Monday, February 24, 2020

BAC Fly-In

Today the Beech Aero Club (BAC) flew into Cambridge Airport (KCGE) for brunch. I had fuel from yesterdays trip home from Wilmington (ILG) so all I needed to do was tug the plane out and saddle up.

The plan was to set up my in cockpit video along with the tail hook camera.  I wanted to check if my gear doors were starting to open once the gear was tucked up in the gear well. 

I launched off runway one-four and left the airport on the down wind, pointing west for Cambridge MD. Total flight time each was was maybe thirty minutes and it was another beautiful day to fly. 

Rant On....

The ramp was full of planes, which is always a welcome site for the restaurant. Recently I think the daughter bought out Mom and Kays turned into Katies. I for one miss Kays. Typically the food and service is excellent, today was a nightmare.  We had a large group and we all understood it takes time to accommodate when they are so busy. The only fly in their pie was that they had three square tables empty, that could have worked for our group, but instead made us wait at  least twenty minutes for a round table. The problem was the round table was full of a pilot group, and they should not have been rushed. It would have been a tight fit for our group even if they added a table. 

Eventually we were seated, at the round table and then waited at least another thirty minutes for our food. The table of five that came in after us was served at least ten minutes ahead of us. Mary will tell you when I'm hungry, i'm grouchy. I was hungry, ticked that they did not use any common sense for the seating and was so slow with the eats. Ok, I'm off my soapbox.
Members L-R  - Gary, Les, Paul, Joe, Rob 
We assembled out on the ramp for our group photo and chatted for a bit.  I was complimented on the Commander and hung out with two pilots that flew in and really liked my plane. The one pilot flew a Sierra that he refurbished. Yes, we asked him if he was a member, and to rejoin the group since he let his membership lapse. 
I eventually saddled up and got the fan turning for home. Plenty of traffic today with pilots taking advantage of the perfect day to fly. I made my way to the home base and made a straight in for runway one-four. 
A great day and fun time meeting up with friends and fellow club members.  Thanks to Les for setting this one up, our Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and BAC for picking up our lunch tab.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

ILG - Family Visit

Mary and I made plans to fly to Wilmington Delaware to visit family. Mary's brother hasn't been feeling well, and it was time we headed north to check in. 

The plane was fueled and the pre-flight completed earlier this week so I just needed to sump and tug 3 Tango Charlie out on the ramp. It was a bit nip this morning, there was slight breeze and the forecast temps were calling for fifty degrees. The sky was an absolutely gorgeous blue, void of clouds.  It's a perfect day to fly.

When we drove through the tenant gate I turned towards the terminal to see if Charles had left yet. Our friend flew into OCMD Thursday, but I didn't hear from him, which means he is doing Real Estate business. I couldn't resist the temptation and sent him a text advising someone must have stolen his plane and they left it here on the ramp in OCMD. I knew this to be true because a friend would have at least texted if they were in town. I did manage to get a laugh out of him and he acknowledged he was indeed busy with clients. Charles always gets a pass. He deserves it, for all the help he provided getting us back in the air.

With that bit of fun complete it was time to get 3 Tango Charlie ready to go. I shut off the pre-heats and pulled the cowling covers off, also unplugging the extension cord that is connected to our Switchbox. I disconnected the tug that had been charging, and positioned it at the nose gear. 

Once I closed up the hangar Mary and I climbed aboard. It took a few minutes to set up my iPad and video camera for the flight.  With a call for clear prop the fan was soon turning and we were ready to taxi.  
We launched off runway three-two and headed direct to Wilmington, KILG. I picked up flight following with Dover approach, south of the Waterloo VOR. My initial communication was a mess. I mumbled through that first call like a newbie...oh brother, it was embarrassing. The headwinds north Ocean City were 11 kts, approaching Dover 24 kts and north of the C&D canal 34 kts.
It was slow ride north but as smooth as any flight we had ever taken. With a quick call I cancelled flight following, and at ten south of ILG, made my call to the Wilmington tower.  This communication was spot on, typical of my radio work. I felt better after that.
ATIS - Whiskey with the scratch pad feature
Wilmington directed me to a left base entry, number two to land following an Archer. I complied and made a nice landing, turning left on runway one one-nine, Bravo 4, Bravo to taxi into the FBO.  FlyAdvanced added 15 gallons of 100LL as directed, and we took advantage of the courtesy car (Van) to head to Mary's brother. 
We were greeted by Mary's two great nephews, which really made my brides day. We visited for a few hours before having to return the van to the FBO. It was special to catch up with Mary's brother and both of the nephews and their parents. The two boys are growing so fast. 

The Return Trip

With the van returned, and our fuel bill paid, we loaded up for home. I had to change a video battery in the VIRB XE and then I got the plane started. The toasty engine temps from this morning had already turned to a chill. We sat at idle to build up some oil temp while I reversed our initial flight plan on the Garmin 480. With a call to ground noting current ATIS info, we were soon given our taxi instructions. Easy Peasy, taxiway Alpha to runway two-seven. I haven't taxied by the commercial terminal since Frontier airlines left, funny thing is, they are returning once again in the spring. We shall see how long they stay this time around. Insert eye roll. 
We launched off two-seven and climbed out for home. Answering the towers question of our on course heading for Ocean City, I responded 175 degrees, 3 Tango Charlie. We were good to go and soon advised to change frequency. I swapped the back up com, Dover approach, and monitored before requesting flight following for the ride home. The headwinds were now tail winds but nowhere near as strong as this morning. We did enjoy 11-17 kts heading south but the ride was brutal compared to the ride north. Mary and I were getting a pretty rough ride.
We had some traffic passing Dover and then again around Delaware Coastal KGED. Once clear of GED we canceled flight following and tuned in to Ocean City's CTAF. 
It really got rough as we let down for the pattern, crossing midfield to enter the downwind. There were two Cessna's holding short at three-two as we crossed the numbers and made our landing. With a call to advise clear, we were home.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Getting My Currency On

Since Mary and I scrubbed our Wilmington flight on Saturday, I decided I needed to fly today. What I really needed was to knock out approaches and reset my instrument currency. 

Charles G and I swapped text messages Saturday about catching up today for breakfast. This morning he had a client he is meeting with so we pushed for lunch after his meeting was done.

I headed out to the airport to get 3 Tango Charlie ready for today's flight. Once my pre-flight was completed I tugged the plane out on the ramp and gave some thought to flying to New Garden to meet up. Charles and I connected on a phone call and he really wanted to fly, so we decided on Cape May NJ (KWWD).  Charles also offered to be my safety pilot so I could get my instrument currency reset. I was going to turn into a pumpkin in just 13 days, the end of the month. Since I still had some time to kill I made a quick drive over to the terminal to pick up my Oxygen tank that had been filled. I have two bottles so one will be going up for sale soon, most likely the M size, 22 cf.
Ocean City MD Skyline
When the Ox bottle was secured in my SUV I climbed aboard the plane and got the prop turning. 3 Tango Charlie had been plugged in since the early morning hours on Saturday so she was plenty toasty. For cold starts I give a second or two of fuel pump then crank, it works very well. Today the winds favored runway two-zero so that's where I taxied for my run up. 
Rehoboth Beach DE
Cape Henlopen DE
I climbed away from Ocean City, once again absorbing all of the beautiful Eastern Shore views. This view NEVER gets old. As I crossed the Delaware Bay I was trailed by a Cessna below and to my seven/eight o'clock position. The Cessna was crossing the Bay at just two thousand feet. I hope they understood how cold that water was in the Bay beneath them. 
I let down for Cape May, having to circle to lose altitude before entering the pattern. Winds favored two-eight and I made a nice landing. When I taxied to the Flight Deck Diner I parked next to a beautiful tail dragger who was just getting ready to taxi out.
I arrived ahead of Charles but he soon arrived and taxied in to park next to my Commander. We enjoyed lunch and the airplane chat as usual. 
Thank You Charles for buying today. I tried to explain the guy under the foggles buys for the the safety pilot and he responded he will let me buy when he comes to Ocean City this week. Hmmm...seafood dinner, he obviously has given this some thought. 
It was time to saddle up for some approach work. The plan was to shoot two at WWD, four at MIV, each with AP and then without. 
The first approach was the RNAV GPS RWY 32 at Millville (KMIV). This first approach went as planned with the autopilot. I did the procedure turn at LAYIB and headed inbound for a low approach only. After going missed I climbed out and set up for the ILS RWY 10, again with the AP. 
Rinse and repeat both approaches a second time but with no autopilot. My ILS was good as far as tracking the localizer, but, my glide slope really stunk, at least in my opinion. I flew all approaches with the plane configured clean, no flaps or gear, so my speed was a bit faster the normal.
Sporting those sexy foggles...NOT
After finishing up at Millville we pointed for Cape May. I was setting up for the GPS RWY 19 approach with the AP. 
Pointed to Cape May
I enjoyed a short break from the foggles as I set up for the Cape May GPS 19 approach. The plan was to go direct KAGYS, do the procedure turn and fly a low approach only. 

Parallel entry at KAGYS
KAGYS - red dot
This was another good approach disconnecting from the AP around five hundred feet and then going missed. At least I was feeling better about shedding the rust and staying ahead of the plane. Once again we went missed and climbed back out for one more approach. This time headed to Woodbine (KOBI) and the GPS RWY 19 approach, running a Vectors To Final (VTF) scenario. 
I headed north past the Final Approach Fix (FAF) NARVE so I could make turns or vector for the final approach. Just using the AP heading bug, I made a nice approach followed by another missed.  

It was time to wrap this session up and head back to Cape May. This time I set the foggles aside and made the approach and landing on runway one-nine. Charles heard Chris (based at New Garden) in his Mooney so they swapped calls and we were all going to meet at Cape May. I made a nice landing and taxied for the FBO, wanting to add some fuel for the ride home. My gauges were showing half tanks, I thought I should have burned more. With a ten gallon top off on each tank I now sat at fifty gallons which calculated to a ten gallon an hour burn flying to WWD and shooting all those approaches. A total of 2.4 hours.

Charles and Chris planned on meeting up across the Bay at Delaware Coastal for a sandwich and soup, they invited me along. I was beat, and had a headache from lack of fluids. I took a pass today and instead headed for home. 
I headed for the coast having to circle and climb to gain altitude for the crossing. The cloud formation and the setting sun looked beautiful as I was just crossing over the shore at Rehoboth, DE. Why do we fly? For the VIEW!
I had a fun day flying with Charles and I can't thank him enough for enduring the right seat safety pilot time. I am once again current and now good until August 31st, resetting the clock for six more months. Now the key is to work on my proficiency.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

GNS 480 User Waypoint

More training scenarios for the Garmin 480 thanks to the Pilots of America forum.

Cleared to the Gainesville Airport. Fly runway heading then direct IRW, then the Ardmore 310 Radial 30 DME, then Direct. Climb 3000, expect 5000 within in 10 minutes. Departure Frequency 120.45. Squawk XXXX"

The question is: what is the simplest way to input the Radial/DME waypoint into the 480's flight plan?

First lets plot the flight on Foreflight.

Easy peasy, right?  Now lets take a look at how to handle this on the GNS 480. Since we would be on the ramp picking up our clearance we are going to enter the flight plan as filed then make the change with the amended route given us adding a waypoint for the Ardmore 310° radial 30 DME. 

Press the FN button and then select USER
SEARCH will come up but we will need to press the NEW key.  At this point you can create a custom name or just use what the 480 creates and note it.
Use the large outter knob to scroll the cursor down to REFERENCE WPT.
When CHG? suddenly appears press ENTER.
Scroll to enter ADM as the Reference Wpt. 
Then press ENTER.
This will take you back to the previous screen where you will now enter the Radial and DME as instructed for the amended route.
Note the name given to the waypoint you created. Press FPL.
Scroll down to IRW then press WPT to insert the new waypoint for your amended route.
Your last USER waypoint created will come up, if not enter the user waypoint name you noted.  In this case #U0012. Press ENTER
The new waypoint you created is listed after/below IRW as it should be, in the plan.
Scroll up to IFR and select EXEC to activate the first leg of the flight plan.
You're good to go, switch over to map view and  prepare to taxi. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Definition of Customer Service

As I am getting ready to gear up for more fly time, I am faced with one remaining avionics squawk. My Aspen Evolution does not currently provide audio warnings. 
For altitude an amber flag is presented to indicate the aircraft is reaching (steady) or deviating (flashing) the selected altitude. This will be accompanied by a one-second steady tone. 
For approach minimums an amber annunciation is presented when the aircraft reaches, or is below the set MINIMUMS. This will be accompanied by a one-second stuttered tone.

I went through all my associated documents and could not find the correct combo to get the sound to generate.  So, when all else fails, drop back, and throw the hail Mary pass. And I did, to the shop that installed the PS Engineering 8000B audio panel back in 2011. A further records search shows the Aspen was added in 2013, it was also installed by the same shop.
I made the call and ended up getting a recorded message. Leaving my info, I had hoped I would get a call back, a long-shot I know. Maybe a half hour passed and my cell phone rang, not a number I knew, but, I answered. It was the shop that I had called. The man I spoke to was very nice, as we discussed the Aspen and audio panel installs. He asked who I bought the plane from and I gave him the info. After a brief pause he said I know that Commander, and Bill is a very nice guy.  I responded yes, that's the plane and previous owner.
The man went on to explain how their shop makes the install/connections. Typically they are wired to automatically generate tomes but some customers choose to use an empty switch to be able to toggle the alerts on and off. The man wished me good luck in getting the alerts to generate. With that, I thanked him for his time, and returning my call. He said he almost didn't call, thinking it was some car warranty sales pitch. We both had a good laugh. 

I was left to figure out what open switch on the PS 8000B would be the key to my lock, the missing piece to my puzzle. I figured I would run through a few attempts while flying Mary up to Wilmington and back this weekend. There are multiple choices, ADF, AUX or maybe just the speaker. Who knows what the magic button, or combination of buttons it will be. 

My cell phone, on silent, vibrated around 9:10 last night with a text message alert. I looked at the number and had no clue who it was. I opened up the text anyway and did I get a surprise. The man from the avionics shop texted me some additional info after he obviously went back and pulled the service records of the install.  Customer service above and beyond.
It's refreshing to know customer service is not dead, some companies and employees still get it.  I just wanted to give a shout out to C.F. Airtronics, now Warren Avionics, great job!