Thursday, August 24, 2017

N/A: Beach Boys Concert

Non-aviation, but, a post I enjoy putting together. Last night Mary and I along with my brother and his wife had tickets for the Beach Boys concert in Ocean City's Convention Center. The event was sold out and parking was a royal pain due to half the convention center lot taken up by the Jeep weekend vendors.  It all worked out and it was a short walk to the center but OC needs to plan a bit better.
We started our day with a lunch run to Berlin Maryland's, Fins.  Very good eats and service! I had blackened halibut fish tacos, Mary and Janice had BLT's made with fried green tomatoes and Joe had the seafood quesadilla, loaded with scallops and shrimp. After filling our tummies we walked through town, the ladies checking out the shops and the men sitting on the curbside benches people watching. Berlin was busy for a Wednesday afternoon, always a good thing for the local economy.

We headed back to the house to clean up for the concert and cool off. The show started at 4pm and we were walking out the door just after 3.
Once in the building we easily were scanned in and headed to our seats. The convention center has excellent viewing. We were in section 101 front row seats with only the orchestra pit seats in front and below us.
Randy Leago (sax) Bruce Johnston (c) Mike Love (r)
 The concert was fantastic! All the great sounds of the 60's. The only original band member was Mike Love. Bruce Johnston joined the band in 65' for live performances, filling in for the group's co-founder Brian Wilson, who had quit touring in order to spend more time in the studio. Johnston then became a contributing member on subsequent albums.
When the show finished up we headed back to the house to enjoy a night cap and just catching up. Before we knew it, it was almost midnight, We all decided to turn in.

Today will be a busy day getting pets boarded and both of us still needing to pack for our vacation to Sint Maarten. So much to do!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Relaxing Local Beach Flight

Mary and I met up with our friends Pam and Ted for breakfast at the Sea Bay hotel located on Ocean Highway. The Sea Bay has a hidden gem, a small CafĂ©, tucked in the first floor corner of the hotel. This place has excellent food and services with a friendly staff. Honestly I think it's the best creamed chipped beef I've had in years.
While having breakfast the ladies decided they would go shopping, I think they had this planned. The men decided we would then go fly, I'm not shopping. Ted and Mary switched vehicles so Ted and I headed to the airport to ready 08Romeo. As we pulled up to the hangars a plane caught my attention. This plane was a workhorse, her paint proudly showed that as we pulled closer for a better look. This Grumman-Schweizer G-164B C/N 678B is a work horse for a local spraying company, it was neat to check it out.
I ordered fuel to take 08Romeo to the slots in each tank which is twenty gallons a side. After several shots of primer 08Romeo started with a blade or two. A smooth idle at just under 1000 rpm was held while I picked up the latest weather and listened to the local traffic. It seems people were using runway two, but the wind-sock looked to be favoring three-two. The weather reported winds 030 at 6 knots, I wasn't buying it.

I taxied 08Romeo out to three-two and held short for a Mooney landing on two and noted a Pilatus entering the down wind for the same runway. I know, I'm the odd ball, as I announced departing three two and looking for the down wind traffic. The Mooney pilot advised cross winds on two and I confirmed that the wind sock was looking like it now favored three-two. The Pilatus pilot immediately changed to enter the left down wind for three-two, good choice, more runway for him too.
WWII Observation Towers
It was a smooth ride as we headed along on the north side of route 50 followed by turning north to shadow just inside the bay along the ocean city shore line. No flight following today, just fun catching up with my friend Ted. As the video will confirm, everything was a topic for today. Retirement, homes, Florida living, rentals, and their potential property purchase, it was all fair game.
Indian River Inlet Bridge (photo from a previous flight)
We worked our way to Cape Henlopen and then turned east out over the ocean. We passed over the Ferry and continued the turn south to now shadow the ocean side of the beach.
One by one we passed Rehoboth, Bethany, Fenwick, a busy beach day with all the 4wd vehicles and people enjoying the perfect weather day. Ted and I continued south towards Indian River Inlet and on to RT. 90. I turned west at 90 and followed the bridges turning slightly north west to follow Saint Martins Neck Rd. Pam and Ted are looking at property and it was a nice opportunity to get an aerial view and snap a few pictures.
After the picture shoot we pointed 08Romeo for home. I made my position calls and crossed over OXB at midfield to enter the left down wind for three-two. I added my last notch of flaps as I got my 500' audible warning and pointed for the numbers. 08Romeo didn't settle like she typically does, instead she seemed faster and wanting to fly. A quick check of the wind sock showed a minimum tail wind as I rolled the main gear on. I made my exit closest to the hangar and taxied in. It was a fun day, smooth ride, and a great time catching up with Ted.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Go Around or Not?
I always enjoy reading about safety items or safety procedures when it comes to flying.  A fellow pilot posted this article on Facebook and I wanted to share it with my blog readers.

You can check out Pilot Workshops by clicking on their logo at the top of the page and you can click on the title, Go Around or Not for direct access to the article and listen to Wally Moran narrate.

I can't say I have followed this procedure to the letter but I will say when my GPS provides the audible alert to five hundred feet I make the decision. It's a quick read of the airport environment along with my airspeed before adding the last notch of flaps and landing. Just because I committed to land doesn't mean I won't go around if it doesn't feel right crossing over the numbers. For those times I make a landing beyond flat and porpoise or wheelbarrow, then decide saving the nose gear and prop are a better choice, trying one more loop in the pattern. We all have those crap landing days.


Go Around or Not?

Featuring Wally Moran
Subscriber Question:
"When should I give up on an approach and go-around? How do I recognize a non-stabilized approach?" - Walter W.

"Ask the guys who have landed long and have gone off the end of the runway.  They will tell you to go around early and often. But, sadly it’s too late for them. Almost all runway over-runs started with an unstabilized approach.

go_around_or_not_UPDATED.pngI think the first sign of an unstabilized approach is that little voice in the back of your head telling you something is not right. We all have made lots of good approaches and it is not too hard to tell when things just don’t look right. But the urge is strong to press on and see if we can’t get it all together by touchdown.

So the real question is - When is it too late to save the approach?

At the airline I worked for, our policy on visual approaches was to have all parameters where they were supposed to be prior to reaching 500 feet above ground level. In our case the parameters were speed stabilized at proper approach speed, sink rate stabilized at less than 1000FPM and final flap configuration. I always planned to have all that done at 1000 feet then if I missed a little, I still had time to fix it before 500 feet. Now if we were making an instrument approach then we needed all those things at the FAF. A go-around was mandatory if we were not on those numbers.

That policy worked good for me for many years so that is what I use for my general aviation flying. I try to recognize 500 feet above the ground on all visual approaches and at that time I double check that the green gear light is on, confirm my speed to be within 10 mph of my target and in a position that given my current sink rate I will land where I planned. If I don’t have the airplane within those parameters, I go around.

I always plan to land just past the numbers except on very long runways where it may be advantageous to land at a different spot. But, I always have a spot planned.  If I am doing an instrument approach I plan to be stabilized with gear down and landing checklist complete prior to the FAF. I am simply too busy flying the approach to be bothered with changing airspeeds, trimming and checklists inside the FAF.

The pilot who has not thought this through ahead of time will someday find himself floating down the runway wondering if it’s too late to go around or if he will get stopped by the end of the runway. This is a poor time and place to try to make that decision. On the other hand, having already made the decision on approach standards before you takeoff, you only have to execute the missed approach if you don’t meet the standards." 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Family Visit

The title may be a bit misleading. This is not a quick trip with Mary and I to visit family but a most appreciated visit by my niece Katie, her daughter Brooke and boyfriend Mike. How refreshing, the younger generation comes to visit the "old" folks, it made our day.

Brooke made a best friend in Ziva, and I'm happy to report that when we headed off to bed this evening Ziva had no play left in her, she went straight to her bed, curled up, and was down for the count. Thank-you Brooke.
We had fun catching up and talking horses and pets. Katie loves horses and recently acquired Dream, a beautiful paint that both her and Brooke ride. Mike and I agree it's another feed bill, having owned three horses at one time I know the drill. Mike and Katie also have two dogs, an Australian Shepard and big old man part Great Dane.
Mike and Katie turned us on to a security camera that they can access via the internet and a home wifi connection that also lets you talk to whoever is in the house. Their friend Laura was pet sitting and of course they accessed the voice option to demonstrate and scared the heck out of her. I think I'll be heading to Best Buy and set that up in the house.
We decided to head out for lunch and after many choices decided on the Full Moon Saloon in West Ocean City. The food was very good but it took forever to get out to the table, not typical for one of our favorite places. The fish tacos were very good and Brooke's wings looked yummy too.
Katie, "I'm strong I can do this"
After filling the tummies it was time to fly. Mike wanted some fly time and Brooke sounded like she might and Katie was a no go. Once we tugged 08Romeo out Brooke was a no go, Katie convinced herself to try it and Mike was still all in. Mary and Brooke stayed behind in the SUV enjoying the air conditioning.

flying towards Assateague, south of OXB and OC
I can't remember the last time I had to do a pre-flight briefing. I did explain the exit procedure in case of an emergency landing and the run up process before take off, everything else was a swing and miss. We launched off runway two-zero and climbed out south to overfly Assateague. We were hoping to see some horses but there was nothing but people out on the beach.
RT 50 bridge and the inlet top left
Next we headed up the bay with Ocean City off our right wing. It was a smooth and comfortable flight and my passengers seemed to be enjoying the view. Mike's dad was a pilot so Mike was around planes when he was younger. I asked if he wanted to fly and he said he was happy enjoying the view. I get that. Often when flying with friends I'll just soak up the view, it never gets old.
We made our way north to Bethany Beach and then I turned out over the ocean so Katie and Mike could view the beach as we headed south. Once past RT 90 I turned west across the bay and made our way back to Ocean City Airport. It was busy today, with training aircraft, the jump plane and a few transient aircraft.
As I descended below two thousand feet there were a few bumps. I made my position calls and aligned us for a landing on runway two-zero. I was good passing over the numbers until I went to set 08Romeo down. At the moment the mains should have touched I flattened out and then had a little bounce, adding power to land once again, flat. Ughh...not the way I wanted that to end.
Isle of Wight at RT 90
 We taxied in and secured 08Romeo. My Bride and Brooke were nowhere to be found. Mike quickly added that he was sure Brooke talked Mary into ice cream, no, not without me. As we finished up Mary and Brooke came rolling in, yes, they had ice cream. Mary said they wanted to see us land but as they were heading back to the airport I flew overhead on final, they missed.
Rt 50 bridge and inlet, short final
It was a fun time flying but better yet a welcome visit by my niece. Mary and I really appreciate Katie and Mike thinking of us and taking the time to stop in and visit. They are always welcome here and we hope to see the trio again for some beach time. Mike and I can fly while the ladies beach and he can kick my butt at a round of golf.

Article: Entry-Level Travel

As I sit here on a gorgeous Friday morning in Ocean City, I'm reading my recent copy of Aviation Safety. I'm settled in with a mug of hot chocolate topped with whip cream and flipping through pages.

I usually flip through looking for an article that stands out, catches my interest, before starting at the beginning.  Just like in the days of newspapers I would dig into the sports pages then go back and start with the headlines.

The cover photo caught my eye, a Cessna, with the title noted below.
Entry-Level Travel
Yes, you can use a slow airplane to travel. Differently. Page 16

"The problem with an airplane like that is you can’t really use it for travel,” said a pilot looking out the FBO window at a Cherokee 140 sitting on the ramp. That pilot was saying that an entry-level airplane—think two or four seats, fixed gear and no more than 160 hp—can’t go places.

I about spit my hot chocolate out. The author, Dave Higdon, goes on to defend the bug smashers, making a funny relating back to Lindbergh's flight.

"Sorry St. Louis, I'm not flying to Paris unless I can average a buck-fifty...No. Lindbergh flew more than 33 hours between Long Island and LeBourget, averaging 107 mph over 3600 miles."

The comment from the pilot in the FBO was made about the authors very aircraft. Mr. Higdon goes on to makes the case, how to use the typical four seat single engine for travel.

The author walks through his steps about utilizing his plane, a Cherokee 140, to travel. As he noted, You gotta start somewhere, and he did, right out of the gate. Six days after passing his private pilot check ride he and his bride flew from Wichita Kansas to Washington, D.C. That's a big first step in my book.

Higdon goes on to talk about planning and being flexible, his suggested minimum equipment list and strongly encourages obtaining an instrument rating. I agree with his article and have blogged about some of these very topics.
  • Nothing beats a good plan, and a plan B
  • Keep current data for electronics up to date
  • Read and research your destination
  • Know your equipment, and its limitations
  • Get that instrument rating
I take a lot of flack about my Sundowner being so slow, but I think I travel more than most owners and I'll sacrifice speed for comfort any day of the week. In the article Higdon shared the thoughts of his friend that stated, "It's just like flying a short day trip, except when you take off again you don't go back. You keep going in the same direction." This gave me a good chuckle and immediately brought back memories of Bo Boggs and hearing him say "Cross country flights are like eating a pizza, one bite at a time."

It's time for me to get motivated and get a few things done around the house, maybe even take 08Romeo out for a quick hop.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Family Visit to Long Beach Island, NJ

Mary and I made plans to visit her brother Mark and his family at their beach house on Long Beach Island. Mark and Lynn's home is located in Harvey Cedars, which is located half way between Surf City, New Jersey and the Barnegat Lighthouse State Park at the north end of LBI.

08Romeo needed to take on some fuel so we headed to the airport, making one stop for breakfast at McD's. We rolled through the airport gate at 7 am, called for fuel then sat and ate our oatmeal. John was on the fuel truck this morning and he brought us up to fifty gallons total with a sixteen gallon top off.

I had filed last night for the one hour hop and decided to pick up my clearance in the air since the NEW remote outlet frequency at OXB is already out of service. We climbed out of Ocean City pointing 08Romeo towards Cape Henlopen looking for five thousand feet for our cruise. I contacted Dover approach and opened my instrument flight plan and was directed to maintain VFR squawk 4733.  Hmm, ok this is different. I continued climbing and Dover returned with a route amendment direct Waterloo (ATR) then as filed.

That's not really much out of the way and honestly, I expected it. As I made my way towards ATR, Dover amended the route again with a simple direct SIE, Sea Isle VOR. Not sure why he didn't just turn me direct instead of "amending" the route. It sure beats the heck out of me, I don't try and figure it out anymore. If it looks good on my route I just comply.
Passing over Cape Henlopen
Cool temps at 5000'
We crossed the Delaware Bay with no mic audio on the VIRB. Then as we switched over to Atlantic City it started to work, not a clue what's up with that. The flight was smooth with a tail wind, maybe seven to ten knots. Atlantic City stepped me down from five to four then three thousand and asked me to report the field in sight. The rest of my route hadn't changed, I was still headed to the HOGGS fix.
Cape May ferry terminal
Atlantic City NJ
Atlantic City asked if I was direct Eagles Nest and I responded that I wasn't cleared direct. Approach turned me direct and I soon canceled in the air with the field now in view. As I turned final I spotted a tower left of center line that was now yellow on my Garmin 496 GPS. I had a clear view and stayed north, it's clearly visible on the video and you can watch it pass under the left wing.
I made a nice landing and taxied for a tie down in front of the office. I remembered to note the office codes from the web page which provided access to the bathrooms, always an important item. The rental Jeep Grand Cherokee was parked and waiting for us so we picked up the keys and headed out to find our way to Harvey Cedars.
What did we ever do before our phones and the GPS maps? I plugged in the address and away we went.  The ride was maybe thirty minutes, just fifteen miles. It was fun to see the many shops and typical beach bike rentals scattered along our route. We made it to Mark and Lynn's, their house was the second from the dunes at the ocean, it was really nice.
After  Mary had some baby time with Brennan we headed out for a tour of the town. Mark and Lynn have been coming to Long Beach Island for thirty (Mark) and forty one years for Lynn.  The impromptu tour was detailed and educational. I really enjoyed the harbor tour and our visit to the Barnegat Bay Lighthouse.
75th Street Beach and Yacht Club
Barnegate Bay Lighthouse (Old Barney) with a biplane giving rides overhead
One of many commercial fishing boats
This homeowner set up a safe zone for turtles to lay their eggs. They come back every year.
We returned to the beach house and enjoyed BLT's for lunch. Jersey tomatoes, the best tasting tomatoes on the planet. It was fun to see the new beach house and  spend some time together with family. As with any fun time, time seems to fly by. We sadly had to say our goodbyes and make our way back to the airport.

Once the rental was secure we headed into the office. There is a $15 landing fee for singles, a bit steep, but it does help the airport. I dug into my pocket for some cash but only had a twenty, two fives and a dollar.  I'm not leaving a twenty. I stuffed two fives in an envelope and Mary grabbed an extra self addressed envelope so I can send the remaining balance once we get home.

As I completed my preflight I heard voices then a scream, dear Lord, more sky divers. I can't get away from them! I finished up and climbed aboard 08Romeo, we were ready to get the fan turning. The winds now favored runway one-four so I taxied to the hold short and completed my run up.  I announced our departure and rolled for the numbers, adding a notch of flaps for  take off. 08Romeo climbed for the coast so I could gain some altitude before crossing above the Atlantic City class C airspace, whose ceiling was 4,100 feet. Atlantic city approach gave me five thousand, expect six thousand shortly. No problem, I wanted more altitude to recross the Delaware Bay.
Atlantic city handed me off to Dover approach as I passed south of Ocean City New Jersey. I road along with Dover until safely across the bay then cancelled IFR for the last fifteen minutes of the flight.  Dover asked me to keep my squawk code and advise altitude.  I responded, leaving six for four thousand and went along my way. Once I was within ten miles I started my descent, working my way to two thousand.  I knew this would trigger Dover to cut me loose, and it did.
"08Romeo squawk vfr, frequency change approved."  I acknowledged then motored south with a smirk on my face. There was only one plane in the pattern at OXB, a Cessna, taking off and heading north, towards me. We swapped position calls and continued with that pilot stuff that we do.
I made another nice landing and taxied clear, heading  for the hangar. No clean up time for 08Romeo today, we needed to get home and let Ziva out. Our girl has been in the house since 7am and it's now just past 4:30, a long day.

The house was intact and the zoo was ready to eat when we walked in. With the critters squared away I started working on this write up but ended up calling it a night, I was tired and thirsty. I grabbed something to drink and headed off to bed.