Friday, April 19, 2019

The Prebuy Experience

Wednesday 4/17
This morning I got off to an early start. I had set the alarm as a back up for 3:20 AM. My flight out of Salisbury is scheduled for 6:12 AM and I would like to be there at least an hour to an hour and a half ahead of departure.  Besides the Piedmont staff, I was the first passenger entering the building. I couldn’t remember if they only had the doorway scanner or a full body scanner.  Today I went through the full body scanner, Woo Hoo!  Thankfully I did not encounter any problems. I was soon putting my shoes back on along with my belt and headed for a seat at the gate.
The scheduled flight was full this morning as we prepare to head to Philadelphia. It was fun to climb through a layer and ride along on top as we crossed the Delaware Bay and made our way through New Jersey, crossing the Delaware River and landing in Philadelphia.
The last time we had to catch a connecting flight out of Philly we had to board a bus and go to another terminal. Today the Embraer 145 taxied to gate F23 and my next flight ,the connecting flight, to Cincinnati was departing gate F1. Same terminal, a little bit of a walk, but easy enough to make the flight.

We taxied out a bit early for departure but it took a while to get to the runway. I think we crossed from one end of the airport to the other, north to south.  

The flight was smooth at 34,000 feet and we landed a little bit ahead of schedule at Cincinnati (KCVG). Everyone was so courteous this morning, a pleasant change from a typical commercial flying day. Once off the plane I had a long long walk to get to ground transportation. Right about now I wish I listened to my bride and had taken my cane, oh well, just get it done, I can rest later. 
I had arranged for a rental car from Enterprise and took the shuttle over to their facility. I got a free upgrade from a midsize pickup truck to a very nice SUV. I dialed in the Hilton on my GPS and pointed my new ride north. Along the way I decided to plug in my phone to top of the charge. When I did the google map AP asked if I wanted to continue, obviously that’s a big yes. With the choice selected it switched to written directions, the map on the phone was gone,but the vehicles GPS map was now displayed instead of radio choices. I figured no big deal, actually I thought that was pretty neat.

I was soon directed off the interstate, that seemed odd, but we’ll see where this goes.  I followed for a few minutes passing through some very expensive neighborhoods and I was taken to a beautiful park, yes park, Indian Hill. I reentered the correct destination and made my way back to RT275 and eventually the Hilton. Remember, it’s all about the adventure. 
Once checked in I decided I should find something for lunch, l haven’t eaten since 3:30 this morning. I made contact with 3 Tango Charlie‘s owner (Bill) and he recommended two places, the Skyline for Cincinnati pasta and the Friendly Stop for a good burger or Reuben sandwich. I went for the Cincinnati pasta. Believe it or not they had excellent sweet tea here in Ohio and the pasta was pretty darn good too. Go figure!

Even though I was tired and could really use some sleep, I agreed to meet here at the Hilton. Bill wanted to drop off 3 Tango Charlie‘s logbooks and a host of other information for my reading pleasure.  I’m not sure how much these eyes have left in them for reading. Once I head back to the room I think I’ll probably just pass out for the night.

Surprisingly, once I dug into the log books I got my second wind.  One of my main concerns was finding out more about engine times and service.  I used one of my lifelines and reached out to a good friend that has a lot of engine experience. We had a very good discussion and I felt comfortable with the information I was reading and the interpretation my fellow pilot and friend confirmed.  Thanks, Ted!

It’s now 7:40 PM and I am quickly running out of gas. I’ve called my lovely bride who I dearly miss being with me on this adventure, to say good night and of course tell her that I love her.  

Tomorrows plan is to take advantage of the free breakfast at the Hilton and then head over to the hangar by 9 AM to dig into the annual inspection.
Thursday 4/18

Rise and shine! The hotel is alive with activity by 7 AM.  It’s time to get up, get showered, get dressed, and go find some free breakfast. 

I made my way to the lobby and join the few people that were indulging  in the free breakfast. As I made my way through the line I selected a bacon egg and smoked Gouda cheese breakfast sandwich, it was very good. I also had a large glass of apple juice with my meal. I noticed not too many people were chatting, so I quietly enjoyed my breakfast. 
The ride to butler Airport was rather quick, thanks to the Google GPS. I found my way to the hangar entrance and parked out front, slightly ahead of our planned meeting time. Bill arrived within 10 minutes and we quickly headed into the hangar. He used his Switchbox to turn on the heater system, it was very comfortable.
Before we started opening up the plane we both climbed aboard and went over some more systems. This time in greater detail than when we met in Morgantown West Virginia. I got to button push on the Aspen, it was a learning experience. Bill and I discussed the use of the STec 60 with regard to GPSS steering and shooting approaches. We finally decided we should get started opening up the plane for Jasson, the A&P, to do his magic.
We used the borescope to check the elevator AD that had been completed.  We also scoped the cylinders to take a peek at the valves, they were all good to go. We did remove and replace the oil filter to cut it open and all is good there too. Inspection panels were opened and checked, along with the tail cone. The rear seats removed to inspect hydraulics and the flap motor (in rear compartment), everything checked out.
under the rear seat
Hydraulic gear Pump
We took a break for lunch and went to a local favorite, Hyde’s. The place looked like something you would see on diners, drive-ins and dives, but like the show locations the food was awesome and the service excellent.
I had the old fashion roast beef open faced sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of coleslaw, Bill had an omelette with a sausage looking type Patty called goetta.

Goetta (pronounced “getta”)is a mixture made out of meat, oats, onions and spices that is formed into sausages patties, fried, and eaten for breakfast. The dish is of German origin and the name comes from the German words Grötte or Grütze (depending on the region), which translates to “groats.”
The goetta somewhat reminds me of a scrapple sausage type of texture but with a spicer taste. Not overpowering, just different, and very tasty. I also tried Bill’s strawberry rhubarb pie, absolutely awesome. I had the banana cream pie, it was just as delicious.

By the time we walked out all I wanted to do was find a place in the hangar to take a nap. It’s a condition Mary and I refer to as the full puppy syndrome. 
The engine compression checks were done on a cold engine. Compressions were 77 to 78 on all cylinders. Jasson, the A&P, worked his way around the aircraft to inspect everything that was opened up.
Multiple gear swings were completed along with three emergency dumps. Bill took his time and explained everything about the gear, and its maintenance.

It’s now 8:30 PM and I’m just pulling back into the hotel parking lot. If I’ve learned anything since my accident it’s the fact that my body can not do the things I used to do, it’s a bit depressing. However, life keeps moving forward. If you want to keep playing in the game then buckle up buttercup, and keep on keeping on.
Tomorrow the IFR CERT is scheduled for 8:30 AM. While the testing is being done we will finish buttoning up the plane, that should leave just a run up to complete. For now, I’m tired, sore and I just need some sleep.
Friday 4/19

Today was another early start, I was at the hangar at 8:30.  I took an extra long hot shower, it didn’t help the sore feet and right leg very much.  I did do the free breakfast which helped me down two extra strength Tylenol’s. 
Once inside the hangar I helped install the elevator tips, ok I handed the screws to Bill.  Jasson came in and started the IFR certification process, and that took about two hours. 
Everything checked out so 3 Tango Charlie is good for two years. All the log books were updated and the last item on the list was to install the upper and lower cowls.
Bill and I exchanged the paperwork. When everything was signed and initialed I handed him the certified check. With that task completed we shook hands and he congratulated me on the new purchase.
Mary and I now own another plane. It took a bit for that to sink in. The first thing I did was remove the bird strike symbols.
Our focus turned to a final weather check for a ferry flight to Ocean City. Freezing levels were down to five thousand for portions of our trip and with the winds and rain we both thought it best to wait for better weather.
I immediately booked a flight from Cincinnati to Philadelphia. The plan came together, I would be in Salisbury by 7:30 PM. It all sounded great, right up until I got a text message while waiting to be body scanned that the flight was delayed. The delay would cause me to miss my connection to Salisbury.

I took a shot and tried standby for an earlier American flight. Everything worked out and I was soon boarding for Philly.  We got in around 4:50 and I made it to the gate with 55 minutes until boarding begins, life is good. The gate seating was full as we all waited and watched the boarding time count down. The time passed and still no boarding call, we were waiting on the crew. The crew was late getting in on their previous flight. I’ll be getting into Salisbury around 8:00 and I should be home by 8:45.

The ride to Salisbury was solid IFR until the end of the approach when we broke out. This was the wildest commercial ride I have been on. The crew had the engines spool up and then power back multiple times as they dealt with the winds. When we came over the numbers I thought we were really fast, too fast. Once we touched down I felt heavy braking, immediately followed by thrust reversers. I was very happy to be on the ground and not the one shooting that approach.

As for 3 Tango Charlie, she’ll be coming home to Ocean City this week when the weather breaks, thanks to 3TC’s  “previous” owner doing the ferry flight. Thanks, Bill!

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