Monday, July 16, 2007


Despite some nasty weather in the DelMarVa area this afternoon, MS and the IFR Pilot literally "threaded the needle" and managed to get from the Home Base to Dover, Delaware. About an hour of actual conditions, much of it after sunset, into a 2500' foot runway at 33N. Tomorrow, I work, and MS does whatever MS does to keep himself happy in the hotel.

Further updates upon return to the homestead.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Aviation Is Resuming Its Proper Place In My Life

It's self-evident that the IFR Pilot hasn't been much of an aviation junkie the last two months. Just look at the paucity of entries in this here little blogetty-blog. But looking forward to the next three weeks, it appears that my aviation feng shui is being restored:

Friday-Sunday of this week: Fly Mike Hotel to Toronto for the inaugual Blogging Pilot World fly-in. As I don't want to miss an entire day of work, I'll fetch Mike Hotel in the morning and commute to work by air. Then I bust out at lunch time and head for Toronto. Sounds like a plan, eh? All I need now are my USCIS decal and my charts that I ordered from Sporty's (I waiting too long and so the shipping rates and delays from any Canadian sources were prohibitive.)

Tuesday-Wednesday of next week: Return to Delaware for the removal of components from a wrecked aircraft that is the subject of litigation yours truly is helping defend. This will also involve commuting to work by air. It will also allow me to avoid the absurdity of a 45 minute flight to BWI and a 2+ hour drive to Delaware; instead, 2 hours and 34 minutes of flying time in Mike Hotel will put me within 20 minutes of my destination. That's a "much mo' bettah" proposition, as Justin Wilson would say.

July 31: The IFR Pilot serves as the AOPA Legal Services Plan at the Air Safety Foundation's presentation "Regulations: What Every Pilot Should Know." Since it's in Toledo (not Kent, as I was originally advised, but who cares), the IFR Pilot will be "forced" to once again commute by air to work, and then take Mike Hotel to the presentation.

It looks like a good month, aviation-wise. If only I could find some outlet to publish my RITTRs article...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Well, it's been a while since I've done any flying. In fact, other than some brief sightseeing flights during the Memorial Day BBQ, I haven't done any flying since my trip in early May to Baltimore with S and W for crabcakes and a dinner flight with N a couple of days later. My instrument current lapsed on Saturday, and with next weekend's planned jaunt to Toronto for the inaugural gathering of pilot bloggers, it was time to do some flying and get current.

Tuesday night, I enlisted the help of my (worthy?) partner, MS. We blasted off, and it was clear that the IFR Pilot was rather rusty. No major snafus, but just a little behind the plane. We flew the ILS 1 at CAK twice, first time without the autopilot and the second time with.

On the first approach, the controller vectored us waaaaaaay to close, and I couldn't lose altitude fast enough. Managed the keep the localizer somewhat close, but overall, I'm glad this was in VFR conditions! Low approach only, then we're getting sent around.

On the second approach, we were vectored a bit further out and, combined with the autopilot flying the localizer, this one worked out much better. We departed straight out to the south for the GPS-A into PHD.

This one went fine, but after reaching the MDA, we realized how uncomfortably close you are to some radio towers on a hill northeast of the airport. Make a note, be real, real careful if we ever fly this one in actual conditions!

Naturally, we couldn't stop at PHD without dinner. Nachos, chicken wings, salads, and pasta made us a fat and happy crew on the way home. My night currency has also lapsed, so I insisted that MS earn his dinner and bring us home.

Being the night before the Fourth of July, the skies were dotted with fireworks everywhere. A great sight indeed, although it did make picking out the Home Base's airport beacon a bit more challenging than usual. MS did a nice job getting set up for the landing to 21, which involves a final approach over trees that are far too tall and near the runway threshold for anything other than a dead-on approach. MS did well, but the landing was a bit firm. He later suggested that we add a user waypoint to the 430 over the trees and establish a descent height so that in the future we have some assurances that we really are, in fact, clear of the trees.

After tucking Mike Hotel away, we prowled around the airport for a bit, sipping on beverages from the vending machine that MS recently acquired and installed in the hangar. As you can imagine, it holds quite a bit more than our dorm fridge did, so there's always certain to be a cold one available for you if you stop by our humble hangar.

Wednesday, I dragged JS out. Turns out we've had Mike Hotel over a year and this was to be his first flight in it. (Sorry about that...)

Back to CAK for the ILS 19. No problems this time. Our wishes were granted, and we received the ASR to 23. I always like doing these, and you can't always get them. But, I figured, hey, it's a holiday, it was relatively quiet on the approach frequency, maybe they'll indulge us. And they did!

This also went well, although it involved a somewhat steep descent for the runway after the controller commanded, "Descend to your minimum descent altitude now."

We were then cleared for a low approach behind a departing Boeing, "Caution, wake turbulence." Umm, yeah, we'll break it off now, please. No need to get anywhere close to that big mutha!

JS and I then hopped over to the RITZS intersection for the obligatory hold. I mangled it pretty good on the first try. The second time was much better, and so with that task accomplished, it was time for the GPS 2 into 3G3. This approach is a bit different from the usual T-based GPS approach, as it involves a 13 degree right turn after passing the FAF.

The only hiccup here was the pattern traffic that was landing opposite us due to the prevailing surface winds. We spotted them early enough and broke off the approach to the east of the airport for the 2 mile trek back to the Home Base. All that remained now was the task of landing the airplane well enough to impress my safety pilot.

I'll let him decide if I passed, but I noticed no loose dental work on the seat or in the foot well of the cabin, so I think it was acceptable! JS kept commenting about how comfortable the seats were in Mike Hotel compared to those in the rental planes he's been relegated to since we dissolved the 78S partnership. Hey buddy, you're welcome to fly with me anytime if you survive next week's skydiving adventure!

With that, the IFR Pilot can once again call himself that, as he's instrument current. Toronto, here I come!!!