Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Flight 2016

I wanted to get in the air today and try out the new camera that I got for Christmas. The plan was to fly early, beat the noon winds moving in and then get home.  I wish it was that easy.

I left the house in the ML320, my 'truck', and headed to the airport.  I heard a noise up front like something hit the inside of the hood, I thought serpentine belt.  My battery light came on and my power steering was now more like driving an old split stick Mack truck. As I rounded the turn on to RT 50 I cranked the wheel with all I had to stay in lane and on the road.  Slower speed made it harder to turn. I quickly turned off the road to the shopping center and banged a u turn to get back on RT 50 west. Our local shop, Racetrack Auto, was just a short drive. I made it without any further problems and shut down in front of the body shop.
Upon a quick inspection I found the serpentine belt just hanging there and the tensioner pulley looking out of wack. Sure enough the pulley was shot. Racetrack is closed today so I left the key via the drop box and will wait to hear the damages on Monday.

Mary picked me up in Ranger, my work truck, and ferried me home. I traded places with her and once again headed to the airport. This time I arrived with no issues.
08Romeo was warm and toasty ready to work today, even if it was going to be a short flight. I did my preflight and tugged her out into the chilly air, I just needed to hook up the camera. Once I hooked up the camera I immediately realized I had screwed up, I needed the extension arm in order for the cable connection to clear the overhead speaker housing trim, I'll work this out later.
I taxied out and launched for a quick trip up the coast and then turned around for home when faced with head on traffic opposite direction. The camera angle looks pretty good but I may tweak the angle to show more of the throttle quadrant and controls.
Once back at the hangar I tried out the extension for the bracket and hooked up the sound cable, everything worked fine. I make my first flight of the new year tomorrow and hope to have more video to share with sound!

Before I left I had one task that I wanted to complete. Since I had Ranger with me I grabbed a can of roadway paint, orange, to finally provide warning about the step into the hangar. 
Much better! I'm not sure who stumbles over this more, me or Ziva. At least now I'll see it and hopefully avoid it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

VIRB Set Up, 08Romeo

Just a quick post to note the VIRB set up in 08Romeo. I think this spot will be perfect. Its small enough to be mounted overhead and in line with the headrests.  This gives plenty of room for two people to move around and keep clear of the camera.
I may also set up a mount on the dash or utilize my ram mounts and attach to the windscreen itself.
For now this seems to be the best for the out of sight out of mind.  It will be easy to turn on and off, as if reaching for the older Piper trim handle, overhead.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Meet Up With Bob B, Skybobb

I finally had the opportunity to meet one of the Pilots of America members that I have followed for a few years.  Bob is from Vale, Oregon and does some of the best mountain flying and getting into and out of some mighty tight airstrips....ok gravel roads, some just a dirt path. Check out his You Tube page at Skybobb.

Bob was visiting the Eastern Shore to watch his grandsons play basketball and I caught the post on FaceBook. I was off work early so we traded text messages and I drove over to Salisbury to pick him up.  We decided on Kay's at the Cambridge Airport (KCGE) for lunch, and off we went. We figured we would tie flying in somehow.

If you can access the Purple Board For Pilots you will find a great post about Bob's Ramblings, it's an excellent read.

So nice to finally sit down and chat with this man, in person, great flying stories about back country flying and life in general. Thanks Bob, you made my day!

Garmin VIRB XE Test

I figured since I was heading into work I may as well test out the new Garmin VIRB.  Once on the job I set it up and drove around the site, everything seemed to work fine. No contractors showed up other than the prime's superintendent. We chatted for a bit then each decided to head our respective homes.

I set up the VIRB hanging from the windshield, the connection was secure. I downloaded the VIRB app form my iPhone and pushed some buttons until I got the to sync. A quick test run in the parking lot and I decided I knew enough to be dangerous.

Everything worked as advertised and the upload to you tube didn't take to long. I did get a notice that my video was muted due to music playing on my truck radio. I never gave it a thought...I'll know for the next time.
Your video has been muted.    
Copyrighted content was found in your video.
Your video is still playable on YouTube. However, because of the claimant's policy, your video has been muted.

content claimant policy
  • Tequila Sunrise - Eagles
  • Sound recording
  • 0:37 - 1:58             
  • WMG
  • On behalf of: Rhino Elektra
  • Muted in all countries
    Your video will play without sound.

Monday, December 26, 2016


My lovely Bride, with the help of Santa, provided a lovely wrapped gift under the Christmas tree. After inspecting Mary's wrap job, perfect of course, I tore it to shreds. Much to my surprise I found a Garmin VIRB XE HD camera. I have been wanting to capture my flights, especially IFR flights for some time and now I'll have the ability in HD, very cool.

Hi-res Features

The VIRB XE records high-contrast, undistorted high-definition video at up to 1440p30 resolution, and it allows you to easily adjust resolution and frame rate right from the viewfinder. It even captures crisp, dramatic slow-motion video, while offering a variety of professional-level image-quality controls and VIRB XE is a high-powered digital photo camera, too; shoot 12 megapixel images at speeds up to 30 frames per second – and capture photos even while recording video. VIRB XE can also be set to automatically capture photos over long periods of time at intervals of up to 120 seconds apart.
with prop filter

G-whiz Sensors

Capture more than just video of the moment with Garmin G-Metrix™. VIRB XE contains built-in Garmin GPS, G-force, orientation sensors and the ability to wirelessly connect to external sensors and Garmin devices to capture even more performance data. Since it’s Connext™ capable, it can receive superior aviation-specific data from yourG3X Touch flight display and Flight Stream 110/210. A lithium-ion battery provides up to 2 hours of recording at 1080p, and with multiple charging options (sold separately) you’ll have plenty of juice. Extend your filming time by carrying an extra battery (sold separately) in your flight bag.

  • VIRB XE action camera
  • Rechargeable battery pack
  • Charging/data cable
  • Rugged charging/power cable
  • Standard and vertical mount adapters
  • Flat and curved adhesive mounts
  • Short and long extension arms
  • Short and long screws
  • Wrench
  • 16 GB microSD™ card
  • Dash suction mount
  • Prop filter
  • Headset audio cable kit
  • Garmin Pilot™ (free trial)

I hope to give the camera a trial run this week or next. I'll have to dig out my Ram mount to see if that will work to provide a better angle or mount for capturing flight video. Stay tuned....

Christmas; Visiting Family

The weather was looking great here at the beach despite pilot reports from our neighboring Salisbury pilots and their terminal area forecast. Pireps from the Dash 8 drivers had reported ground fog with vertical visibility at seventy-five feet.  It looks good here at the house but we shall see what Ocean City airport looks like.

METAR KSBY 250854Z AUTO 00000KT 1/4SM FG VV001 01/01 A3037
                           RMK AO2 SLP287 T00110011 51015 TSNO

We arrived to a sunny sky and no ground fog to speak of, we were a go. I had topped off the fuel during the week so I needed to sump and complete my preflight. Everything looked in order with 08Romeo and with that step complete I tugged her out into the sun.
Mary loaded up the dessert we were bringing to her brothers, and I locked up the baggage door before climbing aboard. The overnight preheats had oil temps just at the top of the yellow on the gauge and with a few blades 08Romeo was running at idle, ready to go. I had filed for the flight north just in case there was that morning fog or a low layer hanging out over the airport but we were good to go.
I launched from runway three-two with a good climb to three thousand feet for our cruise north. I picked up flight following with Dover approach and road along with them until about fifteen miles south of Wilmington. I thanked ATC for their service and wished them a Merry Christmas. When I crossed the C&D canal I made my call, ten south with information Zulu, level at three thousand, for a full stop going to FlyAdvanced. The tower cleared me for a straight in runway one and added a wind check.
I made a very nice landing and immediately turned off on taxiway Delta. I didn't hear a word from the tower so I motored right along to taxiway Bravo and Alpha then the ramp at FlyAdvanced. Tyler was working today and marshaled us in to our parking spot. Another lineman brought out our car rental to the plane and had the heat on, a very nice touch. Mary and I made the quick transfer after securing the plane and thanked the men with a Christmas gift for their services.

Our first stop was at my sisters house, my brother-in-law was on a Christmas ride with the local Harley Owner Group.  We enjoyed home made cookies and hot tea, catching up is always fun. We decided we best get over to Mary's family as my niece Katie and her boyfriend Mike walked in. Always good to see them both, especially on the holidays. We made our way to the rental and as we were getting ready to climb in we heard Dave on his motorcycle. We chatted for a bit but then had to get going, we didn't want to walk in at dinner time.

It's just a short ride to Mark and Lynn's and we walked in ahead of the 1pm dinner time. It was great to visit with Mark, Lynn and one of their daughters, Laura. Mark is dealing with a hip replacement that doesn't want to stay in place so he wasn't feeling great, a gracious host none the less. Lynn prepared prime rib, with all the fixings and sides that one could possibly eat.

The only downside to living at the beach is not being located close to family but catching up is like we last saw them just a few days ago. Mark and Lynn shared the news that they were going to be grandparents! Their oldest Daughter Amy was due in late June, Great Aunt Mary was in tears. Amy and Hannah were in Texas visiting family but we look forward to congratulating them when they return.
I'm still not night current so I unfortunately had to remind my Bride that we needed to get in the air by 4pm. We ended up getting to the airport a little after four and by the time I returned the rental and walked out to the plane I would be landing twenty minutes after sunset.

Night: "The time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the American Air Almanac, converted to local time." That's the FAA's definition in FAR 1.1.

If you need to get night current to carry passengers, follow the definition of night as described in FAR 61.57(b), which is the "period beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise."

I know I have the one hour after sunset to be legal landing with a passenger but I wanted to make sure the beach didn't get that layer rolling in and block my return. I was a bit nervous as we said our goodbyes to Lynn and Laura who followed us to the airport to watch us take off.
We were soon in the air racing south and watching the sun slowly fall from the sky. Sunset today was 4:44 my arrival at Ocean City would be after 5:00.  I normally run 08Romeo at 65% power, 2500 rpm, I don't like to run her hard. This evening it would be a different story, I ran no less than 2600 and locked in just below the red line at 2700. I watched the airspeed climb and we topped out at 122 with not much help from tail winds. Indicated hovered around 110-120 and ground speed pretty much the same, where were my tail winds?
Somewhere between Dover and Georgetown the sun had set. I continued on and after a weather check decided on runway one-four for my landing. I turned about a two mile final and got a look at the runway lights for the first time in a very long time.

My speeds were steady, adding the last notch of flaps at five hundred feet and rolling 08Romeo on the runway, it was smooth and quiet. Of course I broke the silence with a holy crap, I land better than during the day. Mary finally took a breath and even laughed a bit, I think me being nervous made her nervous.  There was plenty of light, no cloud layer to deal with and it was pretty much a non-event.  We were home and I was happy to get in well before turning into a pumpkin one hour after sunset.
Food for thought...

In order not to feel rushed when visiting family and friends in Wilmington we will need to board the dog. It's just not fair to Ziva making her 'hold it' for so many hours and us rushing to get home.

I really need to get and keep night current. I know I say it all the time, but, in order to fly this time of year it's a must.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of our readers a very Merry Christmas!

Mary and I will be traveling north, by air, to Wilmington to spend the day with family. Mary's Brother Mark and his wife Lynn invited us for dinner, it will be a fun time catching up.
I made arrangements with Enterprise to have a car dropped off so we can get around. When we're done we can drop the keys at the FBO. FlyAdvanced will be open and they always provide excellent service. We'll head home in the afternoon so we don't have to board our Ziva. It will be nice to be home with our zoo for the holidays. Safe travels to all!

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Year In Review

At Maui Aviation

Hours:   TT 1150.8

ASEL: 2016                      
Approaches - ILS: 2
Approaches - Localizer: 1
Approaches - RNAV/GPS: 12
Approaches - VOR/DME: 2
Cross Country: 80.0
IMC: 3.9
Simulated Instrument: 4.1
PIC: 102.4
Total Time: 102.4

I still have a Christmas day flight to and from Wilmington to add along with a possible dog rescue flight Christmas eve.

New Airports:
Only one this year, but a fun one. Kahului Airport, Hawaii - PHOG.

Fun Flights:
Maybe I should change this category to not so fun flights via the spam can!

Our first get-away flight was scheduled for an April flight to Olathe Kansas to attend Ted and Laurie's bonfire. It was a gathering of friends from the Pilots of America forum.  My project was scheduled to start the Monday following the event. After going back and forth about flying 08Romeo or the American Airlines spam can, the decision was made to fly American. I was not a happy camper but knew it was the right call for getting back home, ready to start the job on Monday. Of course Friday, departure day, I get an email letting me know the start was pushed back to Thursday, Typical April fools day twist.

Mary and I did manage a few dog rescue flights for Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniels this year, Mishas Transport and Kinleys Transport.

With a busy work schedule we only managed one real get-away by general aviation and that was to one of our favorite locations, Nags Head. We both ended up with some bumps and bruises but overall a great time.

Our big flight of the year was scheduled for BACFest in Branson Missouri but my consulting job was in a critical phase. Installing a new product, Pervious Concrete, which required close inspection. We cancelled our reservations and stayed home and read about the club members having a great time. We were really looking forward to the BAC gathering and an additional trip to Waco Texas.
With the bulk of the new product installed Mary and I managed to plan and execute a quick week away in Hawaii. We always like to travel for my Brides birthday so with friends visiting the Islands they asked us to join them. We quickly found a condo a few doors down from our friends and with their platinum flying miles discount and our credit card we locked into really cheap round trip flights.

Mary and I took care of a bucket list item, visiting the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. The experience was moving, it made my heart hurt for those lost and their families. The price paid for freedom is not free. It was a very humbling visit. 

I decided to take Mary on a flight around the islands for her birthday. I rented a Cessna 172 and booked it as a discovery flight. I did the flying and our Maui Aviation pilot did all the radio work. Eric was also an excellent tour guide. We had a blast!
Another annual in the log book. This year the shop replaced all of the black duct which is a mouse killer due to corrosion. I ordered new ducts from Custom Ducts and the install is complete. This job would have been impossible for ME to do, no way I could crawl, bend, twist and still keep my patience in check. Thanks Josh for your hard work, patience and staying late on the last day to get 08Romeo buttoned up.

It's been a crazy year. I continued into 2016 with retirement for three months and then accepting a job running nine months with RK&K, managing a DelDOT project. Working has slowed the flying down but with things wrapping up I had hoped to get back in the air.

Unfortunately, my torn tendon in my left foot has reared its ugly head and I have finally given in to the fact I must have surgery. Listening to the doctor's prognosis is painful. Not that I won't eventually be back up to speed but that I'll have to be non-weight bearing for three months. That means no flying. Surgery is now scheduled for January 6th, so I figure I'll be trying to climb in the plane sometime in late March.

The next phase of the project I was running starts back up in August so Mary and I will have most of the 2017 summer to explore. Back to Ted and Laurie's in Olathe KS, then a side trip to Waco, TX will be on our immediate list. Since we will be taking 08Romeo back to Texas we will plan a visit with Sandra (Flights of the Mouse).

A few couples have been planning a get together, so with our friends from the Beech Aero Club we are kicking around Charleston or a Jekyll Island trip in the spring. I already locked into the 2017 BACFest slated for late September in New Bedford, MA. Mary and I are going to add on an additional five days to better explore the north east and catch up with friends Mike and Kim, Adam and Jeanine and Marys' family.

looking Ahead:
I hope to finally get an autopilot install completed in 2017, it's been on my wish list forever. I'm still on the fence about the STEC or getting the Century I control head overhauled, decisions, decisions. I have also given thought to holding out a bit longer to see if new autopilot units used in experimental aircraft will finally be approved for certified aircraft. One can hope.

This is the year that I WILL meet up with Chris (Photographic Logbook) and Steve (A Mile Of Runway), it's time we stop talking about it and make it happen gentlemen.

Looking back on my previous year in reviews, I noticed a common theme that Mackinac and Jekyll Island show up every year in the places to visit list. I really want to knock them both out this summer.

Mary and I are looking forward to 2017!!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

IFR Current

With the thought of surgery looming closer I knew it would be best to knock out approaches and extend my IFR currency to June 2017.  This plan will allow me to eventually ease back in the saddle and knock off the rust after being grounded for three months. I want to get back in the air as soon as I'm cleared, maybe late March early April. The goal is to make Ted and Laurie's Bonfire in Olathe Kansas. Last April I was getting ready to start my consulting job and we took the spam can out and back, this year I want to fly. We will also add on a trip to Waco Texas then work our way home, hopefully meeting with friends along the way.

It would be an early start this morning, feeding the zoo at 5 am and then checking weather and the plan for approaches. I headed to the airport and passed John on the way in, he brought the fuel truck to my hangar.  I took on enough to bring me to fifty-six gallons.
I launched into the cold morning air, Brrr...20* at three thousand feet. I picked up flight following with Dover and they eventually turned me loose to squawk vfr, suggesting Philly approach. I already had the weather at Wilmington and was monitoring the tower. I called in at ten south and was directed to enter a left base for runway two-seven, number two behind a gulfstream. I made a nice landing and made taxiway B, that felt good.
I didn't shut down when I got to FlyAdvanced, instead, with a few hand gestures Charles confirmed I was going to keep running as he made a wide path and climbed up on the wing to enter the cabin. Most folks boo hoo this but with pilots we get it. Normally for the non-pilot types I shut down.
I had a rough plan of attack for approaches today, making our way to Summit (KEVY, Claremont (58M), Chester County (KMQS) and back to Wilmington (KILG). First up was Summit and the GPS 35 approach. A lap around WENDS for the procedure turn then inbound, not bad.
We made a full stop on this first one to change foggles, my view limiting device. Next up I thought I would try the GPS 17 and work the approach with a strong tail wind, just some added pressure to get it done, knowing I had no intention of landing. I ended up not getting slowed down quick enough and I ended up a bit high. I went missed and climbed out for Chester County making a few mental notes on flying in this scenario.
I295, Delaware river looking towards NJ
Next up was Claremont (58M) and the GPS B approach followed by Chester County (KMQS) and the ILS 29. This one went bad from the start. With all the local traffic I made this approach a vectors to final attempt. Distractions take us off our game and today I really blew it. I worked my way almost to the Modena VOR (MXE) and then turned towards the approach. Somewhere along the way I intercepted just outside EFECO but thought I was just inside and started my descent. Odd, I'm below glide slope (clue one), The distance looks wrong on the 530W and I should be descending to 920ish (clue two).
Something was still not right and my safety pilot now calls out we are looking low, then the Garmin 530 gives me a terrain alert across the screen and the Garmin 496 shows yellow towers off my right side, power lines. I then realize I'm just outside EFECO (should be 2400') and power up, I'm 700' below the approach. We had clearance but it's a big time bust flying the approach and this is the type of brain fart that can get you killed. I cross EFECO and descend, lifting the foggles at 940' and making a nice landing.
Delaware river into the Delaware Bay.  Salem nuke plant (center)
Charles and I talk it out and I reminded him that if he feels uncomfortable at any time during the approach for traffic or my brain fart just call my plane and its yours to get us out. Charles did say we still had clearance and he was ok since I held the descent then climbed.
We took a lunch break and then decided to head out for a few more approaches. I added twenty-five gallons to 08Romeo for the remainder of our flights. On the next approach I would try the GPS 29 back into Chester County. I had to get the monkey off my back and shake off the ILS 29 fiasco. This approach was rock solid ending in a low approach, it restored my faith in me. I finished up the day returning to Wilmington and making a decent landing in the gusty winds.
RT 50 bridge at the inlet
KOXB over the nose
After entering my flights from today I noticed I am one approach short. Today's work only extends me to March 2017. I'll have to get back in the air this month for one more approach to extend currency through June 2017.

Thanks Charles for the safety pilot help and lunch.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Vince Gets Flight Time

The weather was looking great early this morning and then the winds started to kick up.  Mary wasn't up to flying so I figured I would either make a few pattern laps today or fly a solo morning breakfast run on Sunday. Vince sent me a text to let me know he was in Cambridge (KCGE) and available to fly.  Vince and I traded messages and made plans for a noon meet at the Ocean City airport. I think the last time we flew together had to be back in October of 2015.
The winds were gusty but pretty much down the runway.  08Romeo got off the ground with a full belly of fuel, ready to enjoy the cool weather. Once climbing out I handed off the flying to Vince. We made our way up the coast and the visibility was at least 30+ miles. From just north of the Indian river inlet you could see the Atlantic City sky line and all of the Cape May land mass.
I should mention the ride was pretty bumpy but we enjoyed the air time and catching up. After taking a few shots of my project Vince pointed us back to Ocean City. It was so nice to hear the excitement as Vince detailed his flying lessons. We talked about work and more flying as we worked our way to the pattern back at ocean city. Vince took us right to our base turn for runway three two, I took control from that point. The winds were gusting twenty plus as we cross checked our ground speed (58) versus indicated (80). With a second notch off flaps added, I worked the throttle and set 08Romeo for a nice landing.
We tucked 08Romeo in the hangar and reconnected the battery minder and preheats, she's ready to answer the call.  We left in search of eats and decided on Watermans, good food and service. We talked about flying lessons and I think once he masters landing the 172 he'll be cut loose to solo. I am so excited for Vince to get his ticket, I look forward to flying with him next summer.
We parted ways, Vince heading west on RT 50 and me running a few errands before going home. I really miss flying with Vince, a great young man that really has his head on right, these days very rare indeed.