Wednesday, October 25, 2023

New Garden for Service

This morning was to be an early start to catch the sunrise over Ocean City.  Something about the best laid plans… I didn’t go back to the hangar last night to plug in, I should have. It took awhile to start, and then warm up 3 Tango Charlie.  I set up four cameras this morning so I hope the video turns out interesting and entertaining.  

I roll for take off at 7:45 sunrise was 7:16.  The ride was smooth and 3 Tango Charlie made very good power on departure. Density altitude was -1,800 feet. I picked up flight following with Dover as I approached Delaware Coastal. The ride along was quiet and after being handed off to Philly I canceled once clear of Wilmington’s class Delta and below the Philly class Bravo.

There was one plane in the pattern at N57, and he was landing in the grass. I made my worst landing since my PPL days. I did my typical couple of swipes up nose trim then somehow got slow.  It was a very firm plant but the wheels stayed on and I think I only lost one filling, kidding.  I did give the firewall and gear a once over after taking a peek at the runway for miscellaneous parts that may have been left behind. 

Scott is working on my plane today outside on the ramp since the shop was full. There was plenty of airport activity with school planes doing laps in pattern and the occasional owner and transient. Charles G stopped by to take me out to lunch so we headed to Two Stones in the Lantana Square. I had the classic cheeseburger with a side of sweet potato fries. Charles had pan seared salmon with rice. Good eats and as always good conversation. 

When we returned Scott was finishing up with the panel reinstall and then adjusted my down lock switch on my left main gear. When I did the run-up test the green light for the gear indication was on. There were no leaks from the gauge install. With everything checked out Scott printed out the entry for my airframe log and said they would email the invoice. 

I saddled up and followed a Cessna Cardinal to the runway for departure. Once I was wheels up I climbed out to three thousand feet and pointed my Commander direct to home, KOXB. I stayed below Philly class Bravo and above Wilmington’s Delta airspace. 

I did pick up flight following with Dover once I heard Jon (from N57)heading north with a plane he got running, now following him back to New Garden from Delaware Coastal. I never did have a visual but ADS-B was tracking. 

I canceled with Dover and made my way into OXB. The ride home was a bit bumpy but I finished off with a super smooth landing, erasing this mornings ugly version of getting the plane on the ground. 

Next up Asheville NC to visit the Biltmore Estate. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

North to the Valley

The last trip to Wilkes-Barre, by plane, was September 2020. It’s been a while since heading north to take care of my parents grave.  Mary and I both commented that we couldn’t remember the last time we headed north, I had to look back on my blog.  My last flight to Wilmington was 17 months ago to pick up Vince and get him to his bachelor party in Atlantic City.  Mary and my last flight to Wilmington was February 2022, 21 months. 

We launched for AVP around 9am VFR, picking up flight following with Dover approach. Dover handed me off to Philly and then Philly to another sector.  As we s as approached Allentown I gave some thought to opening up the IFR plan but held off. I asked for lower to duck under the dark layer facing us while watching heavy rain to our west. I heard one pilot report advise they flew through hail and that got my immediate attention.

Allentown handed me off to Wilkes-Barre and they advised to expect visual runway two-two. I crossed the last ridge that was dotted with wind turbines and started my descent once handed off to the tower. 

I was cleared to land runway two-two, enter left down wind. As I started my base turn the tower asked me to start the turn since there was a jet inbound. I made a nice landing and cleared the runway without delay. 

The folks at the FBO, Aviation Technologies, were great to deal with.  Mary and I kicked into tag team mode as she took care of the courtesy car and I supervised the fueling.  We loaded up all our supplies; flowers, mulch, tools, and water then pointed the courtesy car for Route 315 and the cross valley expressway. Once across the mighty Susquehanna River we exited and made our way to the cemetery. 

When we arrived at the cemetery we saw a marine in dress blues standing and staring into the adjoining cemetery. I slowed down as I drove by and we waved. I didn’t see a tent for a burial where he was looking, but saw everything set up a few headstones down from my parents. Mary and I didn’t want to be there to interrupt their service so we quickly cleaned up, planted the mum and spread mulch. We each had time for a few prayers and I did manage to do my one sided chat with my Dad.  

Mary helped pick up while I used a brass brush on the headstone to clean it up as best I could. A man approached me to discuss the cemetery’s upkeep and I found out that the owners went bankrupt when the perpetual care money was embezzled. I exchanged info with the gentleman who takes care of the adjoining two cemetery’s.  This will not be the end of this story. 

I’m happy to report we were on our way back to the airport before the veteran was laid to rest. I did find out he was from my parents home town of Keystone. I mentioned on previous trips how the family always joked about a Keystone party on the other side. I pray this veteran and keystone native was welcomed home in typical small town fashion.

Mary and I made a stop to top off the courtesy van, a grand total of four gallons. Mary picked up Nutter-Butter and Toastchee crackers for the ride home. The airport was NOTAM’ed to be closed from 1 to 1:30 for taxiway construction blasting. Yes, blasting. I had a short hold on the FBO ramp before being released to taxi. 

The flight home was serious ride em’ cowboy time. I did manage some IMC south of Allentown as I rode along with the first Philly approach. I asked to confirm my class Bravo entry and Philly affirmed. The altitude of six thousand I had chosen was having us ride just into the building dark layer, so I asked for four thousand. Four was granted and off we went down to clear but bumpy air. 

Photo by Vince Games

Once clear of the bravo airspace Philly turned me to a 250° heading, maintain six thousand. I confirmed, paused a bit, then inquired about the altitude. Approach repeated 250°  maintain six thousand. I advised we had been previously cleared to four and we can cancel IFR. Approach said I could stay with him at four and turn direct Smyrna (ENO)or cancel. I was not going to climb back into that wild ride. We rode along at four with Philly.

Philly soon handed me off to Dover and then Dover handed me off to Patuxent. While on with Dover a follower of our YouTube Channel gave me a shout out, Thanks to that follower. I canceled IFR once south of Delaware Coastal and clear of north bound traffic. Ocean City was quiet and I made a straight in for runway two-zero. 
It's good to be home. I put 3 Tango Charlie away and will return tomorrow to clean up, close up, and plug in. For now it's time to get some dinner, take something for both our backs and relax for the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Fuel Calc$


I had to take on fuel today to replenish what I burned coming home from Charleston SC. I gave some thought to making the 35 minute flight to KMFV Accomack Airport for $6.03 a gallon fuel. My cheap gene said do the calculations, is it really worth the flight to and from.

My total fuel when leaving Charleston was 52 gallons. When I landed I had 14 gallons remaining on 3 Tango Charlie. I would burn 6 gallons to Accomack which would leave me 8 gallons left on board.

50@ 6.03 = $301.50
38@ 6.50 = $247.00

+$42.00 6 Gallon burn at $6.94 per gallon (KJZI)

$96.50 SAVED!