Saturday, September 30, 2017

N/A Consulting Opportunity

I received a call from the company I did some work for in 2016, on a project located in Delaware. The phase II work is scheduled to get underway and the client requested me for the project management, I guess I did something right. There has been a slight shuffle in the schedule and along with a canopy there will be a passenger building added to this phase, previously scheduled for phase III.  Immediately following this work, two additional buildings will get underway, a bus garage and a drivers building along with fuel islands. I'm thinking I'll have work from October through the end of next year.

The canopy with helical piles shown below the surface
A random example of a helical pile (Photo from Certified Structure and Foundation, Inc.)

While the work will limit my weekly fly time it will provide extra play money for travel. The plans to purchase a motorhome to reposition in Florida are on hold since I'll be working this winter. I'll take some vacation time for our trip to Waco and as Mary and I discussed last night, we might take a few more days in Destin, Sanibel Island or the Keys before coming home.
So, its time to dust off the work gear and get my Ranger pick-up cleaned up and ready to go. I'm excited to dive back into construction plans and a new project. More reporting and I'm sure some overhead shots of progress will make it to the blog.

Monday, September 25, 2017

BACFest 2017

Mary and I were very excited about BACFest 2017. The event was held in New Bedford, Massachusetts - a new airport for the list and a new location to explore. Since we have family in the area we planed to head up early and visit with family, our friends Mike B and his wife Kim, and sneak a visit in with proud new parents Adam and Jeanine in New Hampshire. It was a great plan and we were excited to get in the air.

The planning was pretty straight forward, a simple IFR hop to New Bedford up the Jersey coast, across to JFK and out along the island before turning towards Providence and on to New Bedford. Watching the daily METAR reports I noticed New Bedford is much like Ocean City, early morning marine layer. This theory proves to be consistent the week prior to our departure and I schedule  our flight and arrival accordingly.

I will admit after just getting out before Irma hit Sint Maarten I'm a little bit weather gun shy. By the time we were to depart Irma had ravaged the eastern Caribbean and the state of Florida. Unfortunately, little brother Jose' was now piling on with destruction along the same path and now had turned up the east coast. We were lucky to get 08Romeo tucked into a hangar while Jose passed. Now I would have to contend with following that storm to New England.

September 21 Thursday - Arrival Day!

With the weather grounding our flight we made the decision to drive north. Mary and I rented a car from Enterprise Wednesday night and ground pounded for seven hours from home to New Bedford. We left Ocean City at 2:45am and pulled up to the Hampton Inn at 10:15.  Traffic was fine until we hit the George Washington Bridge, wow, New York drivers.  I haven't had much road time in the last few years so the ride was, exciting, to say the least.  I can best describe it as watching a game of Frogger unfold in front of you, in real time. We survived.

We have arrived!  Together we walked through the hotel front entrance and were immediately greeted by our friends from the Beech Aero Club.  Warm hugs and smiles made the long ground pound melt away.  We were so happy to see Candy, Mark, Susan and Doug along with the other members gathered in the lobby. The warm welcome really helped us both feel settled in, like being home again with good friends.  The group was soon off to explore, we still needed to check in.  I completed our check in and then asked about a place to eat breakfast since we only had some snacks along the way with my hot tea and Mary's coffee.  The folks at the desk suggested Jakes Diner, just up the street from the hotel.

I chug and plug on the iPhone and yes, it's only a few minutes of drive time. Jakes was busy so I figured the recommendation was spot on. We were quickly seated to the front right side of the diner and had a clear view of the parking area and highway, it's a busy town. It took a while to decipher the menu, so many different new items.  Our waitress explained that the diners menu highlights the Portuguese meats and spices, in particular the chourico hash. Chourico is a Portuguese pork sausage. I passed on the hash and stuck with eggs, home fries and bacon, so did my bride.
Since Mary forgot a jacket we needed to follow Bo's advice. "Once you leave home and forget something, buy it when you get there." We made a quick stop at Marshalls and Mary picked up a Calvin Klein jacket. Of course I took a picture for Sandra to see on Facebook, obviously Bo is with us in spirit.

We made our way back to the hotel and headed up to our room for hours of much needed  nap time.  

Me and my bride
We caught up with the group in the hospitality room for drinks and munchies later that evening and enjoyed the camaraderie. The spouses got to mingle, pilots did their hangar flying and as a group the Beech Aero Club came together as one.  BAC is like that friend you don't see every day but when you do catch up it seems like it was just yesterday.

There were two Sundowners (Chris and JP)and one Musketeer (Steve)that made it into New Bedford. Two Sierras made it to Hartford, Paul and Nelson along with Denis. Total head count for the event was 55!
Chris N (left) and JP (right)
Steve made it in at dusk.

September 22 Friday

We are up early and meet downstairs for the hotel provided breakfast.  Eggs and bacon for Mary and I along with some orange juice and toast.  The plan is to board a bus and two shuttle vans for Newport Rhode Island. There are shops to explore, museums to visit and the Breakers mansion.  Mary and I passed on the cliff walk tour and Breakers mansion, we'll visit another time. Instead, we decided on snooping in the shops along Thames Street and the Long Wharf Mall.  We dodged mist and showers through out the day but had fun. We checked out the Colony House at Washington Square, the Museum of Newport History and had lunch at the Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant.
Museum of Newport History
Colony House at the end of the street
Thames Street
Brick Alley Pub
The bus ride was the hardest part of the day, next time I'll board the shuttle.  We actually road on a school bus, it worked out well but the suspension was brutal on my back and foot, yes the roads were that bad in some areas. We safely returned to the hotel for some much needed nap time. Mary and I both crashed, we were beat, maybe still catching up from our early rise yesterday. 

Event Host Tom C and the shuttle
After a day of shopping, sightseeing and exploring we all headed to the New Bedford waterfront for dinner at 7pm. The restaurant of choice, Waterfront Grille, overlooks the boats in the fishing fleet.
It was raining
We had a buffet style dinner of Scrod, veggies, Chicken and potatoes, all very good. After dinner the group headed back to the Hampton Inn for another hospitality evening of fun, laughter and door prizes.

September 23 Saturday

Today was scheduled for tour day taking the group on a Cape Cod Canal tour via bus and vans. Multiple stops included Fort Phoenix,  a stroll on America’s largest stone structure, the hurricane barrier protecting New Bedford harbor,  Buzzards Bay railroad bridge and Bournevale village. 
The group visited the  Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center and Museum in Sandwich. Lunch was at Seafood Sam's Restaurant followed by a return to the hotel for a nap, safety seminar was starting at 3pm.

Mary and I missed todays tours, I was sick as a dog when I got up and as soon as I felt better Mary was feeling under the wx.

I did manage to attend the maintenance seminar relocated to the hospitality room instead of the airport. Our seminar covered survival gear for signaling. Included in our welcome bag was a signal kit and we discussed items that we felt were essential. Paul W also did a show and tell on other items to include; life vests, signal smoke and flares that he purchased through West Marine. All these items are great additions to ones survival gear.
4 - Handheld Red Signal FlaresBrightness: Up to 700 candela
Burn Time: Up to 3 minutes each
1 - SOLAS Approved Whistle w/Lanyard116db at 1 meter
1  - Handheld Orange Smoke SignalU. S. Coast Guard Approved Daytime Signal
Average burn time: Up to 1 minute each
1 - 1.5 oz. Mini Horn1-Signal MirrorNon-corrosive material
Includes view finder and lanyard
Neoprene Storage Case

I have a back pack survival kit purchased from Sportys and I am going to add the signal pack that was in our welcome bag along with the Orion signal kit and flotation vests since we often cross the Delaware and Chesapeake bays.  

Following the seminar the pilots had just enough time to shower and dress for the party and banquet.  At 5:30pm the shuttles left for the Wamsutta Mansion. The cocktail party was followed by the Annual Meeting and Banquet. To start the evening we toasted BAC members who have passed, my friend Bo Boggs was in my heart along with Brads wife Ann and Dan Kirby, great members that left lasting impressions on Mary and I.
Our dinner started with a caesar salad, followed by carved prime rib with au jus and horseradish, glazed carrots and mashed potatoes. Dessert was apple crisp and ice cream. Yours truly had to give out an award since I am the new mid-Atlantic director, I wasn't given advance notice so Mary busted up laughing when they called me up.  Susan reminded her that her laugh was NOT her inside voice and everyone got a good chuckle out of that. Congrats Bob P on your Mid-Atlantic Regional Directors Award.  Mary said I did fine and didn't sound like an idiot.
We enjoyed an excellent dinner and a fun time. Many club awards were handed out, memories shared and the evening was coming to a close seemingly as fast as it started. We all headed back to the hotel to enjoy some time for chat and sadly our goodbyes.  Some tears were shed and hugs were traded buy our traveling companions.
Mark and Candy
We vowed to catch up with Mark and Candy (Austin TX) when we head to Waco Texas and make a mini vacation of it. We also want to visit Charleston South Carolina and Jekyll Island Georgia so Susan and Doug (Atlanta GA) agreed to join us. Next years BACFest was announced and we will be flight planning for Louisville Kentucky!

Mary and I are planning on leaving early to once again get a jump on traffic. I wasn't sure of an exact time so my response when asked was when natured called in the early morning hours I would wake Mary and we would head out.

September 24 Sunday

Departure day.  Natured called at 3:30am. Mary and I were heading out the door at 4am. We bumped into Rap and Charlotte at the elevator heading for Providence to catch their flight. We said our goodbyes and loaded up our rental Dodge SUV.  I once again chugged and plugged for directions and the trip time was six hours and forty five minutes.  There wasn't much traffic as we made our way, stopping only for a fuel top off and some Dunkin' Donuts munchies. Mary stayed awake for the entire trip just like Thursdays run north. I did post some videos on Facebook of our return travels and got some laughs. I struggled to stay focused as we entered the last few hours once crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge into Delaware. I broke out the bag of Cape Cod chips and just kept eating to stay awake, munched on a few pieces of fudge too, it worked.  We dropped of the rental, headed home, and crawled straight into bed.  I did manage to watch some of the Eagles game and the entire Packers game.  Mary and I went out for dinner at Carrabbas and returned in time to watch the new Star Trek show.

Just over 900 miles traveled by car and I can't express enough how much I missed flying to BACFest. Next year we hope to fly 08Romeo. For now, we enjoy the memories made at this years event and treasure our friends that shared the experience with us.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Seeking Shelter

Due to construction at the Ocean City Airport (red box) 08Romeo was banished to the ramp.  Talk about timing, this all takes place prior to the Beech Aero Club Fest, just in time to present my plane in a state of filth. Between construction dust and dirt, to the black streaks from the cover, the poor girl looks like she gets no love.

Unfortunately, I have bigger issues to contend with. Hurricane Jose' is working it's way up the coast and has taken a turn for the mid-Atlantic and north-east. Memories of hurricane Sandi in October 2012 and looking for shelter.

I made calls in advance and had scheduled a potential hide out in one of the corporate hangars at the Millville airport, thanks to Big Sky Aviation. I also had a potential spot in a hangar just across from my temporary tie down at Ocean City. Tom was going to be out of town on business with his gorgeous Bonanza. I acquired this insider knowledge from hanging out in the office chatting with a few of the pilots. Tom graciously offered his hangar if Jose' was going to hit. I asked about his plane and he said he would keep it at his other hangar closer to DC. Talk about timing.
I traded phone calls with Arnie, Toms friend, who also moved his Bo in the hangar for the duration of construction. It was all set if needed. Saturday's weather report was calling for 20mph winds and I didn't feel the need to bother moving the plane inside, I thought no big deal. Mary and I went over to the airport and I added tie down straps in addition to the ropes I already had securing 08Romeo.

Fast forward to this morning. The forecast has changed, Ocean city was reporting LIFR conditions along with the potential for 50mph winds on Tuesday. Crap! Millville was socked in, and ocean city was still the same. I had contacted my friend Jeff D from Woodbine knowing he had just sold his beautiful Mooney and may still have a hangar open, he did. I couldn't get in there either.
I decided to head over to the airport and look for the best tie down location I could find. Mary and I decided on the ramp adjacent to the self serve fuel. This spot is partially blocked by a hangar to the north and west, it was my best shot. Before moving 08Romeo I went up to the office and asked if there were any open hangars that they knew of. Nola (what a sweetheart) called Tom, who I already had talked to and he said he was still holding it for me, GREAT! With a quick call to Arnie he met me at the hangar and I tugged 08Romeo inside. 08Romeo is safe for two nights and I'll tug her back out on the ramp Wednesday morning around 10am.
While sitting in the office another man walked in, the plane he flies was in the shop so Nola asked if he had a hangar open. The pilot (Ed)said he would call his boss and see. I said I'm good, since Tom still had an opening but we got to talking planes. Ed's boss is looking to get home from Martin State, KMTN. I offered the Sundowner but three big guys might not make W&B. I thanked Ed and Nola then headed out to move 08Romeo.

What a bizarre morning. It's all about timing. My stomach finally stopped doing flip flops and I feel much better knowing 08Romeo is safe for the coming storm. Now the revised plans for Boston. Mary and I made calls to push our hotel reservation, car rental and pet boarding  until Thursday, when we'll try this flight plan again. Maybe its time for a mermaid lemonade or a captain and coke.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Flight Time and Family

I was up early, thanks to the zoo, and decided I would make some breakfast then check weather and NOTAM's for some potential flight time.

I made bacon, eggs and hash browns with a toasted english muffin, substituting for my typical rye toast. As I pulled up my chair to the desk I thought I could enjoy my breakfast, check weather, and update the path of tropical storm Jose. This storm forced the change of our Boston flight along with family rescheduling visit time due to a kitchen remodel.  My planned Saturday departure was scrubbed and I reconfigured for a Tuesday morning flight. With Jose looming and the weather forecast for KOXB looking crappy I figured we would instead hunker down, seek shelter for 08Romeo and regroup. All this weather does not make my breakfast enjoyable at all.

Isle of Wight (middle right) and Assawoman Bay
(I am not making this up)  top right
My bride emerges from our bedroom like sleeping beauty, it's now just past 10:00. My princess, would you care for some breakfast? I ask this with a touch of sarcasm. Grumble...good morning, no thank-you. Mary sits on the office couch, trying to wake up and inquires about today's plans. We initially wanted to grocery shop but I suggested some flight time, maybe to Cape May (KWWD) to enjoy strolling along the shops and to get some exercise and sun. My Bride mentions she would like to see Brennan, our great nephew, the plans are changed.
Just getting out from the dark clouds
Dover AFB and the next layer ahead
I'm back online to recheck weather and NOTAM's for Wilmington, KILG. Everything looks good, with a chance of showers mentioned in the local forecast for the beach. I pack up my electronics, Mary gets dressed and lets Ziva out one more time, we're ready to go.

The airport seems quiet except for the construction vehicles, pushing stone with a grader, dozer and a roller following behind. One of the machines has a defective back up beeper and it sounds like a transformer size bumble bee, it's loud and annoying. We turn our attention to 08Romeo and concentrate on the pre-flight. Mary and I both grumble about having to uncover and we each comment on the layer of dirt on the wings, it's gross. With the outside tasks completed we climb aboard, and we escape the large bumble bee!

Ah, quiet, very good. Inside checks completed and we are ready for start-up. 08Romeo quickly comes to life, she's ready to get away from the dirt and noise too. I didn't file today, instead I would pick up flight following with Dover. I launch off runway one-four and climb out to the north. There is a cloud layer ahead and some of it is dark and ugly. Mary suggests that it's ok if I want to turn around.
State Police helicopter around me again
I descend from three thousand to two and ride below the layer. The ride isn't to bad and we clear the uglies as we approach Dover.  The ride gets bumpy but tolerable as we continue north. Dover cuts us loose to squawk VFR and I switch over to the Wilmington tower for a quick listen before dialing in Philly approach. Once we get about fifteen miles out I'll switch back to the tower at ILG.
Wilmington is busy with traffic as I announce and work my way in as directed. I'm making a straight in, and will be reporting a three mile final as directed. There is a Bonanza shooting the GPS Runway 1 approach and he will pass behind me, I will be following an Archer that is left downwind for runway one turning left base in front of me.  I'm number two to land and cleared as I watch the Archer over the numbers, I'm now just inside three miles. I land and roll out clearing the runway with a right turn on taxiway Kilo, then switching to ground. As I taxi across runway 9-27 on taxiway Bravo, I watch the Bonanza roll out on runway one, good job tower making things flow. I taxi back to the other end of the field to Flyadvanced and shut down in front of their hangar.
Since this would be a short visit we secured the courtesy car, a Ford explorer, and headed out the gate. We are immediately reminded why we don't miss Wilmington, TRAFFIC.  With all the ongoing construction we sat in lines, slowly making our way to Mary's brothers place. I even took the back roads, they were backed up too with lane restrictions.
Mary got to hold Brennan and we were happy to visit with Mark and Lynn. Mark is looking much better after his surgery and with the ongoing PT I think he is walking better too. We hung out for a couple of hours and then decided we should get the courtesy car back to the FBO. Travel by general aviation makes this an easy trip.
Mary and I made a quick stop at Johnnies Dog House, a favorite of ours, for a fast tasty lunch. I also had to stop for fuel since the last person to drive the courtesy car left it almost empty. The computer said we had 70 miles to empty when we left the airport. Why are some people so cheap? I made a quick stop and put $20 in, just under half tank, was that really so hard. We motor south and I-95 is backed up so I take an exit to cut through down town. I know, you're thinking I'm crazy but honestly it was faster than parking on the highway.

I square up my fuel bill for 08Romeo and head out to the plane. A did a quick walk around for a control surface check and removal of the sunshades. Mary was aboard and ready to go and I quickly followed. I picked up the current ATIS info and taxied for the hold short to contact Wilmington ground. I am cleared to taxi to runway 19 on Bravo and hold short runway two seven. Once cleared to cross two seven I taxi to the very end, all 7012 feet. Mary asked where we were going...usually we get one of the closer taxiways and if its not hot I'll accept.
08Romeo is climbing out and we are cleared on course. The sky has cleared so we climb to 3.000 feet and cruise along. I do pick up flight following with Dover since we are once again crossing their airspace. As I approach Delaware Coastal (KGED) Dover asks my intentions since the last two planes going into OXB diverted. Say what? I checked weather it's VFR and the most recent weather is showing winds south-south west at 3 knots switching to winds variable, ceiling broken 10,000.  Great, my old nemesis the marine layer creeping in. Since OXB sits on the Sinepaxent Bay with a narrow island (Assateague)separating the bay from the ocean, we are prime for the marine layer condition.
I advise Dover I will continue for Ocean City and once again update the weather. As I approach, now about twenty miles out, I can see the coast AND that layer just off shore lurking. It doesn't seem that bad, actually looking more clear south of Fenwick towards Ocean City and Assateague than north up towards the Delaware shore line. We continue to make our way and switch over to Ocean City once Dover requests flight conditions and turns us loose. I make my position calls at ten and five miles noting a twin Cessna's position calling in with position and a request for fuel.  UNICOM responds fuel is closed for the day but self serve is available. The Cessna responds that he will look elsewhere. I continue my descent for runway two-zero and make a nice landing.
As we taxi back I hear the twin Cessna announcing his position, now on short final for runway one-four. I advise the Cessna I am holding short of 14-32 for his arrival and watch him land. We cross 14-32 and turn for the temporary tie down and the Cessna turns for the main ramp at the terminal. I so want to key the mic...Dude, they are closed. I just laugh and pass on giving him directions to the self serve. As we secure 08Romeo we hear the Cessna fire up and taxi out to runway three-two. Ok, he must have his shorts in a wad since he's now taking off with a tail wind and screams up and out. The pilot makes a steep bank left then right on departure and flies off. Bizarre...

A fun day of flying and visiting family in Wilmington. I'll be focused on the weather for the next few days as I plan our revised departure date for Boston.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Local Coastal Hop

My best friend growing up was John I, way back since our grade school days at St. Mary Magdalen. John and I spent many an after school together writing out pages of the geography book for punishment of some sort handed out by the nuns. John was thought of as another son when he was at my home, to the point my mother would always say I should be more like John...sigh...insert eye roll.
I knew Helene, Johns sister, as a little sister of sorts, and as we grew older we became skating partners. Helene(or 'bird' as we called her)and I always remained friends even though time and distance has taken our lives in different directions. John and I are still friends and sadly time and distance affects our friendship too, I wish we still lived closer. Best part of it is, John or I can pick up the phone and pick up right where we last left off like no time has passed, he is truly a second brother to me. I get distracted reminiscing while I type this I should note that Helene and her husband Dana were in town with friends. We caught up on Facebook and I offered a flight to see the area. The plan was to meet up at the airport terminal and I would drive out to my planes new home, the ramp. :(
I uncovered and answered some questions Dana had asked during my pre-flight.  We all climbed aboard and I did a quick briefing for escape and quiet times except for pointing out traffic, which they both did during the flight.
We took off on runway three-two and circled left to the south, then east headed over the Castaways campground where their friends were staying followed by a turn north up the beach. I shadowed the bay side of Ocean City, Fenwick, Bethany and Rehoboth turning 08Romeo over Lewes and the Ferry Terminal. We swung out over the Delaware Bay to follow the shore line of Cape Henlopen and follow the Atlantic coast south back towards Assateague.

It was a  perfect flying day with great visibility and a chance to spend time with friends. I hope to catch up again when they are back in town.  Thanks for the fun trip today Helene and Dana!

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Foreflight Graphical Route Advisor v9.3

I always like to dig into the latest updates from Foreflight. Version 9.3 is now available for download. The following information is taken straight from the Foreflight page as well as their you tube video that details the updates.  
Of course I have to give the new toys a try so I'll plan a trip for Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and check out the graphic representation of the available routes.
I start out at the flight plan page (FPL) and select my start and end points. Next, click on the route button, middle right side.
 All the routes for the proposed flight appear on screen with the text version to the left.  Toggle through each to see what best fits your plan. When you have decided click the 'select route' button. Who the heck is taking that route to Long Island then AVP?
The selected route will load into the FPL screen. 
Next click on the file button, in the FPL screen on the bottom right. Select 'Flights'.
Here you can change your estimated time of departure (ETD), read through your briefing and look closer at the nav log info. When everything is good to go click the 'proceed to file' button, bottom right side of the page.
Here you can select 'next flight'
Add your new destination
Select altitude and routes will populate for your selection. 
Select route and follow the file steps previously used to create the first flight.
Please take the time to watch the Foreflight video, then experiment with your iPad and get familiar with the new features.  There is no better time to learn the buttonology than sitting in your favorite chair, flying along safely, on the ground.


Graphical Route Advisor, Performance-based Step Climb, Flight Notifications

Also in this release: faster basemap, improved terrain, scheduled flight search, weather layer time slider, and more Published on Sep 5, 2017

You can now preview all route options visually on an interactive map with Route Advisor. Simply tap through the list to highlight each route on the map, then tap “Select Route” to add it to your flight plan. An interactive Route Preview map in the Flights view provides a quick visual reference of your route, showing the departure and destination airports overlaid on a simple base map.

There are also enhancements to the flight planning workflow in the Flights view: the Add Next Flight button makes it faster and easier to plan multi-leg flights by carrying forward departure, aircraft details, payload, fuel policy, and more. You can also export your flight plan in the official ICAO format and print, email, share via AirDrop, or save a copy in ForeFlight Documents.