Saturday, March 10, 2018

St. Marys, 2W6 and Patuxent NAS Museum

A fly-in to St. Mary's, 2W6, was posted on the Beech Aero Club forum by Alan W, former mid-Atlantic region director and now in charge of the awesome newsletter for the club. Alan planned for a visit to the Patuxent Naval Air Museum followed by lunch at the Mission BBQ. The long range forecast was looking good so I signed up to attend the event.


The pre-heats for 08Romeo were on for a possible flight but Mary was up and wanting to get some grocery shopping done. So it was a no fly day and instead I drove to the market since my bride didn't feel safe enough to get behind the wheel. Once home and groceries put away I did make it to the hangar to top off my fuel load for the fly-in.  Ziva girl enjoyed running around and it was nice to catch up with hangar neighbor Ken who flies the local helicopter tours. I did manage to fiddle with the new camera and explore some potential set up locations for best viewing.


I was up early to check weather and NOTAMS after taking care of the zoo. My electronics were already charged, packed up, and waiting on the counter by the door to the garage. As a precaution I filled up a container with some ice and a frost Gatorade to wet my whistle on the west bound hop.
Temperature at the airport, as I rolled through the gate, was 35°. Brrr...chilly! I did my preflight in the hangar and shut the pre-heats off as the last step prior to exposing 08Romeo to the bright sun and cold temps. We were both ready to go. I taxied out to runway three-two and picked up my clearance with Potomac. It was more of a fifty questions game than a simple request and read back, but it all worked out.

Patuxent NAS
I launched, and once into controlled airspace turned to a 240° heading as instructed. Patuxent had given me direct since all restricted areas were cold, it saved some flight time and fuel.
I was handed off to another sector as I approached the Naval Air Station and continued the last few miles to St. Mary's. There was one aircraft in the downwind as I approached runway two-nine on short final. It wasn't a bad landing although a bit firm, I can do better.

The Parking Fiasco

Initially I parked at the Captain Walter Francis Duke terminal that looked like it was closed. I then noticed Alan at the gate from my view standing on the wing, motioning to another ramp.  Hmmm, I climbed back in and taxied up to the Piedmont Flight Center hangar/ramp near the self serve fuel island. Ok, I shut down again where I was directed and once again climbed out. I was then asked to move to another location so I climbed back in again and got the fan turning on 08Romeo. This round I start to taxi and I am directed to make a circle and once again park where I had just shut down and restarted from...think cheap carnival toy with those eyes that roll around and around. Yep, that's about what I feel like.

This is the last stop as I secure 08Romeo and install her cowl plugs to try and hold some warmth while I'm away. Of course as I walk in the door I ask if they are sure this is where they want me, in a sarcastic tone while rolling my eyes. My comment is received with a laugh and I was told I'm good where I'm at.  Alan and I await Johns arrival and he parks right next to 08Romeo on the ramp.

We're off to Patuxent Naval Air Station Museum! It's a short ride and Alan provides our transportation. The Museum, as we later find out, is a new building that was added to the facility and it borders the Naval Air Station property. I'm posting my pictures to provide a glimpse of what's there for your viewing.

The 'new' Museum and Gift Shop



The Outside Tour

Grumman A6 Intruders



 The Hangar Collection

The guide we spoke to said the museum is going to have a V22 Osprey and a C130 Cockpit added to the hangar collection. I was amazed at the drone technology, from the 50's T Hawk to the modern day Pegasus that has landed an taken off from a carrier and performed in flight refueling. If we can think it, we can make it happen.

We finished up our tour and headed over to Mission BBQ, which is on the way back to the airport.

I had the brisket with cheesy potatoes and baked beans...AWESOME! Alan had brisket that was a pulled type of consistency, John had turkey and brisket. Excellent service and exactly at noon they played the national anthem. It was refreshing to see everyone stand, hats removed, hand over hearts and viewing the flag, it gave me goose bumps.
We all decided it was time to head back to the airport, despite enjoying great conversation about flying, the club and the food. We posed for the club picture with the mid-Atlantic banner then said our goodbyes.
We each pre-flighted and climbed aboard. John needed fuel so he taxied across the ramp to the self serve while I taxied out for my run up. I made my call to Patuxent and they gave me another number to call for the clearance. A king air landed so I was number one ready to go but with no clearance as of yet. I coordinated with an aircraft that taxied up behind me, letting him pass for departure while I played the waiting game on the phone. The new audio panel worked great with Bluetooth connection with my iPhone. Finally I was given my void times and taxied out after announcing on CTAF. By this time John had taxied up behind me in his Sundowner.
I departed runway two-nine and climbed out to depart on the down wind leg. I heard a Comanche headed for the down wind and had him on ADS-B, but no visual yet. When I did see him he was off my right wing in a wide pattern entry. I communicated that had visual and that I would continue my climb and depart on the downwind. It worked out but somewhere between takeoff and turning cross wind and spotting the traffic I could have done a better job, maybe extending my upwind.
I switched over to Patuxent approach and road along for the eastbound flight home. Unfortunately I did not turn on the video and missed my clearance take off. I would have really loved to hear all our radio calls to help improve my departure and prevent the two of us so close in the pattern.
The ride was smooth and ATC seemed a bit busier than this morning. I had one call out for traffic which passed by just two miles off the left wing that I never did see. Thankfully, I watched the target pass by on ADS-B.
I eventually cancelled with Patuxent and let down for Ocean City. There was one plane that had just went missed so I was keeping an eye out for him as I positioned for a 45° entry to the left down wind runway three-two. The aircraft that went missed was now clearing the runway as I was entering the downwind and setting up for my landing. I flowed through my typical flap settings and GUMPS check abeam the numbers. Of course around the airport one is always 'head on a swivel'. Unfortunately, radio calls are not assured and ADS-B down low is no help. I say this because I caught a Cessna low on final not talking on the radio, I saw him as he passed over the shoreline. I announced turning base number two for landing, just in case he was listening and not talking.
I settled in and really had to slow down so the Cessna could clear the runway. On short final the winds gave me a toss when crossing Assateague Island and Sinepuxent Bay and the trees didn't help block as they usually do. I made my way over the numbers and kerplunked the mains on the runway, I wasn't happy.  I immediately went full power and climbed out for another go, better safe than sorry. The next loop was a bit better and I made an ok landing. Now I know why the first plane went around.
A fun day flying and another new to me airport added to the list. Now to work on the camera angles, I wasn't happy with any of the footage I recorded with the Activeon Gold. The video experiment will continue as I look to also upgrade my editing software.

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