Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ocean Aviation’s Flyout to Millville

Finally, after delaying for weather the past three weeks, the Ocean Aviation Flyout finally took flight today. What a beautiful day to enjoy aviation as the group departed Ocean City Airport for the flight north, over the Delaware to Millville, New Jersey. Joining the Ocean Aviation fleet of Skyhawk’s was Chris G's Saratoga and Gary's Beech Sundowner. Verna's Airport Diner had our table all ready as we touched down right on schedule at 10:30am. After a delicious breakfast, we headed across the field to the Millville Air Field Museum where we toured the fantastic display of army memorabilia.
I would say Mike summed it up pretty well.  It was absolutely a gorgeous day to fly. I had plans of joining the Woodbine bunch but noticed a post on Facebook from Ocean Aviation about a flyout to Millville, KMIV.  Finally a chance to meet fellow aviators at the home airport!

Mary and I got over to the airport as quick as we could. Thankfully I had the remote preheats turned on last night and 08Romeo was ready to go.  Mary parked the airport buggy as the planes were rolling for runway two zero. I had the hangar buttoned up and 08Romeo started in time to fall in line as the last plane departing.
I climbed out behind the Cessna and shadowed it up the Maryland and Delaware coast. I was ocean side, Mike in the Cessna was land side. I climbed to 5.5 and road the tailwinds and ended up passing the Cessna. We also had an aircraft opposite direction pass between us , I was well clear above, Mike and his passenger were within one hundred feet and they never saw him pass by, between us. Another example of why ADS-B is the way to go. 
I overtook the Cessna riding the tail wind and turning 130kts.  A quick check on ADS-B and it shows the Cessna cruising at 98knots. The Bay was smooth and temps in the high 30's, I was happy to make feet dry and start my descent for Millville.
Cape May over the nose
The pattern was busy but as we got closer things sorted themselves out. I was working with one aircraft in the pattern and made for a three mile left base. I was having to widen out just a bit to fall in number two as the Cessna was short final doing a T&G. As he went wheels up I was half mile final.
The Flight Line was packed! Thankfully Mike reserved seating for our group. Food was excellent and the service ok for as busy as they were. We snapped a few pictures and then made our way back out to the flight line. Mary and I said our goodbyes as we headed for home after settling up our fuel bill with Big Sky.
Cape Henlopen over the nose
Delaware coast, Rehoboth and points south
We had plans to put 08Romeo away then drive directly to Crisfield Maryland, about an hour drive. We didn't fly because we didn't know much about the local airport if a courtesy car or rentals were available.
Crisfield is a city in Somerset County, Maryland, United States, located on the Tangier Sound, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The population was 2,726 at the 2010 census.
It was a nice drive in perfect wx. We drove right to the Bay and didn't see many shops at all. Plenty of restaurants and the location to purchase tickets for ferry rides to/from the various islands. I'm sure this place has so much to offer during season, today it was a sleepy little coastal town.
We turned the SUV around and pointed back home. On the way out of town we wanted to make a stop and check out the airport. It was easy to find with the help of the GPS. When we turned on to airport road the gates were closed and locked. So much for checking out the airport offerings.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Twinkie Ride Along

Twin Comanche - Piper PA30

Economical, quick and quiet, the Twinkie stands out as one of Piper's best. Today I had the opportunity to ride along with Frank (AirDorin) on a hop to Lancaster, PA.

I got a late start this morning, deciding to crawl back in bed after taking care of the Dog and cats. I had left the heater on so the sheets and covers were toasty warm, I couldn't help myself. I wanted to be at the airport by 8am but instead rolled in about 8:45ish. I took on 10 gallons of 100LL to bring 08Romeo up to 50 total. After unplugging the battery minder, preheaters and completing the preflight I was ready to get this day started.
08Romeo's oil was way into the yellow and I soon had heat pouring into the cabin. Winds favored 32 for departure so following my run up and last checklist review I pointed the nose in the wind and was off.
 I had a short hop to KGED, Delaware Coastal. The winds were blowing, headwind of course, but the ride was smooth. It wasn't the typical winter clear view, today it was yucky out there. Yes, yucky is my choice to describe flight conditions.
I made my way into GED and ended the flight with a good landing. With a few taxiways closed I had to back taxi for the ramp.

Frank was getting 3DeltaFox ready as I secured 08Romeo. We took some time to assess the hangar damage from the blizzard wind conditions that roared through the beach. I think we were both in agreement that he came very close to loosing his Twin Comanche if the winds would have continued much longer. The wooden roof members were torn away from their rafters and columns along with the tin roof bent in a bowed fashion. Honestly I'm not sure how it held in place.
With the preflight complete I followed Frank in boarding the Twin Comanche. This plane is spotless and the leather interior is just as squared away as the recent paint job.
We taxied out for departure on runway 4. Frank went through procedures for engine out before rotation and once wheels up, clear concise and I felt perfectly comfortable.
We had a pretty smooth flight until Philly lowered us prior to handing us off to Harrisburg. From there in it was bumpy but not terrible.  Frank set up for the RNAV 26 approach and loaded the full approach not vectors. We discussed this since ATC can change their minds once you're on vectors and give you a direct initial approach fix. I really enjoy hearing what other pilots do and their approach to flying IFR.
It was nice watching the autopilot work en-route and Frank hand fly the final. A nice landing with a taxi for a clear taxiway had us turn off just before crossing runway 13-31.
After trying to find our way into the terminal and having a TSA agent read us the riot act about walking on the main ramp, we eventually found our way in with TSA escort. The entrance from the west ramp was blocked by some snow piles. Honestly, the lady was a bit rude but the second agent was very nice and apologized for the blocked access.
We enjoyed lunch and great conversation at Fiorentino's. Frank and his Bride are looking forward to more travel, the same conversations Mary and I have. Once the wx breaks we'll be traveling more. We went through the same dumb dance to get back out to the plane. Well almost, this time we were escorted by a skid steer, I swear, he drove alongside of us as we walked around the terminal and across the ramp. As seen in the photo, the operator then decided to clear a path to the restaurant. Great timing.
We saddled back up and filed for Delaware Coastal, KGED. We had helicopter traffic to monitor but the tower moved them off to the west until we were turning south out of the pattern. Harrisburg handed us off to Philly and we got a vector for traffic, I did miss my ADS-B. Once clear we were back as filed and making great speed with the tail wind. Let me clarify that last statement...we were making great speed without the tailwind.
Philly handed us off to another sector then they handed us off to Dover approach. Somewhere in those hand offs we were turned direct GED. Frank made is position calls once canceling with Dover and we made our way to the pattern. It's really fun to watch and learn from an excellent pilot. The best reinforcement was watching the use of a checklist for review, if a pro can do why don't we all do it. 
We landed on runway 4 and taxied to the far end to exit since one taxiway was closed and a airport vehicle had the other blocked. It was a fun day flying with Frank, awesome plane! I helped cover 3DeltaFox since she would be staying outdoors until the hangar repairs are completed.
With one plane complete I now turned my attention to 08Romeo. A quick preflight and fuel check, pulling the nose plugs, chocks and pitot cover had me ready to get out of the wind. With a few shots of primer 08Romeo started right up. I turned on the heat and it got toasty inside as I taxied for runway 4.
I climbed out of KGED and pointed south. ADS-B was tracking one target within six miles and 100' below heading my way. I continued my climb for 3000 and opened up a 500' buffer.  The target also climbed and pointed at me within 300 feet.  I never saw the target so I made a 90* right turn and positioned myself to pass above and behind the target.  Following my maneuver I heard a Cherokee announce 6 mile for KGED, it had to be him.
The remaining flight was smooth and I made my calls entering the left down wind for runway 32. I squeaked one in and rolled all the way out for the last turn off that takes me close to my hangar. A fun day of flying in the book and 08Romeo got her oil pumping.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Wilmington Meeting

The plan today was to launch early (8:30am)and make our scheduled meeting at 10am on the north side of the Wilmington airport.
I felt like I might have something coming on, coughing and sneezing yesterday. I took amoxicillin last night that I have for pre-meds for any dental work since I had my total right hip replaced. When I got up this morning I was feeling good, the cough was quiet and no sneezing, maybe just some allergy's kicking in or the cats hanging out to close.
Mary and I both over slept this morning. We had to hustle over to the airport since I needed to take on fuel before departure. I followed John (Ops) through the gate and he stopped so I could pull along side his truck. He had asked if we were headed out and if we needed fuel, I responded yes sir, 08Romeo needs some go-go juice.
I quickly had 08Romeo on the ramp and pre-flight completed. I did the remote pre-heat last night so 08Romeo was warm and toasty. I had just closed the hangar door as John pulled up in the fuel truck. 08Romeo took on 25 to bring me back to 50 on board. I could make the round trip with plenty to spare but I plan on taking on 10 gallons at FlyAdvanced since I'll be asking for the use of the crew car. I guess it all works out.
Dover AFB - bottom left and the Salem Nuke plant - center
It was a smooth flight north and I picked up my IFR clearance with Dover approach in the air. I was sitting at 4.5 and they assigned a squawk and had me climb to 5000. North of Dover I noted the Wilmington ATIS and let Philly know I had the wx as soon as Dover handed me off. Philly dropped me down to 3000 then 2000 once I had the field in sight. I was cleared for the visual one niner and handed off to the tower.
I swapped info with the tower and was cleared to land runway one nine. A nice landing and long roll out for the last taxiway that would drop me in front of FlyAdvanced. Usually there is a line person there to marshal us in but there wasn't anyone around this morning. I dialed in their Unicom 132.0 while taxing along the outside edge of the ramp. We all know to STOP, set radios or whatever avionics right...I didn't.  I actually ran the left main gear just at the edge of the grass and ramp. Ughhh...throttle up a bit and right turn, no problems and stayed out of the grass...what a dip stick. Once secure, 08Romeo took on 10 gallons and we used the courtesy car for our forty minute meeting.
The return trip was as smooth as the trip north except the tail winds were now head winds. Gone was the 129 knots and now I was watching 90 to 104 knots, we have to pay the piper at some point. 
ADS-B was painting targets and one in particular got my attention. An aircraft that had launched from OXB was coming directly at me climbing, hopefully through my altitude. I was 10 miles north of OXB at the time.  I watched the target turn yellow and as he broke the 6 mile mark he was already above me and still climbing. We crossed with 1200 feet between us and he was almost directly overhead. The iPad did flash a dark orange bar that gave a traffic warning along with an audio alert, good stuff, it gets your attention.
East end of the C&D canal at the Delaware River

C&D canal running west to Chesapeake Bay
My lovely Bride slept on the return leg home so at least she was comfortable. I made my calls and followed with a straight in for runway two zero with a smooth stall horn landing.  Thanks to General Aviation it was an 8:30 departure this morning and we were  back home, airplane hangared, leaving the airport for lunch at 11:50. If I drove this I would have had to been on the road by 7:00 to make our meeting and then after just forty minutes we would have to turn and burn 2 plus hours for the ride home.  2.1 flying round trip vs 4 plus hours driving...a no brainer.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Breakfast Hop and Photo Shoot

After all the news yesterday about the fire at a 140th street condo building I decided to head to Cape May, KWWD instead of Cambridge, KCGE. I may as well take a look at what was left of the building, thankfully there were no injuries.

I had 08Romeo on pre-heat so it was my typical preflight and start up. Departure on runway two-zero and a nice climb out along the beach on my way to cross the Delaware Bay.  Here are the pictures from today.

Fagers Island

Condo structure after fire
Birds on the Assawoman Bay

Tankers - Delaware Bay
 Another fun flight and a chance to catch up with my former co-workers. A great breakfast at the Flight Deck restaurant and a chance to get the oil pumping on 08Romeo made for a fun 1.2 hours flight time.