Friday, December 14, 2018

2018 In Review

2018 Totals
ASEL: 1280.1 TT - YTD 77.9
Complex               12.6
High Performance      13.4

IMC                    2.8
SIM IMC                2.2
Cross Country         63.7

* Added Complex and High Performance Endorsements

New Airports: (11)

KMJX - Ocean County Airport - Toms River, NJ
KFRG - Republic Airport - Farmingdale, NY
2W6 -  St. Mary's County - Leonardtown, MD
KLBT - Lumberton Regional - Lumberton, NC
KCTJ - West Georgia Regional - Carrollton, GA
KMLU - Monroe Regional - Monroe, LA
KACT - Waco Regional - Waco, TX
KPBF - Pine Bluff Regional - Pine Bluff, AR
KCHA - Lovell Field - Chattanooga, TN
KLYH - Lynchburg Regional - Lynchburg, VA
KEWN - Coastal Carolina - New Bern NC


January - Finally IFR current. I had let my currency lapse, first time since getting the rating. I also posted an introduction video for my YouTube channel. I decided to make more of an effort to post  videos and up the quality with additional cameras and better editing. It's a work in progress.

February - My first time to Republic Airport. I'm usually flying over long Island, not landing there. This trip I had a mission, helping an Ocean City hangar neighbor pick up his plane.

March - Another new to me airport, 2W6 St. Mary's. A fun meet up with fellow BAC members to tour the Patuxent NAS and then lunch at Mission BBQ.

April - Another bucket list place to visit, Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas.  This has been on our list since we started watching the HGTV show Fixer Upper. A fun get-away to explore Waco, meet up with good friends and learn about the area. We added seven new airports and two new states on this trip.
Mary finally convinced me that we needed a faster plane so we decided to sell Sundowner 08Romeo. Looking to the future we made a handshake deal on a 63 Debonair.

May - 08Romeo flies west with her new family on Tuesday May 15th. Mary and I wish Peggy and Tim the very best. It's with a heavy hearts we say goodbye to our first magic carpet. 08Romeo has taught us many lessons about flying, ownership, and maintenance. I will carry these lessons forward and look back fondly on our baby Beech. Safe travels 08Romeo, enjoy your new home on the west coast.
Mary and I seal the deal and purchase 45Yankee on Thursday May 17th. Insurance required five hours dual and five solo before I can carry passengers. I decided to rent a hotel room at the Hilton located in Christiana Delaware, just a short drive to the airport. I did a few days of transition training and then took 45Yankee home to Ocean City, KOXB, with my complex, high performance and BFR completed.

June - Finally, the weather cooperates. For awhile here in Ocean City I thought we were going to trade the plane for an Ark.

45Yankee finally gets some air time as I fly south to Coastal Carolina Regional Airport located in New Bern, North Carolina.  This trip completed my requirement for five hours solo since I needed just over three more to finish up.

June 29th, the crash

Mary and I planned to head west to Tullahoma, TN on Friday, June, 29th.  Our lives were changed forever. On departure we had a mechanical engine failure that resulted in making the impossible turn just barely possible. I turned back for the airport trying to make the cross runway 2-20 but could not keep the plane in the air. The plan was a straight ahead landing in a pre-determined spot, however I could not see the spot without lowering the nose and I wasn't about to trade altitude at that point. My plan B was a golf course just south of the airport where I made an emergency landing, gear up, and bellied it in on a fairway.

If you follow the blog you have read about the medical troubles Mary and I have been through. We deeply appreciate the thoughts and prayers for our recovery.


July - September

The healing slowly continues. Recovery and more surgeries fill out July and into late August. With the third and final surgery complete I am gradually making progress and getting back to weight bearing status, recovery has been physically and emotionally taxing.

On September 12th I finally received some positive news. I was once again moving to a weight bearing status.

September closes out with my first return to the airport and hangar. Rob Schaffer stopped in to check on us on his way home from Soar the Shore, a PPG event at Cambell field - 9VG. My main concern were our two vehicles that were moved to the hangar so a wheelchair ramp could be installed in our garage.
Rob and I headed to the airport and I have to say I was a bit anxious. While it felt great passing through the tenant gate it really hit home as we pulled up to my hangar F7. Rob picked up on my emotions and took the cars for a drive while I sat and absorbed the airport sounds. I was overwhelmed, it all felt so out of place to me. 

Mary and I had big plans for flying in September. Sanibel Island Florida vacation with a day trip to Key West, followed by BACFest in Louisville Kentucky. It's an emotional roller coaster thinking of what should have been and instead dealing with trying to get back to some sort of normal.


More of the same, recovery Mode. I am making progress with my mobility issues and slowly increase my weight bearing on the right leg. I hope to be using a cane by November.

The airport manager discovers he has my iPad mini 3 and returns it to me along with the ACK ELT and my flight log I keep in the plane to document oil added and flight times. NTSB confirms they have my Garmin VIRB and will return it after the findings are finalized on the investigation.


NTSB begins the engine investigation on November 7th. What a coincidence, this is also our 14th wedding anniversary. Initial findings is a catastrophic engine failure due to the number three cylinder eating an exhaust valve and taking out the piston along with wedging the intake valve open with the debris. Stay tuned for a Vlog and blog post.
I am getting around using a cane, its slow and kind of steady.  I hope the body pain subsides. I was used to my arthritic knee and back pains prior to the accident, and functioned everyday, but this constant pain is a whole new world to deal with.

Thanksgiving is spent at home, just me and my bride. It was quiet and cozy, a good time together.


Candy makes a return to Ocean City with her husband Mark. We had a blast checking out different places here in Ocean City and took a tour of the Wallops Flight Facility. Mary and I got to try out a few new to us places, Tall Tales Brewing Company and Burley Oak Brewing Company.
During the week we also checked out the Ocean City Winterfest of Lights. A beautiful display and a fun ride on the boardwalk shuttle.
Mary and I plan to head north, by ground transportation, to visit family and friends for Christmas.

We are looking forward to 2019 and all the fun and adventure it has to offer.


Chris said...

Nearly 80 hours in the first half of the year! You were on quite an impressive trajectory, Gary.

I was glad to read this and to have an opportunity to take it all in. I have put myself in your place many times over the last few months and wondered what the future would look like for me after something like this. I was particularly interested in the update on the engine because I have wondered all along what was behind the loss of power and it sounds like you're finally getting those answers.

How far north are you coming for the holidays? If I could fly to meet you, I would like to do that.

Merry Christmas to you and Mary and best wishes for continued healing.

Gary said...

I think it would have been my best year yet. We had a September flight to Sanibel Florida and a day trip to Key West planned. Then there was BACFest in Louisville Kentucky .

It is what it is and life moves forward. I did receive a detailed report with pictures and a narrative for each photo. I’m awaiting the final report from NTSB and the return of my video camera.

I’m interested in your thoughts of the event and how it has impacted your flying. I’ve heard many things from pilot friends.

Our plan is to head up to Wilmington on Friday, returning Saturday before Christmas. Maybe after the holiday we can catch up,

Gary said...

I hit publish before I finished.....

Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope Santa treats the bear very well!

Chris said...

Ah, Wilmington. I knew that you had family near Wilkes-Barre and thought that maybe you were coming a little closer. Regardless, I’d like to look for an opportunity to connect.

How has the incident changed my flying? Loss of power has always been a risk. I know that intellectually. What has changed for me is that I can put a familiar face to that scenario. Knowing that it can happen to someone as conscientious and diligent as you are is deeply affecting. It makes the risk more personal for me than it once was. It means that I slow down when I’m in a rush to get airborne. I’ve been very curious to hear what happened because I usually look for the lesson in every incident. Was there a sign of things to come? Something that might have been caught on preflight? Based on what you’ve described in this post, I’m not so sure that there was. That’s scary to me. I’ve done a few more simulated engine out landings this year than I might have practiced otherwise. I have flown more hours this year than any other, so it has not slowed me down, but I find myself asking “what if?” more often.

As for The Bear, I hear that she’s on track to clean up Christmas morning. ;-)