Friday, June 28, 2019

Cape Charles, Virginia

Mary and I each had something on our calendar this morning, I needed a haircut and my bride did the pedicure thing. Once the scheduled tasks were completed we gave some thought as to what we wanted to do with the beautiful sunny day we were faced with. The decision was a travel day, a road trip, time to explore more of our surroundings. 
The destination of choice, Cape Charles, Virginia. Cape Charles is located on the Delmarva peninsula and is surrounded by water on three sides. The town is situated directly on the Chesapeake Bay, bordered by King's Creek to the north and Old Plantation Creek to the south. 
After some quick planning the drive time worked out to just under two hours, not too bad. Mary and I each filled our water bottles and took off in the SUV. I could have pulled the plane out and flew to Accomack (KMFV),then rented a car for a thirty five minute drive. Unfortunately, it was too hot and not worth the extra money to drive a rental for the day.
Mary and I enjoyed the ride south, noting places we had previously visited in our travels. We made good time and there wasn't much traffic on Route 113. As we drove into town we were impressed by the beautiful Victorian homes we were passing, noting how well cared for and maintained they were kept.
Parking was easy as we quickly backed into a spot on Mason street, just a short walk from our selected establishment for lunch.  Our choice this afternoon, Kelly's Gingernut Pub, a fun atmosphere with excellent service and food. Mary and I each had the Bangers and Mash; two Irish Banger sausages served with a plate full off mashed potatoes, the vegetable of the day, and Jameson gravy. Yummy!
The food was excellent and there was plenty of it for us to enjoy. Following lunch, I passed on getting an ice cream despite us walking through the out door benches, loaded with kids licking their cones and wearing their flavors on their happy little faces. Oh so tempting.
We walked into the Mason Avenue Furniture Exchange shop.  A lovely place that is well kept with a very good selection of furniture, paintings and much more. The owner was a delight, so friendly and providing history on the pieces we looked at. Yes, Mary found a table she would like to replace our dining room furniture.
Together with my bride we strolled along, enjoying the beautiful day, each other's company and once again the ability to explore new places.
We passed a few signs while making our way to Cape Charles, they were advertising the Historic Palace Theatre. 

From the web page, Arts Enter Story

The Palace Theatre is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by a German architect, Alfred M. Lublin and was built in 1941 as a movie house.

In its day, the Palace Theatre was considered one of the finest theatres on the east coast and held 380 orchestra level seats as well as fifty balcony seats. At this time, Cape Charles was a prosperous railroad town. The terrazzo floors, walnut paneling, and foyer mirrors give way to the entrance of this vintage treasure, a most exclusive and elegant appeal.

The Palace Theatre is the only existing Historic Theatre on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The most distinguishing feature of this structure is the artwork gracing the walls: two hand-painted murals that represent the essence of the Art Deco Period. The murals are 7’ x 30’ and were commissioned works of a New York artist.

On July 7, 1998 Arts Enter became the new owners of the theatre, which opened the possibility to centralize both the Visual and Performing Arts under one roof. This center for the arts is now a hive of culture, entertainment and instruction.  
We completed the north side of Mason street then crossed and worked the south side, making our way back to our wheels. We did make a stop at the bakery to secure munchies for the ride home. Four oatmeal raisin cookies that were very good. No heavy sugar taste, just oatmeal and huge raisins, very tasty.
I enjoyed a great day exploring with my bride. It was fun to pick a spot on the map, and just go. Mary and I are looking forward to exploring new destinations with our plane and even some by ground. Thanks for riding along!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Solo Time Complete!

Today's mission, yes a mission, is to complete the insurance solo time requirement in our Commander.  The weather is beautiful and the humidity is nonexistent.  That's right, it's beautiful sunshine and no stinking humidity, a perfect day to fly.

I had 3 Tango Charlie topped off on Thursday evening while showing the plane to my friend and fellow pilot Rob S (Rob's PPG Adventure). This morning I needed to sump fuel and complete the preflight. I have decided that it's easier to keep the hangar door closed, climb aboard and do the light check, when by myself. Next up a walk around and detailed gear and control surface check, everything looked great.

I tugged 3 Tango Charlie out into the sun, she looks beautiful. Once positioned on the ramp I disconnected the tug and stored it back in the hangar.  With a final look around I closed the hangar door and climbed aboard, ready to complete the required time.
3TC fired up on a few blades a purred just fine. I entered my flight plan on the GNS 480 and picked up the weather before releasing the brakes for taxi. The plan is to fly over to Cape May, NJ (KWWD), land then depart for Millville, NJ - KMIV, Wilmington, DE - KILG, Accomack, VA - KMFV and finally home to Ocean City.  Winds were pretty much down the runway as I made my way to three-two and completed my run up. I made my call and rolled on to the runway, adding power to start the take off. All gauges were in the green, heels were on the floor, with rotation just shy of seventy knots. I traded calls with inbound traffic and pointed for Cape Henlopen to cross the Delaware Bay.

I was following another plane across the Delaware Bay, I was at five thousand five hundred, they were at twenty-five hundred. I'm still learning how to slow this Commander down as I approach the airport. I turned towards the Cape May coast, pointing towards the lighthouse then back for the runway. I made a nice landing now that I am learning the sight picture. I gave some thought to breakfast but decided to taxi back and head towards KILG, skipping a stop at Millville (KMIV).
I monitored Atlantic City Approach for a time then switched to Wilmington Tower. I picked up the current ATIS and at ten out advised I was inbound full stop with Whisky (the weather info not the drink). I was cleared for a straight in three-two and eventually cleared to land. I made another nice landing and again taxied back for departure.
I did listen for Frank and Mike in the Twin Comanche but never heard their tail number. I was ready to go, and advised the tower. I was cleared for take off with a left turn out, that would work just fine. Once clear of Wilmington's Delta airspace I contacted Dover Approach for flight following. It was nice to ride along and listen to all the traffic.
Once Dover cut me loose I changed my destination and now pointed for Accomack, KMFV. I remained clear of Salisbury's airspace and clear of the Restricted area surrounding Wallops, R-6604E. With Accomack in view I monitored Unicom for local traffic and decided on making a 180 and for headed home.
The ride was smooth all day until the last five miles or so as I descended for the traffic pattern at Ocean City. I made my position calls and entered the pattern, number two for the field.  I was also trying to time my arrival with meat bombs falling around the airport. The jump plane was very busy today. I made an ok landing with a bit of an early flare, then pointing the nose correctly to fly 3TC on the runway. I logged 2.5 hours tach time and completed the insurance required solo time! Woo Hoo!!

We are now free to move about the country!

Friday, June 21, 2019

New Heat Shields

I went into the office for a few hours this morning and then decided to head over to the airport. I had planned to maybe knock out an hour of the last two needed for solo time, but instead I decided just to fly early tomorrow morning.
Mary and I loaded Ziva up so she could get some play time since the humidity finally broke. It was windy, but much cooler today, and we thought she would be safe to run wild without overheating.
While Mary supervised Ziva, I opened up the box from Bruce's Custom Covers. In the box there was a very nice storage bag that would close securely with Velcro.
Inside the storage bag, the new custom heat shields were neatly packaged. The shields are much thinner then the Sundowner shields, and the new shields have suction cups. I used to add stick on Velcro circles to make sure the older thick shields stayed in place. 
I'll post a new entry once I test fit the new thinner shields on the aircraft.  I also have to figure out what to do with my passenger window scoop, since I forgot to provide that info to the manufacturer. I might just remove it for now, we shall see.
Kool Scoop Vents

Here is our Ziva diva when we returned home. I think she is burnt out and off in dreamland.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

YouTube Thoughts

A forum I frequent had an interesting post, "YouTube Guys".

The OP said he used to like watching the YouTubers, however, he noticed that what used to be interesting content has turned into a commercial.

It raises an interesting point, at least in my mind. Do you readers, or viewers, mind advertisements?  I personally do not like the ads on YouTube, but I get why the creator does.  So many have turned into trying to make a buck, selling sunglasses, clothes and whatever else they come up with. Then there is Patreon.  What do you think of Patreon? Do you contribute?

What are your favorite YouTube Channels?

Here are a few of mine:

Frank Holbert
Our Wyoming Life
Rodeo Video
Sail Life
Martin Pauly
310 Pilot

Monday, June 17, 2019

Solo Hop #2

Despite wanting to get a very early start, I dragged my feet this morning before heading over to the airport. The temps were already climbing and I can't emphasize it enough, I really hate just boring holes in the sky. 
Yes, I know I have a lot to learn with the new to me avionics, but that's coming together quickly. Today I focused on the Stec 60 utilizing the vertical speed (VS) function together with altitude capture. I did some Storm scope tinkering, and explored some new functions on the GNS 480. 
Dover AFB
Making my way north of Dover I then turned for Millville NJ (KMIV). No landing just overfly, and then doing the same for Cape May (KWWD). I was cruising along at fifty-five hundred and crossed the Delaware Bay, pointing the nose at Cape Henlopen. It was a nice ride south along the coast. The Ocean City pattern entry would be a forty-five degree for the left down wind runway one-four. There were two aircraft waiting to take off so I offered to extend so both could get out. I told them it's much cooler up here then on the ground.
I finally turned base and final, well set up for my landing. Everything felt good, multiple GUMPS checks and even though I was a bit fast I flew it on and made my best landing in the Commander to date. The log book total is now 2.7 out of 5 hours of solo required. I hope to knock out a few more hours this week.
I did get a special treat as I taxied by the hangars towards my hangar.  The P51, Quick Silver was on the ramp getting ready to fly. As I finished up with 3 Tango Charlie Quick Silver must have been giving rides, he blasted a few low passes...just an awesome sound.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

OC Airshow Practice

I had to run over to the airport to pick up my leather briefcase that I will now use at my new job.  While I was in the hangar I heard jets overhead. I gathered up my few things, found my extra reading glasses, and ran out the door.
Mary said I just missed nine Snowbirds fly overhead.....CRAP!  She then said they have started to land. Ok, an overhead break, I'll catch a few of them landing on one-four. The videos here is all that I managed. I did catch  some great views of the Blue Angels practice but I was driving. I caught just a quick video while I was pumping gas into the SUV.
Maybe I'll head out to the beach tomorrow and bring my video cameras and see what I can record.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My Hangar Rat

I spent some quality time with our Ziva girl over at the hangar.  After her traditional run, and burning a few circles in the grass, this is all that was left. Yep, a burned out pup.

I did do some cleaning, managing to finish the gear legs. Reaching up into the gear wells will be bestowed upon Ivan from CAVU Aircraft Detailing. My shoulders could not take it, I just love this arthritis....NOT!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Solo Time

I started working for a local company, just a few days a week. I'm learning new construction tracking software and doing strictly office work. This company is owned by two of our longest lasting friends and it's a very loose arrangement. They know I fly and that Mary and I want to get back to traveling, so it's a win for all involved.

Today I watched the weather roll through with showers and gusty winds, yes, from the comfort of my office chair looking out the window. I only had a few hours worth of work to get done so I completed the few tasks then high tailed it home. I sat and watched the weather, and somewhere between noon and one the sun decided to show.

Giddy up! I went in to give my bride a kiss goodbye, she was battling a migraine today. I grabbed my flight bag that was already on the counter near the door and ready to go. Mary said be safe, and with that I was heading out the door.

I completed my pre-flight and took on twenty-two gallons of fuel. I started using a fuel stick, it was calibrated by 3TC's previous owner. Well, the gradation chart was, I bought a new one for me. Bill kept his for his Commander 114.
I tugged the plane out and with the help of my step stool climbed aboard. The step stool is fastened to a rope leash that I lay up on the wing.  When I'm ready to board I climb up, then with the rope leash lift the small stool up and place it on one of the back seats. It's easy and it works.  FYI, the Commander steps sit way higher then the Sundowner and the Debonair.

METAR KOXB 111253Z AUTO 33012G22KT 10SM SCT070 SCT085 BKN110 19/17 A2994

Runway three-two it is.  With my start up complete I taxi out to three-two.  The little bit of activity as I taxied out was now clear so I turned towards the wind and completed my run up and checklist. I am going to use Bill's advice and let 3TC takeoff around 70 knots. With the correct trim she'll fly herself off and there will be less 'wallowing' as seen in the first training videos.
This flight was partially for autopilot familiarity and then the return trip for hand flying. The plan was to head to Wilmington (KILG), make a full stop, and then launch for home. Well, I made it north of Dover and got tired of the bumps and headwinds. I canceled flight following with Dover and pointed for home, circling out to the west side of the Dover AFB.

The tail winds were great! I saw speeds of 150 knots plus while dialing the power back to 21/2450.  I was saving fuel and enjoying the speed. I chased altitude for a bit and finally got settled in as I approached Delaware Coastal (KGED). Starting my descent I made my traffic call at ten north of Ocean City. When I reached 1,500 feet and almost ready to enter the downwind, I lowered the gear. I am retraining myself with GUMPS checks and still shedding rust. Once in the pattern, abeam the numbers, I added approach flaps, setting the sight picture and airspeed.
I added the second notch and turned base slowing to eighty knots. Everything felt stable despite the tail wind push. I made my turn to final, pointing for the numbers. Keep flying the plane to the surface, as Dick and Bills voices were on endless loop in my head.  More rudder control, less ailerons...I hear you Dick. I thought I would grease it on, but, right at the end, I added to much flare.  I quickly added a tad of power and flew it on. Not the best but not too bad at all.

I have to be honest, I was pretty nervous making my first solo landing. Not that the accident haunts me but the time off and trying to get comfortable with a new plane triggers those thoughts. Today was a giant stride for me feeling at home in the left seat.
Once the Air Show is over I'll get back in the air and knock out the last 3.7 hours.  After that I hope to hook up with Mike and knock out approaches, by hand, and with the autopilot.

I have never been one to just drag the plane out to go bore holes in the sky, I always needed a purpose. Flying off the solo hours is boring holes, yes, I'm learning and practicing. The mission is what I crave, new destinations, and flying away with my bride.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Flying The Aspen 1000 PFD
The biggest adjustment for me in our Commander is the use of the Aspen 1000 PFD. Progress is coming along, and I think I'll be fine as I log more hours. I think the hardest adjustment has been the Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI). It's contained on the HSI screen with a digital readout and a bar graph.
The steam gauge provided climb or descent trends in a clear and large format, maybe just easier on my eyes, or what I have come to know since I started flying.
After I shoot more approaches I'm sure I will settle in and feel at home. It's all about getting comfortable, and that will take some time.

I have searched the internet and found some helpful videos on the Aspen. I think the best out there is provided by Marauder92V.
Chris provides an easy to follow walk through of the set up and in flight use. Now I need to catch up with him and learn the tips and tricks to make my transition a bit easier.
I also found a very good pictorial of the Aspen 1000 produced by Douglas Fortnam for the Penn Yan Flying Club.
Once the Ocean City Air Show is complete I'll get back in the air to knock out my five solo hours and then hook up with Mike B for some additional approaches and buttonology.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

GNS 480 Intersecting Points
I am focusing on the GNS 480, utilizing the simulator, and 'what if' scenarios that I think up, or the flying forums provide.  This morning I found just such a scenario on one of the forums.  Insert evil mad scientist laugh.

OK, here we go, taken from one of the flying forums I frequent.
Assume I want part of my eastbound route at 11000 to be: CNX V264 V62 TXO. First is this technically allowed since there is not a named intersection where the airways cross? And assuming it's ok then how would you get that into any navigator? I can't figure out a way to get it into Foreflight or the GNS480.

The best workaround I can come up with is making the route something like CNX V264 TCC V12 ACH V62 TXO, and then when I reach the point where V264 and V62 cross I could just activate the leg from ACH->FLUTY (I could identify the crossing using the VORs).

Lets take the easy route first, ForeFlight. Similar to my previous Intersecting Points post, this is a simple entry. If you have the ability to upload Foreflight with the FlightStream products, you're one and done.

First, click on the FPL selection, top left. Next, enter the flight plan.  The V264 is not required but I forgot to delete it.


This will plot the intersection at V264 and V62, you're good to go.

Now on to the GNS 480.

The original flight plan would be CNX V264 TCC TXO. I assume the original plan was to avoid the Pecos High/Low MOA area. The above plan does that but unless you ask or are given the short cut along V62 you're flying way out of your way to get to TXO. Lets fix that, and save some fuel.
I selected the following flight plan by clicking on the FN soft key then the FPL soft key. I then entered CNX V264 TCC TXO.  Notice there is a discontinuity after TCC, the unit is looking for a way to get there.

After selecting EXEC the MAP page shows the route. Note the route CNX -> TCC -> Disco. Now we need to add the CrsTo, in order to plot the route to TXO.
I selected the following soft keys. FN, FPL, EDIT, CRSR to highlight discontinuity which highlights TXO. Next click on the direct soft key.
Your screen now provides multiple choices select MORE in the box. Next you will select CrsTo and with the CRSR dial in 98*.
Click on the soft key button MENU/ENTER. You should now be back on the map page, you are still on a 053* heading on V264 and you can see the 098* radial. 
Select the soft key FN, FPL and EXEC then MENU/ENTER. 
Select the soft key MAP and you will see the 098* radial (V62) highlighted. You will now fly on the 053* heading and intercept the 098* radial TO TXO.
Next up, how to create a user waypoint that will provide the same point in space. This user waypoint comes in handy if ATC sends you to that same point in space on your flights.