Sunday, October 18, 2020

North East Flyers - Cherry Ridge N30

The North East Flyers group posted a fly-in for October to the Cherry Ridge airport located just north east of one of my go to destinations KAVP Wilkes-Bare.  Cherry Ridge is located just outside of the Wilkes-Barre Terminal Radar Service Area (TRSA), the light grey boundary.
My day started off early, since I planned a stop at Wilmington, KILG to pick up Vince.  It's been quite a few years since we have flown together.  I was excited about having Vince fly with me, just like old times. 
I gave Vince a heads up to be on the Red Eagle ramp at 9:30.  I launched from Ocean City at 8:30, knowing I would be facing a 30kt headwind the whole way, not cool. I finished my run up and launched from runway three-two, enjoying the cool temps. I held my altitude to just three thousand not wanting to waste fuel climbing for the short flight. I had a true airspeed of 132 kts but with the headwind I was only managing 103 kts ground speed.

I had picked up flight following with Dover and once north of the Smyrna VOR (ENO) I cancelled and switched to Wilmington Tower to get that mental picture of traffic around the airport.  Wilmington directed me to enter a left base for three-two call 3 mile. I found this odd since there was a NOTAM noting the runway was closed. Upon further investigation when I landed I re-read it noting SS-SR, sun set to sun rise. 

RWY 14/32 CLSD EXE XNG DLY SS-SR 9/30 - 10/31

Vince was waiting on the ramp and climbed aboard. We made a quick turn and contacted ground to taxi out. It was reminiscent of my departure days from red eagle, taxi via Kilo to Mike hold short. Once switched over to the tower 3 Tango Charlie made her run on two-seven and launched for our fly-in destination. 
Vince handled the radio work and despite not flying in a while he did a great job. Nothing like getting tossed back into the fire and having to work Philly's class Bravo. 
Vince and I each took pictures but nothing beats the live view of the brilliant colors of the leaves changing. Blue Mountain was gorgeous and all the small lakes along the way were surrounded by vibrant colors.  It was beautiful.
Sadly, I didn't have the video on when we landed at Cherry Ridge. Once on the ground and parking secured, Vince opened his door.  Brrr...the cold air rushed in, welcome to north east Pennsylvania's fall. 

One by one each plane found their way to the airport. Chris and his Warrior out of Rochester NY was the second to arrive.
Chris's Warrior
Next Rob walked across the ramp, his "wing" was parked in the parking lot. Rob made the fly in by way of his Gold Wing, that's dedication.
Rob's Gold Wing
The rest of the group trickled in.  Dale in his beautiful Cessna 180 that sounded bad to the bone, Bob C and Bret arrived to complete the attendees. Here are the remaining aircraft.
Dale's Cessna 180
Bob's Cessna 172
We were quickly seated with the table reserved for our group.  The service was very good and food excellent. I think everyone enjoyed the lunch and conversation.
L-R Gary, Rob, Bob, Bret, Lori, Dale, Chris, Vince
As we finished up a beautiful V Tail Bonanza landed and I knew the paint scheme but didn't see the full tail number. I thought it was something Papa Hotel, maybe Adam Z or Dave H. As the Bo taxied in Bob C said that's Adam and his bride Tam, sure enough, it was.  What a treat to see Adam and Tam. 
Adam's V Tail Bo
Once we finished up and settled our food bill it was time for some ramp chat and then head home. I had to make a stop at ILG to drop off Vince then head south for Ocean City.
I taxied out and completed my run up and Chris was next in line.  There were planes in the pattern and we watched Chris on ADS-B in Warrior 481 point for home, bottom right. 
Vince handled all the flying and radio work while I was the pilot monitoring. I have to say he hasn't lost any skills. If there was any rust it surely wasn't showing. It was nice that I got to look out the window and enjoy the view. At least Vince got the easy leg, tailwinds and ground speeds of 150 kts.
Wilkes-Barre handed us off to Allentown and they handed us off to Philly. Vince had started to let down for Wilmington and as I watched us get closer to the Bravo he confirmed that we were cleared into the bravo. The controller said those magic words and we continued our descent. We did make a slight jog around the TFR for Biden's home and then as directed entered a right base for runway three-two. 
I made an ok landing on three-two and taxied full length for Kilo 6. From K6 I retraced my path from this morning and entered the ramp adjacent to FlyAdvanced Avionics. Vince jumped out and I turned 3 Tango Charlie for home. I departed N30 with 41 gallons on board and with the tail winds I would make the flight to OXB on what I had. 
Taxi out at Wilmington KILG
I lined up behind a Cessna 310 and patiently waited for my turn at a clearance for departure. Once cleared I made a right turn out for traffic departing on the down wind, quickly climbing to three thousand feet. I pointed south avoiding the Salem nuke towers and settled in for the last leg home. I did pick up flight following with Dover and cancelled it once past Delaware Coastal KGED.

Winds favored runway 2 and I made my calls as I set up for a long forty five degree entry to the left down wind. The jump plane was just getting ready to boot out their meat missiles as I turned final so I was down and clear before they were an issue.  Overall a great day flying and spending time with Vince. The group meet up made my day, catching up with fellow pilots I haven't seen in a long time.  Chris(Photographic Logbook) and I last  met up at Williamsport in 2014, it's been a while. It was also really nice to catch up with Rob. Covid crapped on our chance to fly in July while he and the family RV'ed at Assateague. Maybe July 2021 we can try it again. 
Special passenger when I shut down
Special Thanks to Bob C for restarting the North East Flyers, it was fun back then, and it's fun now. The turn out was encouraging and as the word spreads I'm sure we will pack the house as we used to. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Hangar Trip and Preheater

I had to make a quick trip back to the hangar tonight to plug in my preheat. Weather looks like rain all day tomorrow, who wants to go out in that mess. Friday overnight into Saturday morning is calling for 42 degrees and I preheat at 40. Why should I start a cold soaked engine when electricity is included in the hangar rent.

I'm flying out early Saturday to meet up with the North East Flyers at Cherry Ridge N30.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Local Flight and Stec 60 Time

I did manage to get some flight time today, even though it was only local flying.  I made my typical rounds flying to KGED Delaware Coastal for one low approach, RNAV GPS 22, and then back to Ocean City for one approach, RNAV GPS 2.

The weather was beautiful, and at one point I could see Atlantic City and the Salem nuclear plant towers from Lewes Delaware, each about fifty miles. 

I shed additional rust working with the Stec 60 and I'm ready for a safety pilot to knock out a few approaches.  This will be my goal for the next two weeks, GET CURRENT!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Adding an Approach When Flying an Approach

Now that title sounds crazy, right?  As pilots know this can be a reality when flying Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).  Let's set up the scenario with an actual situation I flew.

On a flight from Wilmington Delaware to home, Ocean City Maryland I had this exact situation present itself. Clear blue skies just ten minutes from home but there was a solid layer hanging out over Ocean City, KOXB.  My initial thought was to fly the GPS 14 approach, good down to 700'.  The wx was reporting Marginal Visual Flight Rules (MVFR). Easy peasy, or so I thought.

I was number two for the field following a Cirrus. We passed each other in the hold, in clear blue sky conditions.  I was turned loose to shoot the approach and when I descended down to 700' I was still on top of a solid layer.  I'm not sure how the Cirrus pilot had got in but that's his issue. I climbed out, going missed and pointed back out to the hold for who knows how many laps. My thought process had me ask approach for the GPS 32 approach into Ocean City with a decision height of 260'. I knew I would get in. Positive thinking, hold that thought.

I immediately asked for, and received, clearance for the GPS 32 and was directed out over the Atlantic, direct GOBYO. When I flew with the Garmin 530W and the Flight Stream 210 it was an easy switch and go, never missing a beat. I was on my way and focused, shooting the approach to minimums and breaking out looking down the runway. I was soaked in sweat, both passengers silent, and I set the Sundowner on the runway, safely back home.

This 'How To' video deals with the Garmin GNS 480. It's different, it speaks a different language then my 530, but it does so much more.  The key is keeping proficient and running through what if scenarios. 

So when I received a comment from a viewer I was excited to put a video together to address how I would use the 480 to deal with this exact situation. Now I don't know the viewers airport so I plugged in a local airport to keep the video length short.

I flew from the Waterloo VOR (ATR) to Georgetown - Delaware Coastal Airport.  The approach I set up for was the GPS 22 approach and changed the fixes to mirror the Sim 480.
I flew direct BOYSE (HUVOX), one turn for the procedure turn then inbound.  While in the PT I dialed in the GPS 4 approach but did not execute, I was ready if needed to make the switch.  I continued in for runway two-two and ended up going missed. Now the GPS 4 buys me an additional twenty feet for the decision height. Not a great example but for training it works. As I climbed out for the missed I executed the standby approach and was on my way, direct TOWHE (ZARVI).
This would give me another shot at getting into Delaware Coastal. Now in the make believe sim world the updated weather got worse, there was no way to get in. A pilot could try and plan at that point but why fly so far behind the plane.  Have a plan B and C ready at all times. Again, in the sim world the weather looked better just a short distance away at Salisbury. So as I was flying direct to the initial fix of TOWHE I made the decision to head to Salisbury (KSBY). On the GNS 480 I selected Nearest (NRST), scrolled down to KSBY clicked on the Direct button and selected Destination (DEST). This flurry of button clicks wipes out the previous approach and destination, replacing it all with the new destination of SBY. With a click of the procedures button (PROC) I selected vectors for the ILS and was on my way. 

KNOW YOUR GPS, understand how it works, practice. A shout out to Trevor P for the comment on my previous how to video, and giving me a chance to play with the sim and work through a multiple approach scenario.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Last Minute Invite for Lunch

Thanks Jon for the picture
I was invited by Charles G to join the crew for lunch. What crew? The New Garden (N57) pilots, flying into Delaware Coastal (KGED). It was great to see everyone, and thank you for the invite. I'm looking forward to attending more of your events.

I gave a brief thought to flying, but the drive was only thirty-five minutes. It's a ten minute flight not counting preflight, tug out, push back in, and clean up upon return. Much easier to just ground pound this one.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

VLOG 10/7/2020

A quick Vlog update from my airport visit to investigate and repair the mic jack on the copilot side.  Ziva had some fun, and kept me company while I was crawling around the plane.


Saturday, October 03, 2020

Martin State and Time With Friends

A few weeks ago Mary and I had planned to fly over to Martin State to meet up with fellow BAC friends Les and Nahia.  Unfortunately, Mary injured a rib, tearing some cartilage loose when she stretched across a railing to grab a bird feeder.  Thankfully, she is feeling much better and we were able to make the flight across the Chesapeake Bay to visit our friends.

The plan was to head to the airport in time to pre-flight and get in the air by 11am. Ziva was fed, the house locked up, and off we went for todays adventure. We did make one stop to pick up flowers, a mum of some sort that looked like it was crossed with a daisy, very pretty.   We wanted to bring something since Nahia told Mary not to bring anything but ourselves.

I had fueled 3 Tango Charlie up yesterday while Ziva had time to play.  Ziva girl ran her self silly and while I was getting fuel I took a picture of her flat out on the pavement, I think we broke the dog. After fueling I had a total 40 gallons on board. The plan was to tanker as much fuel home from Martin State, since they are .86 cents a gallon cheaper then OC.

Taxing for runway two and upon completing my run up we rolled for take off. 3 Tango Charlie enjoyed the cool air and quickly had us at three thousand feet for todays flight.  I contacted Patuxent approach on 127.95 and did not get an answer, that was odd.  I made a couple of calls and received a response to switch to "my frequency" 121.0.  Again odd, I can't remember ever using that frequency before for approach. After a few more tries on this new frequency I gave up and switched to Dover approach on 132.425.  Dover quickly responded and we traded information, I received the barro setting, and squawk code once Dover had my plan of flight, destination, and altitude.  We were on our way with an extra set of eyes.

Dover handed us off to Potomac and we rode along with a few traffic call outs.  The air was cool, the view spectacular, and the ride smooth.  We could see the cooling towers at Salem, just South East of Wilmington Delaware (KILG) from Easton Maryland (KESN),  approximately 42 miles. About eight miles out from the airport Potomac handed me off to Martin State tower, I was cleared to land and report a three mile final.  That worked for me since I had the airport and massive runway in view.  

I did fly through the tip of the restricted area under the control of Martin State which I wasn't comfortable with but received no warning from Potomac Approach or Martin State Tower.  I was directed to keep my squawk code.

Les met us on the ramp when we shut down.  I ordered 20 gallons of fuel, instructing the lineman how to use the hinged cover to insert and remove the fuel nozzle. With that task completed we headed for the home of our hosts.  Once off the beltway the ride through horse country was beautiful. Les pointed out the house where Cal Ripken had lived and a few other famous homes/owners.  The ride reminded me of driving through Beaver Valley in north Wilmington, home of the Duponts Granogue Mansion, the Brandywine river, and Hagley Museum

We had a wonderful time with Les and Nahia in their beautiful home.  Our hosts provided an unlimited array of appetizers followed by a most delicious lunch of Chicken Cordon Bleu with potatoes, a veggie, and a most tasty dessert.  We were stuffed, and I honestly wondered if I had taken on too much fuel to accommodate the new weight and balance calculation. Yes, we needed a doggie bag for what we couldn't finish.
Mary enjoying the fountain and Sangria
Time flies when you're having fun and our time together was indeed too short. It would be a forty-five minute drive back to the airport and since I'm not night current I wanted to make sure we landed back home in time before turning into a pumpkin. We said our goodbyes and saddled up the flight home.


I contacted Martin State ground with the current ATIS and advised ready to taxi for our VFR flight to Ocean City, KOXB.  I was directed to taxi via Foxtrot and Echo then hold short runway three-three. Once the run up was completed we were ready to go. I did not check my transponder, brain fart, which I normally reset to 1200 after landing. I took off with my previous squawk code "in the box".  What a putz, the tower advised reset squawk on my climb out.


The flight home was once again smooth and now sporting a bit of a tailwind that we had pushed through heading into MTN. Ground speeds were on average 135-138 knots despite dialing back to twenty-four squared. It was good to once again view the Ocean City skyline just before sunset and to capture a wing view shot to go along with that view. 

We enjoyed our visit with Les and Nahia and we are looking forward to more meet ups in the near future.  We had a fun time, enjoying excellent company, great food, and our friendship by way of aviation and the Beech Aero Club.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Fun Flight and Getting the Oil Pumping

My last adventure into the wild blue was back on September 12th, nineteen days ago. I need to pick up the pace or I'll never even get a sniff of fifty hours for the year. I should mention that this will be my worst year for flight hours. 

Today I just wanted to get the engine warm, and oil circulating through 3 Tango Charlies veins.  Honestly, I also needed to keep the rust off yours truly. The plan was to maybe meet up for lunch but I had no takers on my FB post. I also sent my friend Chet a text but he never answered.  I thought Chet could safety pilot and I would buy the eats, it didn't materialize. Instead, I decided to just stay local and work on some approaches by myself.

The weather was looking great, and the little bit of wind there was favored three-two for departure. I taxied out and did my run up, with not a single plane in the pattern or moving on the ramp.  I had to check my Com volume just to be sure. Speaking of ramp, the place was a ghost town this morning with only the nose gear collapse twin Cessna in a tie down spot.

I'm not sure who was more ready to go, me or 3 Tango Charlie.  I was off by the three thousand remaining marker and climbing out with good gauges and steady climb.  It feels amazing every time I take off, I love it.

I roughly pointed to Delaware Coastal and set up for the RNAV GPS 22 approach, direct HUVOX.  This procedure turn takes you over the Delaware Bay, just four miles or so. I was flying above the altitude on the approach plate(2000). Instead of waiting to switch to NAV once turning inbound, I decided to disconnect the autopilot to cancel the Altitude hold, then rearm. I lost something in the approach tracking. No problem, this makes for an excellent what if scenario.  I decided to hand fly the procedure turn and approach. It went well and for me it's more fun then just monitoring. 

I will need to see why the AP did what it did and why it didn't rearm. I'm sure it was an operator error. Either way I am always comfortable hand flying. I made my calls and flew a low approach only then bugged out for Ocean City. 

I could have done a better job briefing each approach but since I was VFR and no safety pilot I thought it best to glance it over and just have some fun flying. I can hear my father saying "you play exactly like you practice, sloppy practice turns out sloppy play on the field when it counts."  Yes...I hear you Dad. 

I set up direct PFAIR for the RNAV GPS 14 approach and continued on. This one is going to be hand flying too, may as well shed all the rust I can. I settled in after the procedure turn at PFAIR and continued in for the runway, the decision height is seven hundred feet. Just a dot above the glideslope I dropped the gear and went through my GUMPS check. Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Pump, Prop, and Switches. I also do the gear check at five hundred feet, better to be safe.

I made a nice landing and taxied clear up near the terminal ramp.  There was a school plane departing runway two-zero and he made his call. As I taxied in I passed a plane at the fuel pump, Ocean City was beginning to come to life. I'm sure this place will be crazy busy this weekend with another excellent forecast being advertised. Mary and I are planning to make the hop over to Martin State now that her rib injury is feeling better. It will be fun catching up with our friends Les and Nahia from the Beech Aero Club.