Sunday, September 26, 2021

Jekyll Island and the COG Fly-In


The Plan

Here I sit just over one week out from our departure for the COG annual Fly-In . I am busy with typical cross country flight routines; checking weather patterns, confirming hotel and car rentals, and giving 3 Tango Charlie a once over with a final systems air check this week.

The plan is to depart Ocean City and head south to 09J - Jekyll Island, GA. I am going to plan a fuel stop along the way due to credit card issues at Jekyll Islands self serve pumps, confirmed Monday morning.  I'll either stop midway at in Whiteville, NC - KCPC, Columbus County Municipal or push further south to Mount Pleasant, SC - KLRO, Mount Pleasant Regional Airport. 

Weather Checks

Departure Day

As ugly as those weather pictures look it was a beautiful morning at the ocean city airport. 
Mary and I rolled through the gates a bit later then we would have liked. With no Ziva home my built in alarm clock wasn’t there. We also decided to make a quick stop at McDonald’s for a breakfast sandwich and pumpkin pie for the morning flight. 

My preflight was completed with only sumping fuel as  my last to-do item. I tugged 3 Tango Charlie out onto the ramp and loaded up our bags, plane cover, window shields, tie down stakes, and O2. Mary and I had broken a record, both bags under 25lbs and one garment bag each, pushing the scale to five additional lbs per bag each. 
A final accounting of all items on board came out to 19.3 lbs under gross.  Hmmm, that will allow three extra gallons at our first fuel stop to make for a new total of 55 gallons. 

I taxied to and departed from runway one-four. Winds were gusty but down the runway which made for an uneventful take off. Since it was VFR and the ground communications outlet was NOTAMed  out of service I picked up my clearance in the air with Patuxent Approach. 
Cleared direct snow hill VOR then as filed, climb and maintain six thousand. We were on vacation! 
I managed about twenty minutes of instrument time flying south along the Delmarva Peninsula. It was a smooth ride in the milk jug and my bride did very well for not being in IMC conditions since our return from Florida flight.
We eventually broke out on top and enjoyed the view. Looking ahead we had more IMC to deal with south of Norfolk with conditions clearing as we worked our way south. 
For the entire first leg I battled 40-46 knot headwinds that made for a long flight. At times in the climb I saw fifty-three knots, in straight and level maybe eighty knots to ninety. It. Was. Brutal. 
breaking out at FAF KCRE
From south of Norfolk I racked up another hour of IMC before breaking out into a beautiful blue sky as I shot my approach into Grand Strand - KCRE. RNAV GPS 23, just inside the final approach fix GAPNY, I came out of the clouds at about 1580 feet. This approach is going in the log book. 
It was a quick gas and go at CRE followed by the climb back out to six thousand on the new IFR clearance. We were on the second and last leg to Jekyll Island. Winds had really eased on this leg, insert eye roll, now running 20-25 knots head on. At least I managed 112 knots. 

I was handed off to multiple approach controls as we bored a hole into the headwinds. The one treat was a traffic call out for a pair of F35’s dropping out of one zero thousand and crossing our path left to right just five hundred feet above. That was worth the headwinds to see that military flight, it made my day. That flight was close enough that we got a caution wake turbulence warning from approach. 

After reporting that I had the Brunswick weather, there is no weather on Jekyll, and the field in sight, I cancelled IFR. I made a slow steady approach to runway one-eight and greased one on. We had arrived!
Mary went to the office for a two seat red bug that we had reserved in advance, and brought it out to the plane so I could load up the bags. What a neat little machine, complete with turn signals and lights. It was gas powered and fun to drive.  The ramp was filling up fast.

Fellow COG member John Fiandola could not attend because he was delivering a helicopter, John did however do a low level fly by to show all the aircraft at 09J. 3 Tango Charlie is on the ramp just past the Red Bug building between a Cessna and a Beech Twin.
Video provided by John Fiandola

I drove around the Jekyll island Club (JIC) property, clueless on where we were going. We tried to find some lunch, and finally did so at the Pantry sandwich shop. This place is like a college campus, buildings everywhere. We saw the folks dressed in white playing Croquet and got a chuckle thinking back to the comment Chris (Photographic Logbook) had made on his blog post. Nope, not a time warp, but they must have some sort of group that plays here on a regular schedule.
Our view during dinner
found on internet
We checked into our room showered, then took naps. Dinner was at the Wharf restaurant, also on property, this one we could walk to. The sunset view was gorgeous. 

On our return to the hotel we met up with Commander group members that were sitting on the porch, taking advantage of the rocking chairs and beautiful cool temps. We had chatted until 11pm, with that we called it a night and headed off to bed. 

The Historic District

The plan is to be up and out at the shuttle bus stop by 9am. The hotel provides a shuttle to and from the historic district and their sister hotel, Ocean Club Resort. The shuttle runs every hour until 10pm.  
Mary and I  wanted to have breakfast in town, at the Sunrise Grill, then snoop through all the shops. We will have to return in time for the opening Commander Owners Group (COG) meeting scheduled for 2pm.  
There were no crowds as we worked our way around the complex. We bought our great nephews shirts, and managed a shirt for each of us. Plenty of selection in the many shops.
The grounds were spotless and landscaped beautifully. The hotels located within this complex were modern and very well kept. I think when we return we’ll stay in the historic district area, taking advantage of ground transportation services for a ride to the hotels instead of paying for a Red Bug and letting it sit. We learn these little tidbits whenever we visit new locations. 
We met the shuttle at the Ocean Club Resort and made our way back to the JIC. Our driver asked if we checked out the turtle rescue yet and if not he could drop us off at the door. Perfect! 
Mary and I purchased tickets and quickly went through the exhibit, too many people for me and couldn't take many pictures. We both followed the path outdoors to the adjoining building that was the actual turtle rescue.  

Friday’s COG Agenda

The scheduled general maintenance, part sourcing, and gear maintenance seminars will be very useful and further enhance my Commander aircraft knowledge. Every little bit helps when we work to maintain our aircraft and learn more about each system. The presenters did an excellent job for each topic and the Q&A session that followed dug a little deeper. It was time well spent to sit and listen.  

I did finally pick up our welcome packet with name tags, a nice looking poster to commemorate the event, along with a 2021 COG Members hat and mug for each owner/pilot.
The group followed up with a welcome reception of sorts with enough food selection to cross off needing dinner afterwards. Mary and I met some other members, chatted for a little while and then made a snack plate. Unfortunately we did not stay until the end since my right leg was really hurting. I had walked beyond a safe distance for me and now my body was wanting to shut down. I have found that if I exceed my pain threshold my body will shift into what I call the freezing seizure mode. I get the shakes, my teeth chatter, and I have to lay down and sometimes sweat it out. Strange but effective, the body always gets it way. 

Mary made a quick dinner run and picked up a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches and some key lime pie. Dinner hit the spot and I soon passed out. Typical puppy syndrome, full tummy equals sleepy time. 

Saturday COG Agenda

Saturday morning, I am first up for a Flying video presentation to the group. This should be interesting. The presentation was not recorded live, but I did do a voice over from the Power Point presentation to post on YouTube.

Following my flying video presentation and the discussion on the elevator spar AMOC, we broke for lunch. 
my ride and beautiful bride
Everyone headed for the Red Bug Restaurant for BBQ. The food and company made the day. The ribs, beans, and coleslaw were very good. I didn’t try the BBQ chicken but it looked good too. Mary and I each saved room for dessert, delicious cheesecake. 

I decided to head back to our room to take a nap. First, I took an Advil and then spread some of that Voltaren Gel on my shin to help ease the pain.

Mary headed out to Driftwood Beach and then Horton Pond with Lisa, her husband Keith went to take a nap too. The baby alligator was at Horton Pond and it's large mama is also there. Yikes!

Mary woke me up when she returned from the two locations noted. I slowly came to my senses trying to wake up then showered after Mary was done so we could get ready for the banquet and closing activities. 

The food and service was excellent and we had a great time. I did not enter 3 Tango Charlie to be judged earlier in the day so there was no shot at an award for me. I did win a really nice LED headlamp as a door prize. 

Mary and I met so many people and made new friends in the COG family. We are looking forward to the next event or fly-in to catch up again soon. We said our goodnight and goodbyes then headed for our room.  My bride was beat so she went right to bed. I had a a nap earlier this afternoon so I worked on this blog post for a short time.

I know people will ask what we thought about the Jekyll Island Club so I'll add a few words here. The service was outstanding. We stayed in the main building. The rooms were nice, older, and had small but sufficient bathrooms, everything was very clean and well kept. 
The complex is like a college campus, buildings everywhere. I didn't find it very handicap accessible, at least in the main building. It seemed that everywhere you went required stairs, sometimes lots of them. For most people that's not an issue at all. With my leg injuries it quickly took a toll. I'll add that we walked a good ways while shopping the historic district and to catch the shuttle so that didn't help much. My doctor will say loose weight to save your sticks, so I'll add that here too if I'm being honest. 
When we return we will stay at the Ocean Club Resort located in the historic district. The shuttle runs to the sister hotel Jekyll Island club on the hour so there are many benefits. We like staying on the beach and the pool was beautiful.

The Return Home

Mary and I met up with a few couples having breakfast and we enjoyed the morning coffee and chat. Unfortunately, it was time to have our bags brought to the front of the hotel, load up the red bug, and head to the airport. Note to file, if you rent a Red Bug, keep a towel handy to wipe off the morning dew from seats. 

If we had enough fuel we could make the four hour hop home. I stuck the tanks and had 32 gallons, so we will need to make one stop.

The revised flight plan is to make a short First hop to Mt. Pleasant SC, KLRO to top off. It's just over an an hour and they have full serve fuel for $4.95 a gallon.
Traffic was crazy busy departing Jekyll Island and the traffic at St Simons added even more traffic to the already overloaded scan. I selected offshore to eliminate most of the VFR traffic and those not wanting to be feet wet. It worked. 

I saw one target shadowing the V1 route north and his speed was around eighty knots. I caught and passed that plane off the coast as another aircraft passed us southbound.
The remaining ride to Mt. Pleasant was uneventful and the multiple approach sectors we worked did a great job. I was directed to fly a 080° heading which took us over Sullivans Island. I turned for the airport once I canceled with approach. There was traffic landing ahead of us and as they cleared I called final for three-five. Service was quick and the lineman professional. Mary went in to grab a Dr. Pepper and a few snacks for the last leg home. She also hung out and paid the fuel bill, which saved me the walk to and from the terminal. I love my bride.
I filed for the last leg home once 3 Tango Charlie was fueled, we were ready to go.  I took off on three-five and climbed out, picking up my clearance with Charleston Approach. We made it almost eighty miles and my bride wanted me to stop since she didn't feel good. I requested a diversion from approach, for my passenger, now landing at Grand Strand, KCRE.
I had hoped I could keep my code and pick back as soon as we got back in the air but I had to cancel in the air or on the ground and refile for the remainder of the trip. I made a nice landing at Grand Strand, straight in runway 5. Once I taxied clear Mary went into the FBO and I worked on the new flight plan for home.

I took off from runway five and as soon as I was wheels up I made a short climb then tried to level for speed and instead touched the mains down again. Does this count as two take-offs? To coin a phrase from the National Enquire, Enquiring minds want to know.

The ride north was a bumpy brutal run. Mary and I both were very uncomfortable as the winds pushed from our eight o'clock gusting from ten to twenty knots. It was way smoother in IMC coming south on Thursday, even with the +40 knot headwinds. 
We crossed over Norfolk with a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge Tunnel and the many cargo and tanker ships in the Chesapeake Bay. I was handed off to Patuxent Approach then eventually canceled IFR when we approached the Snow Hill VOR and let down for home. At Ocean City there was one plane in the pattern ahead of us landing on three-two. I entered the left down wind for three-two and made our way in for a nice landing to end the adventure.
We are both beat, I mean just really tired and sore. Mary helped me with the baggage. I unloaded from the plane and pushed the bags under the wing and she caught them on the roll and loaded them in the SUV, it was a plus to tag team the baggage. I tossed out the plane cover, tie downs, window shields and left nothing but the Commander station wagon mode of pretty blue carpet.  Let's go home, I'll clean up tomorrow.

By The Numbers
Miles- 1084
New Airport 09J- Jekyll Island
Flight time  10.3
IMC  1.3

Friday, September 17, 2021

GNS 480 Eliminating the Procedure Turn

Please note, I'm not a CFI, CFII, and I did not sleep at a Holiday Inn last night. My 'How to" videos are based on my experiences only.


In response to a viewer question I put together a short "GPS How To" on eliminating the Procedure Turn (PT) on the approach when not needed, with regard to approach plate notes like this one listed on the RNAV 28 at KOEO. 
On the Garmin GNS 480, once the approach is selected, the SUSP will illuminate when within 1 mile of the PT. At this time press the SUSP button once, and it will eliminate the PT and continue to the initial fix selected. From that point it will turn to fly the next segment (next leg) to the final approach fix (FAF)and then to the runway. 

Friday, September 03, 2021

Breakfast with my Bride

The weather in the mid-Atlantic is absolutely gorgeous for our Labor Day weekend. Humidity gone, rain nowhere to be found, sunshine in abundance.  

Mary wanted to join me for a short breakfast hop to Cambridge, MD - KCGE. I am always happy to have my bride fly with me; we were both excited to get in the air. 

I did need to stick the tanks, and confirm fuel on board 3 Tango Charlie. I thought I had thirty-five gallons left after my last flight but honestly could not remember the exact number. After using the fuel stick I was able to confirm forty-three gallons. No fuel would be needed for the hour round trip.  Saddle up!


I climbed away from ocean city on a 320° heading, and then turned direct CGE.  The ride was smooth, cool, and the view unlimited. I did not video today, instead, I enjoyed my time with my bride. Patuxent approach was quiet as we skirted the north side of the Salisbury Class Delta. I switched com two over to pick up the weather at Cambridge. Winds were 260° at nine knots, making runway three-four my choice.

The on-field restaurant, Katie's, was busy with the one waitress playing hostess and bus boy. Thankfully, everyone was patient. It was nice to just sit and chat with my bride while we watched the many hummingbirds swarm the multiple feeders on the windows. 

Once we finished up we headed back out to the plane to head home. I did a walkaround and then climbed aboard. When we arrived there were only two planes at the tie downs. On departure the front row was full, we had beaten the lunch crowd. 

The return flight was a simple course reversal, again avoiding the Salisbury Class Delta.  As we passed by the north side of the Delta airspace at two thousand six hundred, Patuxent approach called us out as a target for an American Airlines Embraer-145 crossing our path, south to north, at three thousand. The Embraer was cleared to nine thousand and we stayed on our heading and altitude. 

Once clear of the Delta airspace I switched over to CTAF at Ocean City. There were a few calls from Woodbine NJ and zero traffic at the home base. The position calls at ten and five miles went unanswered and I made a nice landing on three-two to end the day.

3 Tango Charlie back in the nest