Saturday, October 19, 2019

BAC - Hagerstown for lunch

The Beech Aero Club (BAC) scheduled a fly-in to the Hagerstown Regional Airport (KHGR) located in, Hagerstown, MD.  The event start time was set for noon, meeting up at the Rider Jet Center and dining at The Grille at Runways.
Mary and I decided to attend the event so I fueled  3 Tango Charlie on Friday and completed my pre-flight. All that was left was to sump tanks this morning. I even decided to give the new Reiff preheats a test just in case the temps dipped overnight. 

It was a beautiful day to fly, with temps in the low fifties when we arrived at the hangar. I completed the sump and tugged the plane out on the ramp, yes I did turn on the preheats for two hours before arriving at the airport. 
Mary and I climbed aboard and got settled, it's only my brides second trip in our new to us Commander. With video equipment set and getting my knee board strapped on I was ready. I taxied for runway three-two to complete my run up and pick up my IFR clearence for the flight. Why file, because it makes the Baltimore transition easy peasy.

A - 4000/6000
F - 127.95
T - 4623

We took off just after 10:15 and pointed west for the Salisbury VOR. I soon received an amended route, direct Baltimore. Mary and I enjoyed the view as we made our way to cross the Chesapeake Bay. We had a clear view of the Bay Bridges and could not believe the number of sail and motor boats out on the water. 
Once handed off to the next sector, approach  once again amended my route, this time adding direct HAIGS intersetion.  This change would put me on the north side of the Camp David (P40 R-4009) restricted area. 
We cruised along checking out all the beautiful colors of our impromptu leaf peep. The drone of ATC interupted our conversations but we were enjoying the fly time together. At one point ATC asked if we were still on frequency. Mary and I looked at each other as I responded we are still riding along with you. He replied he hadn't called me in awhile and was just checking. We both had a good laugh at that one. 
I was stepped down just passing HAIGS and had one ridge line left to cross for the airport. Once handed off to the tower I could hear some of the other BAC members making their calls and heading in to land. I think we were landing in between Les in his Sundowner 08Lima, then a Cessna followed by Alan in his Sundowner. 
I made a nice landing and taxied for the Jet center. I followed the Cessna to the ramp who was following the "Follow Me" golf cart. I was then picked up by a lineman and marshaled in to park, or so I thought. This youngster needed some training in marshaling aircraft. He initially lined me up to park at an angle right next to a twin engine aircraft, seems easy enough. But, as I made my turn, he turned. Now pilots look to line up on the the line guy. point your plane at him and you're good, he changed the line up. We then did this hand signal dance and Mary and I decided he wanted me to go around, yes, a missed parking of sorts. I was a bit frustrated.  Off we go as I made another loop around the ramp and once again lined up and parked. Go figure, I was in the exact same spot I had originally stopped. OMG!!
We gathered for lunch at the Grille, enjoying good conversation with excellent food and service. Mary and I each had a burger and kettle chips. Mary had blue cheese, bacon, and onion. I had bacon, mushrooms, cheddar and some of her onions. Both burgers were cooked perfectly, and both very tasty.
Following lunch we met out front and took a group shot in front of Bob's immaculate Skipper. What a nice plane, and what a loaded panel.
Mary and I said our goodbyes and saddled up for home. I got the fan turning on the first start and let the oil warm up while I entered my flight plan. The route I filed, a reverse of what I filed this morning, is not what I was cleared for on the return home.  
I would have to back track to the Hagerstown VOR then turn for Baltimore. We launched off runway two-seven while the rest of the group lined up for runway two-zero. I was handed off to departure and did listen to our fellow BAC members check in. 
The ride was once again smooth, just like this morning. Approach hand-offs flowed sector by sector, reverse of this mornings flight, and we were enjoying a good tail wind. 

Soon we were recrossing the Chesapeake Bay and viewing the zig zag trail of Route 50 out the window. We passed over the familiar Bay Bridge, Easton and Cambridge airports as we continued on for Salisbury. Once clear of Salisbury's airspace I canceled IFR and switched over to CTAF at Ocean City. The jump plane was first to break the squelch, jumpers away...jumpers away, caution ten thousand and below, yes we were home. I coordinated my landing with the jump plane. I was coming in on two-zero and he called out one-four. I advised I would call clear one-four once landing. On short final the jump plane had a visual on me and by the time I taxied clear then back to the ramp he was loading the next group of meat bombs. 
A fun day with friends and always fun getting to fly our Commander! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Mission: Retrieve 8 Bravo Whisky's Fuel Tank

Thursday  10.10.2019

Chet and I swapped a few text messages and a phone call. My pilot friend and hangar neighbor was sounding pretty rough, he was dealing with a cold. 
The plan is to fly one day next week in order to pick up his fuel tank, now that it has been serviced. It should be an interesting trip, departing Ocean City Maryland and flying to KMSV- Sullivan County International located in Monticello New York. From Monticello we will fly into KABE - Lehigh Valley International in Allentown Pennsylvania, uber to the shop where his plane is located to drop off the tank, then back to Allentown Airport.  Why am I not flying into the airport where the plane is located, because Braden, N43, is only 1900 feet. That's a little tight for my comfort level in the Commander, at least until I have more time in type. 

Tuesday 10.15.2019

METAR - 150953Z AUTO 34006KT 8SM CLR 10/10 A3011

10 degrees Celsius is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a bit nip this morning!
Chet rolled in on time and with his arrival I tugged 3 Tango Charlie out on the ramp. It took a few minutes to flight plan and set up the video camera before we headed to runway three-two. We rolled for take off and climbed out to seven thousand five hundred, taking us across the Delaware bay and over the top of Phiilys airspace. 
The ride for the most part was smooth with temps around forty degrees. The radio came alive as we crossed over the Philly airspace.  Once engaged with Philly approach it was game on.  We were handed off to multiple approach sectors and then turned over to New York approach and more sector hand-offs. I was trying to get used to having another pilot on board and talking, it's a distraction from my normal sterile cockpit. Even when Mary flies she keeps pretty quiet, FYI, that's PC for sleeps. 
We could see the hills of New York as we shadowed the northern section of the Delaware River. The tress have turned brown, there wasn't much color left to see. I entered on an extended left base for runway three-three and made a nice landing. Unfortunately, I ran out of battery on the video. 
Chet went inside to pick up his fuel tank and I hit the head. Once we got the tank wrapped in blankets we loaded it across the Commanders back seat. It fit, and was secure with the blankets as it leaned against the base of the front seats. 

Once the load was secure we attempted to get the fan turning so we could head to Allentown, KABE. 3 Tango Charlie had other plans, she just didn't want to hot start. I tried three times with not even a sputter and then decided on the next go I would just use the flooded start procedure.  After a cool down period I gave it another go using the hot start procedure, but, added four to five seconds of fuel pump. On the next try there were a few sputters but she didn't catch. The guy at the shop walked out and asked if I needed a jump, ugh, how embarrassing. No sir, but thanks, she's just being obstinate. 

Ok another try, this time a regular hot start with no pump.  After a few blades she sputters and catches, with an added curse word or two, maybe three, and now fuel pump added, 3 Tango Charlie comes to life.  It's about darn time. 

Once at idle she purrs like a kitten, someday I'll have her figured out. At least that's what I keep telling myself. We taxi out for runway three-three and launch for Allentown. It's only a thirty minute hop and I'll take on fuel there for the ride home. Allentown approach was excellent as usual. After some vectors taking me through final for commercial traffic I was finally turned inbound to land on runway two-four. I made a nice landing and taxied off for Hangar 7.  I supervised the fueling while Chet secured a courtesy car, we were like a well oiled machine.  Once the fuel was completed I went through the FBO and climbed in the car, the tank once again riding in the back seat. 
It was a short drive to Braden airport. Once there we unloaded the tank and headed into the shop to meet Dave, the A&P working on Chets plane. What a nice guy, he walked us through everything about the tank repair and provided some education on turbos. Chet had asked about a tubo Arrow he was looking at so that's what rolled us into that discussion. 

Once the hand off was completed we saddled up for the ride back to Allentown.  Traffic was getting busy but it was such a short ride it didn't matter.  We returned the car and then headed out to 3 Tango Charlie.  The ramp guy asked if we were ready to go because a citation jet needed to get out and where they had me parked I was blocking his taxi out. Great added pressure for the hot start.
After a walk around and oil check I climbed aboard to get the fan turning. First try on the hot start and 3 Tango Charlie is ready to go, fan turning.  I did taxi out of the way but sat at the far end of the ramp until my avionics and video were set up. Once I had my taxi clearance I headed back for runway two-four, retracing my steps, following a Piper. 
I was number three to go and then got bumped by a regional that the tower cut loose first. As Charles G says....line bumper. 
Once cleared, I departed on runway two-four and climbed out on runway heading to three thousand feet. I was handed off to departure and cleared to six point five but then held at four point five for traffic. Once finally granted six thousand five hundred we were on our way home. Allentown handed me off to Philly, they spoke the magic words, cleared into the bravo airspace, and we cruised along.
Philly handed me off to another sector then they turned me over to Dover approach. I road along with Dover until past Delaware Coastal, KGED and then cancelled Flight Following. It was pretty much a long left base for runway one-four, coordinating with a Debonair that was inbound. I never did hear anything from him and I wanted to confirm his location before I turned final. He did respond to let me know he was clear of the runway. I made a nice landing to finish out today's flights and tucked  3 TC into her hangar.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Reiff Preheat Install

Too soon for a snow pic?
Since it does get cold here at the beach and some of the best flying is in colder temps, I'm having a Reiff preheat standard system installed on 3 Tango Charlie.  I had the same system on 08Romeo and it worked very well, keeping the cylinders and oil warm and ready to go when I went flying.  Couple the Reiff preheat system with my Switchbox control system to toggle the power on and off and it makes winter ops a non-event.
Standard System
50 watt band heaters clamp around the cylinders and a 100 watt aluminum HotStrip element epoxies to the oil sump.  Epoxy is included.
The easiest and safest way to remote control any electrical device. No more driving to the airport hours before a flight. Turn on your Engine Heater from your cellphone, and simplify your cold flying routine! You can even activate a second device like a Cabin Heater for your sensitive avionics.

The Flight

I would have liked to get in the air earlier but didn't manage to go wheels up until 8:20. I filed but decided to go VFR and just enjoy the ride instead. ATC was relatively quiet and that was good, plenty of looking out the window and monitoring systems.
I made my way just east of Chesapeake City and then turned for final runway three-one at Claremont - 58M.
Shop Time

I removed the top cowl and then helped Dale remove all the parts for the bottom cowl removal. This cowl is a bit more involved than the Sundowner, with cowl flaps and gear doors to be reckoned with.
While Josh and Dale worked on the Reiff install I changed the nose gear bumpers and then moved on to check the gear hydraulic fluid level.
The bumper was easy peasy, and once removing the gear motor fill screw I confirmed the level as full.
old bumper
pretty new bumper
The guys finished up around noon and then I had to give the sump pad epoxy mix time to cure. While we waited Josh checked my fuel drain and lubed the cable, it was sticking. We then moved to the pilot side and did the same lube for the Standby Vac System cable. Both cables now moved much easier, cross two more items off my squawk list.

The Return Flight

I saddled up for home and taxied out, only to notice my number one EGT and CHT did not register on my JPI engine monitor. The engine felt smooth so I did a run up out on the taxiway. Odd, Not showing a drop but its not running rough at all. I taxi back to the shop and shut down. Josh and I removed the top cowl and check the probe connection for number one cylinder, it seems fine. Josh then checked all the connections on both mags, again, everything seemed connected and tight.

The Return Flight, Take Two

I climbed back aboard and had my best start to date, and it was a hot start. I think she caught in two blades! I watched the JPI engine monitor and all cylinders were coming up on the display. Number one temps looked in alignment with the other three cylinders. I taxied out and did my run up, and observed an even drop, meeting spec, between each mag. I was good to go for launch.
Charles G's plane, waiting for its annual to begin
With two notches of flaps I gave 3 Tango Charlie her head and off we went. It was warm, and DA had climbed during the day. I departed the airport to the south, pointing for Ocean City. Since I had a bit of a tail wind I just dialed it back and cruised home at three thousand feet. I entered the cross wind for runway three-two and then made a good landing, riding a wheelie until my speed dropped.

I'm glad the Reiff preheat is installed, I'll now be ready for winter ops.