Saturday, February 24, 2018

No-Go Oak Island

Mother Nature 1, 08Romeo and company 0

Here I sit watching the weather just settle in and limit the ceiling and visibility. The forecast called for overcast 100 feet and visibility .5 mile from 4am to 4pm today.  When I got up I had hoped that the weather Gods intervened and I would have a chance to get out IFR, it didn't happen. The ceilings did get better, tongue in cheek, they are now 300' overcast and visibility .2 miles but lasting through 8pm.
I cancelled my flight for the Beech Aero Club fly-in but two of the other five planes were still going to try from their respective locations, Jeff in Greer, SC and Don in Aiken SC.  Don scrubbed at 9:20 but Jeff had already launched at 9:04. I know he didn't want to be the only plane flying in so I texted him and tried calling. No luck, he was flying along at 7000' and 158 knots.
I sat and thought for a bit, how the heck can I get word to him. I got an idea, I'll look up the local airports he is flying over to pinpoint what approach control he is talking to and call them. Jeff was just passing over Woodward, KCDN.
What's the fastest way to get their number?  I called the airport manager and asked if he had a number for Shaw approach, he did, and I gave him my bizarre reason for needing it. The manager asked if I was ready to copy, and I was.  I thanked him and immediately dialed up Shaw approach. The person I spoke to was very nice, I explained my strange request to contact an aircraft I thought was in their airspace and gave him the reason. I honestly told him the fly-in group cancelled and I was trying to save him an additional hour and twenty minutes of flight time. He said no problem and I gave him the name and tail number.

So that's my 'you just can't make this stuff up' moment for today. I didn't get to fly but I did talk to approach. I continued to track Jeff and he obviously decided to continue on for Oak Island, KSUT. I cant wait to get the call when he lands.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

IMC, Taxes and Lunch

Yes, it's that time of year when we gather our tax info and hopefully get things completed on time AND get a refund. I'm such a kidder...refund, yeah right.  I am excited to fly today since Ocean City is LIFR when I got up to take care of the zoo. By the time I'm packed up, dressed and out the door OXB is border line IFR getting ready to go MVFR by the time I'm ready to launch.
I watched Ocean City and Wilmington go from 300 overcast to 1100 overcast (MVFR) .  Oh well, there is still a layer to climb through and that will be fun. I didn't even check my typical Skew T routine, instead I knew it was plenty warm and I was really hoping for some IMC time.
I took on some fuel to bring 08Romeo up to fifty gallons and with my preflight completed, tugged the plane out into the sun. That sun felt great but it was quickly burning away my fun, it was time to get in the air. I did my run up at the hold short and after picking up my clearance, launched for ILG.

R ENO V29 DQO Direct ILG
A 2000 - expect 4000
F 127.95
T 6552

On release I was directed to fly a 270 heading, climb and maintain three thousand.  Potomac has to have you climb to identify you before they turn you on course. Once in the air Potomac had me climb to five thousand, my new cruise altitude.
I was handed off to Dover approach and road along with two traffic call outs; a C130 passing one thousand feet below off my left side, then a Cirrus one thousand feet high passing off the left side. There was not much else happening except for me enjoying the ride on top of the marshmallow clouds.
Dover handed me off to Philly approach and they stepped me down to three thousand then two thousand with a vector or two that had me cross the top of the bay and skirt the Jersey shore line. I was disappointed that I could not get an approach in but with the ride em cowboy winds I was happy to take the visual approach and land on runway two-seven.  I did make the first turn off and the Pilatus behind me was able to continue inbound for his landing without a delay.
I missed my friend Tyler at FlyAdvanced, I hear he is moving on to the Navy...Tyler is that true? I'll miss your great service and friendly reception each time Mary and I used the FBO. FlyAdvanced did not disappoint, I was marshaled in and wheels chocked without delay, and that ramp was full of jets today.
I took on ten gallons of fuel and asked about the crew car, a huge white Ford Expedition. It was like driving a refrigerator, a large one. Of course the last knucklehead to use it left it empty so my first stop was for fuel, $25 brought me to half tank and I was once again on the road north.

I saw some new construction, a bridge along I95, maybe a new train bridge or maybe a foot bridge. I think a foot bridge in place of the former train bridge. The traffic was crazy and I was quickly reminded how much I DON'T miss driving here. I made it to my brothers office and handed over all of our tax documents, I'm glad that's done. 

We decided on lunch at the Charcoal Pit, one of my favorites.
The Charcoal Pit Tradition dates back to September 1956 when it first opened its doors. The “Pit” - referred to by loyal customers, became such an instant success that only after three months from the grand opening, it was decided to build more room for its long line of hungry customers. The “Pit” went from a small four table and a counter burger joint to a 115 customer-seating establishment. 
Our award-winning burgers have been a tradition in Delaware ever since. The recipe is secret and has kept Delawareans craving the “Pit” for generations. Those who first patronized the “Pit”, are today bringing their children and grandchildren to enjoy the same tasty experience.
Our famous Ice Cream Creations celebrates our local high school teams and make delicious memories. It is worth a trip to the “Pit”
After an excellent lunch I ran Joe back over to his office with a to-go order for my sister in law, Janice.
I headed back to the airport so I didn't tie up the crew car too long. I was out just under two hours. I paid for my fuel and headed out to the plane. When I opened the doors the heat wave poured out, as stuffy as it was it still felt good, better than the cold temps we've had.
R RV (Radar Vectors) V29 ENO Direct
A 2000/4000
F 119.75
T 2674
I settled in and got my camera battery changed and unit set up, along with my iPad mini 3 and Cannon camera. I did a quick weather check, all VFR,and quickly got the fan turning. I picked up my clearance home  with Wilmington ground then taxied out.
C&D canal west view

Canal east view at the Delaware River
With my run up complete I was holding for my release, it didn't take very long. I was soon rolling down runway two-seven and climbing out on runway heading. I was handed off to Philly and they immediately identified me and gave me a climb to six thousand. It was bumpy down low but very smooth at cruise. Philly handed me off to Dover and we road along with no traffic call outs. I did get asked how the ride was, I responded, smooth as silk.
not much better heading south
I stayed on with Dover even though I could have cancelled early. Once I was south of Delaware Coastal (KGED) and didn't see any traffic I cancelled my IFR. I did keep my squawk since I was going to monitor Dover for a bit longer, and approach asked me to let them know when I wanted to switch to advisories. That was a bit different but extra eyes is always a good thing. Ocean City was quiet and I made my position calls as usual, ten and five out. A Coast Guard helicopter made a position report and I joked that I hope his ride was better then my wild horse ride inland at two thousand five hundred.  The pilot said they were dealing with the same ride then moved out along the coast.

I continued in and greased my landing. I taxied for the hangar, happy with today's flight performance. I was really hoping for IMC time but there will be many more days for that fun. Next up Oak Island, NC.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Farmingdale NY - KFRG

I have mentioned one of my hangar neighbors in previous posts, Chet K.  Chet has helped me reposition  08Romeo for annual with a ride home from 58M, picking me up on his way from New York. Chet was also my ride to Wilmington (KILG) to pick up my plane from Red Eagle after the IFR cert and audio panel update. Needless to say, he's been a really good friend, hangar neighbor and safety pilot when needed.  It's a welcome change to my flying at Ocean City, someone that actually LIKES TO FLY.
We made plans to retrieve his Cherokee 180 that had some work done at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. With my work taking up weekdays and the poor weather on the weekends we had to move the flight to today.  I guess if we left early yesterday we could have taken advantage of the sunshine but the rains and winds were coming, so we waited.
 I had 08Romeo detailed by CAVU Aircraft detailing on Friday and Ivan did an excellent job, as usual. Since Saturday was a wait and see I texted the switchbox and turned on the pre-heats for the plane and had the fuel brought to fifty gallons on board. Shortly after taking on fuel and cleaning up the hangar the rains came, good call on waiting until today. 
Chet and I swapped text messages and agreed to meet up at 8am at my hangar. I headed over early making at stop at McD's for some fruit and nut oatmeal for my breakfast. I rolled into the airport and got started on my pre-flight, everything checked out. I did sump more water from my right tank, very little but it took two sumps to come clean. I'm not sure where the water is coming from, maybe condensation. I shut off the pre-heats and tugged the plane out into the sun, we were ready to fly. Since I was early I had a chance to set up my Garmin video camera, electing not to use my Cannon for this flight.

Chet walked up to the hangar, not sure why he doesn't drive in but to each their own. I confirmed our fuel and that the preflight was complete, he was satisfied. We got the fan turning and soon taxied out for runway three-two. I filed IFR today just to get some work in the system and I thought it would be easier to deal with JFK during transit. Once my run-up was complete I contacted Potomac Clearance Delivery and requested my IFR clearance to Republic.

R AF(as filed)
A 3000/expect 7000
F 127.2
T 3605

I wasn't sure I had the frequency correct or the squawk code so after reading back and confirming we were ready to go. One quick change for departure, we were given direct Waterloo (ATR), climb and maintain 5000 which was odd since that was my first fix on the approved as filed route.

Once at cruise it was a smooth flight, headwinds were ranging from 10-18 knots which translates into a longer flight but we had fun. Potomac handed us off to Dover and they in turn handed us off to Atlantic City. It was short ride along with AC and they handed me off to McGuire who dropped me down to five thousand as we approached Sandy Hook. I was handed off to the first of three NY approach sectors and once again dropped to three thousand. I wasn't happy about crossing the water to Breezy Point at the Lower Bay Atlantic ocean mix.
As we crossed Breezy Point, approach turned us to follow the shore line of East Atlantic Beach then cross for Republic. To our right we passed Jones Beach State Park, Oyster Bay, crossed over both Meadowbrook Parkway, and the Wantagh Parkway all while shadowing the Southern State Parkway on an extended left base for runway three-two.
Did I mention how rough the ride was? There was low level wind shear advisories in the ATIS report to go along with gusty winds.  I made a nice landing and taxied for the Echo Ramp where I could not believe how many planes were tied down.
This had to be the most planes I have ever seen on a ramp and there was a constant buzz of planes taking off and landing the whole time I was there.
Chet cleaned the snow off his Cherokee and we each took on fuel for the ride home, hoping the winds would be in our favor. We didn't waste much time, it was cold and windy and my gloves were sitting in my truck warm and toasty, I wish my hands were warm and toasty. With my fuel replenished, I sumped, then climbed aboard to get out the wind and get 08Romeo started. I did take two fuel samples to clear a bit more water from my right tank. 
Chet taxied by and gave a thumbs up and I returned with a thumbs up, we were ready to head home. I heard his call to ground for taxi instructions then I called to pick up my clearance.

Farmingdale five departure, As filed
A  3000/6000
F  125.7
T  xxxx
I had reviewed arrivals and departure procedures last night and when I got up this morning just in case. The Farmingdale five was easy peasy, for runway three-two. An initial climb to 400' then a climbing right turn to 010° maintain 3000 feet thence...vectors to assigned route/fix expect clearance to assigned altitude. Once checked in with approach and identified I was turned on course direct Kennedy, 6000 feet.
Chet at -14 and climbing
I heard Chet check in with approach and he was given 6,500 VFR along the coast through the Bravo airspace. I tracked his location the entire trip south on ADS-B. Once in cruise the ride was smooth and I was handed off to each approach in reverse order of the trip north.
I keep my knee pad notes so I could dial in the frequencies ahead of the hand off. Once McGuire handed me off to Atlantic City I road along for a short time then canceled IFR, diverting to Cape May with flight following.  We were going to make a lunch stop and hopefully Charles from Brandywine Airport was going to meet us.
Chet off the coast +5
I was just inland and Chet was shadowing the coast as we each made our way to the airport. I heard Charles check in and then saw his plane pop up on ADS-B.  What great timing, Charles landed then I followed and Chet right behind me. The winds were really gusting and it made for interesting landings. We quickly found seating at the Flight Deck Diner and ordered. It was nice to relax a bit and enjoy good company. Flying, real estate and home building were the topics of discussion while we enjoyed brunch.
Charles 07Tango, Chet +12
We decided we should all get going and headed out to the ramp. We all said our goodbyes and saddled up for home. I was first to roll out and taxied to runway two-eight for departure. Chet and Charles were right behind me as we all bugged out.

I pointed 08Romeo for the Cape May lighthouse to circle and climb for the Delaware Bay crossing. Chet went feet wet at 2,500 and climbing, Charles pointed north for home. We chatted on 123.45 briefly and then switch to the appropriate ATC to monitor. I followed Chet across the Bay and then down the coastline for Ocean City. I had a plane in tow, a Piper Dakota about six miles behind and closing. I made my call at ten miles out, the Dakota pilot also. I caught a glimpse of Chet up ahead crossing the RT.90 bridge at the five mile out mark, the sun lit up his plane over the water.
Conga line for OXB
The Dakota and I traded position reports and within five miles of OXB he passed on my right side. I fell in behind him for entering the left down wind for runway three-two. Chet was number one for the field and I watched him land as the Dakota was turning final. I waited until the Dakota passed my left wing then I turned base to follow, number three for the field.

Marine Parkway Brg and Floyd Bennett Field
It was a fun day flying and always good to have a mission. I enjoyed flight time with Chet and catching up with Charles. I knocked out another new to me airport, shed some rust off the radio skills in busy airspace and logged 4.3 hours.  Life is good! 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Video Equipment and Upgrades

I thought I would post about the equipment I am using for my videos. Some of my oldest flight videos were taken with a camcorder, ancient, I know.  As I posted previously, Mary got me the Garmin VIRB XE for Christmas 2016, it's the primary video recorder that I currently use while flying.
 For Christmas 2017, Santa brought us a Cannon SX720HS 40x zoom. I still forget to bring it with us since I am so conditioned to use my iPhone camera. Well, during 08Romeos spa day I decided to get settled in the cockpit and work with the RAM mounts I have collected over the years and figure out a way to utilize the Cannon. 
I played around with a few positions and what I could capture. I found the passenger window to be the best mounting location to shoot the instruments, and still be able to realign to shoot some of yours truly doing that pilot stuff.

I'm also working on showing the approach plates and maps with an aircraft in motion vs just adding still shots, I think it will provide a better understanding for non-pilots and those who fly will enjoy the added feature.

I gave some thought to adding some background music but I really don't like watching flying videos with music blasting instead of ATC. I did enjoy some low volume background music with sections of video that had the speed increased to plow through long, nothing interesting to see, periods of flight. I guess it all depends and the viewers will let me know what they like or don't like.
Activeon CX Action Camera 1080p
I'm also looking into a camera to be mounted on the tie-down tail position, or strapped to a landing gear for some different views. Some of the cheap cameras should work fine and if it decides to exit the plane connection it won't be a big loss. I'm thinking about the Activeon CX Action Camera 1080p

I hope to get in the air today or tomorrow and get some video with both cameras and learn more about editing.

Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 Flight Plans

With spring just around the corner Mary and I have given some thought to our flying plans.  I gave a two week notice to the consulting company I've been working for with regard to my job in Lewes Delaware. However, they may have something in the Ocean City Maryland area, we shall see. So with the potential for free time we discussed a few destinations.
First up we have the BAC fly-in to Oak Island, North Carolina.  This hop will be late February for a day trip with the possibility of an overnight, we'll make that call as the date gets closer.
Next up we have the Kansas Bonfire event at our friends Ted and Laurie.  We last attended this event in  April 2016, we had a blast. It was a fun time catching up with so many flying friends and getting to spend time with Ted and Laurie's three children. With my foot surgery last January we could not make the 2017 event, I wasn't cleared to fly until May. We don't want to miss two in a row.

This may be a long day of flying (970 miles)if we don't have tail winds and I'm thinking west bound will be all headwinds. We may make an overnight stop, Memphis or St. Louis, arriving early Saturday for the festivities. Following the bonfire event we'll push farther south on Sunday to visit our friend Sandra in Plano, Texas and also Candy and Mark from the Beech Aero Club.
Once we get to visit with our friends we'll make our way the short distance to Waco, Texas to finally visit the Magnolia Market of HGTV fame with Chip and Joanna Gaines. I'm not sure where we will stop coming home but we'll eventually work our way back home and to our zoo.
Sometime in the summer we would finally like to visit Mackinac Island and catch up with our friends Jeff and Lori and their family, near Grand Rapids Michigan.
Summer will be BAC events and trips to see family along with a beach run south tossed in there. Fall weather will signal a push to check out the gulf coast of Florida, Sanibel Island and hopefully back to Key West in 08Romeo.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Ocean County, KMJX

I planned to fly at some point this weekend, and had an extra day, Friday, since work was shut down. With rain showers and strong winds, Friday was a no-go. The one positive, the preheats were on and zero eight romeo is toasty warm. I also posted on Facebook Friday late afternoon if anyone was up for some fly time on Saturday, maybe a lunch run.

I traded text messages with Bob C who was working Saturday in Toms River, NJ.  He and  I decided to meet up and we worked out a good time for each of us. I arrived at Ocean City airport needing to replenish zero eight romeo's fuel supply.  The total take for this morning, thirty gallons.
With the oil and cylinders sufficiently toasted, I climbed aboard and quickly got the fan turning. I noted the weather and NOTAM's one last time and announced my departure on runway three-two. The air was cold, ten degrees, and the Sundowner wasn't making much heat on departure. Once leaned in cruise the heat felt better but I kept my fleece pullover on, along with a scarf and Maui Aviation ball cap. As I approached the Delaware Bay I decided my gloves would serve me better on my hands then keeping the copilot seat warm.
I contacted Atlantic City Approach and checked in at seven thousand five hundred level, and distance from the waterloo (ATR) VOR. Just like that I had  an extra set of eyes watching over me and I always enjoy listening to people's radio work.
Atlantic city eventually handed me off to McGuire approach for the final few miles of flight through the restricted military ops area. Once clear I let down from five thousand five hundred for the pattern altitude at MJX.  I was still high as I approached the left down wind entry so I circled out to the east and re-entered on a forty-five degree for runway two-four. I turned final and still had to lose altitude, I slipped my way to short final and made a nice landing.
Bob was waiting at the Ocean Aire FBO. The folks at Ocean Aire were really nice to deal with and gave us a recommendation for one of the local diners.
Bob drove us over to the Sand Castle Diner located in Beechwood, NJ. The place was clean, the service excellent and probably one of the best burgers ever. I had a cheeseburger with raw onion and a side of fries.

Bob had the Jersey burger, it included cheese, pork roll and was topped with an egg. We sat and chatted for a bit, needing to digest a most excellent lunch.

It's always fun to catch up with Bob and today was no different. It's good to talk some shop with someone that understands our business and of course flying. We headed back to the airport and along the way witnessed a most bizzare incident, ok, strange act by the guy in the car alongside of us.  We were sitting at a traffic light and the guy next to us opens his door to get out. I'm wondering what in the heck is he doing, and he is in a TSA uniform with his jacket covered in official patch and badge. The man kneels down as if looking under his seat and then grabs something and climbs back in the car. I'm watching his hands and he picked up a ring ding cupcake still attached to the white cardboard base from the wrapper.
Obviously he had already consumed one and did not want to miss out on the remaining delight of the pair. Sure enough he brings it up to his mouth and blows on it then stuffs it in his pie hole, he goes one step farther and scrapes the chocolate off the cardboard with his teeth. You just cant make this stuff up, and I had a witness. Your TSA, not only ruining your day at the airport but making me want to lose my lunch. As a side note, the car was a mess, I'll leave it at that.
Finally back at the airport, Bob and I chat with the line guy then head out to the plane. I do a quick fuel check, pull the chocks while Bob pulled the nose plugs. It was time to head home so I climbed aboard and got things squared away. I changed the battery on the VIRB, then proceeded to start zero eight romeo. I picked up the weather, changed up the flight path on Foreflight for the ride home and then taxied out. With my run up complete and engine temps good it was my turn for departure.
I climbed out behind a Cessna and made my turn east to overfly the coast. I thought it would fun to see 'Old Barney' from the air after viewing the lighthouse up close during our family visit to Long Beach Island last August.
I continued down the coast line working my way to six thousand five hundred for the bay crossing. I passed between Atlantic City and the Atlantic City Airport and got a good look at the closed Bader Field, unfortunately, I never had the chance to land there.
Atlantic City
Bader Field
I was fighting headwinds on this leg, fourteen to eighteen knots, which extended this legs flight time. My one hour and four minute flight to MJX turned into one hour and eighteen minutes home. The pattern at Ocean City was quiet and I made my way in reporting at the typical ten and five miles out. A straight in was the approach of choice for runway two-zero and I set zero eight romeo down with a nice landing.
It was fun to catch up with Bob for lunch and knock out a new to me airport. I have a scheduled fly in to Oak Island, NC with the Beech Aero Club on February 24th, that should be fun and provide some good video.