I headed to the airport early so I could watch the planned launch of the Antares Rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility. Airport temps were 28 degrees, BRRrrr.
Wallops is 27 miles from the airport and I would have had a perfect view of the launch for the Space Station resupply mission. The actual launch pad is about 37 miles from OXB. Unfortunately some dip stick pilot wandered into the restricted area, six miles off shore at 500 feet.
In a post-abort briefing at the Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center this morning, Orbital ATK officials said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that a small personal aircraft entered the restricted airspace while flying about 6 miles (10 kilometers) offshore at an altitude of approximately 500 feet (150 meters).
It is not yet clear how the aircraft managed to escape detection until the last minute before launch, Orbital ATK officials said. The FAA issues notices to aviators about airspace restrictions well in advance before rocket launches. At this time, Orbital ATK does not know who was piloting the aircraft in question, but the FAA is investigating the incident.
Disappointed in the launch scrub, I still needed to get in the air. It was time to relocate 08Romeo to Claremont-58M for her annual. The pre-heats were on since last night after dinner and the oil temps were at the top of the yellow band. I made departure call and launched off runway three-two into the frigid air.
Temps at three-thousand feet were holding around 20 degrees. My Garmin 530 would not even come online, the screen went all wonky and looked like some old tube TV with the vertical and horizontal hold on the fritz.
Without the 530 I had no ADS-B because it paired with the GDL-88. I went back to the old fashioned way of chug and plug on my Garmin 496 and the iPad mini with ForeFlight, each set up for the direct route. I did use the AHRS function on a split screen with the sectional on the other half, it worked perfect.
I made all my calls on the number two comm, the trusty Collins 251. I flipped between picking up weather and radio work, it was fun to work through the issue and just have fun with it. I tried the 530 a few times then just figured I would leave it on and see what happened. I confirmed the breaker location just in case I needed to pull the power. About half way to my destination the 530 came back online. ADS-B was good to go and I loaded my flight plan from Foreflight to the panel with a point and click.
I made a nice landing on runway three-one and taxied to Cecil Aero. Once 08Romeo was secure I walked over to the terminal and waited for my new ramp neighbor, Chet, to pick me up in his Cherokee. I was planning on hanging out for an hour or so since Chet was on his way home from New York then would fly up to get me. The cell phone rang and Chet said since he was just driving through Wilmington he would swing by and pick me up and we would drive to Ocean City, that works!
Annual starts Monday and immediately following I will fly 08Romeo to Wilmington (KILG) and Red Eagle Avionics for an IFR cert, software updates for the 530, GDL88 and Flight Stream 210.
Thanks Chet for the ride home!