Monday, September 26, 2016

Oil Change & Service

Since work is shut down for the week, I made an appointment Friday to have the oil changed on 08Romeo this morning.
I had filed a flight plan just in case there was a mist laying low over the field at home and at Claremont, BTDT. Everything looked clear as I entered the airport but I couldn't enter the gate, I forgot my access card.  I drove my work truck instead of taking my SUV out of the garage and the access card was in the SUV.  I made a quick loop to see if the terminal was open, ah, not at 6:45am.  OK, I'm heading home, at least to the tenants driveway where I piggybacked through the gate, following a garbage truck. Sometimes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut.
The flight was pretty straight forward and I picked up flight following for some company. Mary gave me hell since I took a video while I was flying and posted it to facebook. I explained to my Bride that I was flying along with my hands in my lap...I just wanted to share the view. I made a nice landing and taxied to the hangar. 
Temps at 4,500
The recent rescue flight and this mornings hop to Claremont (58M) had 08Romeo at the hangar door with the tach reading 50.2 hours. Noting my current tach time I climbed out, grabbed a screw driver and started removing the top cowl.
Stan started draining the oil and I pretty much got in the way. Once the oil was drained and the filter changed I started running my seven quarts in. Stan did a very detailed inspection picking up a broken ground on the right mag and I found a gromet that was torn and pulling through the firewall. Both items were fixed and after a run up to check for leaks was completed we replaced the cowl.
Stan cut the filter open and it looked good. I did notice a very tiny spec of silver in a few spots, like a grain of salt, The shop says nothing to worry about.
33N Runway construction
Once the paperwork was complete and the bill paid I saddled up for home.  Once again a smooth flight, at least until south of Georgetown. The airspace was unusually busy today, everyone flying before the week of forecasted rain. I descend for Ocean City and bumped along until entering the pattern.
Another nice landing on runway one-four and taxi to the hangar. With 08Romeo tucked in I headed to the house. Mary and I got to run some errands and headed to the outlets for some shopping in Rehoboth. The weather is looking pretty bad for the rest of my week off so I'll be relaxing at home.

I have a few to do items for the plane; order new cabin hoses to replace the black duct which will be installed at annual, remove arm rests to be recovered in leather to eliminate the discoloration from age and last, have some touch up paint made for the airplane and interior trim.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Misha's Transport

The call went out

We have another transport this weekend and need drivers...

Transport Occurs: Saturday, September 24th, 2016
Transport Points: Goochland, VA (23063) to Dover, PA (17315)

Misha is a 2 y.o. B&W female who needs to get to her new home. She gets along with adults & is learning to ride in a car. If you can help, please return the indicated information.

The Back Story

Misha and her traveling pal Carson were found as strays in North Carolina. Shelter staff quickly contacted MAESSR to get the pair into rescue and to free up needed kennel space.  Now they are on their way to finding new forever homes through MAESSR.
Misha is a tiny field Springer that loves to run and chase when outdoors. She is learning the ropes of inside living and definitely loves attention. It was very obvious when her foster mom first met Misha that this fieldie had not been exposed to anything, had no training, but had an extremely good temperament.

This little gal’s biggest issue at the moment is learning to take treats "EASY."  Other new things are filling her days as well.  She is learning to walk on a leash, to ride in the car -- basically how to do everything that a good girl needs to do.

The Plan

First leg, get up and out the door early for our departure from Ocean City. Mary and I will meet with Debbie at the Hanover airport (KOFP)and get to know our fur baby for her ride north.
Second leg, Once Misha is secure we would depart for York, PA., KTHV. I would head toward Patuxent then follow a T route to York.
RTB, Mary and I would scoot straight home. Well, pretty much straight by way of Wilmington then turn south for the beach.

We attended to the plane Friday night so 08Romeo is waiting with a full belly of fuel and her pre-flight complete. I'll do a quick walk around in the morning and get in the air by 7am.

The Transport

My plan was to be in the air and see the sunrise. By the time we made two laps at the drive through and ended up having to go inside to order at the counter, the sun was blasting over the beach in full glory.  I managed to snap a shot when I was setting up to do my run up at runway three-two.
I picked up my clearance with patuxent and launched for Hanover,VA. The ride was smooth and to top it off, once identified, my route was amended to direct Hanover,KOFP.  WOW! This would be a first flying through restricted space that is usually off limits on a Saturday.  C&D did screw up my clearance and had me expecting eleven thousand, but that was changed.  Was I now heading into space that I shouldn't be in? I had to ask, so within ten miles of the restricted boundary I wanted it on tape that the multiple restricted areas were cold, approach confirmed.
The flight went great and the twenty minute late start due to McD's was pretty much a push with the direct route. I cancelled with approach once I had the field in sight and the current weather. Crossing midfield to enter the left down wind,I made a smooth landing.
I took on some fuel for the ride north, ten gallons to bring me back to fifty. We spent some time chatting with Debbie and getting to know our new passenger. Misha is a petite little girl and very loving. Mary was holding her while kneeling next to her as a Beech King Air got the fans turning. Our poor little passenger started to shake. Once the King Air taxied out Mishas tail once again started to wag.
I had filed for this leg taking me towards the east side of DC. I would make a run for Patuxent then follow a T route towards York, the weather was closing in at our destination. Once again my route was amended. I was now direct PXT, no real savings there, then directed to bypass my destination for Harrisburgs VOR then return direct York. I would work on this as I got closer to our drop off point.
This flight was just as smooth as our first leg. I was watching the layer beneath us close in as it went from scattered to solid overcast seemingly trying to reach us at seven thousand. I updated the destination weather every fifteen minutes and the ceilings were gradually getting lower. The desired approach would be the GPS 35 that would get me down to 1020 feet.
On with the last controller, I was given direct XOPPA for my approach. Time to get through the layer, once around the procedure turn and inbound. Surprisingly not much rust. I dropped out of the clouds around 1250 feet, added flaps and made a nice stable descent into York.
Misha decided to use my right arm as a head rest so I had to be smooth. We taxied in and Mishas new owner was waiting for us just outside the terminal. Gary was a nice man and this was not his first rescue. He seemed excited and Misha seemed to take to him quickly. I love happy endings.
I took on fuel for the ride home then filed. The beach was also getting socked in. I picked up my clearance on the ground with Harrisburg then rolled on to the runway for departure. Once in the air Harrisburg amended my route with a small change with Wilmington still my point at which I would turn south. Once handed off to Dover the route changed once again adding Salisbury then direct Ocean City.

I advised Patuxent I had the weather at OC and requested the GPS 32 approach. Winds were 11 gusting 21 from a 030 heading. Looking back I should have requested the GPS 02 approach but I wanted more runway and a lower decision height. I guess I'm still spooked from the previous multiple approaches and conditions worse than noted on the AWOS.
Approach provided vectors to final...ok all you pilots reading this just said don't do it, load the full approach. Does Gary ever, he does not. I plug in the VTF approach and ride along, thinking this will save some time and keep me closer to shore...I'm selling myself on my selection.  As I pass the field waiting for the left turn to intercept the bubble bursts. 08Romeo proceed direct GOBYO, cleared for the GPS 32 approach...cancel with..blah blah blah. He now sounded like Charlie Browns mother. Dang! I let myself get sucked in. I'm now descending through the clag, its getting bumpy and I need to reload the approach. Not a big deal but I knew better. For the non-pilots, its always best to be on instruments rather than fiddling with knobs on the GPS or radio, especially with no auto pilot.

A quick chug and plug and I'm on the approach tracking perfectly. Lesson learned from my last low approach to runway three-two, slow your speed down. Once inbound on final I slow my speed to 90 knots and add a notch of flaps. I don't normally add flaps until I have the runway in sight. Now passing the final approach fix I add in the second notch of flaps, again not my normal approach setting. I get my speed down to 80 knots and break out at 850 feet. It's all in slow motion as I cruise over the beach and bay adding the last notch of flaps at 500 feet. Looking back I wouldn't add full flaps in such cross winds but I did and got rocked as I landed. It was flat, hard and it felt like I was lifted and riding on the nose gear. I lifted off and was surely going to plant one when I added some power settled down and put 08Romeo on the ground in typical fashion. Not sure if I should count two or three landings.

Mary and I were both tired and glad to be home. My Bride helped push 08Romeo into the hangar then we bugged out for the house. We had dinner reservations with my brother and his wife at Lazy Susans...crabs and clams for dinner!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

In Memory of Cindy

Today was one of those trips one really doesn't want to have to make.  With a heavy heart Mary and I headed north to attend the memorial service for our friend Cindy who has been battling cancer.  My Brides heart is broken as her friend passed on Friday the ninth. Mary and Cindy have been friends for 45 years, since Mary was fourteen and working at Riverside hospital as a buttercup (candy striper).

Many fond memories rushing through my head in just the eleven short years I have known Cindy, I cant imagine what Mary is feeling. We packed a bag and headed to the airport for the ride north, I didn't want to drive.  We rented a room at the Montchanin Inn and would get a good nights sleep for Saturdays service.

Mary got to see many of her friends and everyone shared such special memories. Cindy was a fiercely loyal friend, a compassionate care giver and she loved what she did, starting way back in trauma and on to research medicine.  The service was very nice, tying into to her many years of service to patients, family and friends.  Cindy always had a way of showing up in your hospital room without having to call her. You knew when she was on board things would be good to go, you were in good hands.

I know this isn't really about flying except for the trip north and back but sometimes we have to take in everything around us and document certain aspects of what makes us who and what we are. We will miss our friend and Mary will miss her "big sister". Cindy takes a piece of our hearts with her and leaves us with many special memories...We love you Cindy.

On September 9, 2016 Cynthia, caring mother and grandmother, passed gently into the arms of our Lord while surrounded by her loving family. She was 63 and was born in Wilmington, DE to the late Joseph R. and Mae E. (nee’ Robinson) Hoon.

Cynthia graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School, Milford School of Nursing and Immaculata University. She began her nursing career at Riverside Hospital and then joined The Delaware Division (later Christiana Care Health Systems). She was an amazing trauma nurse, nursing mentor, ACLS Instructor and trauma and emergency researcher. Cynthia made a lasting impact on the lives of her patients, co-workers and colleagues.

In her personal time she enjoyed traveling, reading, gardening and most of all spending time with her family. She especially loved the time spent with her three granddaughters. In her youth she was on the Bowling Team for Mt Pleasant High School and later learned to ski, white water raft and even play tennis for the USTA.

In addition to her parents, Cynthia was predeceased by her brother, Harry J. White. She is survived by her daughter, Jean-Marie (nee’ Hoon) Garrett; son-in-law, Jerry T. Garrett; granddaughters, Mina, Miley and Emily Garrett; her brothers, Joseph R. Hoon Jr. (Mary Jo Hoon) and William R. White III (Georgianna White) and their families. She also leaves to cherish her memory numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

A Catholic Funeral Service will be held at the McCrery and Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington at 10:30 am on Saturday September 17, where family and friends are invited to greet the family after 9:00 am. A private burial will follow.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to a long time staple in our family, The Brandywine Hundred Fire Company at 1006 Brandywine Blvd., Wilmington, DE 19809.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hawaii Vacation

Mary and I decided to join our friends in Hawaii for some much needed vacation and to celebrate my Brides birthday. Pam and Ted had already spent a week on Oahu and were headed to Maui, we found a condo just three doors down in the same complex and locked it in. The reservation was completed and the air fare soon followed. Two round trips on American and we were all set.

My work week was busy, installing a new product called pervious  concrete. With things under control and coverage set up I headed home friday singing the I'm on vacation song. Mary and I boarded the fur kids and finished packing Saturday night. We flew out of Salisbury at noon on Sunday.


I have been watching the weather all week even though I'm not the one flying. Tropical storm Hermine passed farther east of Ocean City and left some winds to deal with.
Piedmont (American) airlines flew the first leg to Philadelphia for our connecting flight to LAX. The Dash 8 provided a smooth flight and the crew made a nice landing despite the winds. On the ground at Philly, we were now looking for the shuttle to the correct terminal. Easy peasy, just two gates away and down one level to catch  our shuttle waiting on the ramp. The bus follows the designated routes in line with all the other aircraft ground support vehicles, an interesting perspective of life on the ramp.
We quickly boarded our connecting flight to LAX. Mary and I upgraded our seats so we had the extra leg room sitting at exit rows.  We agreed to assist with the doors in an emergency and settled in for five hours. I had no WiFi so Foreflight was out of the question, which meant torture for me. Instead, I entertained myself people watching and counting the number of trips people made to the bathroom. One guy went at least four times, maybe he should stop drinking whatever he was pouring in that pie hole.

Mary and I decided to look at our next boarding passes for the final leg, LAX to OGG. We both looked at each other and said we're not going to make it. Arrival was 4:45, boarding was 4:55, and we were two terminals away. We asked the stewardess if she had any suggestions, she did.

There were empty single seats up front, when we started our descent she would move us up. Our flight was also running ahead of schedule and would arrive early, looking like a twenty minute push. Sure enough she moved us up and made an announcement requesting final destination passengers remain seated to let those with tight connecting schedules get off first, all the passengers complied. Mary and I thanked every row for their help.  Once again we were close to the ground transportation gate and quickly boarded the bus. The ride seemed to take forever but we finally arrived. The flying God's were smiling on us since our departure gate was very close to the ground transportation gate in the new terminal. We fell in line like good little passengers and just made our flight. We were just getting buckled in when they made the announcement that the doors were closing and if Maui wasn't your final destination you need to advise the crew.

We settled in for the long flight aboard an Airbus 321S and our ride was quickly climbing over the coast. It was a smooth flight mixed with sleepy time, movie watching and a few games of battleship.
We started our descent for the islands and finally saw signs of mother earth as the lights surrounding Kahului airport came into view. The landing was rather firm and woke up those still sleeping, their reactions were priceless.


Kihei Akahi Resort

Adjusting to the -6 hour time change would take some getting used to. That and the previous day of flying and being up for twenty-four hours.

The plan for day one was to scout the area. Pam and Ted provided information and with a rough plan we were off to investigate.  We followed RT30 north to north west exploring the coast and designated overlook areas.

Eventually we made our way to McGregor Point and on to the town of Lahaina. We explored the many shops on each side of the street making a few purchases and stopping for a bite to eat.

It was time to retrace route back to the condo so we could change for the beach. I found chairs and an umbrella stashed in a closet in the condo so we packed up and went across the street to stake a claim in the sand.
Mary and I headed into the water and really had fun. We haven't spent so much time in the water since our Gulf Shores trip. As we were heading out of the water Mary had a sea turtle swim right in front of her, it made her day. Of course I missed it.

First night on the island, sunset video.


Lava fields exploration!  Today we drove on the moon, ok a road that passed between the lava fields that had us feeling like we on the surface of the moon. Incredible to see this up close, the pictures really don't do it justice.

After exploring for a short time we loaded up and retraced yesterdays road map back through Lahaina and on to the Ka'anapoli coast. We decided on making a stop at the Ritz-Carlton for a much needed "nibbles" and alcohol.  Nibbles is a Pam and Ted term that was adopted for the trip. I think it comes from her aunt, but it stuck.

On the way back to the condo we took the Lahaina bypass, speed limit 45mph. We found a great place to pull off and do as the locals do, enjoy the sunset. I said it every night that the islands are truly paradise.

Just as we are getting used to the time change we need to get up early (4:30) so we can check in at Kahului airport for our Island Air flight to Oahu. Today's adventure will include Pearl Harbor (on our bucket list),  downtown Honolulu,  the National Cemetery, the north shore famous beaches, a macadamia nut farm and of course the Dole plantation.

Mary and I were really humbled walking through the USS Arizona memorial.  Here we were on a gorgeous day much like the men and women that day, only our day would go on as planned, their day and lives would change forever. So many sailors lost as well as Marines, Army and Air Force personnel along with civilians, almost too much to comprehend. Walking through the Arizona memorial left me with a sad heart, futures cut short, the suffering and loss endured. It surely makes one appreciate the freedoms we have today because of the sacrifice, of so many.

We landed back on Maui just before 8p.m. and headed to the condo. We contacted Pam and Ted to see if they wanted to meet us for dinner, instead, they were cooking dinner for all of us.

Today was another early start.  Up at 6:30 and out the door by 7:10,  back to Kahului airport and Maui Aviation for a fun flight. We are on Island time and things are laid back. Maui Aviations office in set up in a hangar, it's comfortable, welcoming and takes full advantage of the open air perfect climate.

We are introduced to Eric, my instructor for the flight. Eric is from Michigan but moved here for the flying and prefect weather. He's a busy guy flying as a fish spotter, instructing, and he flies a Cessna 208 to transport cargo.
We sat and reviewed the sectional chart and the route of flight for today. I observed the pre-flight walking around shadowing Eric. Mary climbed in to get out of the wind as we finished up. It's been awhile since I last climbed into a Cessna, I really love my Sundowner, enough said.
  After getting familiar with the Cessna 172 I taxied out and departed runway two climbing out over the ocean. About five hundred feet I made a left turn for the Mokeehia Island, a big rock formation. We continued around the island following the coastline until reaching a valley. The winds were something new and I got a crash course on flying the valley and crossing out of the valley.

Mary snapped pictures capturing some of the beautiful waterfalls. Next we crossed the Pailolo Channel and flew along the north Molokai Coast. In the distance I saw the Kalaupapa peninsula, this is the location of the Leprosy Colony. The NE side had scars of the original settlement and the new buildings on the NW side were organized and more modern. I pointed 09V across the island returning to the south side just east of the Haleolono Harbor. Here we passed a single home up on pilings and our pilot knew the owner. Some interesting tales were shared.

Next we crossed the Kalohi Channel headed for the north coast of Lanai. I zeroed in on a pair of shipwrecks. The first was a schooner, The Alderman Wood, a British ship that ran aground in 1824.

The second was a WWII Liberty Ship (YOGN42), a concrete ship used by the navy to transport gasoline. This ship was purposely grounded in 1949, it seems it was the most economical way to dispose of the vessel.

I wanted to check out the airport located in the high rent district near Kapalua Airport. This airport was along the coastline but was relocated for a golf course. Now it's off limits to GA, scheduled service only. After my grumbling about no T&G at Kapalua we headed south along the coast to check out Black Rock beach and the  high rent hotels.  I crossed the Maalaea Bay and pointed home for the airport. A long straight in, mixing with commercial traffic and following controls directions to make a soft field landing on runway two. I taxied clear and headed back to the Maui Aviation ramp.
Following our flight we headed back for some beach time. We picked up a few sandwiches, cold water and tea, packed them in a cooler and headed out. The winds had picked up and there were warnings for the wave breaks so we took a pass on the ocean. We said goodbye to our company, a pair of red crested cardinals then made our way back to the condo. We headed for a quick dip in one of the two pools. The temp was like bath water, perfect for a swim and unwind.
Our day was not complete. We had dinner reservations for Sarentos on the beach. It was Mary's birthday and I wanted to take her somewhere special to celebrate and we asked Pam and Ted to join us. The food was excellent and the view amazing.  We had a great time and I think Mary enjoyed her birthday dinner and sunset.


The plan was to sleep in! Ok, I was up at 6:30 and Mary  got up around 7:45, not exactly what we planned.  We made some breakfast and then packed up for a day long trip to the upcountry to include Iao Valley Park, Haleakala National Park, Pu'u Ulaula summit and the Ali'i Kula Lavendear farm.  In order to get to the park we had to travel around the island. A long day driving but the view was very much worth it.

We all headed back to our condo so Mary and I could cook up dinner, chicken parmesan and spaghetti.  We all enjoyed some good laughs, recounting the days adventures and the amazing views. We were pretty much beat so after cleaning up we crashed for the night.


Another road day... and another early start. Today we met with Pam and Ted for a 6:20 departure for the reserved Molokini Crater snorkel tour on the Four Winds II.
The snorkel time was absolutely fantastic.  We agreed there wasn't the variety of fish like in Key West but the water was perfect. The captain and crew were excellent.  We had breakfast and lunch on board and it was very good. As we approached the harbor the captain came full stop and drifted for a bit looking for turtles. Ted called out a young turtle that surfaced as I was calling out three o'clock turtle. The captain thanked us, he doesn't like getting skunked.
We headed back to the condo to shower and change for "nibbles" and eventually dinner. We've definitely adopted Pam's new term for appetizers. Our first planned stop was for the elusive Franks Haute Dogs.  This is our second attempt as we try to beat the closing time. Traffic was bumper to bumper making our way around the island coast from Kehei to Lahaina. We needed to be there by 4pm and arrived at 3:45, sadly they closed early. The Island life.
New plan....We loaded back up and decided on the Hulu Grille for nibbles and alcohol. We all tried different dishes and enjoyed the unique combinations.  After enjoying some music we once again hit the road.  We retraced our steps back to Kehei and farther south to Wielaia. We cancelled our one reservation and decided on dinner at Tommy Bahamas.  Food and service was very good!
I was beat and I think everyone else was running out of gas too.  Ted pointed the rental Escalade back to the condo and we parted for the night. I fell into bed and was asleep before I hit the pillow.


I was up at 7 am Hawaii time, 1 am EDT. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 2:52pm and our check out time was 11am. We wanted to do some shopping and I still had to top off the rental and return it. We headed to athe shops at Wilea so we could pick out Marys gift, yes, jewelry. My Bride loves it and if it makes her happy, I'm happy. We walked into Na Hoku, the place that "captures the essence of Hawaiian lifestyle and tradition." Mary loved the Maile Leaf Pendant I purchased along with a beautiful necklace. A Maile lei represents Aloha (Love), Ho’ohanohano (Honor), and Mahalo (Respect).
We saddled up for the drive back to the airport. I can honestly say I did not want to come home. Usually by the end of vacation I'm ready to come home, sleep in my own bed and hug the pets...even the cats. This time I didn't want to leave paradise.
We returned the rental and caught the shuttle to the terminal. After dancing with TSA we were headed for our gate. Once again we flew home on an Airbus 321S and had the exit door seats which means added legroom. We had a layover in LAX before heading to Charlotte . Once on the ground at CLT we had a quick trip through the airport to go from B12 to E38 in order to make our flight connection north on the Dash 8 to Salisbury. Another smooth flight and we land on time, we're home!

By the time we picked up the pets and got everybody settled in we were ready to call it a day. It was now closing in on 6:30. That's right, not a typo, 6:30.  We had been up since 1am Sunday morning EDT, just over 42 hours. Despite the flying time, we're ready to go back this winter to enjoy whale watching.