Saturday, April 23, 2022

Meeting the Pilots of the MSP

AugustaWestland AW139

Mary and I stopped to see one of the Maryland State Police (MSP) helicopters on display at the Ocean Pines Fire Department. I was lucky enough to meet the pilot from the crew that saved my life on the day of our airplane accident. It was interesting to hear their side of the events that day, and how it had an affect on their procedures moving forward. The pilot, Don, said they stopped at Salisbury because they didn’t think I would survive the flight to Baltimore shock trauma until I got blood. Kind of freaked me out to hear that bit of information. 

Thanks Don for being on scene that morning and for the great chat today. Also a shout out to Courtney, a Maryland State Trooper/Paramedic, for hooking us up.
The crew that was with the display aircraft thanked us for stopping by and bringing closure to that day for them. The first responders typically don't get to experience the result of their efforts. I'm so glad we got to meet Don and he said he would talk to the other pilot and Trooper/Paramedic that was flying that day.

I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture with Don, obviously overwhelmed with seeing the helo and all the medical equipment on board as well as reliving that day back in June 2018

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Getting Vince to Atlantic City

I had swapped multiple messages with Vince’s brother Joey. Joey was putting together Vince’s bachelors party in Atlantic City and I was going to be his transportation. I was excited to be part of the surprise transportation plan and get some fly time with Vince. 

It’s been a crazy few days here at the beach. My 2003 ML 320 left me stranded for the first time, at least it was in the driveway. It was sad to see old blue on the hook but she’ll be back good as new. Mary had to drive me over to the airport so I could preflight and return to pick me up when I returned.

3 Tango Charlie had forty-seven gallons on board which will cover the missions needs. With the preflight completed I got the fan turning and taxied for runway two-zero. The ride at three thousand was smooth with good tailwinds. I picked up flight following with Dover Approach as I closed in on the Waterloo VOR.

I decided to cancel flight following north of Dover and contacted the Wilmington Tower.  My first instruction was to enter right base runway nine then was switched to right downwind runway one-four. No problem, a nice landing and short taxi clear to FlyAdvanced. 

Vince was at the gate with his brother, kudos to Joey for pulling off the surprise. Vince and I saddled up for a flight to Millville Airport for breakfast before we would head to Atlantic City. 

I taxied out following Vince picking up our taxi instructions and once cleared we launched to the south east. Vince took controls and did a great job flying and lining us up for the downwind runway ten. We transferred controls and I made a nice landing despite the gusty winds.

I taxied to the south parking area across from the restaurant and was ready to shut down when we both agreed Verna's Flight Line Restaurant was closed. I saw an Ops vehicle and asked them on the radio if they knew if the restaurant was open. Ops did a drive by and confirmed our suspicions.

Well that shot the plan all to hell. We taxied back out and headed to Cape May, KWWD. I was lined up for runway one-nine and made a long straight in with a good landing. 

The Flight Deck Diner parking lot was crowded, but the ramp was empty, we secured a front row spot. We were quickly seated, passing on the two counter seats, instead, selecting the one table just inside the door.

Breakfast was excellent and once finished we made our way back out to 3 Tango Charlie. Once belted in and the fan turning Vince and I reviewed our plan for ACY. First the taxiway diagram and then weather so we worked through our arrival  and potential taxi to Signature.

We taxied out to runway one-nine and launched for our short trip north up the coast. I did pick up the current ATIS then flight following with Atlantic City Approach. One bit of traffic was called out, passing overhead, a massive C5, very cool!

Once the traffic was clear we were handed off to the ACY Tower. There were two military aircraft, KC10 Extenders aerial refuelers, doing touch and goes so wake turbulence was a concern.

Once cleared to land I made my way to the numbers for runway one-three and with gusty winds pulled off a good landing. I followed the taxi instructions to Signature and pulled up as directed by the lineman. I did not shut down, and had to wave him away as Vince exited to the rear of the plane. The lineman motioned for me to come in and I shook my head no and motioned I was heading out. Vince confirmed they wanted to charge me a ramp fee, what a rip off. I used no services.

Coast Guard Helo just off the coast
I taxied out to one-three following my clearance and had to stop and copy a change once on the roll. I hadn’t asked for flight following, I just wanted to head down the coast. I made note of the revised clearance and continued to the runway. 

Once cleared to takeoff I climbed out as directed, runway heading up to the assigned sixteen hundred feet. The tower handed me off to approach and I was immediately turned on course and given my altitude of three thousand. 

I headed home across the Delaware Bay reflecting on a fun day flying with a great friend and someone who seems more like family. It’s been fun to watch Vince grow up since our first flight back in January 2010.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Spinner Polish

I did a brief video back in January 2020 on cleaning up the spinner but today I wanted to dedicate a few minutes to showing how easy the process is with the Blue Magic Metal Polish Cream.
Cleaning was easy, applying the product from back to front in a straight motion. As you can see by the dark blue towel this was my application rag after a few passes. 

It reminded me of cleaning our silverware from Mary's Grandmother, although never that dirty. The lighter blue rag on the right was for clean and buff, it too had some discoloration.

Total time was under fifteen minutes and it didn't give my arthritic shoulders much pain. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Approaches, KOXB

Finally, the winds have subsided! I figured it was time for me to climb aboard 3 Tango Charlie and get some flight time. Today I wanted to shoot two approaches, GPS 14 by hand, and GPS 2 on autopilot.  I had 54 gallons of dino juice on board so no worries for needing additional fuel, today was all about having some fun.
I launched from runway two-zero and turned north for PFAIR. I made on lap in the Procedure Turn and headed inbound. I felt I did pretty good for flying the first one by hand. 
I brook off at seven hundred feet and climbed south for CIRAN on the GPS 2 approach. I wanted to accommodate pattern traffic and keep clear of any flight school planes.
I activated the STec 60-2 and was on my way, making one additional direct to selection to shorten the leg and clean things up. 
One lap in the procedure turn at CIRAN and the autopilot was behaving well, or at least I thought so. I crossed CIRAN and once the glide slope was alive I had to hand fly the altitude step downs. I guess I do have some rust to shed. Staying ahead of the plane is the name of the game so I disconnected and hand flew to the point where I broke off and joined the left down wind for runway two.  There was a Cessna in the pattern and I wanted to blend in and take my place in line to land. 

Overall a short but fun flight. It's always good to push the buttons and hand fly approaches as often as possible. No scheduled flights coming up but annual is just around the corner. Once annual is complete we are hoping to head south for either Charleston SC or head to Laurel MS for a few days of HGTV investigation.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Airplanes and Landings

I took the Ziva princess to the airport for some play time while I covered 3 Tango Charlie and plugged in the pre-heater. The mornings are still chilly here in Ocean City, MD. 

While finishing up at the hangar I got an alert that my friend Chet was flying in this morning in his Cherokee 180. I thought why not get some video of him landing.

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Wilmington by Ground

Mary and I had plans for heading to Wilmington for a pre-Easter visit, and to see great nephew Rowen for his birthday. 3 Tango Charlie was ready to go with a fresh oil change and recent detail inside and out completed.  I was watching weather and the call for Saturday was a mix of clouds and sun, maybe some IMC time. I also saw a POTUS TFR pop up for Saturday through Monday. It looks like we could get in on Saturday morning day but not get out in the afternoon. Not happy.  

I got to thinking about a cost comparison for a flight vs driving. A flight each way would be about forty-five minutes so lets say 20 gallons round trip for startup, taxi, and flight. Fuel at OXB is $6 so that's $120 for fuel. A rental for one day from Enterprise would cost around $133. All in by plane $253.

Lets see what driving would cost. The first big item is having to drive, I hate driving, especially on SR 1. The trip each way would be two hours. Spoiler alert, we drove. Mary's SUV gets great fuel mileage averaging just under 28 miles per gallon on our trip. I filled my brides SUV up this morning before I worked on this post and it took 11 gallons. We filled up here in Ocean City at $3.63 a gallon for a total of $40. What is my driving time worth? 

Overall it is way cheaper to drive then fly but driving is stressful, demands four hours of behind the wheel craziness, and it's tiring. Flying is quick and easy, we can spend a longer day on location and it's a lot less stressful.

Our first stop was the Booths Corner Farmers Market. I made a beeline to Fishers Deli and Mary got in line at Donut Haven for the most delicious sticky buns.

Mary picked up sticky buns, donuts, and a few other tasty items for her Aunt Letti and for brunch at Lynn's. I purchased a bag of beef jerky and a half pound of sliced dried beef for munchy time with Philadelphia cream cheese rolled up inside, really yummy.

It was good to visit with Aunt Letti who had spent a day or two in the hospital and was now home recovering. It was also good to catch up with cousin Shelagh from Boston who was taking care of her mom.

We then headed over to visit with Mary's sister-in-law Lynn and nieces Laura, Amy and her spouse Hannah, along with their two boys, Brennen and Rowen. It was a nice visit and Lynn had prepared a most tasty brunch. We had waffles, fresh strawberries, and bacon. Mary says, real bacon, on the stove or in the oven. I cook my bacon in the microwave. 

The boys played outside with their gifts for Easter and Mary was making use of the bottled bubble solution. There were plenty of laughs, a few shrill screams, and good times had by all. 

We said our goodbyes and headed over to visit with my sister Denise. We walked into a kitchen with smells of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, good stuff. Dave came home shortly after we arrived, he was road captain for a benefit ride for the SPCA with the motorcycle group he rides with. I believe it's the Harley Owners Group (HOG) Brandywine Chapter. We sat and chatted for a few hours then decided we should get started south for our two hour ride. We wanted to be home in time to feed the Ziva princess by 6pm.

A fun day despite four hours of driving. We are looking forward to our next visit north, hopefully by air!

Monday, April 04, 2022

Cleanup Completed

When Mary and I got home from Vero beach on Friday we pushed 3 Tango Charlie into the hangar and went to pick up our zoo.  literally, together we had to push the plane back in the hangar since my tug was dead. 
Saturday morning I returned to the hangar to clean up the exterior of 3 Tango Charlie, clean the hangar(it was a mess), and test the tug batteries along with the charging system. My 24 volt charger was on but not charging and I needed to see if there was any life left in the batteries. I disconnected both batteries and charged them individually with a 12 volt charger. I made a quick run back to the hangar Saturday evening to check on the first battery and it was fully charged, I swapped the cables to the second battery and would check in the morning. 
Sunday I headed over to the airport after breakfast to dive back into the tug problems. When I arrived I was happy to walk into a clean hangar. The floor was free of dust bunnies, the red carpets at the steps were clean and my collection of boxes dating back to last annual were gone. I broke out my trusty meter and checked the battery status, battery two was dead, only showing 6 volts. I took the battery with me to NAPPA and purchased a new battery, leaving them my exchange, and returned to install the new unit. I also had the new fuse for the 24 volt charger, so we could test that again. 

Once the fuse was installed and the new battery connected I tested the system. Both batteries are holding 12.5 volts each and with the charger on I think the meter read 26 volt charge. Everything is working!

Ah, the retired life. Monday morning I had breakfast and then went to the hangar to finally clean the interior of 3 Tango Charlie. I haven't vacuumed or cleaned since last annual (May). I climbed aboard and cleaned all the windows, cleaned and treated the leather, and cleaned the glare shield that was growing quite the bumper crop of dust. I lugged my mini wet vac (2.5 gal), great little unit for crawling around the inside of the plane, into the baggage compartment. What a sight to see that must have been. I cleaned all the carpets, even those hard to reach areas deep under the seats. 

3 tango Charlie is clean and ready for her next mission. I'm beat, crawling around is hard on my knees and metal parts.