Friday, July 17, 2020

More planning and a look at 2021's BIG Adventure

The things you do when you have a plane and nowhere to go because everything is closed up. Mary and I have been working on our list of places to explore once life gets back to normal. 

The few calls I made for some short hops had no courtesy car available, and the hassle for renting for a few hours is just not worth it. It would have been better to just drive a few hours each direction in our SUV.  Did I mention how much I hate driving? UGhhh...
Previously, I posted a plan for a trip to Bar Harbor. That plan is ready to go, all my info is complete and we just need quarantine status to be lifted in Maine. I hope we can make this trip sometime in late July. 
I have been working on an alternate for August and that would be a visit to Mackinac Island. There are a few things I would want to do while on this adventure. Mary and I would love to visit with our friends Jeff and Lorie and their family near KBIV - Holland Michigan.  On this trip I would also want to make a hop across the lake (Michigan)to land at Green Bay - Austin Straubel Airport KGRB. I am a Packer fan and I just want to knock out Wisconsin, maybe enjoying a quick lunch and taking home some cheese curds. I have been to Green Bay previously and toured the stadium thanks to my friend Ann O from Appleton. However, I want to land my plane in Wisconsin.
We do have the Annual Commander fly-in scheduled for late September in French Lick Indiana. This get-away is already locked in.

2021 Plans

Looking ahead to 2021 Mary and I have been thinking about a westerly trip. Our first stop will be Memphis Tennessee to visit Graceland and Beale Street. We want to visit the Kings home.
After watching all the violence in big cities we may eliminate Memphis and instead push farther south to Laurel Mississippi. Laurel you wonder? Yep, another HGTV favorite of ours is Home Town. Just an overnight and maybe a few hours of exploring the following day before heading on to Waco.
After Memphis or Laurel we're heading back to Waco to visit Magnolia Market. This would only be a short stop over to include a tour that we didn't do the first time around and maybe hit a few new places that have been added since our last visit. Of course we would explore and eat. 
The main goal of this adventure is a bit further west, spending a few days in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We both have the balloon festival on our bucket list. The 2021 event is scheduled for October 2nd through the 10th which makes for good temps and weather for our travels. This will most likely be the longest stop, plenty to see and do.
Once we do the festival we will point three tango charlie for home.  There is one more more place we both want to visit and that is Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Where? Yep, Pawhuska, home of the Pioneer Woman cooking show. It's small town at its best. We want to check out the Mercantile, sweet shop, and the recent addition of the boarding house. 
We will continue our trip east making at least one more stop at one of my bucket list items. I am a big fan of Secretariat, Big Red, the 1973 triple crown winner. On March 30th 1970 Secretariat drew his first breath, and the greatest horse story began. Sadly he was euthanized on October 4th 1989 due to a painful condition called laminitis. I never got to see this mighty horse in person, but, I will visit Claiborne Farm and see his final resting place in Paris, Kentucky. 

From Kentucky we will continue for home and wrap this adventure up. Typically we try to attend the Beech Aero Club festival or Commander Annual fly-in, both scheduled around the same time. 2021 will be a bit different, we will still explore,but, this adventure will be our priority. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Wilmington and Home

So desperately needing airtime, and I have no one to blame but me. I have gotten lazy since this Covid crap started and I honestly haven't been motivated to fly.  I should correct that, not motivated to tug the plane out and put it away, the flying part is plenty fun. 

The plan for today was a simple straight forward hop north to Wilmington, KILG and then taxi back, take off and point south for home. The air was smooth and there wasn't much traffic to speak of.  
Dover AFB
I picked up flight following with Dover Approach heading north and settled in for the ride.  Dover did ask if I wanted a facility hand off or something to that effect. I declined knowing it's VFR and I really don't need the short ride with Philly. I much rather listen to the traffic and build that mental picture of whats going on at ILG. 
I was planning for runway one but I was changed up to enter a right down wind for runway nine. There was a jet landing ahead of me and I was cleared number two, to land. I made a nice landing and taxied off on Kilo 5 then turned on Kilo. I rolled off the taxiway and sat on the old Boeing ramp just outside the dashed yellow lines. I wanted to set up for my flight back to Ocean City. 
I made my call to ground when I was ready and then they turned me around, headed back to Kilo 5.  I rather a full length departure and asked ground for it, they approved, and gave some messed up taxi instructions.  I was now turned around and headed to Kilo 6- Kilo, at least according to the taxi diagram. 
I did ask for confirmation if I was clear to cross runway one-four, since there was a hold short, even though it went around the approach end of one-four.  The crossing was confirmed and off I went. This is where I brain farted.  I stayed on ground since the controller was working both and advised ready to go Kilo and RWY nine.  I was cleared for take off.  It was confusing since the controller mixed me and another plane up with a similar call signs.
The flight home was at three thousand five hundred and smooth.  I monitored Dover approach but did not ask for flight following. It was a beautiful day to fly and get the oil pumping in 3 Tango Charlie.  I finished up the day crossing midfield for the left down wind entry for runway three-two at Ocean City.  I made an ok landing and taxied for the hangar. 
I am going to make an effort to fly this weekend or maybe Monday to get ready for our flight to meet up with the Beech Aero Club on the 25th in Martinsville, VA.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Hangar Time and Fuel Calcs

I headed to the airport today to check on 3 Tango Charlie and work on my fuel calculations. I screwed up on my last flight when entering and didn't feel like making the correction at the time.  I have my fuel totals and flight time figured out, but, it's nice to take advantage of the equipment on board. 

The airport was busy with traffic today; transients, owners based at OXB, and even some airplane rides provided by Ocean City Plane Rides
I now have my fuel quantity verified and entered on the JPI fuel flow unit. I'm all set for tomorrow. I will pre-flight and sump then get in the air to who knows where.  I'm thinking north towards Wilmington, shooting an approach at Summit - KEVY and then a quick stop and go at ILG. I also want to try out my new to me oxygen system.  We shall see what tomorrow brings...first I will have to get motivated and get my butt to the airport. 

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Fly Time and Approaches

An early start to my day taking care of the Ziva diva and then rechecking all my flying gear. I always like to double check to make sure both iPads are charged along with camera batteries and the latest GPS data card version is up to date. 

My friend and fellow pilot Charles G is in Ocean City today and he has time to safety pilot for me. It's a rare occasion that he drove into town, but I appreciate him offering to right seat. Charles advised he had a mask and his headset with him. A true pilot, he travels with the spare headset. 

Today's plan is to get in the air by 8am and go shoot approaches. I'm current until the end of August but it's nice to make a dent in my currency requirements to eventually advance that date.

After rereading the Stec manual I found an item I want to try. Once clear of the pattern and climbing to altitude I would like to test the Vertical Speed function. It is my understanding that as I climb out I can select vertical speed and the autopilot will lock into my rate of climb and hold that, not to exceed 1600 fpm. I routinely set the heading bug indicator to runway heading so I have the option of switching AP on to maintain wings level on departure. It's also a third confirmation of the DG and compass matching up on the correct heading.

Lets get flying...

First up, a few approaches into Delaware Coastal, KGED. Now that I have relearned the correct buttonology sequence for the Stec 60-2, I should have no issue with my approach when entering the procedure turn (PT) or hold. Nav selection will be made once I am on the final approach course, not prior to entering the hold/PT. Lesson learned, the hard way. 
First up after our Ocean City departure is the RNAV GPS RWY 4 approach into Delaware Coastal, KGED. My initial course was a direct to GED and then after checking weather I set up for the GPS 4. The autopilot worked perfectly and I disconnected at five hundred feet then climbed out for another round.
This time I hand flew the same approach, GPS RWY 4 and it really felt good, almost slow motion. I went missed and made a left turn out for my next approach in Cambridge,MD KCGE.
We headed to Cambridge, MD dodging some traffic.  For this round I will use the autopilot and shoot the RNAV GPS RWY 34 approach. 

The autopilot (Stec 60-2)has been a non issue since reviewing the pilots guide and working through some simulation. I feel proficient and ready to get back to instrument conditions.
The last approach for the day was back home, into Ocean City. Winds favored runway one-four (110 at 5) but being uncontrolled there were planes also landing on two-zero. Charles and I made our way from Cambridge, keeping clear of Salisbury class Delta. This round was another autopilot approach. Direct PFAIR for a turn in the hold then inbound for minimums at seven hundred feet.  

It was a beautiful VFR day but I was stuck under the foggles for most of the flight time. I am really feeling good about the autopilot work, and my hand flying approaches in 3 Tango Charlie. Man and machine are finally on the same page.  I'm ready for some IMC time!