March 03, 2014 (Monday night) Big News – an opportunity

Ok – Sleep is over-rated.

When I got back to my room Monday night, I noticed I had missed a call from a new friend I made at Wilmington Airport. Mike B made the introduction only a week or so ago while we were meeting up on Red Eagle’s ramp. I was there with my Twin Comanche getting ready to go practice a few approaches on the way to lunch in Easton.

When I saw who the call was from, I was very surprised and very excited to be hearing from him. The conversation on the ramp that day had been about flying a King Air C-90, but I never expected I’d hear anything.

I dropped all my gear and returned the call.

Those of you that know me, also know that one of my aviation goals for many years has been to have the opportunity to fly a King Air Turbo-prop. That is, in large part, why I purchased a twin and have been investing in it steadily. I am driven to continue learning – because the process of learning something new in aviation is fun, exciting, and very rewarding to me. It is also a goal that I’d have very little odds of accomplishing before I retired. Even then only if all the stars aligned just right.

As it turned out, I was offered the chance to take SIMCOM course for the C-90, in order to fly PIC in the King Air C-90. I didn’t know all the details, but I have enough vacation to make it happen, and wasn’t going to lose this opportunity. I was so excited that I could not sleep that night, and still have to fly myself home in the morning. I was beside myself.

I was awake nearly all night, and ended up at the airport (KCMI) to get my airplane out of it’s heated hangar about an hour early. I’ve been having a left engine starting problem, and was worried about that. I was also concerned about yesterdays snow, so I had called the 33N and KGED airport managers to ensure those airports were reopened. Their reports were good, so I wasn’t too worried about that.

The temperature was about 8 degrees below humanity with a 20 knot wind for good measure while I loaded the airplane and pre-flighted in a warm hangar. When I had my airplane pulled out, you could hear the metal start contracting and the airplane shiver a bit. Climbing aboard, I had zero problems starting both engines quickly. I just got lucky, as the problem wasn’t fixed by this time.

The flight home was wonderful. I was supercharged with this opportunity before me, though tired and wrung out. I haven’t slept in days – wondering if my skills would transfer well into this type of flying. I think it has, but very much understand how much I have left to learn.

Approaching the Delmarva Peninsula, potomac approach helpfully let me know that Georgetown was closed. I responded….. ‘nah dog! – that couldn’t be!! I called the manager before I left. Of course I didn’t really say it that way, but you get the idea. Potomac called Dover, and they confirmed Georgetown was indeed closed, and didn’t know why. Next up – 33N. They were closed by Notam, but my call to their manager told me they should be opened by now….. Potomac was patient, and let me know they were also closed. He was surprised that I opted to go north to Wilmington instead of south to Salisbury, but I had access to rides up north and could leave the airplane there.

Landing at Wilmington – I relearned why winter flying after a snow storm needs more attention. There was water everywhere; snow everywhere except the runways; and warming temperatures. If I didn’t get out before the sun went down, this would be a skating rink and I’d be going nowhere. Sitting on the Red Eagle ramp, I called Georgetown’s manager for an update, and he told me that snow had turned to dangerous slush before I touched down, and needed to be cleared. He’d call me and let me know – and you know what? – he did.

An hour later – I flew back to Georgetown after another lucky start, and put the airplane away. Even putting it away was a challenge – requiring me to tie a rope to the tail tie-down and pull it across an ice patch.

Fly safe – pray for spring.