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. 


Chris said...

Doesn't it feel great to finally go someplace new beyond the local area this time of year?

Gary said...

It felt fantastic! I am really starting to feel at home in the Commanders left seat. Mary and I are looking forward to a few trips this summer and these short cross countries help with my flow in the cockpit.