Monday, June 25, 2018

Cape May = Fun Day

With nothing on our schedule Mary and I decided we would finally get her some right seat time.  Mary hasn't flown in our 'new to us' plane. She has sat in it, but that's it.  Today we were determined to change that.

We gave some thought to heading to Summit-KEVY to catch up with my brother and sister-in-law but they have a busy day planned as they get ready to head to Yellowstone.  I can't wait to hear about their trip. We called Mary's brother to see if they had their grandson with them today. They did not, schools out and since Amy is a teacher she is home for the summer.

Hmmm...Maybe Williamsburg, nah, we're headed there with the Beech Aero Club in July. We gave some thought to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - KAVP so we could visit my parents grave and get some mulch down and flowers planted, but it was too late of a start.

We finally decided on Cape May, NJ.  We called the FBO to confirm a rental car is available, and it was. The last time there we took a taxi and he hit us up for thirty bucks each way to Mammas Junk Company, that's a ten mile hop each direction. Today we rented and had our choice of where to go and how long to stay.

We climbed out of ocean city and turned on course for Cape May. Mary was following the check list and thankfully reminded me to switch the gear up. I'm not sure why I don't do that, I notice the difference in the numbers as I climb out and then retract the gear. Very bizarre. The remainder of the flight went smoothly and we were soon letting down for runway one at Cape May. We taxied to Flight Level Aviation and ordered fuel to top off. Once the plane was secure we jumped in our ride and hit the highway.
Of course we headed to Mamas Junk Company first, but they were closed.  Mary was not a happy girl. No problem, point the little blue Kia rental towards Cape May and off we went, down the Garden State Parkway. We passed by one of our favorite restaurants, The Oyster Bay, confirming they open at 5pm. We will be headed back one evening for dinner. This makes for a great date night.

It was just a block or two to the Washington Street Mall and we quickly found parking in the lot next to the grocery store, across from the church, and it only ended up costing us three dollars.
We strolled along enjoying the gorgeous weather. The temps were perfect and there was a nice cool breeze to keep things comfortable. We decided on a lunch stop at Delaney's Pub.
Mary and I each ordered a lobster roll, and it was perfect.  Not all that mayo and extra stuff packed in, just plenty of lump lobster in a perfect seasoning and served with really hot melted butter. It was fantastic!  I washed it down with a sweet tea, that was more watered than sweet or tea. Mary had The BOG: Cranberry Shandy by Cape May Brewing Company.
The BOG: Cranberry Shandy - A tart, cranberry wheat beer blended with lemonade to create an uber-drinkable summer shandy. Perfect to enjoy on those sweltering days, this beer is light and refreshing while still packing tons of flavor.

We walked off lunch for a short while then decided to head back to the airport. Mary wanted to make a quick stop at the Cape May Brewing Company, along the main entrance to the airport.

With our cargo loaded, one 64oz growler of The Bog, we were ready to climb aboard.
45Yankee had plenty of time to cool so I did the normal start procedure. I had no issue and we were soon on our way to runway one for departure. With the run up complete we rolled out on runway one and launched for home. This time I did not move my hand above the throttle quadrant with out tapping the brakes and retracting the gear. I ran 45Yankee pretty much as I have been, 20MP/24RPM and with the slight tail wind watched speeds of 150 knots.

I crossed the Delaware Bay and climbed above a layer blocking my path, topping out just around six thousand feet. My plan was to hop over the layer and let down for OXB. As I crossed the layer I checked my location and I was already just ten miles north-east of the airport. Crap! I didn't want to shock cool so I pulled power and adjusted my approach towards runway one-four.
The original plan was to enter a left base maybe three miles out from the runway and turn final, not happening.  I was too fast and high so I pointed towards the beach and entered a normal left down wind for one-four. Once at recommended gear speed I lowered the gear, providing some anchors to help slow down. 

The winds provided some crosswind action and I really wanted to test my skills. I stuck with runway one-four instead of switching to runway 2, and planted the left main into the wind and rolled 45Yankee on the runway. I was very pleased. 

Next up Tullahoma, Tennessee!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hangar Time

I was too lazy to get out early this morning and fly.  By the time I got rolling the rain and thunderstorms were moving in and I decided to just take Ziva and head to the hangar. I wanted to pull the lens off the rotating beacon and see about removing the 'patched' or blocked area.  I also wanted to note the bulb type so I can replace it with an LED. The patch is not coming off, the bulb will be replaced with an LED.
I putzed around, playing with Ziva then finally got to work. Ok, work is a strong word maybe just tinkering, yea, I like that.

I finished up, closing the hangar and heading to the terminal. I wanted to have Ziva visit with Nola, she loves dogs.  Nola wasn't working today so I kept the visit very short and decided to head for home.
Picture provided by an internet source
As I was walking out the door I heard the folks at the counter mention two AH-1 Cobras inbound. Hmmm...I would love to see those birds.  I did take some video, it was really bad, I never used the zoom. However, as mean as it is, I did get to see them and they were bad to the bone!
Mary and I are on standby for a English Springer Spaniel rescue for Sunday. The ground transport is scheduled for Saturday but we are on deck if needed.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Approach Clearance - Crossing Altitudes

While reading through the many forums I frequent, I came across an excellent what if scenario. The pilot is a friend of mine and I always appreciate his insight to flying/teaching moments. I thought I would share.

Here is his post...

I was taking advantage of a rare chance to get in some actual today in Central Texas today. I did an IFR flight from KEDC (Austin Exec) to KLHB (Hearne). It wasn't a ton of actual but it was bumpy enough to work at it so I hand flew the approaches.

An interesting IFR question came out of this though. My approach clearance to the KLHB RNAV Rwy 18 approach was issued about 5 nm from CORAB

I had been cleared direct CORAB at 3000 prior to this. The clearance was "...cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, cross CORAB at or above _2000_ feet."

The leg following CORAB has a minimum of 2600' and the MSA on the plate is 2300'. Can I descend to 2000 at CORAB and continue until I hit the descent path?

I think this was the intent but I can't seem to find anything online on this. In this case I just flew the approach as published (it wasn't a challenge to loose 800 feet in 17 miles).

BTW - bonus point question. Looking at that plate - what does the grey shading between the VDP and the runway threshold mean.

My thoughts...

Once cleared for the RNAV 18 approach, like my friend, I would have stayed at 2600', flying the approach per the plate from there.

I watched a similar scenario unfold on a video of an aircraft given the "at or above" which the crew followed and triggered a terrain alert. I will continue to follow the approach plates unless breaking out and flying the remainder of the approach VFR.

By the way, I got the bonus question, ok partial credit because I took a shot.  I knew what it had to deal with but wasn't 100% positive until looking it up after the fact.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Sandbox

An odd title, but, after watching most of the FlyLikeThePros videos I am going to adopt a few of their tips for my flying now that I have the 530W and 430W in the Debonair.

The first tip that really peaked my interest was the 'Sandbox'. Flying with a two Garmin system this practice provides a way to secondary flight plan, have a dedicated DME or initiate your 'back up' plan without clearing your current flight plan.

The first step to accomplish this is to set up the cross fill operation. This can be accomplished on the active FPL page or NAV page one. I am going to keep the 'autofill' from the 530 to the 430 but switch the 430 to manual. This will allow the additional flight planning feature without disrupting my working flight plan on the 530.
I really enjoy learning new procedures about flying and implementing them in my flight routine. I have been given instructions by ATC that left me scratching my head on how to set up what they want. The worst case, I ask for an initial heading as I work through the issue.

Knowing your systems and practicing all the crazy what if's when with a safety pilot or your CFI reinforces what we need to do. I am grateful for the instructors I flew with and for all the bust my stone flights with Mike B. When in training, drinking from the fire hose seems crazy, until you need those skills in the real world. I can still hear my father reminding me how we play on game day just like we practice. This holds true in everything flying.

What are your thoughts on setting up the sandbox? If you took the time to watch the FlyingLikeThePros videos have you learned anything new, and if so will you add them to your flying.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Learning The S-Tec 50

This morning I was trying to stay ahead of the heat while getting some air time prior to the Ocean City airspace closing for a TFR at 2pm.  Today is practice day for the airshow and I am looking forward to hearing and viewing the Thunderbirds in action.
I headed over to the hangar early and tugged 45Yankee out into the sun, yes, that big shiny thing in the sky. The plan was to launch and fly the GPS 32 approach followed by the GPS 14 approach in order to get some autopilot practice. I completed my preflight and closed up the hangar.
Following my run up I made my call for departing runway three-two and was quickly in the air and retracting the gear. I ran through the take-off checklist prior to rolling for the runway to reinforce the target airspeeds and as a reminder to retract the gear.
I entered the GPS 32 approach and pointed 45Yankee for GOBYO. As I crossed the shore line I remembered that my vest was still in baggage and I hate being low, two thousand feet, over the water and five miles offshore. I made a U-turn and reset for the RNAV GPS 14 approach instead.
I wasn't sure why, when in approach mode, the autopilot turned me slightly to the right. Instead, I disconnected and turned to the outbound heading of 325° in order to perform a parallel entry. Once on the proper heading I switched back to the autopilot heading mode and continued my procedure turn. I was outbound for four miles, then with a turn of the heading bug, completed my procedure turn and was tracking inbound on the 145° heading.

I also worked on my power setting for approaches, noting manifold pressure, RPM's and degree of up or down with my trim setting. Having the chart completed and memorizing it will make my flying more precise. 

Some notes on the S-Tec 50

NAV – Navigation Mode
Before using the NAV mode, you must manually place aircraft within 10 degrees of the desired course. AP will NOT make large course
adjustments in NAV mode.
APR – Approach Mode
This mode is exactly like the NAV mode with one exception: It tracks the CDI with much greater authority, as you would want to do if you were flying a localizer approach.

It was fun to get in the air, however, it would have been better with another pilot in the right seat so I could focus more on learning the AP.  I did manage to work through some simple steps as if shooting approaches and still be mindful of traffic and radio chatter.

Monday, June 11, 2018

VTF, Don't Do It!

Since I'm stuck in the house keeping dry I like to search the internet for training tips and what if situations that spark my interest enough to fire up the simulator.

Today, while looking for answers on winds aloft, I stumbled upon this video from FlyingLikeThePros.
How many times have you be bitten by this Vector To Final scenario? Come on, fess up.  I have, twice. I no longer need to touch the burner on the stove to know it's hot and it will hurt. I have posted about this subject before but these guys do a great job with the video and I wanted to share.

Pay close attention to the last few minutes, they provide a new trick to add to the tool chest. In a busy airport environment you may get vectors extending your downwind on an approach. Since we have learned, some of us the hard way, that ATC does switch up, especially on hand-offs it's best to load a full approach.

If you need to extend or stretch the final approach a bit longer FlyingLikeThePros suggests the 'direct' to the last fix, entering the heading to extend the centerline.  It's sort of like using the OBS function and dialing in the final approach course on the CDI to extend the magenta line on those new to you airports that you're trying to find in VFR conditions. In the mean time you have an extended centerline to help.
Lets take a look at my recent trip to KCXY, Capital City in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I was directed to expect vectors to the ILS RWY 8. If you look closely I did select VTF, only because it was VFR and I had no issue getting into CXY. This scenario still provides a good look at the benefit of loading the full approach.
On the sim TIVNE is LATLE due to the ancient version. However, the red arrow shows the extended centerline/approach and if there are step downs like the video this tip can really be helpful when flying single pilot IFR.

The next issue, as mentioned above, is winds aloft and lack of display on my iPad/Foreflight. I decided to dig into my avionics that I have in 45Yankee. I have tried to find in flight winds aloft, but can't seem to find the info displayed on my iPad/Foreflight. I sent Foreflight an email yesterday (Sunday)and I really didn't like the response, despite it being quick and thorough.

Winds aloft through ADS-B reception only shows winds for airports that report them. That is, the winds are viewable in the airports tab for that specific point.

Winds as a layer is not available through ADS-B because they don't send that information.

You can pack for a trip and have the estimated winds aloft data stored. The Pack feature creates an "envelope" around your planned route and checks to see which items need to be downloaded. The envelope covers 25nm either side of the enroute course and within a 50nm radius around the destination and departure airports. Pack will always check for the latest METARs, TAFs, AIR/SIGMETS, TFRs, Fuel Prices, NOTAMs, Documents, Airport Database, and Obstacles.

You can set up which type of chart and map data that you want Pack to check for by going to MORE > DOWNLOADS > UNITED STATES or CANADA, and select options such as IFR Low, Terminal Procedures, or VFR Charts. Pack only offers downloads for those items that are not already downloaded to your device.

The information that is downloaded using Pack is accessed during the normal use of ForeFlight. Weather can be found from Map overlays and on the Airports Page. Terminal Procedures can be found from within the Airports Page or by searching for them on the Plates Page. NOTAMS are displayed within the Airports Page.

You can view which states are downloaded by Pack and delete unwanted states by going to MORE > DOWNLOADS. If packed data is not part of your normal downloads, when the data expires it will be deleted from the system automatically.

If your route is changed, use the pack feature to re-evaluate the downloads and re-alert the you of any available downloads. Every 10 mins Pack can be used to recheck the current route for new weather and NOTAMs.

For more on Pack, please see our Pilot's Guide:

I really miss the Garmin 496 and xm weather, I may be looking to add a unit to the Debonair.  Does anyone have a suggestion for winds aloft?

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Bits and Pieces

The Supervisor
Off to the airport this morning to get a few odd jobs done at the hangar.  I received my color coded toggle covers last week and they just didn't fit.  That will not be the end of this want. I brought along a hair dryer and heated each cap until I could stretch it over the toggle. It took some coaxing but I completed the project.

Next on my list was the install of LED navigation lights. I really liked the LED's I installed on 08Romeo so I used the same product and completed that task. I forgot to take pictures. Here is a shot from the online catalog of the LED's and clear lenses I also installed. 
Once finished up with the plane, I loaded up Ziva girl for the ride home.  I did give some thought to an ice cream stop but figured I would wait and ask the ladies if they wanted some after dinner. With everything picked up and the Batteryminder plugged back in I headed home. 
Got up to see the Pilatus PC12 roll out
When I arrived I saw a few packages sitting on the steps, two for Mary and one for me.  My new grease fitting caps were here.  Tomorrows project!

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

US Kennels

I have been volunteering my time with US Kennels in Salisbury, Maryland. I was introduced to Chris Hardy, Executive Director, and we immediately hit it off. I have always enjoyed 'training' my dogs but I'm no pro. Chris is a pro, and an excellent teacher, I believe in his program. Anything associated with dogs, especially rescues, and giving something back to our Veterans is a win win for me. Check out US Kennels at the following two links.

US Kennels on Facebook
U.S Kennels Incorporated
Some info on US Kennels...
U.S Kennels Incorporated is a 501(c3) non profit organization. We provide trained service dogs, as well as supplies, to our combat wounded veterans who suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, traumatic brain injuries and affiliated physical disabilities. Our program is available to deliver free support to our veterans while at the same time saving lives of shelter dogs waiting for someone to give them another chance at life. Every veteran will be helped to find a dog which fits their personality and disability.

A dog will be rescued, rehabilitated, trained in advanced obedience, and advanced medical tasks. Our program is created in such way that everyone wins, multiple lives are saved. Veterans lives will greatly improve with the medical assistance and by the healing power of their new canine partner.

After the veteran has been accepted into the training program, the next step is to define the tasks, and skills needed to best assist the veteran with his/her disability Veterans are being scheduled to meet with the trainer, so can he understand their needs, and begin to identify potential dogs in the shelters which might be suitable. All the dogs match with veterans based on strength level, temperament, the Veteran’s needs, personality, and life style. Once the dog/dogs who meet the requirement are identified the process of adoptions begins followed by the obedience training.
I hope you will take the time to check out the home page and feel free to donate to a worthy cause.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Solo Requirement Completed

The Debonair came home to Ocean City on Thursday, May 24th.  Since that trip home I only managed a half hour of flight time due to daily fog, rain showers and three hundred foot ceilings. Mother Nature needs to cut me some slack!

With the forecast calling for early morning Low IFR, I flight planned for a 9:30 departure. My flight plan for today has me heading south to Coastal Carolina Airport, KEWN.  Winds aloft look to be providing a few knots of tail wind and once clear of Ocean City's early overcast sky, conditions look great.

Prior to start up I tried to add the toggle switch color caps for added ease of identification, they didn't fit. The gust lock 'remove before flight' streamer arrived so that was added and stowed in the glove box.
It's time to get 45Yankee started and knock out the last 3.7 hours of solo time. I've managed the cold start procedure very well and 45Yankee comes to life, I do love the rumble of the six cylinder continental. Reminder, I still need work on the hot start procedures. I may have jinxed myself.

The airport ASOS just prior to 7am is as follows.

041053Z AUTO 34011KT 10SM OVC007 14/14 A2978

I wait for the oil temps to come up and then taxi for runway three-two. It's now 10:15 and the sky is starting to clear.

SPECI KOXB 041410Z AUTO 34012G19KT 10SM SCT012 17/14 A2979

I picked up my clearance from Potomac once my run up was completed. I'm trying to get used to my new checklist, running it from memory then reviewing. I always use the CRAFT mnemonic. CRAFT stands for Clearance, Route, Altitude, Frequency, Transponder.
C - KEWN, Coastal Carolina, New Bern, VA
R - AF (as filed) on departure fly 270°
A - 3000/expect 8000
F - 127.95 (Patuxent approach)
T - 4604 (Squawk code)
I took off on three-two climbing out at 90 knots until clear of the runway environment then cruise climbed at 104 knots. Patuxent identified me and then gave me climb and maintain eight thousand. That climb was short lived and I was briefly held at six thousand then allowed to continue my climb.
I was handed off to two Norfolk sectors and then Washington Center before the final hand off to Cherry Point approach.

Layer broke up as I approached the south side of the Chesapeake
I went through my checks and lowered the gear below 120kts which slows the plane down to flap speed at 104 kts. I reported the right downwind as directed, was cleared to land and acknowledged, then made a very nice landing. Dave, the previous owner, reminded me to fly the numbers and she will treat me well. I repeat that in my head while in the pattern in between my GUMPS checks.
I climbed out and headed into the FBO at New Bern, Tidewater Air. Quick friendly service and a very clean facility made for a positive experience. I headed back out to 45Yankee and checked fuel, followed by a quick walk around.  I was ready to give the hot start a try. The following is what I remember of the hot start procedure from Dave. They say the memory is the first thing to go.

Throttle HALF
Mixture LEAN - all the way out
Battery/Alternator ON
Auxiliary fuel pump ON for around 30 seconds then...Pump OFF
Start - adding throttle and mixture as needed

W R O N G, nope, nadda, she ain't starting

I texted Dave and he walked me through the CORRECT hot start procedure. Thank God he's a patient man.

Throttle OFF/OUT
Mixture Lean/OUT
Battery/Alternator  ON
Auxiliary Pump ON full 30 seconds then OFF
Throttle full IN
Start - As the plane starts add mixture pull out some throttle and use the Auxiliary pump if she starts to sputter.

DING DING DING We have a winner!

Dave if you're reading this, THANK YOU!

Now if you read through the correct procedure you may figure that you need a third hand or be darn quick if the Aux Pump is needed. This will take practice but I have the secret, now written down, and added to my check list.

Thankfully I didn't have to sit in Virginia, I was able to point north for home. I picked up my clearance with New Bern Ground and taxied for departure.

C - KOXB Ocean City
R - AF, on departure runway heading
A - 2000/7000
F - 119.35 Cherry Point approach
T - 5334
Once switched over to the tower I was cleared to take off runway three-two. 45Yankee was off the ground and climbing out and I was concentrating on my airspeed and setting up my RPM and Manifold Pressure. Hmmm...not climbing as she normally does, check list reveals I forgot to raise the gear. Duh!

Ok, much better and the numbers are good to go. I used the heading mode for a bit then hand flew the rest of the way home. 45Yankee trims out just as sweet as 08Romeo did, set it and forget it.

Norfolk, VA
I was handed off to multiple sectors along my route home as I enjoyed the afternoon ride. This is a sweet plane, I am starting to understand her and her numbers, hopefully she is tolerating me.

I cancelled with Patuxent approach and made my position calls for Ocean City. I was number two behind a school plane and happily made my way to the pattern. As I approach I went through my first GUMPS check, confirming Gas on the fullest tank, Gear down and confirmed, mixture full rich and prop set for go around. I added approach flaps on downwind and the second notch on base. It was a smooth ride on final adding the last notch of flaps and coming over the numbers at 70 knots. I felt the mains roll on as I held off the nose, gently letting it touch the runway as my speed decreased. I didn't use any brakes, instead I rolled to the last taxiway closest to my hangar and turned off.
It was a fun day flying and completing the insurance solo time requirements. Mary and I can now use the plane, together, and have some fun exploring. We are free to move about the country.