Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Hangar Time with Lucy

I needed to head over to the hangar and plug in the pre-heats for 3 Tango Charlie and put on the cowl blankets.  We have a mission to KILG - Wilmington sometime this week or next. Even with the warmer then normal day time temps the early mornings are still forty and below so it's good to preheat the oil and cylinders.
Lucy needs time in and around the hangar to learn what's accepted and what's not. Our pup is way to young to have full run like our Ziva, but, in time will hopefully earn that freedom. 

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Intercepting a Radial to a VOR or Waypoint

Corrected spelling of the ENO Smyrna VOR
I have read this very question multiple times over the last few weeks on various forums that I frequent. I have been so busy practicing the buttonology on my Garmin 480 that I decided to make a quick how to video on this subject.

Lets set up the flight and the ATC change to intercept the radial to a VOR. The flight plan as cleared by ATC is as follows; KOXB SBY ENO KILG. 
Typically upon departure from Ocean City (KOXB) Patuxent requires you to fly a 270 heading upon entering controlled airspace. Once Identified you are immediately turned on course to your initial waypoint. 

Only once so far in my eight years of flying out of OXB was I given a Radial to fly to the initial fix on my flight plan once in the air. So it's not common here but in many places it seems to be a thing. 
Once ID'ed by Patuxent I was assigned an intercept radial (180*)to my initial plan fix, Smyrna (ENO). On the video I work through the process on my GPS, the Garmin 480. I also included a link to a Midlife Flight video that focused on the exact topic for Garmin GTN and Avidyne IFD units.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Reposition Plane & Pilot

My friend and fellow pilot Charles G had to leave his Piper Cherokee here in Ocean City due to weather, and instead ground pound it north back home. The plan for today is to head north to N57, New Garden, and shuttle Charles back here to Ocean City, OXB, so he can fly his plane home. 

We swapped a few text messages and it will be a late afternoon flight, but we'll be back to OXB before dark or I'll turn into a pumpkin. No, I'm still not night current since November 2013 and have no plans to change that.

First I need to plug in the Piper since it's on the ramp and todays temps are hovering around 35°F. I didn't know this until recently but OXB has power boxes out on the flight line next to the terminal, this makes plugging in very convenient.

Next I'll pre-flight 3 Tango Charlie and launch around 3pm for the 96 mile 50 minute flight north to N57 bucking a 15 knot headwind.

Despite the headwind the ride wasn’t to bad. I had a 10-15 knot headwind that eased up a bit north of Dover. I was treated to a C5 departing Dover AFB making a climbing right turn out over the Delaware Bay. It was fun to watch that huge plane climb away.

I adjusted my flight track more to the left or south west to avoid any wake turbulence from that C5 beast. I did fly through very light turbulence and it was gone as fast as it appeared. 


I was handed off to Philly approach on 124.35 and road along enjoying the view. I found it odd I was given that frequency since it typically is 119.75. I had a hard time  hearing the controller and even a harder time understanding him. Once clear of Wilmington Delta airspace I cancelled flight following and made my calls for New Garden. I made a nice landing and let 3 Tango Charlie roll out saving as much brakes as possible.

Charles was right on time, showing up a few minutes after 4pm. I was on the ground just about 10 minutes and did not bother to shut down. We taxied for runway two-four, made our call and launched for the beach.
The ride home south provided a 10-13 knot tailwind which helped the ground speed. I monitored Philly and then Dover, deciding to pass on flight following. There was one plane in the pattern at OXB that landed on three-two but the winds clearly favored two-zero. I lined up for two-zero and rolled 3 Tango Charlie on. Charles helped me tuck the Commander in the hangar then we drove over to his Cherokee next to the terminal and disconnected the extension cords. While Charles did his pre-flight I headed home to Raviolis and home made meatballs. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Avionics Buttonology

Despite maintaining my IFR currency on a full motion sim, I really needed to push the buttons and turn the knobs on my Aspen/Stec 60-2/Garmin 480 avionics. 

The weather has been above average with temps just tickling the sixty degree mark. With a blue sky and no winds I decided today I would get in the air. The plan was to launch from runway three-two and climb straight out for PFAIR on the RNAV GPS 14 approach. 

Setting and confirming altitude and switching to GPSS mode was easy peasy. I would have done a parallel entry to the procedure turn but the autopilot did a tear drop. Once inbound, and the GPS confirming LNAV, I had no glide slope light. Maybe it was because I didn’t select NAV once inbound. Nope, the real reason is the approach is an LNAV approach, it's on me the pilot to fly the glideslope. Now that issue sounds very familiar. AP disconnect and hand I fly down to minimums. Honestly I still prefer to hand fly approaches.

On climb out I reset for the RNAV GPS 32 approach and set up for direct GOBYO. After some thought I decided to mentally vector myself to just outside the final approach fix (FAF), ELUCO. I figured why be out over that cold water (ocean temp of 44° F) if I didn’t need to be. I was higher then the approach called for but working my way down to 1500 feet. This time I did select NAV, however, it was late and I was above the glide slope. Vertical guidance did not capture. Once again I disconnected and hand flew to a nice landing. 

Needless to say I really need to put some time in and work on proficiency. I know I can hand fly any approach but having the AP really makes life easier after a long day of flying. I’ll be back up in the air this week and again this weekend. 

Remember, currency is good for the log book but proficiency will save your ‘bacon’.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Oil Change and Log Book Notation

I went back to the hangar yesterday to complete the oil change. The temps were a bit cooler so I did not open up the hangar door. I have a new drop light so that helps to see where any oil drips and to make sure all my tolls are accounted for.

First things first, of course, release the auto-drain plug so it is closed, then clean up around the plug. Next I brought in the case of oil and Camguard I had warming in my SUV. It's so much easier using a funnel when the top cowling is on, not so easy with it off. So one by one I opened the oil and just set the bottle to drain directly in the oil dip stick tube. Worked perfect and in the middle of the seven quarts I added the Camguard.  I gave the floor a quick peek just to make sure there was no spillage from the auto-drain. All is dry.

I forgot to grab a marker when I left the house so I jumped in the SUV and headed to the office. Thankfully they had a sharpie marker and I was able to add the info to the filter. What info had to be added to the new filter? I added the date, tach time, tail number, and left the right/left engine lines blank.  Clearly there is only one fan turning out front on my commander.
Steve was in the office so I asked to borrow a one inch socket and a torque wrench if he had his in the hangar. Luckily he had moved tools to his hangar and had what I needed available. I can't believe I walked out of the house, passed by my tool box in the garage and drove to the airport without the few tools I needed. At least I did remember what my keys were for and I found my way to the airport.

I did head over to the new Harbor Freight and purchased a 3/8" inch drive, 5-80 ft.lb. click torque wrench. The wrench I purchased was on sale for $16.99, perfect for doing oil changes and spark plugs when needed. Steve stopped by and watched my safety wire tie work and gave his nod of approval.

I cleaned up the hangar getting everything put away before bugging out for home. The filter is draining and I'll cut that open this week and do the run up/leak test. Now I need to order some oil and a filter for the next change sometime late this summer.