Monday, April 30, 2018

08Romeo Avionics Update

Today's mission is taking me back north, this time to Wilmington, Delaware (KILG).  I had scheduled the software update for my GDL88, version 3.32 to 3.40 at Red Eagle Avionics. I also picked up the schematic diagram from the PMA7000BT audio panel install that I had left at the shop.

GDL 84/88 System Software Version 3.40 contains the following changes:
  • Fixed GDL 84/88 Application Software v3.34 antenna selection issue that can cause GDL 88D (diversity) units to select the incorrect antenna.
  • Fixed FIS-B processing issues that could result is loss or partial loss of FIS-B data.
  • Updated built-in test monitors to reduce nuisance failures and improved fault logging capabilities.
  • Updated traffic processing library to improve TCAS integration, improve TIS-B track handling, improve traffic source correlation, improve traffic prioritization/selection, and reduce nuisance traffic alerts.
  • Added proprietary traffic, position, air data, and control interfaces for third party OEM customer.
  • Updated ARINC 743A output to include label 141 (UTC Fine).
I faced brutal headwinds on the north bound leg, but the overall ride was pretty smooth. Dover approach asked if I had on board radar, I responded ADS-B weather only and that I was watching the storm cell he was warning me about. What was odd is that he called out the cell to my ten or eleven o'clock. I watched the cell move across Philly and into south Jersey.
FIS-B Weather
XM Weather
moving through south jersey
I flew through some light rain and it was very brief. I reported a three mile left base, as directed, and completed leg one with a nice landing on runway two-seven.

I was happy to catch up with Vince G, my flying partner from the ILG and N47 days. I don't get to see Vince enough and I sure do miss flying with him. He pretty much cut his teeth on flying in the Sundowner so he has an attachment to her too.  Vince is going to meet me in Ocean City and do some touch up on the Matterhorn White along the door edges and cowling, so 08Romeo looks her best for the potential buyers.

Dale and Joanne knocked out the update for the GDL88 and just as fast a 08Romeo was tugged in the shop, Dale was pushing her back out. I saddled up for home, giving some thought to making a stop at 58M and maybe knock out an oil change instead of heading back north tomorrow morning.
I was cleared VFR to 58M, departing runway two-seven. It was a wild ride from wheels up. Honestly, watch the video. About half way to 58M I decided I was heading home and wanting to get back on the ground. I pulled the throttle back to 2300 rpm with an indicated speed of 105-110 and a ground speed of 140-150 kts.

I did check in with Dover for flight following on the way home, as I did on the way north. I ended the day with another good landing and taxied for the hangar, I was beat.

Harrisburg, PA & Wedding Bells

Mary and I were invited to attend my first cousins daughters wedding.  What a mouthful, not a second cousin as some may  think, a first cousin once removed, but commonly called a niece or nephew.

My cousin Dominick has been like a second brother to me. He and I have been very close since kids, spending summers at each other's home and always remaining in contact despite life and family taking us in different directions.

On Friday I fueled 08Romeo for the mission and completed my preflight. I did a quick cleanup and took inventory of items that will go with 08Romeo when sold.


We dropped Ziva at the vet clinic for an overnight stay at 8:30 and then headed for the hangar. We had one small suitcase two garment bags and my flight bag, a light load.

Winds favored runway one-four as we taxied out and completed the run up.  Potomac clearance delivery was up and I made contact to obtain my clearance and release. 08Romeo enjoyed the cool temps and quickly
climbed through pattern altitude as I turned to fly the 270 heading, as directed.  I provided an ident as instructed and was quickly turned direct Smyrna (ENO), we were on our way.
We cruised along at five thousand with Dover approach and followed with multiple handoffs to Philly approach sectors. Philly amended my route adding Harrisburg (HAR) VOR  then direct destination. Really? Overfly the destination then backtrack...eventually Philly turned me direct HAR and handed me off to Harrisburg approach and I was soon vectored for my final destination, capital city.
I had been monitoring Cap City's ATIS since south of Wilmington Delaware, what great coverage.  Reported ceilings were two hundred feet overcast and slowly rising. The ATIS designator was going through the alphabet like a  child reciting the now I know my abc's  ditty.  The last  Harrisburg sector advised to expect vectors for ILS RWY 8, and off we went.  Approach vectors me to the right downwind with two more turns to join the approach. "Maintain three thousand until established, cleared ILS RWY 8, contact tower one one niner point five.
I had the runway in view and continued in, making a nice landing to complete the flight. I had previously arranged for a rental and the lineman brought the car out to the plane. Once 08Romeo was secure and fuel order squared away, we headed for the hotel.

When we booked the room we specifically asked to be able to get in our room early so we could change for the wedding, we were reassured it was "no problem".  There was one big problem, they had no room available and didn't think they would before two.  The wedding was at two...I'm starting to get irritated. The young girl working the desk had no customer service skills, I let her know what was promised and that I really didn't care that someone didn't make a note in the reservation. She pretty much  blew me off, that's when the bride stepped in.  Mary informed her the very least she could do is apologize to the customer for the missed notation, the clerk said yes, I'm sorry.  Thanks for that backhanded empty statement.

We take a seat in the lobby and wait, and wait. A half hour passes and the clerk asked my name and how to spell it.  Mary and I walk up and the desk clerk opens up two rooms, one for us and one for another guest attending the same wedding.  I told her I appreciated the effort to make things right.
We settled in our room and got changed for church. When it was time we found the drive to be a short distance, easy to find, with plenty of parking. The Church of St. Catherines Labour's was beautiful, a surround view of stain glass, just gorgeous.
Following the church ceremony we returned to the hotel  for the reception. There was a huge spread for cocktails, most delicious meats cheeses and fruit.  The reception dinner was delicious, Mary and I had selected the chicken and beef combo.  For starters an antipasto serving followed by a salad.  Then the main course of salmon or the chicken beef combo. A perfectly medium tender fillet with fingerling potatoes, broccoli and chicken breast with a white sauce.

We listened to the music, caught up with family and enjoyed many laughs throughout the evening.  The newlyweds made for a beautiful couple as they danced, mingled with guests, and enjoyed their day. We were happy to be a part of their special day.


Rise and shine its 7:30 and there are no pets to wake us demanding food. We crawled out of bed and readied ourselves for breakfast with all the out of town guests, mostly family.
I had to add this picture of my Cousin, he is a Mel Kiper knock off. As his daughters told the story at breakfast, when they are out to dinner and he leaves a name for the waiting list he uses Kiper, yes, it draws looks and they all get a kick out of it. 

Following breakfast we said our goodbyes and headed back to the airport. I called Skyport FBO so 08Romeo would be ready and waiting on the ramp. The winds had really picked up and the temps were chilly.

Even though 08Romeo was hangared she didn't have her preheats on.  We sat on the ramp at idle until we had temps. I picked up my clearance with Cap City ground and taxied via Foxtrot and Alpha for runway two-six. 
While waiting for release ground advised of reported rime ice at four thousand which got my full attention.  I didn't see that in the forecast and now I would be climbing through that layer.  I thanked ground for the PIREP and advised I would ask departure for seven thousand to climb above the layer. Ground coordinated my change and advised climb and maintain three, expect seven thousand. I switched to the tower and was cleared for take off runway two-six.

Rime ice is rough and opaque, formed by supercooled drops rapidly freezing on impact.
We climbed out on runway heading for three thousand and was handed off to Harrisburg departure.  Departure asked for me to ident and followed with climb and maintain seven, direct DuPont (DQO). As we climbed through the layer I checked for ice, saw none, but felt the sun really cooking us through the clouds. I broke out at six thousand one hundred and provided a PIREP that the cloud layer was dry and a smooth ride.
We road along on top of the fluff layer, it was beautiful. A sea of white marshmallow clouds with a clear blue sky and sunshine, it was quiet and peaceful.

Approach brought me back to reality and stepped us down to six thousand for crossing traffic. We were now skimming the tops and the ride started to get bumpy. Once handed off to the next Philly sector I was given four thousand and descended through a huge hole to get below the fluff. The rest of the ride south was ride em' cowboy.

Dover approach wanted to amend my route but I wanted no parts of the extra distance and bumpy ride.  I canceled but kept my squawk code for flight following and descended to three thousand. I made my position calls and fell in line, number three for the field.

A school plane was in the pattern, the jump plane was joining down wind on a forty-five, and I was entering on the cross wind, it all flowed. Mary spotted the jumpers under canopy circling down for midfield as the school plane turned final. I turned base as the jump plane passed off my left wing on final. The winds were a bit gusty but I made a sweet landing as confirmed by the flight school owner on the radio.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

63 Debonair

I was in the process of uploading the video of yesterdays flight and decided to call my shop to talk Debs with the shop owner. I trust Rogers opinions more than anyone on aircraft. I mentioned how everyone is saying go to a Bonanza specific A&P, they know the landing gear and other items special to the Beech.  I've seen Bonanza's in Rogers shop, all years, so I know he works on them. 

Funny how timing plays out. Roger is just starting an annual on a clients 63 Debonair. The owner is thinking about selling since the aircraft is close to TBO and he doesn't think he'll be flying much longer. I was assured this plane is beautiful inside and out.
So day four has me back in the air and heading north for 58M. I made a nice landing and taxied in, shutting down on the ramp side of the hangar facing the terminal. Once I walked in I saw the 63 Deb, she is beautiful.  A red white and blue paint scheme with a grey and burgundy interior, very nice.

I met the owner and we talked airplanes all afternoon. I helped with the gear swing for his annual and we each crawled inside to get a better look. This plane is very nice and has been well cared for.

What originally was planned as a review of the logs on another plane (65 Deb) that I was very much interested in, turned into a handshake deal on a beautiful 63 Beech Debonair.

Some info...

Garmin 530W
Garmin 430W
Garmin GTX 345
PMA 8000BT
FlightStream 210
Stec 50 Auto pilot
Mary and I are looking forward to the next chapter in our travels by air. When the deal is done, and the new plane is in our hangar, we will post all the pictures.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sundowner SOLD


I have extensive documentation on 08Romeo.  She is a sound flying machine that has been very easy on maintenance. I have all my work done at Cecil Aero (58M) and anyone interested in this aircraft is welcome to call and check up on her service history. My original pre-buy was done by Paul McCracken of Waypoint Aviation when he was based at T31 and at Aeromark.

1980 Beech Sundowner
IFR Certified (11/2017)
O-360-A4K 815 SFREM, Prop 815 , 4476 A-TT (as of 4/23/2018)
2004 Paint White/Red Accents 8/10
2004 Gray leather Interior 8/10
59 Gal fuel capacity (57 useable)
Complete Logs
Black duct has been removed and replaced with Sceet  11/2016

PMA 7000M BT Audio Panel
Garmin GNS 530W WAAS
Collins 251/351 Com/Nav
Garmin GTX 327 transponder
Garmin 496 (Panel mounted cross fed from 530W)
Dual Glideslope
Century 1 Autopilot (wing leveler)
Garmin GDL88 ADS-B
Flight Stream 210

Precise Standby Vacuum
JPI EDM 700 engine Monitor
Audio Input Jack for rear
Reiff Preheat Standard System oil sump and cylinder bands
Quick drain oil plug Cabin Cover
Thermal shield window inserts
Cowl plugs and tail cone cover
LED nav lights and landing light
Rosen visors

Nose wheel and Trailing Link Donuts (2006)*
Main gear jo bolts replaced 11/2009
Teledyne Mattituck oil filter adapter added 6/2010
Trans-Cal 'Nano' Blind encoder 7/2010
Mic/PTT Cables replaced 7/2011
Two (2) Concord RG-25XC Batteries 11/2014
Baggage door seal replaced 11/2012
Landing gear knee pins (3) replaced 11/2012
Alcor bayonet engine probes replaced 11/2012
Engine baffles replaced 11/2012
Cabin door seals replaced 11/2013
Headliner replaced, Top Stitch Aviation 4/2013
New Alternator ALU8521 11/2015
Whelen Strobe power supply (HDACF) 11/2016
Rap 215cc Vac Pump 9/2017

All AD's are compliant

Adlog (2008-present)available for review in (.pdf)along with all log books. 

Compressions: 1-75/80, 2-77/80, 3-78/80, 4-79/80 (11/2017)
Annual due: 11/2018
IFR Cert due: 11/2019
Useful weight:  820lbs

Additional Parts
Collins 251 Com
Collins 351 Nav
Landing light lense
Aileron Bushings
Stabilator rubber trim
Main Gear donuts (two sets)
Batteryminder 24041-AA-S2
Panel with old audio and transponder

Avionics stack

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Exploring the Debonair

For the third day in a row I'm flying. While most pilots would be envious,  I'm actually tired. Friday was a round trip back to Republic (KFRG) then home. Saturday was a round trip to Wilmington for a viewing and memorial service for Mary's cousin. This morning Mary and I flew to Pottstown (KPTW) to meet with Mike M, a North East Regional Bonanza Society Ambassador. 
Mike let us take a look at his beautiful 65 Debonair. I climbed aboard and shuffled over to the left seat with relative ease and Mary followed.  The Deb is roomy, has an excellent view and the seating seems elevated. It reminds me of sitting on a typical chair with your knee bending at a ninety degree angle, the seat height is perfect. Mary was happy to easily see over the glare shield.  The Debs door is very wide and provides easy access and egress. The door closes gently and securely.

Mike and I discussed retracts, flaps, respective motors and services. Magnesium elevators, back up alternators, continental cylinders, avionics and fuel bladders. What an education!  
About the landing gear; it's 52 turns to manually lower the gear. I guess it will take some workout time to make that happen. ;)

We also discussed flight training and courses offered by the Bonanza Society. The discussion moved on to annuals and Beech knowledgeable A&P's with specific Beech training. 
It was a very positive experience and if everything falls into place on the remaining items to do list, we will be making an offer on the Debonair in Mississippi.

I asked Mike if he was available to ferry the plane home if we made the purchase. He said he could and to call him once we know what direction we are headed.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Return to Republic

A mission was quickly hatched following a few text messages being swapped Wednesday evening.  Chet K needed to pick up his Piper Warrior at Farmingdale, NY  (KFRG), he had some maintenance work done. I was on board with the mission. I just needed to refuel 08Romeo since she was holding only around thirty gallons after our return from Texas.

I went to the airport Thursday and brought the total on board to 54 gallons. Flight planning was showing a nine knot headwind and just over one hour and thirty-five minutes flight time. With my pre-flight complete I tucked 08Romeo in with the pre-heats plugged in and both moving blankets covering her cowl, all nice and toasty. Temps for Friday morning were going to dip so I wanted to make sure we were ready to launch at our scheduled go time of 8am. 
Chet walked up to the plane as I was hooking up my video cameras. After reviewing our plan, I got the fan turning and taxied out to runway three-two. With my run up completed I tried to contact Potomac Clearance Delivery, no luck. Since it was Visual Flight Rules (VFR) I launched and picked up with Dover Approach Instead.  There was one change to the initial flight plan, the addition of one more fix north of JFK, the KEEPM intersection. Dover did vector me for faster traffic along Victor 1, I was turned back on course after they passed.
Easy peasy...we road along above the layer of clouds surfing through the tops. Well, at least until McGuire Approach had us descend to five thousand.
We crossed at Sandy Hook Point and unlike the last flight to FRG and turning along to follow the East Atlantic Beach shore, this time we flew to JFK and were given vectors for the visual runway three-two. Check out the flight path.
Traffic waiting to depart JFK
Along the way leaning forward to try and find Republic I somehow pushed on the yoke and descended below my assigned altitude.  I instantly pulled back to get back to the correct altitude but NY Approach was just as quick on the mic to scold me. I took my comeuppance like a big boy and continued on rock solid from there. Winds were gusty while landing but I rolled 08Romeo on and taxied for the Echo Ramp. 
I was quickly greeted by the airport security team. They wanted to know my name, address, tail number, phone number, and how long I was going to be on the ramp.  I responded, long enough to get fuel and head south for home.

I ordered fuel to bring 08Romeo back to forty gallons on board for the flight home. Chet was busy trying to get his plane started, it needed a jump, since his mechanic left the master on. I sat in my plane to keep out of the wind until the fuel truck pulled up. I was ready to go but it took maybe thirty to forty minutes to get Warrior charged for a start. My phone rang and it was Chet, he was ready to roll. Excellent!

I picked up my clearance with Republic ground after I did my run up, in place, on the ramp. I followed my instructions and taxied via Alpha, cross runway one-one nine, hold short runway three-two. I was sitting number three for departure. One plane lands then one departs, it went quickly. Once Chet was given a line up and wait, I contacted the tower for my release. As Chet climbed out another aircraft landed, then I was given the line up and wait.
I soon launched and followed the Farmingdale Five departure. At four hundred feet turn to a 010 heading and climb to three thousand for radar vectors to JFK. I was climbing like a home sick angel, as Bo Boggs used to say, and still got the 'give me your best rate of climb" from approach. Ok, this is a Sundower and 1200 fpm is pretty good, I thought, but didn't comment.
Finally, I was  turned on course to JFK and followed my flight plan as filed, enjoying the scenery. Multiple NY approaches, then back to McGuire and then Atlantic city. As I crossed the Delaware Bay I cancelled IFR with Dover and descended to four thousand five hundred feet. Chet was following the beach I was still inland.

Chet landed first and I fell in line behind a school plane just ahead of me. Another good landing to end todays mission, it was fun.  I fueled up for tomorrows flight to Wilmington and then met Chet for a late lunch at the Green Turtle.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Long Trip = Need for Faster Plane

I can't believe I am visiting this topic again. That's ridiculous, what was I thinking, of course we're revisiting this topic again.  Every time we take a long trip my bride constantly reminds me we need more speed if we intend to travel like we plan. I know she's right but I'm attached to our Sundowner and her easy keeping ways.

We plan to travel and explore the southwest and eventually work our way up the west coast. This will require speed and increased altitude capability.

I've emailed an owner on his Debonair, looking for more info and I just joined the American Bonanza Society.  Baby steps, but very scary ones for me.

More updates to follow...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Waco, Texas

The Prep

It's been a long week watching the ever changing weather sweep across the nation delivering rain, snow and brutal temps, and in multiple waves.  Mary and I decided to cancel the Kansas portion of the trip, at least on the outbound segment of our journey.  The alternate plan is to possibly head north, after Waco, and drop in for an overnight visit with our friends. This is still very tentative.

The planning of a long trip takes on many tangents; airplane dispatch status, accommodations, ground transportation, flight planning and alternate stops, along with places to fuel and grab a bite to eat. I have went through many post-it notes, multiple legal pad sheets and added many new routes of flight to my Foreflight saved flight plans.
The initial plans
My flight planning takes on two major routes; West and East of the Appalachians.  Since the Appalachians will be a force driving the weather or holding it in check, I wanted to have a plan in place for each scenario.

This multiple routing runs the full planning process as mentioned above. At times it's an exhaustive exercise, knowing it can change on a moments notice.

I hope our readers enjoy the ride along through our blog and videos.

Time to Fly 4.5.18

Ziva was boarded last night, and we have our friend Amy stopping in to care for our two  cats, Jake and George. With the zoo squared away we headed to the airport for an early departure. I took on fuel, a top off, on Wednesday evening and did a very detailed preflight.
This morning I sumped the tanks and loaded up the baggage, we are a go for launch.

Leg 1 KOXB to KLBT

We get this trip started and try to pick up our clearance with Potomac C&D. No joy, instead we launch and contact Patuxent approach to pick up in the air.

Our first flight of the day was smooth and it allowed for my adrenalin rush to mellow as we cruised along.

I was handed off to multiple Nofolk approaches, Washington center and finally Fayetteville approach.
With a nice landing made we taxied in for fuel at the terminal. This was a gas and go, no time to waste, we had a long way to go.

I sumped fuel and following a quick walk around, then saddled up for West Georgia. We taxied out, I completed my run up and launched. Once in the air I picked up my clearance with the same Fayetteville controller I had canceled with on the way in, just as he had advised.

Another smooth flight with three amended routes after each of the next three hand offs. Apparently approach was trying to keep me north of Atlanta airspace.
I had the weather and a visual on West Georgia airport, so I cancelled and switched to CTAF. I made my position calls and finished this leg with a nice landing. 

The man working the desk and ramp (same guy) provided quick and friendly services. We took on 35 gallons of fuel, a Dr. Pepper, water and a bag of M&M peanut candy. Saddle up!


This was the longest leg that I had planned for today. Headwinds would add to the flight time with 3.5 hours showing as the revised time total.

Headwinds be dammed, we were gaining an hour switching time zones so off we went. 
This was another fun flight until the final hour and some. I was now watching rain and potential convective activity north of our route and also creeping up from the south.
I continued on course, strapping 08Romeo for every knot of speed she could give. Typically I run at 2500 rpm, this west bound leg was no less than 2650 and an occasional flirt with red line.

A check of the time was showing 4:15, maybe we should gas and go for the last 270 miles. We could be in before dark and not have to worry about weather another day.  
My hip replacement and recently repaired foot had other ideas. Both previous surgical adventures were sending a clear message, it was time to give 08Romeo and my body a rest. Message received. 

Mary secured a rental car while I scored a hangar for 08Romeo. We had dinner at Applebee's then walked across the parking lot to the Marriott. We checked in and just as fast as we settled in, we passed out.
LEG 4 Continuing On 4.6.18

Friday morning

Somehow I did manage to watch weather before passing out last night. This morning I reviewed Skew T's, prog charts, and TAF reports for airports along my planned flight path. Everything was pointing to a go for launch, so I made the call.

We had a bad (free) breakfast at the Marriott and then headed for the airport. 08Romeo was topped off with fuel and tugged out to the ramp. I did my preflight and added one quart of oil before declaring 08Romeo fit to fly.
Ground control was easy to work with as we traded info and I picked up my clearance. It was a short taxi to runway one-four and following my run up we were ready to go.

Mary and I departed runway one-four, runway heading and switched over to depature when requested. Instead of radar vectors to join V16 I was identified and immediately given six thousand, direct YAKUC.
Once I could repeat the fix we were soon turning on course and climbing to our assigned altitude, we enjoyed the ride on top.  I enjoyed the occasional romp through the clouds and short bouts of IMC.  However, just past the two hour mark we were in the clag, moderate turbulence and intermittent showers. I provided approach with a PIREP. 
The remainder of this leg was more work than fun. Cloud surfing was pretty sweet until we got tossed around a bit. I know, it comes with the instrument rating. 

I was handed off to Waco approach and was given vectors to an intermediate fix. Maybe that was easier for approach but I had briefed the RNAV GPS 19 and already had my mind set. As a friend and fellow pilot pointed out, the ILS would have a lower decision height, but in fact they are both 704'. The ILS also had a NOTAM for a change in the missed procedure. I advised approach I did not have the fix on the RNAV selections and instead I advised I wanted FEPHY. 
Sometimes you just have to play the PIC card. Approach approved and I was on my way, more relaxed and with a clear picture in my minds eye. I managed an ok landing and taxied for the ramp at Texas Aero.  
It was a roll of the dice, we had no room or car reserved. Our arrival date was scheduled for Saturday. We had our fingers crossed that we Texas Aero could find somewhere for us to stay and find us something to drive.
The FBO hooked us up, we got a room at the Home2 suites by Hilton and Enterprise extended our previous car reservation to cover today.  What's the big deal, you wonder.  The Blue Angels are in town this weekend and all hotels are booked. When we finally checked in the people working the desk were turning people away. Clean living, great timing, who knows, but we have a place to sleep.

Waco, The Adventure Begins

As quickly as we got checked in, we were right back out the door. First, we decided to grab lunch at the Magnolia Table. As the saying goes, we missed it by that much. 
The waiting line was closed just as we walked up to join. However, the 'take away' was still open so we walked right in and each grabbed chicken salad and cold drinks.

Being the real romantics we opted to eat in the SUV with the a/c on. An inside joke between Mary and I. Ok, I'll explain.

The inside joke...Mary and I were out one day, running errands, when living in Wilmington. We made a quick stop for lunch (fast food)opting to eat in the SUV and parked facing the always busy Concord Pike (RT 202). While we sat and had our lunch I made the remark that I only take her to the best places, with the million dollar views.  Her response, you're such a romantic. And there you have the rest of the story.

When we finished up we headed a short distance north to check out the silo and bakery locations along with potential parking. Both venues had long lines so we didn't even consider stopping.
We got turned around and headed for Harp Designs. The store is located next door to the house they had renovated on the Fixer Upper tv show and the woodworking shop is behind the store, in the garage building.
Of course we made a purchase, candlesticks, that we each liked the moment saw them on the show. 
It was getting late into the afternoon but we looked up the location for JDH Iron Designs and calculated the drive time. Jimmy Dons closed at 5:00 and I could be there by 4:30. It was seventeen miles on RT 84, we're off. 
Once south of Waco it was a quick pace (posted 70 mph). Main street in  McGregor was just ahead and following the GPS I turned right and followed that out through the town of Crawford to JDH Iron Designs. Mary and I purchased one of the metal signs Jimmy Don created, it's a saying we often repeat. 
It was fun to chat with the man himself. A real gentleman and just as nice as one could imagine, he even signed our purchase. 
I noticed many things in the area named Bush, for our former president, George W.  The Prairie Chapel Ranch is located just a short drive from JDH and the center of Crawford, Texas. More on this later.
On our way back to the hotel we followed the flow of vehicles to a local favorite Mexican restaurant, the El Conquistador. Great service and awesome tacos! Mary and I each had a mixed sampling  of pork and shrimp tacos along with a beef slider. 

It was time to head back to the hotel and call it a day, we were both very tired but had full tummies.

Saturday 4.7.18

Rise and shine!

You say you want breakfast at Magnolia Table?  Then chase the sandman away and get it in gear, it's 5:30.  Yes, time to get dressed and get moving, IF you want a good spot in line.  We were in line at 6:10 and seated at 6:35, not too bad. I had the farmhouse breakfast and Mary had the farm eggs Benedict, both very good.  
We wondered how they moved people so fast, and indeed, there is a method to their madness. There is a server that takes your order and checks back during your meal, ours checked on us at least three times. Next up was the food delivery group and they were followed by the folks who bus the tables. The last group was the reset group, they closely followed the clean up crew and readied the table for the next patrons.
Once our tummies were filled we went back to the town of McGregor to check out the Magnolia house and caretakers home next door. Both properties were featured on the Fixer Upper show. It's as nice in person as it was on the episode. 

Sadly, the old towns are shadows of their former selves, vacant buildings and main streets void of the hussle and bustle of days gone by. This was also true for the town of Crawford. 
Next up was some antique shopping. The first stop was at the Cedar Chest Antique gallery. This place was huge! Mary and I wandered around, up one row and down the next inspecting interesting items in every cubicle. 

We did make a few purchases. Peanut brittle for travel munchies and Mary found a blue cat that was given to her as a gift many years ago. Her original was damaged but after seeing the look on her face when she spotted this find, I knew she had to have it.

I have to say this place was spotless, no dust or stale stuffy odors, a pleasure to walk around. Yes, we made a few additional purchases.

We checked the list and headed for the next shop, the original Magnolia Market (The little shop on Bosque). This shop featured last chance items and slightly damaged stock at a discount. It was a busy place with shoppers and vehicles. This location provides free parking for the shuttle or trolley.

It was getting close to check in time so we headed to the new hotel, Hilton-Waco, overlooking the Brazos River at the famous Waco suspension bridge. 

The temps really dropped today and Mary left her jacket in the plane. So, after check-in we made a quick dash to Waco Regional and Texas Aero to retrieve her coat and change my fuel order. We found 08Romeo hanging out with a few other planes in a hangar AND she was cozied up to a Beech Premier Jet. Good choice, well played girl. 

We finally headed back toward our new digs, and in the process noticed a National park sign, Waco Mammoth National Monument. This will be a stop in the next few days. 

Finally back to the Hilton and in for the night. We ordered dinner in, and room service brought us each an 8oz steak, yukon gold smashed potatoes and green beans. With full tummies, we are once again ready for some sleep time.

Unfortunately we were rudely awakened buy a drunks rendition of a singing cowboy, complete with yee haws at 1:50 am. It was loud enough to wake my bride, who normally could sleep through an explosion. I made multiple calls to the front desk, and at 3pm he either passed out, fell and knocked himself out or finally got the message when the hotel asked him to leave. I secretly hoped it was the second of the three choices.

Now that I am wide awake typing this I hope I can drift off, back to sleep. Git along lil doggies....

Sunday 4.8.18

It was not easy getting up this morning after last nights private concert. However, life moves forward even if you're not really awake. 

We noticed a cleaning cart outside the singing cowboys room, he and his party are gone. Now is the time for the real Yeee Haww!

Mary and I had breakfast here at the Hilton, it was very good and so was the service. We are going to meet up with Sandra (Flights of the Mouse) around 10:30 along with Candy and Mark flying into Waco (KACT) around the same time. 
I tracked marks flight and due to the current weather conditions (800'ovc) he would need to shoot an approach to get in.  Flightaware displayed him flying the ILS 19. 

The timing worked out perfectly. Sandra was walking into the Hilton as I was getting ready to go pick up Candy and Mark. 

Together, Sandra, Mary and I arrived as Mark landed, I managed a few pictures. I also got a good look at their Sierra. 

The group piled in the rental SUV and we headed to Spice Village. Along the way I missed my turn and ended up turning on to a one way, four lane, going the wrong way (there was no traffic). I quickly turned into the parking lot on my right to regroup.
I did get everyone to the shops in one piece...despite my elevated heart rate and embarrassment.

We started off with a quick bite to eat at Cricket's Draft House and Grill. Good food and service. Everyone had a drink, except me, the driver. Honestly, I needed one after my screw up.  

The group then hit the shops! The ladies attacked in force, while Mark and I hung out talking airplanes, IFR procedures and the need for speed. I think Mark is trying to sell me on joining the ranks of Sierra owners. Mary is on board for 135 knots on 10 gallons an hour. 

After the Spice Market we headed to the LaSalle Shoppes. As a group we walked around checking out the sixty vendors under one roof. This place was ok, Spice was better and so was the Cedar Chest.

We decided to make our way back towards the hotel making one more stop at the Texas Ranger Museum.

The group made it in time for the last show on the history of the Rangers. Thirty minutes later we all walked out with a greater knowledge of the Rangers and just how world wide their reputation spans.

We finished walking around the many displays of weapons, badges and various equipment. I was really surprised by the weight of the colt revolver, you had to be pretty much a bada$$ to sling that iron and put rounds down range and on target. 

We finished up our day back at the hotel enjoying hot tea and coffee, catching up, sharing stories, enjoying our friends company.  Sandra had a long drive back towards Dallas and headed north around 7:30. We all hugged and said goodbye, planning to meet at BAC Fest 2018 in September. Sandra promised to text us when she got home.

Mark, Candy, Mary and I sat a bit longer deciding to have dinner. We each enjoyed the company and shared travel adventures along with our pet stories. We finished up and called it a night with Sandra texting that she was home safe.

Thankfully It was a quiet night in our room, no singing cowboy.

Monday 4.9.18

We had agreed to meet for breakfast at 8:30 here at the hotel. The breakfast buffet was good for the second day in a row and we enjoyed the start to our morning.  Bacon, eggs, potatoes, biscuits and gravy were all on the buffet menu. Ok, they had fresh fruit and healthy things too.

Our first stop was the Magnolia Silos. We parked across the street from the Silo Bakery, in the church lot for $10. and after a few pictures headed over to get in line. The line moved quickly and the method to their madness (handing out order cards) kept things moving at a good pace.
While waiting in line I overheard the couple behind us say they were from Delaware. Of course I turned and asked,  where in Delaware, we were from north Wilmington. They were from Dover, and he had a Kraft jacket on. I had to ask if he worked there and he confirmed yes, retired after 25 plus years. I couldn't help myself so I asked if he knew Jeff F (Jeff's Flying) and he did. He asked how I knew Jeff and the conversation went on from there. I walked outside after we completed the cup cake selection and purchase, having to call Jeff. What a small world.

We walked around the main building in hopes of finding a selection of items and info about the show. The building turned out to be a huge gift shop. Ok, a really huge gift shop.

Once out the exit we found ourselves in a large courtyard. The border was lined with food trucks and there was a pavilion with picnic tables. Plenty of room for kids to play and enjoy the outdoors. 
I'm not sure what we expected to find but it wasn't what I had envisioned. The place was clean, the workers friendly and quick to assist in any way.

We got on the highway south toward Crawford and McGregor. Mark and Candy wanted to check out JDH Iron Designs and we enjoyed the ride.  It was perfect timing, Jimmy Don was in the shop and we all chatted for a good bit. Mark and Candy are going to have a sign or art piece done for their home once its decided what works for them.

Meanwhile, Mary is holding a champagne Labrador pup that a customer WAS holding. Beautiful pup, NOT coming home with us. No!
Next stop a visit to a former presidents ranch. Mark and I looked up the address and navigated our way through cattle, sheep and goat ranches. The road is the same you see from the air crisscrossing the land dividing sections into neat parcels.

The "cross country" excursion led us to a narrow drive to the main gate, secured by what looked to be an agent parked on the protected side. This was the end of the line, no tour and no chance meeting. I decided to make a u-turn and head for McGregor. 

Across Route 84 and into McGregor, we showed Mark and Candy the Magnolia Airbnb. The next stop was north to Harp Design for a quick look around. I was hoping to see or meet Clint Harp, but no luck. 

With a short backtrack we all decided on Mexican for lunch. A return to El Conquistador for more good eats and conversation, we literally closed the place, last to leave at 2pm. The restaurant reopens at 5pm.

Mark & Candy checked out this morning and we had loaded their bags so we didn't need to make an extra stop back at the Hilton. We pushed on towards The Waco airport making a last tourist detour at the Waco Mammoth National Monument.

We had an excellent tour guide,Davon, she really knew her stuff and had an awesome delivery.  

This paleontological site represents the nation’s only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths. Visitors can view "in situ" fossils including female mammoths, a bull mammoth, and a camel that lived approximately 67,000 years ago.

After an interesting presentation we decided to make the last short hop to the airport. I helped Mark load their bags and got a last up close look at the Sierra. We said our goodbyes and watched the Sierra taxi out for departure. We are already looking forward to seeing our friends at BACFest 2018 in Louisville, KY.

Mary and I headed back to the Hilton and called it a night. We each enjoyed our Silo Bakery cupcakes and a little tv before Mary passed out. I had taken a quick nap so I was good to go and decided to finish today's blog entry.

Tuesday 4.10.18

Mary and I had breakfast at the hotel and decided we would begin heading home today instead of tomorrow. There was nothing left to see except for the Suspension Bridge.

After breakfast we checked out and headed towards the airport. One quick stop was needed, across from the hotel. I wanted to check out the Waco Suspension Bridge across the Brazos River.
Before 1869, crossing the Brazos River was a time-consuming and sometimes dangerous ordeal. The only way to cross the river was via ferry, and due to the location of Waco on the growing Chisholm Trail local businessmen knew that a bridge was needed to support commerce. For this reason, members of Waco Masonic Lodge #92 proposed the creation of such a bridge and they assigned a committee which would form the Waco Bridge Company, responsible for funding and building the project. A charter was received from the state in 1866.

Col. John T. Flint, an Austin lawyer and banker, who had moved to Waco after the war and established a firm named Flint & Chamberlain, went personally to New York to handle the contract for building a bridge. In October 1868, the engineer he hired, Thomas M. Griffith, began to supervise the construction using cables from the Roebling company of Trenton, New Jersey. The logistical and engineering difficulties he encountered were abnormal because of the remote location. Due to lack of machine shops in the Waco area, getting the materials to the building site was a journey in itself.
The nearest railroad was 100 miles (160 km) away, and the closest town with artisans with the skills needed was Galveston, over 212 miles (341 km) from the build site. Supplies were loaded onto a steamer in Galveston, and ferried to Bryan. From there, they were loaded onto wagons pulled by oxen. The pothole-filled dirt road from Bryan to Waco was bad, even by 19th century Texas standards.The twin double-towers that anchored the span were considered to be a marvel of engineering at the time, containing nearly 3 million bricks, which were produced locally.

The bridge collected its first toll on January 1, 1870. Its 475-foot (145 m) span made it the first major suspension bridge in Texas. The bridge was wide enough for stagecoaches to pass each other, or for cattle to cross one side of the bridge, and humans to cross the other side. Being the only bridge to cross the Brazos at the time, the cost of building the bridge, which was estimated to be $141,000 was quickly paid back. Tolls were 5 cents per head of cattle that crossed, along with a charge for pedestrian traffic
In 1889, the bridge was sold to  McLennan County which removed all tolls. In 1913-1914, major reconstruction occurred on the bridge, replacing the older steel with higher gauge, and trusses were added to accommodate the span to carry heavier weights. This doubled as a new pedestrian walkway. By 1971, the bridge had seen over 100 years of traffic. What started out as a Cattle Bridge had become a vehicular bridge, and the state historical committee decided that it was time to be retired, with larger and arguably safer bridges being built since the inception of the Waco Suspension Bridge. The bridge, by all accounts, helped to transform Waco from a small frontier town to a major commercial center. Today, the bridge is open to foot traffic only, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The suspension bridge is an interesting story and a major piece of history for Waco. The engineer in me really enjoyed the hands on time and reading all the history has been consuming and yet exciting.

After taking pictures we headed to the airport. 08Romeo was tugged out of the hangar and after checking my fuel order I decided to add four more gallons per side. The person working the desk noted twenty-seven gallons as the initial fill.  I flew 3.5 hours from Monroe to Waco so that should require thirty-five gallons to bring me back to fifty-six. All is well, time to get in the air.


I picked up my clearance and headed for the runway where I would do my run up. Ground asked me to complete my run up in place, holding me on the taxiway and then contact them. I think they just wanted to let the king air out in front of me. 

I followed the king air on taxiway Alpha and after watching the Beechcraft big brother climb out, I departed runway one.  As directed I was climbing out on runway heading until switching over to approach.

It was a smooth ride for three hours and I made a nice landing at Pine Bluff.  This was a gas and go only since we wanted to get back in the air as quick as possible. 

We finished up at Pine Bluff and got the fan turning for the last hop of the day. It was a long taxi back to runway three-six where I completed my run up then launched for Chattanooga. 

I picked up my clearance with the same Little Rock approach controller that I had cancelled with when I landed. I departed runway heading, climbing to three thousand and eventually was given five thousand.  I started to surf the tops and the turbulence increased. I requested higher by a few hundred feet to keep clear, instead, Approach gave me a block from seven to nine thousand.

The tops kept climbing and so did I. Nine thousand worked out and I remained clear until letting down for Chattanooga. I was given lower by approach to descend and maintain three thousand six hundred and asked for my best descent. I also had to ID an aircraft circling near the airport.  I confirmed visual, it looked like a thin line so I thought it was a glider but instead it was geese flying a tight formation, duh! The target in question crossed in front of me and I spotted the glider soaring over the adjacent ridge line. I reported the updated position. I bet that controller was shaking his head....geese, oh brother.  I did spot the glider in question and reported its altitude. Maybe some redemption.

Approach advised I was turning inside a regional jet and to keep my speed up to the numbers. I did my best and was clear the runway in time for the regional to land as scheduled.

Mary made arrangements for a rental car and I had made arrangements for the hotel when we were in Pine Bluff. Wilson Air took care of 08Romeo and we had her tucked in a hangar for the night.

We drove around and found a P. F. Chang's, good food and service to take care of dinner. We haven't had PF's in four years, since we moved from Wilmington.

Flight plans are filed for tomorrow, and with that chore complete this day comes to an end. 
KCHA - KLYH 4.11.18

We were up early and showered, ready to make the last two flights for home. The clearance was, as filed, I seemed to have gotten that a lot this trip.

Mary and I decided to skip breakfast and instead finish up the munchies we had with us from the previous days.

The flight to Lynchburg had some vectors for traffic arrivals into KTYS- McGhee Tyson. The vectors kept me closer to the terrain obstacles (mountains) but provided a beautiful view in flight.

Approach gave me nine thousand for terrain and I thought about asking for seven instead. The winds were better at nine so off or up I went.

I was soon letting down for Lynchburg, ready for our last gas and go. I took on enough fuel to bring me to  fifty-four gallons total, plenty of fuel to get us home. As fast as we landed we were just as quick to taxi out. 

Ground had me confused. I was given taxi to gulf to runway 22 (yellow route). Taxiway gulf ends at runway one-seven. I was redirected (blue route) for a shortened departure from runway two-two, taxi across one-seven cleared for take off.

I was soon climbing out for home, KOXB. The last leg of our adventure. Approach was great and we made a direct line to the JAMIE intersection on the Delmarva Peninsula.

The cloud layer eventually climbed up to meet us and I had to ask for higher. Approach gave me a block altitude and I used every bit of it, topping out, once again, at nine thousand.

As we worked our way towards the Chesapeake Bay I could see the clouds dispersing. We were stepped down and crossed the bay at five thousand with only one traffic call out. It felt great turning north for home. 

I cancelled with Patuxent approach and let down for Ocean City. Making my usual position calls I coordinated with another aircraft inbound from the north and we each worked our way into the pattern. I was number two for the field and ended the day with a nice landing...We're home!

The Waco recap

New States - Arkansas, Louisiana
IMC - 2.2
Flight Time - 22.3
Miles - 2,750