Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Currency Extended - June 2022

My Instrument currency had lapsed for the second time since I obtained my Instrument rating back in August 2010.  I'm not counting the lapse due to my accident in 2018 that was updated with an IPC and a new to us pane. It's been a month since I was current so today I headed over to Ocean Aviation to remedy that problem.

I met with the same instructor for my last sim session and we got right to the business at hand.  Zac had asked if I wanted to fly the steam gauges with the Garmin 530 or the G1000 set up. I'll try the G1000 set up, it's a bit more of a challenge.

I started out hand flying the first approach, the ILS into Salisbury, MD. - KSBY. The hand flying helped me find the correct buttonology and how to program the approaches along with the reminder of how sensitive the trim and controls are on the full motion sim. I did manage to get things set up and despite a bit of chasing I made a nice low approach and climb out on the missed for getting one in the books.

Next up was the RNAV GPS 14, 2 and 32 into Ocean City, KOXB.  The weather was set and I had to go missed on the GPS 14, it was still solid flying in the milk jug at seven hundred feet. Next up was the RNAV GPS 2 and I broke out in time to get the Cessna sim on the runway, and it would still fly again. The last approach at OXB was the RNAV GPS 32. This one brought back memories of breaking out just at minimums returning home from Wilmington with Mary and her friend. Zac had set the overcast at 280' and just like my actual I saw Assateague, then the bay, and landed the sim plane on the runway. Ugh, gives me a body shiver just remembering that actual flight. 

Next I knocked out the two RNAV GPS approaches into Delaware Coastal. RNAV GPS 4 and RNAV GPS 22 were text book. I was taking advantage of the G1000 and the autopilot for both approaches. I finished up with 1.6 hours flight time to knock out a hold, tracking, and the six approaches, not a bad day. My currency is now extended to June 30, 2022.

My First Sim Session back in May 2021

Monday, December 20, 2021

Christmas Visit

Mary and I made plans to head to Wilmington to visit family and take our recently adopted kittens to our former vet for some surgery.  Of course the plan was to fly, but the weather forecast was iffy for departure.  My instrument currency has also lapsed as of the end of  November.  I did make calls, still planning to fly VFR, for hangar space and a rental car.  Securing a rental was a no-go, advised to call when you get in and see what we have available.  Well, that will not work for us, we needed guaranteed wheels. 

Thursday 12.16.21

We were up and out the door by 6am for the two hour drive north. The vet appointment was for 8:30 so we had some float time just in case. Naturally the weather looked doable for a VFR flight, as long as we would have stayed below three thousand five hundred feet. The sky did open up once north of Dover, as it always seems to do. 

I forgot about the I-95 construction and hit Wilmington traffic about 7:45ish. Bumper to bumper all through Wilmington, it sucked.  Once north of the city I was back up to speed, arriving at the Concord Pike Veterinary Hospital at 8:15. With the boys checked in we headed out for breakfast.

The plan had been made to meet our friends for breakfast at one of our regular stops when we lived in North Wilmington.  Angels wasn't crowded since the morning rush had already passed through so we had our choice of seating. Mary Jo and Joe arrived and we picked up conversation like we had seen each other yesterday. Breakfast was excellent and the company even better.

After filling our tummies we headed off for a few items that we needed to pick up. After checking off the list we headed on a tour of my old neighborhood where I grew up, things have sure changed. I also noticed how much the trees and shrubs had matured, more so this trip than any previous trip. The whole north Wilmington area had changed.  Gone was the greenhouse and flower shop on Shipley road, now replaced with a sprawling elder care facility.  Long gone were the Naamans baseball fields, on Silverside Road, that I had played on, replaced by an office complex many years ago. What was a total shock to the system was the office complex replaced by a new community of stores and apartments, this place was massive! I heard the apartments are renting at $2800 a month...why not buy a house for that monthly cash hit.  Route 202 (Concord Pike) had also changed, just in the seven years we've been gone. I was stuck in stupid as we drove along. 

I have been struggling to find a new shop to do my annual inspection since the A&P left the shop I was using. The shop manager is still there but I'm not sure how long or if the shop will be there by May of next year. I have decided to have my annual done at New Garden Airport. Mary and I drove up to meet with Jon (Aviation Director) and get 3 Tango Carlie on the May schedule. After discussing rates and availability I locked in our date. I'm glad that's done, one less thing to worry about when it comes to the plane.
We pointed south for Wilmington and to the Inn at Montchanin.  Our room was ready so we checked in and had some time to relax before heading out to watch our great nephews Christmas pageant. 


Mary and the boys
The whole group did a great job! Kudos to the teachers, I'm sure it felt like herding cats. The age group was two to four and they all did a wonderful job with the songs and Nativity scene play. 
Following the play we regrouped and all headed into Wilmington for dinner at Walters Steakhouse. Our reservation was for 8pm and we were seated at 8:15.  Mary and I don't typically eat this late so it was a new experience for us. The service was excellent even though it was late into the evening. I had a filet with a twice baked potato and Mary had Prime Rib.  We had a short walk back to our SUV, the parking in Wilmington is always an adventure. We headed back to the Inn and called it a night. Tomorrow was going to be another busy day. 

Friday 12.17

Rise and shine, it's time to get moving. Mary and I wanted to visit one of her Moms friends that lived in the same condo building. We met with Marge at 10 am and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Marge is 93, sharp as can be and just a sweet heart. Good memories shared about Mary's Mom and both our families.

Next we headed out to find lunch and bring it with us to visit Mary's Aunt Letti. We all had the turkey with avocado BLT from Panera's. It was fun to sit and chat, catching up on family stuff and enjoying a relaxing break with such a sweet lady. Aunt Letti had her living room redecorated and it looked great, we loved the colors and fabrics she selected. I miss Uncle Reds and his interesting conversations, he is always in our hearts. 

Mary and I headed back to our room to freshen up and then headed over to my Sisters home for a visit. My sister Denise and her husband Dave have a beautiful home and it's always comfortable to sit and catch up. We had some Christmas cookies that my sister made from our Moms recipes. Good memories and eats. We certainly always share laughs when we get my sister going, I love visiting her and Dave. 
The plan was for the four of us to have dinner at one of our favorites, Culinaria. It's been a long time since we last ate here, maybe before we retired to the beach. Dinner was excellent and so was the service. I enjoyed my go to, center cut beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes and asparagus. Mary had the rainbow trout with almond butter, mashed potatoes and asparagus. I would have licked the plate clean but my manners would not allow that. It was a fun evening spending time with my sister and sharing memories along with some good laughs. I miss her being close, but the plane helps cut the distance when we get together. With full tummies we headed back to our room and called it a night.

Saturday 12.18

Mary and I had planned to pick up the kitties at 8:30 but somehow managed to sleep right through that plan. We eventually got motivated and checked out, then headed for coffee and hot tea. Mary picked us up two croissants from Brew HaHA and that served as breakfast for the ride home. The boys were good to go after surgery, and our pockets much lighter after squaring up the bill. It was just over two hours home and then a quick trip to pick up Miss Ziva from boarding. The gangs all home and settled in for the night. 

Mary and I had so much fun watching the nephews show and opening the presents we brought them. Time spent with both our families is always treasured, it was a perfect few days up north. Next time I hope we can fly.

Oh, I almost forgot. A presidential TFR popped up Friday at KILG so we would have been stuck in Wilmington until Monday. Maybe the ground pound was the best choice. 

2021 Year in Review

By The Numbers:

Total Time   1451.6
ASEL 2021      60.5
Complex        58.5/181.6
Cross Country  46.4/898.6
Instrument      2.4/38.9

New Airports: 4

KLRO - Mount Pleasant Regional, SC
KFPR - Treasure Coast, Ft. Pierce, FL
09J  - Jekyll Island, GA
KOWD - Norwood Memorial, Norwood, MA 

Flights of Note:

Mary and I needed a get-away and we have been thinking long and hard about Florida as the go to spot.  We wanted to look at a few properties on each coast for our winter getaways, and visit with my brother and his wife for his birthday.

This had to be the worst ride since I started flying. A first, going missed at both the destination airport and then at the home airport when we returned.

My instrument currency was going to lapse so why not give the sim a try. I thought I could shoot a few approaches into some of the destinations we have coming up as well as the home field assortment. I had a blast!

Mary and I attended our very first Commander Owner Group fly-in. Jekyll Island was on our list of places to go so we were excited about the get-away.  I was asked to present on Flying Videos and really enjoyed sharing a hobby of mine with the group.  Good times, new friends, and fun flying.

Mary and I had a fantastic trip to Boston. We got to meet up with Mary's cousin Shelagh and her family, and we also met up with our friends Mike B and Kim. Thanks to our family and friends for showing us such a good time and welcoming us into their homes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Quick Hop for Eats

I swapped text messages with my friend and fellow pilot, Charles G from N57, New Garden. I wanted to get out and fly an approach or two just to keep the buttonology fresh and then meet for lunch.

I arrived at the airport and completed my pre-flight in the hangar when I heard the fuel truck pull up.  The line guys are really the best here at Ocean City. Steve saw my truck and figured he would stop by and see if I needed fuel. I was good to go, 3 Tango Charlie still had 44 gallons on board from my last refueling.

We chatted for a bit, longer then I thought, and it  was now 1:00. Charles and I planned to meet at 1:15. So much for the practice approaches, now it was just about lunch. I taxied out to runway two and completed my run up. Once again my right mag was forty RPM lower then the left, the same as last flight. There was no noticeable roughness or temp indication change between mags. I was thinking I had a plug with some lead bits.  I switched back to the right mag and brought the RPM's up and really leaned. Another mag check had the two within twenty RPM's and I felt much better about the recheck. 
I launched and pointed for KGED, Delaware Coastal. There was some traffic just north of Ocean City and when I arrived at GED there were a few planes in the pattern. I coordinated with an inbound Mooney that was opposite direction and farther out then me. I made a nice landing and taxied for the ramp, it was busy.
Charles landed and taxied in after three of the planes had departed so he had a front row parking spot.  We enjoyed lunch, BLT's and Maryland Crab soup. Good eats, great conversation and always fun to catch up.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Switchbox out, SwitcheOn in

I have used the Switchbox unit for just about eight years and it recently quit working.  It still switches, I can hear it click, but something toasted inside, I can smell it. The unit no longer provides the ability to toggle power on or off. 
Time for an upgrade. I decided to purchase the SwitcheOn two outlet unit. The SwitcheOn does not require refilling a sim card, that's a relief. It's an annual charge of $50 for the service. I just downloaded the App and I'll get the unit hooked up as soon as it arrives. There seems to be much more control; including temp sensors, on-off set by date, times, temp, or a simple flip of the switch on the app. I like the simple flip the switch.

Install and Activation

With booster shots scheduled I was on a tight time line. Mary and I had a short list of things to do while we were out.  First stop, the airport.  I had my drill ready in case I needed to start a pilot hole for one of the two screws needed to secure the Switcheon.  I used one of the previous holes from the switchbox install, and as I figured, I needed one new location. Easy peasy, hole drilled, box mounted. I plugged in the power and then the extension cord to the plane for the Reiff pre-heats. It worked like a charm, as advertised. A simple scan of the QR code and the app is communicating to the box. 3 Tango Charlie is ready for winter operations.

We did make it to the designated location for our booster shots, on time. We also managed to hit a hardware store for a flag pole, the grocery store for cookie baking items, and the FedEx store to ship a few boxes. I'm ready for lunch and a nap. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Garmin 480 - Destination with Approach


I took a short flight today to work through a Garmin 480 scenario that was posted as a comment/question on one of my YouTube videos. 

The question:

"Say I am flying VFR and have a direct to airport course in the unit, no FP, is there a way to setup and activate an approach or do I have to put a FP in first?"

I departed KOXB Ocean City and pointed towards KGED - Delaware Coastal.  No initial flight plan on the Garmin 480. I then selected direct to KGED and the magenta line appeared on the map page.  At this point I tried to select a procedure, no go, no "destination".  But I was direct flight plan or destination, no approach. Try again. 

Ok, lets work through this. I selected Direct then on the sub menu I selected Destination (DEST), selected database (DB) entered KGED then ENTER.  Next I went back into Procedures (PROC) and there was KGED, ready for me to select an approach. 
I get to refresh my GPS skills working through other pilots questions and it gives me a reason to log some flight time.  Thanks for your question, Allan. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Pilots of America, Williamsburg Lunch Run

John - Frank - Allen - George - Me

POA member GeorgeC posted on the forum; "JGG, noon, Saturday, 11/20?".  There were a couple pilots unable to attend but a few of us were on board with the impromptu fly-in. RDUPilot - Frank, Pugs -Allen, and DeeLee - John, were all good to go. 
I decided to turn on my pre-heats for 3 Tango Charlie, Friday late afternoon. Unfortunately I received no text message conformation from my Switchbox. I waited and tried again, still no luck. I decided to head over to the airport and check out what was going on and Mary came along for the ride. My bride was happy to grab a few of the storage containers for the Christmas decorations to keep herself busy while I'm doing that pilot stuff tomorrow. When I arrived I checked all the connections, they were good. 

I reset the GFI outlet and gave the Switchbox antenna connection a quick test to make sure it was tight. As I was checking the antenna my phone alerted me to two messages received, confirming the Switchbox was now on. I did a quick visual, peeking behind the cowl plug to see that the extension chord plug was indeed glowing. Success!

We must celebrate these milestones so a trip to Dairy Queen was in order. I had a hot fudge sundae with Spanish peanuts and Mary had the caramel sundae with the same toping. The spoils of victory sure tasted good.

Departure Saturday 11/20

The plan was to depart between 10:30 and 10:45 AM. 3 Tango Charlie was toasty warm and I finished my preflight before opening the hangar door.

Winds favored runway two so once I got the fan turning I taxied out and completed my run-up. I rolled onto the runway, set for full power and was off in less than one thousand feet. 

Delmarva Peninsula

The ride was smooth at 6,500 and approach control was excellent as always. I picked up flight following with Patuxent then was handed off to two sectors of Norfolk before I finally canceled and switched to Williamsburg's CTAF.

Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles
I crossed midfield and entered the right down wind for runway one-three. I made an ok landing and made my way to the ramp.

My Commander 112A
Once 3 Tango Charlie was secure I worked my way out and was met by fellow POA member DeeLee, John.  John flew a Piper Arrow and was first to arrive. We chatted with a guy that flew a Piper Tripacer as the rest of the group arrived. Pugs , Allen, in a Piper Archer, RDUPilot, Frank, in a beautiful Bonanza, and finally GeorgeC in his gorgeous 1950 Cessna 140.

John’s Arrow

Franks Bonanza

George's Cessna 140

The weather was beautiful so we decided to eat outdoors. The food was excellent and the conversations entertaining. I hope we continue to meet up for breakfast or lunch in the future. 

Once we finished up, Allen wanted to sit in my commander. Allen is looking to purchase an aircraft and the Commander 114’s are on his short list. 

Heading Home

We all saddled up for our flight home and I think I was last in the conga line. I was setting up cameras and should have swapped for charged batteries but didn’t bother. I finished my run up and lined up on one-three as John climbed out in his Arrow.  As I departed I turned NE and followed the James River. Busch gardens passed by on my right side as I pointed for the Chesapeake Bay. 

I did pick up flight following with Norfolk as I went feet wet. There was a scattered layer at three thousand and I passed overhead, leveling off at five thousand five hundred. At least the ride was smooth just like the south bound flight. I was handed off to Patuxent and eventually canceled as I let down for ocean city. 
There was an inbound Cessna from the north and after trading position reports I would be number one for the field. I made a straight in for runway two  clearing as I crossed runway fourteen-thirty two. 

I had a fun time meeting up with fellow forum members and getting some air time in our Commander.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Boston, Family Visit

Mary and I have planned this trip a few times, only to have chosen the no-go due to weather or winds.  On our last attempt the weather was clear but headwinds were peaking just over fifty knots, it would not have been a fun ride in our Sundowner.
Once again we penciled in a plan to visit family in Boston and squeeze in a visit with our friends Mike B and his bride Kim. If you follow this blog you know Mike B is also a CFII known for torture sessions, working to keep me proficient.  It sounds crazy, but I really miss those workouts and flying with Mike.

The Weather Look Ahead

Mary and I took Ziva to the airport on Tuesday for some play time while I topped off the fuel in 3 Tango Charlie for our flight. I also broke out the moving blankets and plugged in the pre-heater since our temps overnight Thursday will be hovering around forty degrees.

I'll head over on Thursday to do my preflight and sump fuel so everything is completed and ready to go for Friday morning. 

Departure Day

The presidential TFR will not go hot until 4pm today so we are good to fly our original flight plan. I will still pick up an IFR clearance for the trip north. I also made a quick call to 1-800-WX-BRIEF, a first for me since IFR training days to confirm the TFR times. 

Crossing the Bay
Winds favored runway three-two and once my run up was completed I called Patuxent for my clearance. No response. Not a problem, I picked up the clearance with Patuxent approach in the air.

Cape May, NJ
Pax handed me off to Dover and once across the Delaware Bay I was handed off to Atlantic City. AC cleared me direct Coyle VOR (CYN) then eventually handed me off to McGuire Approach. McGuire passed me off to Kennedy Approach. 

As we crossed the Lower Bay, closing in on JFK, Kennedy approach amended my route. 


This route followed the north side of long island and had me cross the Long Island Sound to Bridgeport. 

Cold Spring & Oyster Bay harbors
Once in Connecticut I was given direct Hartford (HFD)then destination. Since this was my first time at Norwood (KOWD) I have to say it was hard to spot. I was expecting a bigger airport. 

I was number two to land following a piper to  runway three-five. I made a nice landing and taxied clear on Delta, straight into the Flight Level FBO. I took on thirty gallons of fuel and secured the plane for her two night slumber in a heated hangar, to the tune of $100 a night.

We secured our rental from Avis, located in the same building a few steps from the check in counter at the FBO.  Our ride is a new black Jeep Grand Cherokee, loaded. It was a nice ride.

It’s a good twenty minutes to the Marriott hotel in Newton, but we find our way along I95 north. After we checked in we schlepped the bags to the room.  Holy smokes! The room was at the far right end of the building, second room from the end, I thought I walked a mile. 

Room view of Charles River
No sooner we settled in my leg pain hit me.  I forgot to take an Advil this morning, not good. I got the chills and crawled into bed after downing two Advils. Mary covered me with both of our jackets along with the bathroom towels and my sweatshirt. It took forty minutes for the chills to stop and pain to subside.

We had arrived at the room around 2:30 and we were ready to head out the door by 4pm to visit with Mike and Kim. I brought my cane this trip, just in case. Glad I did.

Dinner with Mike & Kim 

Thanks to the map option on my phone we had directions locked in for Mike and Kim. We could take I95 or follow local roads through town, we decided on the local views. The time difference was just a few minutes. 

This was our first visit to their new home, it was absolutely beautiful. It has been quite a while since we have been together but as it is with friends we seemed to pick right up where we previously left off. We sat and chatted, enjoyed a magnificent dinner and awesome deserts.
Somewhere around 10pm we decided we should head back to the hotel and give our hosts a break. We had fun conversations, many good laughs, and a delicious dinner. Now I needed to sleep off my food induced coma. 

I retraced my path to find our way to the Marriott, enjoying the lack of traffic and business hustle of the town, now in after hours mode.

Visiting with Family

We each showered then planned for breakfast. I should add as I got dressed I walked into a chair, with no shoes on. Yikes! This was my toe twenty four hours later. Yes, I think it’s broken.

We made our way downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast. Gimpy with a bad right leg and now a tad bit tender on the left foot with a toe that still feels like it was hit with a hammer.

We were quickly seated and had a nice view of the Charles River. I had a ham and cheddar omelet and Mary had eggs Benedict. The food got an ok rating, the service was excellent.

Once we returned to the room, with full tummys, we kicked back and relaxed. Mary exchanged text messages with her cousin, and we awaited Shelaghs arrival. Today we were going to take a tour of the Boston sites. We passed on the duck tour, I’m not comfortable with their safety record. Instead we did a driving tour. Here are the pictures with what I remember of the locations. 
State Capital, front
State Capital, back
More Harvard 
Old South Church
More Old South Church
MIT Museum
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church
Gas prices!
Charles River, North View
Public Garden
Samuel Eliot Morrison
Commonwealth Ave Mal
Tom Brady’s 2nd floor condo, he’s since moved
We drove through the North end, the Italian area, and the smells of food were amazing. The urge to stop at Mike’s Pastry was almost overpowering, at least until I noticed the line stretched north up Hanover street for almost half a block. The whole mix of people and cars working through the crowded streets was sensory overload for me. We circled back to a few places and explored a few more areas before bugging out of the city. Mary and I had a fun time checking out all the sites and learning the background stories. 
We headed to Shelagh and Fred’s to see their home for the first time. Walking up to the large front porch can take your minds eye back in time. The beautiful front doors opened to a foyer with hardwood floors dating back to the eighteen hundreds and a banister that protected the hardwood stairway to the floors above. Period correct chandeliers were hung and they added the finishing touches on their home. 
We sat and chatted while enjoying a platter of various cheeses, fig jam, breads and crackers. The group decision was to eat dinner at Legal Sea Foods. Why not eat at the best while in town. 
Lobster Mac & Cheese
The food and service were excellent. I could not finish my meal but it will come home with me tomorrow morning and be consumed for lunch upon our return to Ocean City. 
L-R - Fred, Shelagh, Juliet, Mary, Me
We sat and talked for a good bit then decided it was time to get us back to the hotel. Goodbyes are never easy but we vowed to return to Boston soon. 

I sat in bed and worked on my blog until 11:30pm then called it a night. My bride went night night an hour ago.

The Return Home

My flight plan was filed yesterday and weather checks were completed. I will obviously have to detour for the TFR over Rehoboth, DE. 

Mike and Kim were waiting on the hillside adjacent to the Flight Level FBO to greet us. Mike had a Cirrus sim session in the Red Bird  full motion scheduled, but wanted to see us off.
I departed runway one-seven on the Norwood 3 departure.  OWD.3 requires a climb out on a given specific heading to two thousand feet, then radar vectors to the BOSOX intersection. I was instructed to climb to six thousand and that would be my final altitude. I had filed for eight but six would work and no oxygen would be needed.

Once handed off to Bradley approach I received an amended route. (Norwich)ORW V16 JFK V1 SBY direct destination. I made the update on Foreflight as I turned direct Norwich then made the updates to the Garmin 480, followed by selecting Execute.

Mary and I rode along enjoying warmer temps then our Friday flight, nineteen vs forty-five degrees today. I was handed off to multiple approaches in reverse order of our north-bound flight.  
I did have concerns about my routing since it was going to take me through the inner ring of the TFR. As I gave this some thought Atlantic City had another change for me, apparently thinking along the same lines. LEEAH LAFLN SBY OXB.  

Strange, that was exactly what I had filed for todays flight.  Atlantic City handed me off to Dover approach and with that I asked for lower and direct Ocean City. Dover was a no-go, Patuxent had to be the ATC that turned me loose, which they did when clear of the TFR inner circle.  

I let down for ocean city and rode the bumps right down to runway two.  Winds were 040/17G26 which provided an interesting ride until we descended below the tree line. I finished the trip with a nice landing, as confirmed by my bride.
New Airport - KOWD
Hours - 5.4 Round trip flying vs 15 hours driving