Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Garmin 480 Random User Waypoint and Hold

This is a short "How To" on the Garmin 480 legacy GPS. This video walks through creating a random waypoint and a hold with an offset x number of miles on a specific radial. Despite its age the Garmin 480 can do more then many of the modern units. Hope you enjoy the process! Please leave me any questions or comments.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Flight for a Wedding

Mary and I were invited to our niece Katie's wedding in Chester Springs, PA.  What a great chance to use General Aviation to make the trip an easy hop north and follow up with a return flight home.  Travel by car, three hours one way. Travel by our magic carpet, fifty minutes north (headwinds) and about 40 minutes south (tailwinds).

The plan was to depart Saturday Morning around 8am and arrive at Brandywine Airport by 9am. We had reserved a rental car (SUV) so we would be good to go for ground transportation. Our Ziva girl was dropped off Friday afternoon for boarding and our bags were packed. All that remained was a last check of the weather early morning. 


Rise and shine and lets get this show on the road.  Whoa...pump the brakes. Mary woke up with swollen eyes and all sinus areas from forehead to cheeks. Thankfully she had no issues breathing and not really in pain. My bride decided it would be best if she did not go and sent me off on my own. Knowing she was safe and no asthma issues I agreed to go alone, I really didn't want to miss Katie and Mike’s Wedding day and the chance to see my sister and her husband. The last time I saw my sister Denise was pre-covid. 
I had my pre-flight completed and only needed to sump fuel before starting up. Once I climbed aboard I mounted a single video camera and headed out for runway two-zero. With one small bag, a garment bag, and fifty gallons of fuel I was light. I had filed but since it was so nice I decided on flight following only for the trip north.  I contacted Dover and we swapped info providing those extra eyes we pilots like to have watching over us. Dover handed me off to Philly and they handed me off to another sector before I finally cancelled and let down for KOQN, Brandywine. 
I set up for a long final for runway nine and after making a nice landing taxied clear at the Terminal. I secured the plane and rolled my bags to the rental, a Nissan Rouge. From the airport to the hotel was about fifteen minutes. I was so confused looking at the new buildings along RT 100. This was my old stomping grounds when I was working the farm. I knew every short cut and every back road, now, I could not recognize one landmark. I may as well have been dropped off on another planet. 

I did find my way to the Hilton Garden Inn and managed to secure my room access by 11am. My brother and his bride arrived before noon and we met up to go scout the area. Read that as find Katie and Mikes house so we had an idea where to go for the reception BBQ later in the afternoon. We motored north on RT 100 and I finally saw something that I could recognize, Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Fairground. I was amazed how the landscape of my youth and tooling around either on horseback or in my 73 Monte Carlo have vanished from all but those precious memories. Getting old and watching the world change around you really stinks sometimes. 

I will say that Mike and Katie live right next door to God's country, barely two lanes of blacktop with shoulders, uh, wait, there were no shoulders just huge, I mean humongous trees, and a few telephone poles.  This is four wheel drive country come winter. 

We made our way back out to RT 100 and I found our way to the hotel. We would give this another go at 3pm for the real deal.  I was showered and dressed for the BBQ complete with my aviation themed Hawaiian shirt. I followed our initial route, or so I thought, missing one of the last two turns. The hunt was on. I was driving, my brother was right seat and his bride was in the back seat with an occasional laugh. She finally volunteered to bail us boys out when we sat at a T intersection, three way stop, trying to decided if rock paper scissors or a flip of the coin would best direct us to our destination. Thank you Janice for the bail out. Yes, I had my phone for GPS. No, I don't need directions, or so I thought. 

The decision was made to depart before dark just in case the boys got lost again. It gets really dark on those back roads and the thought of passing even a pick up truck took maneuvering and some luck. We ended the night at the hotel bar to enjoy a nightcap. My Captain and Coke tasted great, and most likely will knock me out when I crawl into bed. 


I woke up at my typical Ziva feed me time, 5:30 Ugh...I rolled over for a few more winks. My tummy finally gave notice that I needed to find some eats and get something cold to drink. I showered, dressed  and headed downstairs for breakfast in the lobby area.  I strolled around and finally decided on a cheese omelet and crispy bacon. I passed on the juice and had a large cold water instead. 

With my tummy full I needed to take care of a few things wedding related, a card and the cash. Mary and I had planned to do this when we arrived but since I am solo I now had to pick the card. That wasn't too bad and I make tracks back to the hotel. As I walked in my brother and his bride were just coming into the lobby, good timing. I sat while they had breakfast and then we decided to head out and find the wedding venue. I like scouting trips, it usually helps get the lay of the land. The wedding venue was easy and we were soon pointed south for the hotel. Janice wanted to make one side trip to find her Uncle's house but we weren't positive of the address, however, we had the correct road. We did eventually find the place with a little help from Janice's cousin Pat, and with that took some pictures and then headed back to the hotel.

I went back to my room and took a nap mixed in with watching some History channel show on cars that built America. We had all agreed to meet in the lobby at 2:15 for the ride to the wedding. We piled in the rental SUV since that was way more comfortable then my brothers rental car. Once we arrived and found a parking spot we were directed to an outdoor area for the country wedding ceremony. Here are a few pictures.
L-R My brother Joe, Katie, my sister Denise and me

The music and food were excellent. Everyone seemed to really have a good time. I am so happy for Katie, Mike, Brooke and my sister and her husband Dave.  Y'all know how to throw a great party. 

Time flew by and I was ready to head back to the hotel. Joe and Janice were ready too, and we all said our goodbyes before walking out to the SUV. I was so happy to see my sister, it's been way too long. I am also happy to see Katie and Mike tie the knot, they are fun to watch and listen to as they interact. Mary and I wish them a lifetime of love and happiness.


I was up again on Ziva time, I wonder if she was up at the boarding place or if she was sleeping in. I know my bride was sleeping in, no dog and no me to make noise around the house.  I did text Mary all through the wedding with pictures and updates, it was the least I could do to make her feel like she was there. 

I was up, showered, and dressed in time to check out at 6:40am. I loaded up the SUV and headed south to Brandywine, a fourteen minute trip. I took an old familiar road to cut across RT 202 and on to the back way to access the airport. Boot road looked nothing like I remember. There were houses everywhere replacing all the farms that I frequented. I even went through a double set of tunnels that I knew so well and I honestly was shocked, gone were the fields, barns, and horses that used to dot the land on either side. Time waits for no-one. 

The Terminal was still locked when I arrived, it was just 7am. I loaded the plane and did my pre-flight making sure to sump fuel despite not taking any on. It had rained pretty good on Saturday and I wanted to make sure there was no water. Both tanks were good. I had called the airport office on Saturday and asked if they could check to see if the top latch for the pilot door was indeed latched in the closed position. Most times I leave it in the open position because the plane is hangared or I am not away from the aircraft. The man checked the latch and without putting any pressure on the top of the door he must have forced the latch and broke it. I somehow managed to squeeze it together with enough force to switch to the open position and gain access.
The man that works the desk rolled up and asked if I needed a hand with anything and I advised I just needed to check out. I mentioned the broken latch and said I should have been notified. Either way I asked for it to latched and they did me a favor, all good, I'll take care of the broken handle. My tie down fee was paid when I arrived so I was good to go. I headed back to the plane and climbed aboard.
3 Tango Charlie came to life and I sat to let the oil temps come up. Once at the top of the yellow I taxied out for my run up. I held short at runway two-seven finishing up my checklist items then got a call, from a fuel truck, if I was taking off or waiting on a release. I responded just getting ready to launch and with that made my call. 
It was a smooth ride south although very hazy until reaching Ocean City.  I did have some traffic to contend with but no issues. I made my call ten and five miles out for landing full stop runway three-two and continued in. I made a nice landing but had floated a bit and landed way longer then my typical greaser.  I called clear and headed for the hangar. 
A fun trip although really missing my bride. Happy to be home and I can't wait to see Mary. I'm not sure what's up next, maybe Bar Harbor maybe the Boston area. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Lunch Run and Traffic!

The plan to meet up was worked out on Friday with a few text messages shared with fellow BAC member Les G.  We would take the ladies out to brunch at the Runways Restaurant and lounge located inside the Rider Jet Center at Hagerstown airport KHGR.

Mary and I were off to the airport for our scheduled 10:15 departure. I only had to sump to complete my pre-flight and then tug 3 Tango Charlie out of the nest.  We climbed aboard and taxied out to runway three-two where I completed my run up and launched.  I had filed Friday night and decided I would launch and pick up my clearance with Patuxent once in the air.
A 6000
F 127.95
T 5511

Patuxent gave me "As Filed" four thousand and soon followed with six. I climbed above the layer and Mary and I enjoyed the cool temps, 56°. It was a beautiful day on top. 
The quiet and fun ride ended as I crossed the midway point between Salisbury (KSBY) and Easton (KESN) at the north tip of R-4006. I had picked up traffic opposite direction about three hundred feet below. 
There was no word from Approach, so I alert them to the traffic and then ATC turns me from my present course of 310ish to 270°. I advise the traffic is turning to me and I am given a new heading of 260°. Once again the traffic turns to me and ATC turns me to 230°. I get one more turn to 210° and finally a climb to seven thousand, all be it very brief. Once there is no conflict I am immediately dropped back to six thousand and resume course. 
The one day I do not video and I have something I want to review and learn from. Here is my take-away after watching the FlightAware video and thinking back to what transpired.  With traffic only 300 feet below and coming head on I should have asked for higher immediately. Instead, I advised ATC of the traffic and they vectored me, multiple times before finally giving me higher. The really odd part of this situation is that the traffic kept turning towards me, each time I turned. I gave away control of my situation to ATC. My learning moment, never give up that control as PIC. It was a real brain fart on my part, and I honestly can't remember doing that in the past.
The remainder of the flight across the Chesapeake Bay was quiet and enjoyable. I had a few more handoffs and a shortened route with a direct EMI then changed to direct HAIGS. When I was given direct HAIGS I set up for the ILS 27 approach just in case. As ATC stepped me down from six thousand I went into IMC and the ride was still very good. Once I reported that I had the weather at Hagerstown ATC asked me to report established on the localizer. I thought this was odd since the airport was VFR conditions and I was not given an expect ILS 27. Once turned inbound for the airport at HAIGS I broke out and reported that I was now VFR conditions instead of established on the localizer. ATC handed me off to the tower and I continued in for a smooth landing.

Les arrived in his Sundowner shortly after I had landed. The lineman had just finished fueling 3 Tango Charlie with just ten gallons. The ramp was busy so Mary and I headed inside to settle up my fuel bill grab a table. The ladies had a chance to catch up and the pilots of course talked airplanes. We had last met up with Les and Nahia in Lancaster for lunch back in March.

While we were chatting a young man came up to the table and said he followed me on YouTube and Instagram. I was thrilled to meet Ryan and thanked him for watching and checking in. Ryan and his father (Dan) flew their light sport Aerotrek A240 from Martinsburg for lunch. I managed to get a shot of them with the plane and chat a bit about their light sport while we were waiting for our food order. Yes, Les and I left the ladies holding the fort. Hey, we had the chance to talk airplanes. 
We headed back in to the restaurant while Dan and Ryan readied their plane to get back in the air. It was really nice meeting them both and checking out their plane. 

After lunch and plenty of chit chat time we all decided it was time to head out. Les taxied out  and I followed once I picked up my clearance. I had filed when we were seated at the restaurant, almost a reverse of my flight here. KHGR EMI BAL JAYBO KOXB. The email confirmation showed a route change, KHGR SBY KOXB. I'll take it, it's a more direct route home that will save time and fuel. 
Not so fast, the clearance for home was amended and now read KHGR HGR EMI BAL JAYBO SBY KOXB.
With the new route entered on the Garmin 480 I taxied out for runway two-seven. As I climbed out for the HGR VOR I was handed off to approach and we were on our way. I had one vector for traffic and then turned back on course. Eventually I was given direct Salisbury (SBY) and while Mary slept I motored along. As I let down for home Mary woke and apologized for sleeping the entire flight. I reassured her that was ok and that I took a cat nap too, yes, the look was priceless.  I was kidding of course.

Today we checked the pulse ox and I was at 88-89 once at six thousand and I'm sure a bit lower coming home at seven thousand. The experiment was to just try the compression sock only and no oxygen. The test run was a massive fail. When I climbed out of the plane I could hardly walk on my right leg. Mary helped me tremendously, opening up the hangar and bringing the tug out to the plane. I used the tug as a walker of sorts and managed to get 3 Tango Charlie safely in the hangar.  There would be no window or leading edges cleaned today, I needed to get home.

Mary loaded me up in the SUV and drove us to the house. I went straight to bed and took some horse pill size Ibuprofen for the pain. I went through the I'm freezing and the shakes to I'm melting and the sweats. I woke up this morning refreshed, no pain, and ready to do this blog. Lesson learned, I need Oxygen for anything above six thousand to do whatever it does to keep the blood flowing and accident traumatized leg from flaring up in pain.

Next up a possible flight to Pennsylvania for a wedding next weekend. Still watching weather and the forecast thunderstorms. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Breakfast and an Approach

Sort of like dinner and a movie, but instead, breakfast and an approach. I posted on FB and texted a few friends if anyone was up for a breakfast flight, there were no takers. Mary was snuggled in bed and said she would take a pass today. I decided I needed flight time and to get the oil moving in 3 Tango Charlie, I was off. 

Traffic was still pretty light as I made my way to the hangar. 3 TC had 37 gallons on board by sticking the tanks and according to the JPI monitor 34.5 on board.  Either number works for the half hour hop to Easton, KESN or possibly Cambridge, KCGE and then the return to base.

I made the decision to head to Cambridge after a fellow pilot posted that "It's been a couple years but, the food is mediocre, and the service was below average. Much prefer the breakfast and folks at CGE. 

Lets get the fan turning.
I picked up the wx and then taxied for runway three-two. I was off and pointing west for Cambridge with a slight headwind of thirteen knots. The ride wasn't too bad, until I let down for the RNAV GPS 34 approach. 
Once the approach was loaded I selected the initial fix, PROFS. I made one round for the procedure turn and headed inbound for the final approach fix, WUGUM, at or above 1700 feet. There were a few planes in the pattern but we swapped calls and worked together for the landing sequence.
I had creamed chipped beef over hash browns, crispy bacon and of course the very best sweet tea. The restaurant was packed! Somehow I was quickly seated, tucked in just past the register. The hostess took my drink order and then when she brought the sweet tea out, took my food order.  I checked the clock and noted the time. My meal took 40 minutes to come out.
There was one waitress, one hostess, and they were both busy as could be. I will say they were both very pleasant, and did a fine job under the short staffed conditions. When I paid my bill I thanked them both for coming in and doing a great job under the conditions. I got a thank you and a big smile. 

I wandered my way back to the ramp and chatted with the two men that were flying a Mooney.  Both guys were from Chorman, D74. I had a similar path with the Mooney owner growing up, horses, then construction.  We had a nice chat about both planes and they invited me to stop in at their home field.  It's on my list as a go to.
We each got the fans turning and I followed the Mooney out to three-four. There was a Travel Air doing simulated engine out practice so we had to hold. Once the Beech was clear the Mooney took off and I followed. The best course of action to remain clear of clouds and clear the Salisbury airspace (2500) was to point north east. Once clear of SBY I flew direct Ocean City, entering an extended left down wind for three-two.  I made a nice landing and taxied for the hangar, dancing with a Cirrus coming the other way that had landed in front of me. 

A fun day with good eats as the prize. I'm looking forward to our flight for a family wedding in a few weeks, then we hope to open up our traveling once again.