Monday, March 30, 2020

Flight Plans Commander Fly-In

The Commander Owners Group posted the dates and location for their Annual Fly-In event.  Mary and I will be planning to attend in September.  The location is French Lick, Indiana.  Wait, what....where is that location?  You read it just fine. Accommodations are set up for the French Lick Springs Resort, and it looks pretty spiffy.
Our plan is to fly out in one day, maybe even non-stop depending on the winds. Most likely we will make a one stop fuel/bathroom break and go. Looking over the Foreflight planning, a midway stop would be close to Charleston, WV., at the Yeager Airport.  There is plenty of runway and approaches if needed. Capitol Jet Center will be the FBO of choice, although I don't remember it under that name on our last visit.

Following our fuel and go at CRW we'll saddle up for the last leg, maybe a two and a half hour hop. French Lick Municipal will be a new airport for us and it will serve as the fly-in home base of operations. 

I'm excited to meet up with fellow Commander owners and hopefully they will have some sort of maintenance clinics. There is still so much to learn about our Commander. 

I hope to follow up with some additional info on possible clinics and a bit more in depth review of the Resort dubbed "The Midwest's Premier Resort Destination". Exactly what is there to do in French Lick, Indiana???

Saturday, March 28, 2020

VLog Update 3/28/2020

Mary and I are trying to maintain the appropriate social distance from others and still have some fun. I went out to the hangar Thursday to go through some boxes that have been stored since we retired here in Ocean City. I was looking for my yoke and pedals for flight sim, I must have sold them. I didn't feel like dragging the plane out or putting it away so I did not fly.

On Friday, Mary and took our American Mastiff to the airport for some fun play time. We actually gave some thought to flying and taking the beast with us. 
Instead we decided on a take out lunch from Five Guys, then parking at the Ocean City Inlet in our SUV.

We hope to be flying soon, even if we have to bring chairs with us, order take out, and eat on the ramp next to our plane.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Great TP Hunt of 2020

Wednesday 3/25

The bride and I went out to do our regular order late this morning, maybe almost noon. We keep a list on the fridge and when the page is full we go shop (usually three weeks). Away we went, and managed to pick up just about everything on the regular order list. Before we left the house I took stock of our TP situation, which is typically 2 six packs. So I noticed today we were into the last pack and there were four rolls left. So TP went on the list. 

At the first market, Food Lion, we completed our order, however they had no TP. The second stop was at a Wawa, sort of like a 7/11, but much better. We love their milk and that's the only brand we will buy. Milk purchased. Wawa didn't have any TP nor do I think they even carry it on a regular basis. We drove across the parking lot to a CVS and they didn't have any TP either.  

We headed across the state line into Fenwick Delaware and hit the first Wallgreens, Food Lion, and Harris Teeter we found.  Three strikes, we're out, no TP. Apparently the towns of Ocean City MD, and Fenwick DE are out of TP. Oh, the horror.

What is wrong with people? Is it that hard to just fill your typical orders and not go bat crap crazy. I guess tomorrow will be another  TP mission, and most likely we'll buy one six pack. 

If I see someone hoarding I swear I am going to throw in a pepto-bismal bottle for every package of TP they have. I want to be a good neighbor and help with their obvious diarrhea/mental problems. 

Thursday 3/26

Attempt number two, pun intended. 

Mary and I once again went to the grocery store across from our community at 7:20 this morning. Food Lion employees said yesterday that they had a truck coming in, so there should be plenty of TP on the shelf this morning. It was gone, every last package, and they had just opened at 7am. Are you kidding me?!

So the hunt resumed again today, with the plan to retrace the five stops from yesterday. Thankfully, the Acme on Ocean Highway, maybe seven or eight miles from home, had the much coveted TP. Yes, we hit pay dirt on the second stop! Let's go home.

We are now happily back home with two packages secured. I'm thinking we are good to go, even though we felt shame for buying that second pack. My bride said, pull in the garage, I don't want to do the TP walk of shame for buying more then one pack. 

Two days driving around - 1/4 tank of gas 

Filled grocery order - Completed 
Drove around making five stops in two states for TP - Mission fail 
Drove around making two stops for TP - Mission Success

Monday, March 23, 2020

Computer Update

With all this computer talk on the forums I frequent, I decided to finally update what I'm working with. I have been running the same desk top unit for at least 15 years, I know, I'm living in the stone age. What really has driven the update is the need for video editing speed. It was time. It was past time. 

I purchased a Dell G3 gaming laptop, and I'll reuse my monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse. Here are the specs.

9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9750H
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5
16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 2666MHz
256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive (Boot) + 1TB 5400 rpm 2.5" SATA Hard Drive (Storage)
15.6-in. display

I also added a WD Elements 3TB Portable External Hard Drive along with an Anker USB C Hub 4 port.

I must say the video editing takes less time and the upload process is much faster.  The editing software hasn't crashed and I can actually run the latest version I paid for now that my system can handle it. I know this will sound crazy but I miss my old Windows version. 

With the social distancing and shelter in place warnings, I am giving some thought to purchasing the latest and greatest Flight Sim. I have no clue where my yoke and rudder pedals are, maybe stored in a box in the hangar. If it stops raining I'll head over to the hangar and look for the controls.

Any recommendations on Flight Sim software??

Sunday, March 22, 2020

VLog Update 3/22/2020

I was in need of fresh air and a change of scenery. I saddled up in my ML320 and ran an errand or two and made a stop at the airport to check on the plane. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

VLog Update 3/17/2020

Obviously it's been a slow day.  I'm trying to keep busy and mostly stay out of trouble. I decided to video a VLog update as a start to my morning and then move on to something geared towards flying. Maybe a video on reviewing an instrument approach plate, or just work on learning more about Power Point.

Enjoy your day and keep safe. Mary and I are practicing social distancing. Actually it's a no brainer since most places are closed and her groups have cancelled meetings.  At least I still have a safe place in my hangar and getting 3 Tango Charlie in the air will keep me sane. 

Monday, March 09, 2020

Martinsville Virginia Meet Up

It was a beautiful day and I had to scratch the itch to fly.  Mary decided to pass with a headache starting and airplane talk was just not going to do it for her today. I planned for a 9 am departure and maybe even picking up an IFR clearance for this trip. 

I arrived at the hangar and decided to take on ten gallons of fuel, bringing the Commander to fifty total on board.  I would need twenty-four for the ride south and that would leave me with over two hours reserve, my warm and fuzzy safety place.

I taxied out to runway three-two and launched for my first fix, the Snowhill VOR. I took a pass on opening up the instrument flight plan, instead just picking up flight following. Patuxent Approach asked if I wanted VOR today, yes, that would work for me.

The ride at eight thousand five hundred feet was as smooth as sitting in your favorite chair. The view down the peninsula and across the Chesapeake Bay was simply amazing. I continued on towards Cape Charles the made a right turn, pointing for Richmond. I was handed off to multiple controllers along the way, each accommodating and easy to work with. 

As I approached Richmond I decided to turn direct to Martinsville, shaving a few minutes off the flight. I started my descent and cancelled flight following, wanting to tune into Blue Ridge and set my mental picture of the traffic in the area.

It was getting busy so I made my approach crossing over midfield and then entering the left down wind for runway three-one. I made a nice landing and taxied clear at the first turn off for the ramp. I secured 3 Tango Charlie and met Johne at the Simply Sussanes restaurant located adjacent to the ramp.
Johne and I enjoyed our breakfast. The waitress took our order despite it being past the breakfast cut off.  Her words were, for you, (Johne) I'll make the exception.

After we finished up eating, and talking airplanes, we headed to Johne's hangar.  There I got to see Miss Grace up close. What a beautiful Commander 114. here are a few pictures. This is a climb aboard and fly aircraft. I know it breaks Johne's heart to sell her.

I decided I should be heading home and we made our way over to my plane to take a look. Just for a numbers comparison, Johne's 114 cruises at 150kts and has a useful load of 1050 lbs, my 112 cruises at 130kts and has 830lbs useful load.

I had to start up and taxi to the pump since there was no low lead truck, just Jet A. I worried about the immediate hot start but also know it's been fine since the right mag was replaced. It was a short taxi back to the pumps from where I was on the ramp. The man working the counter also pumped fuel so I now understood the full serve price being equal to self serve ($4.19 gal). When the man asked how much I wanted I told him all you could fit in, I'm going to tanker as much as I can at that price since its a dollar cheaper then at home. I told him my best guess would be forty five gallons, 3 Tango Charlie took 44.8, I think we are on the same page. 

I said good bye to my host and climbed aboard for the hot start. I have learned to leave the controls where they were at shut down. I now just add a couple of seconds of fuel pump then crank her over. 3 Tango came to life without issue. 

I taxied back for runway three-one and departed direct for Richmond. From there I was going to Jamie intersection and then up the peninsula for Ocean City. 
I climbed out, making my way to seven thousand five hundred for the return trip. Approach was once again easy to work with as I went through multiple handoffs along the way.  
After turning for Jamie I made my way to the Bay and was offered a shortcut for home. Apparently the Restricted areas were cold so I accepted the offer and amended my flight plan. 
Potomac handed me off to Patuxent and we road along until just fifteen miles from home. At that point I cancelled and wanted to listen to the local CTAF and set that picture of the traffic for Ocean City.
Crissfield, MD
There were two planes to contend with, one in the pattern and one approaching from the north. Both pilots did a great job on the radio and we all managed to enter the pattern and land without a delay or issue. 

It was a fun day flying and it really helped me feel comfortable in 3 Tango Charlie.  I am feeling more at home with the avionics and her overall flight performance. I am ready to stretch it out a bit and get back to serious travels. 

Saturday, March 07, 2020

First Trip, Early Summer

With Mary's recent doctor visit confirming she will not need surgery for her neck and back, we have decided to get back in the air. Barring any issues during our April annual we will finally get back to traveling on our magic carpet. 
The heart of the plan is to attend the Bonfire event out in Olathe, Kansas.  We have missed the last few years and really want to get back to visiting our friends from the flying world.

Day one we will make a fuel stop in the Asheville, NC area then push on to Memphis. We should arrive early enough to enjoy a good part of the afternoon and evening exploring. 
Day two will be more exploration and maybe even a visit to the Kings home, Graceland. Of course we will have to sample good eats along the way. The plan for departure will be in the afternoon with a short few hour hop to Olathe, KS. Here we will get settled in for a two night stay and secure a rental car for attending the Bonfire event. 
Mackinac Island HarborPhoto: Alamy
Day four will present us with multiple choices. The plan for now is to head north for Mackinac Island, MI. Mary and I could just as easily do the southern spin for another visit to Waco, TX, a four hour flight. Weather and temps will also play a critical role in deciding if we fly north or south. 

For planning sake we will keep Mackinac on the map. If we do head north we will try to catch up with my friend and fellow pilot Jeff and his family for a short visit before continuing north. 

Day five will be spent enjoying and exploring the Island. We may even add an extra day on this stop. 

The final leg will be the return home. There will be one or two fuel stops along the way as we head south east, through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and back to our home state of Maryland. 

The Southern Spin...

The southern spin would take us to (27K) Paris, KY as our first overnight stop.  Paris Kentucky???  Yep,  one of my bucket list items is to visit Claiborne Farms and the final resting place of the greatest horse of all time, Secretariat. 
Following the overnight we would head out to the Bonfire event in Olathe, KS. After a fun time spent with friends at the bonfire, we would head to Waco Texas for a day or two of tours and good eats at Magnolia Market. With home calling and missing our Ziva girl we would push for home. There would be one more overnight stop in Memphis to visit Graceland and then finally back to the beach.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

POA and My Return to Katie's

Am I a glutton for punishment?

A few pilots that frequent Pilots of America forum decided to meet up at Katie's, located at the Cambridge Airport.  Yes, the same place we met for the BAC Fly-in, and had long wait times for seating and food. See my previous blog post. 

My day started as usual, feeding the Ziva princess then watching her go back to bed while I updated my banking and then flight prep.  3 Tango Charlie is plugged in, getting her oil and cylinders warm and toasty since noon on Saturday. The temps here in Ocean City this morning are stuck in the mid thirties.  

011053Z AUTO 30004KT 10SM CLR M03/M10 A3023 

The NOTAM search provided procedure notes for both airports and added obstruction  notes for OXB due to construction cranes. 

The weather is looking perfect all day with winds favoring runway three-two at OXB and three-four at Cambridge.
I took on twenty-two gallons of fuel yesterday bringing my total on board 3 Tango Charlie to fifty. I also did my preflight with the remaining item of sumping fuel left for this morning. As an avionics note I updated the JPI fuel selection without an issue, having added a flow chart to my checklist booklet. I just kept hitting the wrong sequence of buttons, which drove me nuts.
I was ready to go and taxied for runway three-two here at the home base, OXB. The flight west to Cambridge was thirty minutes in a constant head wind. Those winds better be there for my tail wind flight home. 
There was plenty of activity around Salisbury KSBY this morning.  I stayed on the north side of their airspace and continued on for Cambridge. 
I made my way into Cambridge by circling to the south and entering an extended down wind for runway three-four. I think I was third to land.
George from POA landed shortly after I did and we met up inside the terminal. We were quickly seated and our order taken.  Nothing like last week. The food and conversation was very good. George belongs to a club and flys a Cessna 182 when hauling the family around.  His 1950 Cessna 140 that he owns and flew today is a real head turner.
After lunch we headed out to check out both of our rides. George needed to take on some fuel and I had planned to make the hop to Delaware Coastal to meet up with Charles G. After I got the fan turning I sent Charles a text to let him know I was taking off, but he was still with a client. I decided to head straight for home base and be done with the bumpy rides for the day. 
The return trip was much like the west bound leg.  This time I enjoyed the tail winds and pulled the power back for a quiet bumpy ride. 
 There was one aircraft that landed and another heading north up the coast so I had the airport to myself. I made a nice landing and taxied clear, happy to be on the ground and done with the rodeo ride.