to the Veterans Cemetery.
After cleaning up the bronze plaque and making sure Pop had a good flag Mary and I decided to head out for brunch. We didn't get to far when we remembered the Glass Kitchen, just a few miles and on the way back to ILG. We each ordered breakfast, the food and service was very good. We even saved Ziva a side order of bacon for being such a good girl.

08Romeo was fueled as directed so we squared away that fee. The rental was returned and after Ziva got to say hello to all the line guys again we could head out to the plane. The sun was out and the winds had calmed down so I did my preflight in a sweatshirt. This is not of any value until you read through this. Everyone secure, oil warmed, we are ready to call for our taxi clearance. I was directed to taxi to runway one via Alpha, contact tower when run up is complete. I acknowledged and off we went.
This is my moment of being complacent. I flew out of here for years, I didn't bother to print the taxi diagram, I didn't use the taxi diagram on the 496, I assumed I was headed to the end of the runway. One two three strikes your out!. As I taxied from the FBO on A7 I made a left on Alpha then 'assuming' I was going to the end of the runway started to follow Echo. I immediately stopped and checked the signage, knowing there shouldn't be an ILS critical area on Alpha.  Ground said 08Romeo you can just 180 there and hold short at 1 and Alpha. Ughhh, he was very kind, I was a dope.  I responded, thank you, I'll 180 and hold short then contact the tower.

I was cleared for takeoff runway one, proceed on course. I acknowledged and asked if they wanted a right or left turn out. The tower said my choice, so we turned out right/east over the Delaware river and then pointed south.

The trip home was a better ride than coming north bucking those headwinds. Instead we cruised along at 125 knots with just a few bumps. It couldn't have been to bad since both of my passengers were well into dreamland before we even passed over Dover.

Once I clear Georgetown, KGED I like to switch over to Ocean City and paint the mental picture of traffic location, especially in the summer season. Today was no different, it was busy into OXB. It was a good work out after not flying much and I was starting to feel back at home in the left seat. I worked my way in behind a Mooney and with a nice tight pattern turned base to final. I added the last notch of flaps and intentionally landed long for the easy taxi to my hangar.

Mary and Ziva climbed in the SUV to keep warm, the temps were cooler now and the ocean breeze was still here. I opened up the hangar and then decided I should put a jacket on. I reached inside the baggage door and grabbed the tow bar along with my jacket from the storage shelf. That's odd, I have my leather gloves on what the heck is in my coat pocket?  Ahhh, the keys to the rental SUV. What! Yes, those keys were still zipped up in my jacket. I secured the plane and got everything covered, plugged in and vacuumed too.

What and end to a crazy day. I called the FBO and they didn't even notice the keys missing. I said I wanted to call to let them know I was going to overnight the keys. The staff assured me that this happens all the time, it didn't make me feel any better.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Detailed by CAVU

This morning I was scheduled to meet Ivan, the owner of CAVU Aircraft Detailing, at 8 am at the tenants access gate. I was a bit early but Ivan rolled through the gates on time.  I opened up the hangar and had to move the VW Cabrio out of the way, it decided it was not going to start, just give a few clicks to let me know it sat idle to long. I was ready for this and pulled my SUV alongside, hooked up cables and got the Cabrio running on the first shot. I disconnected my battery minder and engine pre-heat so we could roll 08Romeo out for a bath.
I had to be back over the house by 8:30 to meet the installer from media-com who was going to provide a hard line telephone hook up.....let's not have this discussion.   The phone is in and it works, not sure who still calls on a hard line and does not use a cell phone.
My first weekend retired, that sounds nice. Well, it was a busy one.  I washed the SUV and the Cabrio by hand, I honestly can't remember the last time I did that. Both vehicles looked great, Ziva was only slightly wet and I managed to somehow stay dry.
Mary was off to Berlin to browse the main street stores with her friend Jo Ann that came down this morning. I made sure Ziva was squared away and then I went to the home and condo show located at the Ocean City convention hall.  I wanted to support Ted and Pam, Pipeline Contracting LLC, and check out some home solar info.
I finally made it back to the airport so I could use my shop vac and clean out the cabrio to complete the clean up. I hung out and talked with Ivan and met a few locals that stopped by to pick up his business card,  and one to chat about my Sundowner.  I did finally meet RonOC from the AOPA forum.  Ron has his plane hangared in the row behind me and he flys a 172. We have traded messages on the forum but until today haven't been able to cross paths.

Ivan finished up 08Romeo and I locked up the hangar. 08Romeo's reiff heaters were plugged in and so was the battery minder, she is ready for her next mission, wx permitting will be Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sunday 3/22

I took Mary over to see the final product and she could not believe how clean and bright the white was on the plane. We are both very happy with the work performed by CAVU Detailing. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


 Bucket List

With retirement just a week away, yes, I’m taking some vacation to get out even earlier than planned, I'm thinking about my flying bucket list. Mary and I will take more four day get-away weekends to explore some new places.  Of course we have pets to think about so cats must be boarded and we hope to travel with our lap dog (American Mastiff) Ziva.
I have found a few web links that list rentals for pet owners so at least I have a place to start. I guess the first step in the process is to compile ‘the list’ of where we want to go.  Since Mary does not post on the blog I’ll start out with my list which does include some of our favorites.
We both would like to get back to Maine, really nice people and beautiful views both of the water and mountains. Mary wants to visit family in Boston and we would both like to visit Ted, Laurie and the kids in Ohio.  It would be great to fly down and catch up with Linda and Dick in Nags head South Carolina and enjoy some beach time.  Charleston SC is on the top of our list, Jekyll Island, Atlanta and a host of other southern destinations.  A trip to the Bahamas is also on our short list and getting back to the Keys as often as possible.  Actually we are headed down to Marathon in April for some R&R and to locate rentals that will accept 112 lbs of furry lap dog.
Turning to the west I would like to spend some additional time in Nashville and visit Memphis.  We both want to visit Mackinac and eventually explore farther, finding new locations and meeting up with our flying friends.

Since I turned in my papers I have felt re-energized….I’m getting into work an hour ahead of my normal start time and staying past my normal bolt out the door quitting time. Maybe I just want to make sure my projects are ready to hand off with no issues, maybe I’m just counting down the days.  I’ve taken the time to meet with my close friends at our facilities to say goodbye to the folks who I really enjoyed working with, the core team that always worked well together. My office is empty, just the basics left here to function and my 08Romeo model on my desk to keep me focused on the final prize.
The new chapter that lies ahead is both exciting and scary.  I’m most looking forward to spending time with my Bride, I hope she feels the same about me after the first month.  The blog should be more active with more flying posts and pictures of our travels. Spring is almost here!
Stay tuned for our Marathon trip report!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Finally, Some Flight Time

Looking back through my log book I see that it has been one month to the date since I last had 08Romeo in the air.  It was gorgeous Saturday but we had errands to run and we met up with our neighbors for lunch. So, today I was going to fly, bore holes in the sky, get the oil pumping, knock the rust off, you're following me here.
Last night I posted on Facebook that I was going to meet up with my friend Jeff from the Richmond, Virginia area, KFCI to be exact.  Jeff and I texted back and forth and decided on 10am for eats at KGED, Sussex County Airport located in Georgetown, Delaware.  Bob C saw the Facebook post then texted for the details.
Mary was dealing with a migraine that hit late last night and we have a supper club event this evening so she decided to try and sleep this one out.  I took care of the zoo, put in a load of wash and made sure Mary was all set with something cold to drink and a dark room. I was off for the airport.
I got to Ocean City airport around 8:30 so I had at least an hour to kill since my flight was really less than fifteen minutes straight shot. I did my pre-flight and left 08Romeo plugged in, with a moving blanket on the cowl to keep her warm. I took the VW Cabrio out for a spin around the hangars then out to the airport terminal. There was breakfast being served for a donation of $7....I should have ate there!! I checked in with the folks in the office and hung out to chat with Don from Express rental cars.
I figured I bothered everyone long enough so I headed back to 08Romeo. I had the tunes playing while I disconnected the battery maintainer and the pre-heat extension cord from my switchbox controller. Both the VW and my ML320 were locked and parked out of the way at the end of the hangar and the hangar door was closed and secured....it's time to fly!! I had great oil temps since I turned on the heaters Friday night. A few blades and 08Romeo was once again patiently waiting at a smooth idle.
I picked up the wx and then launched for Georgetown/Sussex County. Headwinds for the short hop with indicated speeds around 100-108 and ground speed 81 knots. I made my position calls and landed on runway two two soft and short. Fuel was $4.50 a gallon with an added ten cent a gallon discount for eating at the restaurant.  I took on 20 gallons for $88. Jeff, Scott and Bryan landed in the Saratoga, that is one bad ass sounding plane. Bob soon followed in the Cessna 172.

We grabbed a table and enjoyed the buffet. Good eats and great company! Scott bought lunch today....Thanks Scott!
We all went out to look at our planes and on the way I was stopped by a man who reads my blog. We had met before and he said he always reads the blog and noted he used a link for medical info that I had posted.  Glad to be of service, thanks for reading!
We all said our goodbyes and headed for our rides. I taxied out behind Jeff and launched when he was away. Great tail wind for the hop home even if it did make for a bumpy ride. I swapped calls with a Cardinal and fell in number two for landing on runway three two. The cardinal didn't like his attempt and went around, I nailed another landing and taxied clear.