Friday, May 24, 2024

Memorial Day 2024

We all enjoy the freedoms our soldiers paid the price for. Let us all remember the families left behind, the lives left unfinished, the future left wanting, those bright minds, and loving hearts that answered the call.

Decoration Day
On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

Memorial Day
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Test flight

After our return to Ocean City from Savannah I needed to do a run up and high speed taxi for some testing. The Saturday following our return I knocked out the run up and the high speed taxi. I also did a clean up to be ready for my next flight.

Today was the test flight. Why all this testing you may ask, because I saw my oil pressure drop below its normal setting and my oil temp ran about ten to twelve degrees warmer than normal, all within five minutes of the airport. What I found was my oil level had dropped to four quarts. I know my plane and recognized the change. I added two and a half quarts and was now comfortable at six and a half on the dipstick. There were no leaks to be found and the only thing I can figure is the prop may have leaked some despite my windscreen only showing the bug carnage. 

I checked my oil as I always do on pre-flight and it was still where I confirmed after the add. I did another search under the cowl and in and around the prop, nothing. I did notice today that the nose gear had some grime on it and it typically is just a bug clean. 

I taxied out and launched from runway one-four after really getting my temps up while waiting for departing and landing traffic, oh and a couple of meat bombs dumped from the jump plane.

All the gauges were looking perfect, all in the typical position on any of my flights. I stayed in the pattern for an extra loop to make sure pressure and temps were good, and they were fine. With that I decided to shoot the GPS 14 approach and continue to monitor.

I did a quick approach brief since I was severe VFR today but just wanted to button push while I could. I turned direct PFAIR, entered the procedure turn and the STec 60-2 flew a perfect Parallel entry. It's a shame I brain farted and did not select NAV in bound. After alerting to no descent I disconnected the AP and hand flew. Hand flying is so much better anyway. 

I made a nice landing and taxied back to the hangar. After a quick inspection I cleaned off the bugs and found no leaks. The gear was clean and so was the prop. Off to annual next week so I'll have the prop given extra attention and may just send it out if necessary.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Savannah, Georgia

Our original plan was to head to Galveston but with my knee giving me fits we thought it best to make a shorter flight. Mary and I went through our list and decided we would explore Savannah.

Mary booked the hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, and I reserved a car through Hertz. I also secured hangar space for the week to the tune of $75 a night. 

Departure Day 4/29

We were up early and ready to go to breakfast at one of our local favorites, Abi’s Diner. We finished breakfast and headed to the airport. I had completed the preflight yesterday so all I needed was to sump each tank and mount cameras.  
I launched from runway three-two and pointed for the Snow Hill VOR.  I already had set up for Patuxent approach so I switched from CTAF to Pax to pick up my clearance. With a quick exchange we were on our way, climbing to six thousand, as filed. 
The ride to the Chesapeake Bay was hazy but smooth, temps falling to fifty-six degrees at altitude.  Mary and I each had our life vest on to cross the bay and we couldn’t wait to shed them. As we approached the Bay I counted seventeen ships at anchor, waiting to be cleared through the temporary channel at the former Francis Scott Key bridge.  The navy shipyard looked cleared out except for a few ships.  
The ride south was almost boring, I should have flown the coast. I had a constant headwind for the entire flight. 
We flew on top of a scattered turned broken layer having to descend through it to break out for the visual approach runway two-three into our fuel stop at Grand Strand KCRE. Once on the ground I filed for the last short hop to Savannah. 
On departure I flew runway heading for a good distance. I think it was a combination of altitude and the active runway at Myrtle Beach. Once south of Myrtle Beach I was turned direct Charleston VOR. It was another ride on top and I had to set up for the RNAV GPS 19 for Savannah. I broke out under two thousand but followed the glide slope to the runway. This is where the fun started.  The winds were gusty so I kept my best forward speed up as directed.  Once on the ground I brought up my flaps and slowed down. Tower said don’t stop on the runway. Ahhh, just slowing down and retracting flaps.  Bizarre! 

I made a right turn on A3 as directed and taxied clear. I totally brain farted and made a quick left and right to enter Sheltair. As I was securing 3 Tango Charlie a line guy handed me a note to call the tower. I finished securing the plane and then climbed in the rental to have some quiet while I called. The manager said I needed to contact ground and I agreed before I taxied beyond the hold short. I told him that was stupid on my part and apologized. He said he just wanted to give me a heads up.  I needed a good slap to the back of the head. 
Mary and I sat and cooled off waiting for the fuel truck then headed out once 3 Tango Charlie was taken care of. It was about twenty minutes to the hotel and thankfully valet parking took care of our wheels while we settled into our room. 
Mary and I walked a few blocks and many stairs to get down to the river walk. The weather is perfect with a cool breeze as we searched for some late lunch. We found a place at the bottom of the stairs call Graffito Pizza. Check out the picture above done by a street artist. I passed on the pizza and ordered two appetizers. I had the meatball al forno and smashed crispy potatoes.  Mary had the garlic knots along with the Italian chop salad. We were stuffed! 
With full tummies we made our way back to the steps and back to Bay Street and our hotel.  Mary read for a short while and I started this blog. The air condition felt good and we settled in for the night. 

Tuesday 4/30

We started out with breakfast at the hotel. Honestly, the food was pretty good and only had to take the elevator to the lobby area. 

After filling our tummies we decided on a trolley tour. This tour serves as a lay of the land scouting mission and finding a place for lunch. 
The trolley tour highlighted many locations of interest and provided a history on the squares/parks.  Much like Charleston there were many buildings and highways built over the old cemeteries. There was even one hotel that had served as a union hospital where bones were found in the basement and assorted amputated limbs found under the floor of the third floor. The tour informed the passengers when old bones are found they are DNA tested, family notified if possible and then returned where they were found. Think about that…yeah, not staying in that hotel. 

We finished the tour and then got right back on the next available bus.  Now that we scouted the area we decided to actually get off and explore what we had noted. The first stop would be for lunch at The Pink House.  

The Pink House Restaurant
The dinner reservations are booked up a week or two in advance so instead of taking a chance on getting dinner seating from a cancellation we did the lunch stop instead. We each had 8oz filets with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The food and service was excellent. 
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
It was a short stroll back to the trolley where we waited less than fifteen minutes and boarded the next trolley. The plan was to explore river street but once seated the driver announced that stop is temporarily closed due to construction. Hmmm… ok, I guess we’ll head back to the hotel and regroup.

I got changed and made myself comfortable, I was done walking for the remainder of the day. I’m still dealing with a knee that gives me fits so laying on the bed and working on the blog was good. Mary grabbed her book and decided to join me. It remains to be seen if we’ll do dinner tonight, I doubt it.

Wednesday 5/1

I’m up early and as all pilots do, I’m checking weather for our return home. Friday looks to be low IFR to IFR into Ocean City. My planned route of Savannah to Kinston NC looks fine and the fuel price is the lowest in the area. I’ll check weather through out the day and we’ll decide over dinner if we leave late morning Thursday or as planned on Friday. It’s time to find some eats so off we go.
Trying to mix it up a bit so we headed to Clary’s for breakfast. This eatery had very good reviews and we enjoyed our breakfast. We did get two sticky buns to go for a snack when we return to the hotel.
After checking off the the breakfast box we headed for the waterfront at the River Street Market. Mary walked me around the market and then through a few shops. 

Riverfront Savannah River

The Market Place

The ice cream was amazing! Mary had chocolate crunch and salted caramel on a sugar cone, I had butter pecan and banana pudding on sugar cone.  
East view

West view
Mary strolled west up the street while I sat and chatted with a man I sat next to on a bench outside the Christmas shop. The gentleman was enjoying a cold beer while waiting for his wife and Mary checked out more shops while I sat. What a nice guy.  We exchanged where we were from, the weather at home and here in Savannah, and the cost of real estate. After a short bit his bride texted that she was on her way and if he could get her a beer. He said be on the look out for a tall gray haired good looking woman, tell her I’ll be right back, and did I want a beer. I passed on the beer, I’m driving but thanked him anyway. 

Sure enough here she comes, she looks at me and takes a seat on the bench. I said hi your husband will be right back he went to get your beer. She laughed and said how did I know it was her. I told her he asked me to look for a tall gray hair good looking woman and you were it. We both laughed. Ken and Mary both got back at the same time, Mary no packages, Ken two beers.
         The Christmas shop

We walked a short distance to the parking lot and cranked up the rental Jeep SUV air conditioning. May as well get comfortable while we come up with a plan for the remainder of the day. We gave serious thought to the Mighty 8th museum but I decided to pass. Instead we wanted to tour some of the mansions we saw on yesterdays trolley tour. 

Built in 1819, this mansion exemplifies the neoclassical styles popular in England during the Regency period. The Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters allows visitors to explore the complicated relationships between the most and least powerful people in the city of Savannah in the early 19th century.

The house tour was the main floor, second floor and the basement. Did I mention all the stairs? There were a lot of stairs to climb. I took up the rear of the tour group as we made our way through the slave quarters and then the main house. Here are a few pictures. 
Family Dining

Formal dining
The top picture with the round table was the family dining room. The formal dining for entertainment had the long mahogany table with beautiful plaster crown molding design and an amber glass to let in light on the granite table top below. 
This picture is taken from the landing leading to the second floor facing the main entrance to the west of the home. Did I mention all the stairs?
This is a picture of the English garden located between the carriage house and slave quarters building and the main house. When the house was built this area was used as a work yard that most likely had a garden, an area to dry laundry and clean rugs. There was livestock also kept there and an outhouse for the slaves. The main home had indoor plumbing that held water in cisterns. Unfortunately there were no cesspools found and waste typically went out in the street. Gross! 

I passed on the basement level, my knee was done and we still had to circle the block to return to the rental. We made our way back to the hotel after a busy day and many stairs.  Time for this mornings sticky buns for dinner. 

After doing my weather review multiple times during the night mary and I have decided to bug out north for home tomorrow. I made a call to Sheltair to have 3 Tango Charlie on the ramp by 10am.

Thursday 5/2

Mary and I had breakfast at the hotel then checked out. I made one stop to top off the fuel in the rental SUV and then headed to Sheltair. 3 Tango Charlie was on the ramp and ready to go. I completed a preflight, loaded the baggage and got the fan turning. I took my time following procedures and confirming each phase.  Phase? Yes, I updated my fuel load on the JPI, then set up frequencies for ATIS, ground and tower. My next step is entering my flight plan on the Garmin 480. 
I typically go through a flow then use my check list to verify. I remember watching an Aviation101 video, he touched on how the airline industry follows checklists and procedures and the pros complete each task before moving to the next and that efficiency leads to proficiency. That phrase stuck in my head, and I’m always looking to do something better and more professional. 

Ok, enough rambling. I picked up my clearance, made sure oil is up to temp, then called for taxi instructions. I climbed away from runway one turning to a 040 degree heading to three thousand which had changed from the initial instruction to fly runway heading to three thousand. 
It was a smooth ride until having to ask for seven thousand to clear build-ups. Nobody likes getting tossed around in IMC. Once above the build ups and dodging a few of the larger ones, the ride was smoother on top. Seven thousand seems to be my magic number where my oxygen level drops to 90 and sometimes dips below. I opened up the O2 and attached my boom cannula to dial in the flow. My numbers went to 97 and I was good to go.
Once clear of Myrtle Beach I was handed off to Wilmington approach. More building clouds and requesting left or right to steer clear while working to get back to my on course to Kinston, KISO. 
Seymour Johnson approach granted my request for lower and I 
Let down for three thousand finding a nice hole ahead to wiggle my way clear of the clouds. Approach cleared me for the visual two-three and handed me off to the tower. I advised in the left down wind as directed and made a nice landing at Kinston.
While I supervised the fueling Mary wandered inside the terminal. The typical routine is she walks in to pay while I tend to the plane. My bride came back out before the fueling was complete to give me a heads up to a food truck parked out back of the FBO. We decided to check it out and have a quick lunch. I had shrimp tacos and Mary had the pulled pork sandwich. We sat in the pilot lunge and enjoyed our lunch. 
I did file for the one hour and forty minute flight home. We rode along at five thousand and this flight was bumpy  below the layer above. I was handed off to multiple Norfolk approach controllers and then Patuxent, we were almost home. I entered the pattern for two zero and made a nice landing. 3 Tango Charlie has an impressive collection of dead bugs, but for tonight she will rest. Tomorrow I’ll do the clean up and fuel top off. It’s good to be home.