Sunday, July 31, 2016

Family Time

I was ready to post this write up and somehow, with my great computer skills (NOT), deleted the entire post. So, here's a try at posting, take two!

Following the fourth of July holiday, Mary & I hosted my brother and sister-in-law for a quick weekend at the beach. I say quick because when your having fun, time always slips by. We enjoyed a great dinner Saturday night at the Hobbit after a day of shopping for the gals and golf for the guys. Once again my brother kicked my butt. Joe and Janice are off to Florida to see the grandkids and enjoy some down time.


Fast forward to Friday. After swapping text messages with my sister Denise, she decided to visit for the weekend. Her husband Dave was heading out on a motorcycle run with the boys, heading to Williamsport, PA. The plan was to meet Denise at Wilmington (KILG) for  quick hop via 08Romeo. I wanted the flight time and saving her the drive in beach traffic was a big plus.

I finished up work and made a quick stop at the house to pick up my main set of plane keys, they were in my SUV. With a quick change to golf shorts and a clean t-shirt I was out the door and headed for the airport. 08Romeo needed some fuel so I took on enough to have fifty gallons on board. I had filed for my flight since there was a good amount of cloud cover and picked up my clearance with Potomac Clearance Delivery.

R OXB ENO DQO KILG  270* on departure 
A 2000/5000
F 127.95
T 5xxx

I was soon climbing out, advising ocean city of my departure to the west, last call. Over to Patuxent and with an IDENT my position was verified. Pax climbed me to five thousand and turned me direct Smyrna (ENO). Once handed off to Dover I requested seven thousand and got six. I was trying to clear the tops while dodging all the buildups. Dover eventually gave me seven thousand and as I leveled off I was handed off to Philly and immediately given four thousand. Well, that was a waste of fuel.
I trudged along getting some turbulence along the way until Philly dropped me down to three thousand. Not bad, below the clag and the ride was ok. I reported to Philly that I had Wilmington in sight and that I had the updated weather. Philly handed me off to the Wilmington tower and I was cleared to land runway one.

I was a bit early, as planned, so I could meet up with Dale at Red Eagle Avionics.  I was picking up my dead Collins radio and purchased a back up Collins NAV radio and glideslope to keep as a spare.

Denise walked by the front door so I said goodbye to Dale and headed out to carry my sisters bags. We loaded up and got the fan turning to provide some cool air. Denise informed me this was her first ride in 08Romeo, obviously it's been a while since her last ride in the club Archer October 2008. I did go back and check my blog, Denise and I made the trip to Wilkes-Barre in October 2010 in 08Romeo.
I picked up my clearance with Wilmington ground and taxied for take off. I selected one-nine over two-seven since that would put me direct ENO. I climbed out at seven hundred feet a minute and was handed off to Philly departure.

ME: Philly departure, Sundowner 6708Romeo off one-nine at Wilmington climbing seven for two thousand.
Philly: Climb six thousand turn...ah...ah, ok your already direct ENO. 
ME: With a chuckle...leaving one point four climbing six thousand, direct Smyrna.
We were off...enjoying the ride and plowing through a few clouds along the way. My sister doesn't care for instrument conditions (IMC), she sat straight up and leaned back as we entered each cloud. Once handed off to Dover I requested higher and we road along the tops. I was enjoying a tail wind for the leg home when Dover amended my route, pointing me direct Salisbury.  This was the second time in as many flights south so, since the radio was quiet, I asked why they keep routing me that way. Dover explained it was for radar coverage and they would turn me direct as soon as the could ID me. Fair enough, I responded, they usually turn me direct once south west of Georgetown, so its not to far out of the way.
We eventually were turned for Ocean City and I canceled IFR once I had the field and there were no low lying clouds. Aircraft were landing three-two so I fell in line and made a nice landing. 08Romeo was home and my sister enjoyed the ride.

After getting home I grabbed a quick shower and got dressed for dinner. We headed out to the Ocean Pines Yacht Club and enjoyed the eats and conversation.

Saturday 7/30

Saturday was antique day. After hanging out on the back porch enjoying the cool air and chit chatting we decided it was time to get motivated. Doing our best impression of American Pickers the three of us headed out to some of our favorite hot spots. The first stop provided a few treasures for both ladies, I didn't find anything that peaked my interest. I did manage to hold off the attack of both ladies as they tried in vain to convince me that we needed another lamp for our spare room. It was just one small battle.
With booty safely secured in the SUV we loaded up for Berlin Maryland, America's Coolest Small Town 2014. The movie Runaway Bride was filmed in Berlin. We made a first stop for lunch at Reyne's Reef, good food and service with a quick turn around. Now that the ladies were refueled we headed down one side of main street and back up the other.  I did manage some time in the toy store that has antique toys from my childhood.  Trains, cars, pedal tractors, army men, pinball and just about any toy you played with was on display. Denise and I had a good laugh pointing out the Christmas ornaments that our Mom and Dad had, along with Halloween decorations and costumes.
With more treasures stored away I pointed the ground transportation back to Ocean Pines. We all relaxed for a while then cleaned up for dinner.  Tonight it was Italian, Restarante Antipasti. Denise and I enjoyed the Gnocchi alla Contadina and Mary had the Timballo Abruzzese, both excellent choices and the service as always, top notch. For dessert we headed south along ocean highway and west on RT 50 making a stop for ice cream at Dumsers.


I think we all slept in Sunday, including the zoo. Ziva eventually wanted out and her breakfast too, so I was first up. After taking care of the zoo I played around on the computer reading the flying forums until the ladies got up. I made a quick bacon and eggs breakfast and then we sat and chatted. The plan was to head to the airport and have the fan turning by eleven. Mary was staying home since she had the start of a migraine so Denise and I headed out. We soon hit a traffic jam just outside of Ocean Pines, apparently there was an accident at RT50 and RT 589 which had us sitting. Traffic was rerouted along a service road and we made it to the airport in just less than an hour for our eight mile ride.

I once again filed for each leg since there was cloud cover. 08Romeo climbed out on a full belly of fuel with density altitudes reported at eighteen hundred feet. Once again flying a two-seven-zero heading for ID then turned north for Smyrna (ENO). Once handed off to Dover I was given direct Wilmington, a course adjustment of a few degrees. We were once again climbing through on top and enjoying the ride until Philly lowered me for the airport. Denise didn't seem to react to the clouds as much this trip as I shot through a few holes working my way to break out along the Delaware river. I was cleared visual runway two-seven and made a nice landing, turning off on Kilo to taxi to red eagle.
I carried my sisters bags out to her car and she thanked us for a fun time. Always big hugs and telling her I love her to end our visit. I am so happy that I am close to my sister and brother, they mean the world to me.

I climbed back aboard and picked up my clearance for the last leg home. I climbed away from Wilmington  and contacted Philly for my radar vectors to join V29 to Smyrna (ENO). Rinse and repeat with Dover and the route change followed by canceling with Patuxent and landing on runway one-four at home. It was a great time flying this weekend and an even better spending time with my sister. Mary and I hung out at home the rest of the day and called it an early night.

I just love general aviation, it keeps me close to my family and saves hours of drive time.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Photo Hop

I figured once I was up to take care of the zoo I would head to the airport to get in a quick flight before Mary and I started off our day.

The plan was to fly over to Lewes Delaware and take a few shots of my project. It's been fun for me to grab overhead shots documenting the progress.

The airport was quiet, just me, my plane and a few bullfrogs croaking. After my pre-flight I taxied over to the pumps for some fuel, there is no fuel truck running this early.
After start up I had to wait on the Garmin 530 and GDL88 to sync, that was a first. Once everything was playing nice I taxied and departed runway three-two with winds two-eight-zero at seven knots. I was soon pointing north on a zero zero six heading and enjoying the cool air and cloudy sunrise.

Once on station I made a left half circle, wide and at two thousand feet. I clicked off a few pictures then rolled wings level and pointed 08Romeo at Ocean City.
I enjoy the quiet when I fly, absorbing the view and doing that pilot stuff, it's relaxing. It was time to pick up the weather at OC on my Garmin 530W.

I'm waiting on my Collins radio to arrive that was ordered from Bennetts Avionics. My Collins VHF251 finally took the dirt nap and Stellar performed last rites, declaring it to expensive to revive. I did make an offer on an ebay VHF251 that I will ship to stellar for a freshen up and keep that on the shelf just in case. I was also offered a yellow tag Collins VIR351 NAV radio, fresh from Stellar, sitting on the shelf at Red Eagle.
I continued in advising ten and five miles out and only heard another pilot making position calls to land at New Garden, my last hangar location. I crossed midfield, entered the left down wind and added approach flaps. Speed was on and the view turning base to final was so much nicer than the recent LPV approach. I crossed two boats on short final and saw the people looking up at me while I looked down at them, I wonder what they were thinking.
I ended up with .8 for the log book and had a nice time in the air.  I'm off to pick up bagels for breakfast and then a last stop for a haircut.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Quick Turn

I have been watching weather overnight and trying to pinpoint the arrival of the rain here in ocean city. I knew Wilmington would be clear, or clear enough to get in, but the coastal areas here on the eastern shore have this fascination with fog. It's a fascination I am not on board with!


KOXB 041053Z AUTO 00000KT 8SM SCT050 A3013 RMK AO2 SLP204 TSNO $

KSBY (TAF) 040819Z 0408/0506 VRB03KT P6SM -SHRA SCT015 SCT040 BKN070
FM041400 14006KT P6SM BKN025 BKN050 OVC120
FM041800 15008KT 5SM -RA BR BKN010 BKN030 OVC090
FM042300 19005KT 3SM -RA BR SCT003 BKN010 BKN025


KILG 041051Z 00000KT 10SM BKN065 19/17 A3012 RMK AO2 RAB0952E03 SLP197 P0000 T01940172

KILG (TAF 040520Z 0406/0506 23004KT P6SM BKN200
FM041500 18008KT P6SM BKN040 OVC100
FM041900 17007KT P6SM OVC025 FM042100 16006KT 4SM -RA BR OVC015
FM042300 14005KT 2SM RA BR OVC007 FM050400 23006KT 2SM RA BR OVC004

I bumped up our scheduled departure from 11am to 9am with the hope of a less stressful arrival back home.  Mary, Jo and I headed to the airport to get 08Romeo loaded with the treasures from this weekends antique pick and I need to take on some fuel.
I picked up my clearance with Potomac clearance and delivery and advised number one at runway one-four, ready to go on release. I was released with the typical void times and was soon climbing out over the shore line. The view was gorgeous, even if it wasn't bright sun and blue skies, it was better than solid IFR at the same altitude.
We were on top for the ride north and Patuxent handed me off to Dover and Dover to Philly. Philly had me descend for Wilmington, report the field in site.  Ahhh...not going to happen was the thought running through my mind. I advised not in site and was lowered from three to fifteen hundred. Approach advises the RNAV GPS 19 is available. Now IMC and trudging through a cloud layer I break out just as I am going to enter the left down wind for one-nine maybe a mile from the airport. I advise approach and he immediately hands me off to the tower.
The Monster Mile at Dover
Wilmington tower, Sundowner 08Romeo visual for one nine. He confirms I have the field and then advises he will call my base. The cloud layer has drifted south of the field and the extended down wind is no problem. I made my base turn then to final when directed and made a smooth landing making taxiway Kilo.

Jo went out to bring her car on the ramp so she could off load her purchases. I checked 08Romeo's fuel then carried the bags and other items to pack the trunk of her car. It always stinks having to say goodbye but until next time this is what we must do. It's always fun having Jo at our home.
Crossing the C&D canal
Mary and I saddled up for home and picked up our clearance with Wilmington ground. Easy peasy, ready to taxi, we're good to go for runway one-nine and they gave us full length. Once released and cleared for take off I rolled on to the runway from taxi way Mike and turned 08Romeo loose. We were off before midfield and climbed out on runway heading as directed. Wilmington handed us off to Philly and Philly gave me a climb to four thousand. Once south of the C&D canal I was handed off to Dover and we road along to south of Georgetown. Dover handed me off to Patuxent on some new frequency and I checked in.
Looking ahead to the layer over the beach
Approach sounded distant but as I motored south they were loud and clear. I got vectored for traffic also headed to Ocean City, I was number two to land. The Cessna ahead of me and to my right canceled and approach turned me direct Ocean City. I decided to ride along a bit longer when Pax wanted to cut me loose.  I told him I did the same Friday and then needed a pop up to get in. He understood and advised I could change to CTAF and cancel with him or on the ground. That works for me Pax, thanks!
Sure enough there was the cloud layer lingering about, potentially blocking my way in again. I quickly brought up the GPS 14 approach and activated vectors to final. I figured I had guidance and a clear path for missed if needed. The clouds were moving and opened up very nicely for us and I quickly descended to fifteen hundred feet. Once inside LANDY I continued for seven hundred feet and had the runway locked in. Approach flaps added, power reduced and looking good. Second notch of flaps added as I cross the fence and set 08Romeo down with a squeak of the mains. It's good to be home. FYI - the rain soon started as I pushed 08Romeo in the hangar.

Friday, July 01, 2016


The fourth of July is upon us and the weather is looking pretty good early in the pre-holiday week. Mary and I plan to head north to Wilmington, KILG and pick up our friend JoAnn.  I should mention here that my mission also included a stop at Red Eagle avionics to have my Collins radio pulled and sent to Stellar for a fix. So, I get to fly and it saves her from the log jam of cars on I95 and SR1.  With a plan in mind I put in for a personal day at work for Friday, actually enjoying the chance to sleep in.
As they say, all good plans... well today was no different. The forecast is now calling for thunderstorms moving through both locations in the afternoon and I do not tangle with boomers. Jo got off work around 11:30 and she was a half hour drive to the Wilmington airport, that will work. Mary and I launched from Ocean City around 10:30 and climbed through a layer leaving the beach. I was on top most of the way at five thousand knowing I was going to be shooting the ILS RWY 1 approach into Wilmington. 
Philly vectored me for potential wake turbulence and had me cross the localizer and rejoin from the west side. I like the radio work and we didn't mind because the ride was smooth. Once established I flew the needles, breaking out around 1200 feet and had the runway clearly in view. I cleared the runway and taxied to Red Eagle to make my radio drop and await Jo's arrival.
We didn't waste anytime loading her bags and getting aboard. Jo knows the routine, she has flown with us many times. Today was a surprise, I picked up a new to me passenger headset on ebay and she really liked the Bose X. I filed for the reverse route to get home KILG ENO KOXB. We were cleared for take off and on the roll runway one-nine. Once handed off to Philly they gave me a climb and direct ENO. The weather had cleared with some broken to scattered cloud cover lingering. Philly handed me off to Dover and we road along, it was quiet. Well, quiet in the plane thanks to isolate and ATC seemed quite. ADS-B was slow showing weather but the xm was painting an ugly picture of Ocean City.

Diverted to KGED
Time for a change of plans. Once south of Dover I made the decision to divert to Georgetown-Delaware Coastal, KGED. Georgetown was still flying the VFR flag on my XM weather and picking up their AWOS confirmed. I advised Dover that I was going to divert to Delaware coastal and they turned me direct. I heard another aircraft request the visual for runway two-two at GED, so I followed number two for the field.
ADS_B weather
XM weather

Once we shut down it was decided that we would have a quick lite lunch and then make the ten minute hop home. When we walked into the terminal I ordered fuel to bring me to forty gallons and let the desk know we were going to grab some lunch. There was a blast of noise coming from the restaurant, it was tournament baseball time and the place was crawling with ten and under ball players.

Trouble over the coast
YIKES!! We could not hear ourselves talk and there was only one waitress on, poor girl. She did take our drink order and eventually she made it back to our table, I immediately asked for the check. The three of us asked if she was ok and told her just relax don't let the parents upset you, there won't ever be a worse day than this. She forced a smile but had tears in her eyes. She came back and said there is no charge since we had to wait, in unison the three of us said no. The young lady insisted so we each gave her a ten dollar tip and told her hang in there. It was the least we could do, she needed to know people do care.
With that fiasco behind us I settled up my fuel bill and headed out to the plane. After a quick check and sump we boarded for home, or so we thought. Ocean city is reporting MVFR and it was VFR here on departure. We climbed out and pointed 08Romeo to the beach. This is where I really missed my second comm radio. I had to flip flop between monitoring Patuxent approach and CTAF at Ocean city. Finally switching to CTAF I made my position call, ten to the north inbound full stop runway one-four. I heard a pilot respond that he tried to get in three times and finally landed on two-zero. I thanked him for the heads up and then flipped back to Approach to request a pop up.

busy in the hold
I wasn't the only one looking  for a way in, another plane was just given the GPS RWY 14 at two thousand and I was now directed to hold as published at three thousand. I have to say that we were all in the clear, there was a fog bank sitting over the coast slowly moving, giving us peaks of the ocean from the hold, mother nature teasing us and soon trying us. The other aircraft was now inbound and I was getting ready to turn another lap. Approach lost radar contact once the preceding plane started their descent. I advised I had him inbound LANDY on ADS-B, the controller thanked me. Shortly after the pilot cancelled IFR he had the field in sight. I was now crossing PFAIR and turned loose for my shot at the approach.
Mind you the other pilot was maybe three or four miles ahead of me so I figured I had a good shot at getting in. We were on our way in the clear but looking at this fog cover. I cross LANDY at 1500 and descend for the MDA of 700'. I give a quick review of the missed one more time as I am calling out the altitude, eleven looking for seven, nine looking for seven. Level at seven...looking...looking...ugh, nothing but a solid layer under me, going missed. I advise approach going missed and they have me climb to three thousand and report PFAIR on the published hold.  I'm thinking there is no way I'm getting in on GPS RWY 14, I need the GPS 32 LPV approach.
Approach Sundowner 08Romeo request. Patuxent answers and I ask for the GPS RWY 32 approach. Pax turns me direct GOBYO and we are on our way once again for another try. It seems like forever heading to this initial approach fix, to long, as my mind starts running scenarios. I'm thinking I got two strikes, couldn't get in MVFR, could not even see the airport on the GPS 14 approach and now heading out over the ocean six miles at low altitude. It was one of those moments you want to shake your head like a dog shedding water...then the recent Cirrus incident in Houston popped into my head.

Fly the damn plane Gary, fly this approach! The quiet is broken by a TBM pilot saying the previous pilot has the right idea we'll take the GPS 32 approach also. Great, a turbo prop in tow, he's wide right of me to my south and slowing down to follow in line, number two for the airport. As I get ready to cross the beach, which I can't see, I hear another pilot requesting the GPS 32 and he's flying a Cessna 510. I think to myself, well boys sorry about your luck but I'm number one and I'm doing 93 knots.
As I cross GOBYO headed for FEMOD the winds really give me a push and that easy going ninety knots with time to think is now 130 knots. Once established I was cleared for two thousand so I was descending at a gentle rate keeping things smooth. Mary and Jo were very quiet giving me a sterile cockpit, it was much appreciated and needed. Approach advised the C510 that as soon as the King Air cancels he'll advise.  King air?  I got a good laugh out of that and it broke the tension a bit. I was now turning inbound for ELUCO and descending to 1500. Airspeed under control now dealing with the crosswinds. Needles looking great this will be my best shot to get in and I can descend to 261'. I cross ELUCO and descend for 261', less than four miles out and no beach in sight. I catch a glimpse of the outer shore line, I'm real close. Altitude at 300' creeping down to 280', I see water. On glide, now chasing the needle for on course and breaking out. Runway in view but I'm off to the side. I add in two notches of flaps, adjust my power, make a gentle S turn and align myself as I cross over the beach and then the runway. I add the last notch of flaps and float a bit setting 08Romeo down and turning off at the second taxiway. I am soaked in sweat. I call clear and try to cancel with approach but no answer. The TBM relays as I switch to the Patuxent C&D frequency I was given to cancel on the ground. As I turn on the parallel taxiway Pax acknowledged my IFR cancellation.
Once shut down I sat and cooled off, downing some of that raspberry ice tea from Georgetown. The TBM lands and clears and within a few minutes the Cessna 510 lands. My two Hangar neighbors asked how bad was it, I said as you can see I'm soaked and that was the lowest minimums I ever had to shoot. I'm going to pick up our crabs, go home, and have me some grapefruit crushes.
file photo
On the way out the gate I pulled up to the Cessna 510. I saw the pilot getting some bags out for his two passengers. I had to let him know I was flying a Beech Sundowner and not a King Air, he cracked up laughing. He said good call on the GPS 32 and thanks for keeping the speed up, I said I was peddling as fast as I could.