Monday, April 30, 2018

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.

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