N833DF IS DAMN NEAR READY! Matt called yesterday to let me know he might be starting the airplane engines for the first time in two years. As it turns out, he didn’t get that far, but I am not discouraged. This truly means that the end is near and flight testing can begin – most likely next week.

The weather has turned cold and my schedule has been full recently. It isn’t the best time of year to start flying again, but I’m not waiting one more minute. Time to start laying out a serious plan to get all of the airplane data and services current – get a fresh IFR Certification going, and test the ADS-B performance.

I’ll put 50 hours on the airplane before I take family, friends, or do Angel Flights for sure. The gear boxes are the structural components that drove this huge delay. Those were replaced and while the aircraft was down, many other things were addressed. Among the items that have been overhauled include:

  • Plugs
  • One piece windshield installation / skin repair
  • Fuel and oil hoses replaced
  • Engine Baffles
  • Right propeller
  • Pitch trim servo
  • KX-155 Radio gets a new LED Display

I had near full tanks of fuel when I dropped it off two years ago, which will now be drained and replaced. I plan to test fly the aircraft Wednesday and leave it there to address any issues if necessary. Otherwise, I’ll fly it north to the hangar in Wilmington. I made sure that my hangar was ready and will make travel arrangements in case I get to fly the airplane home.

Once debugging is complete, I’ll take it up to smoketown airport to have the paint repairs estimated and scheduled. Simultaneously, I’ll get the IFR certification done and the Aspen battery replaced along with the software/firmware updates for the panel. Lots to do, and some that I haven’t thought about.

With any luck, it will all go smoothly and I’ll be able to put at least 25 hours on the airplane before February gets here.  I typically don’t fly much then due to the fact that my engines are too cold to start and short flights lose their appeal in 19 degrees.

Everything Else includes contract flying, and that is going very well.  I’ve had four opportunities and was able to do three of them. I’m very excited to be doing this and look forward to improving my jet skills as an instructor and pilot. I enjoyed the last trip so much that I seriously considered getting an additional type rating to do more contracting. I’ve since cooled on that idea, realizing my home life matters and my own airplane is almost back.

The commute is easy from Philly to Vermont on my most common contract flying runs. I most definitely plan to use my own airplane to commute, once spring arrives. No need to try winter flights in an untested airplane in the meantime. I will, however, fly up there to get familiar with the area and put some time on the engines if the weather is good.

I’ve had a few cancer concerns to deal with recently, that caused me to turn down one of my contract trips. I had to have a lump removed from my chest, and another during a colonoscopy. Neither lump looked menacing, and both are awaiting biopsy results to plan a path forward. I’m in good shape and continue to lose weight. Having had cancer in 2011, I’m on a hair trigger to detect anything that comes along early. It’s all good.

Beverly and I celebrated our 21st anniversary on the 9th. We were able to get family in to watch our seniors while we went out to celebrate with a sushi dinner. This girl is the very best thing to ever happen to me, and I appreciate her company everyday. My only concern with her is her total commitment to her parents sometimes leaves her exhausted and drained. They are in their late 80’s and required 24×7 care. Beverly is an Angel and I’ve seen her work.

I’ve been spending time riding my Harley since I bought that. I’m very happy with it and just completed it’s 5000 mile service. No issues – good to go. Looking forward to some longer trips on it next year.

Our Chesapeake City home has ridiculous technology in it. Two tankless water heaters in the new section for hot water and radiant heat. One of those is tripping out, so I’ve replaced the motherboard and fire sensors so far. I’m learning more than I wanted to, and making some progress on keeping it running. I’ll play along for awhile longer and then just replace the damn thing.

As you can see – I figured out the security upgrade for this website and got it going. I appreciate the support I received from CloudFlare. Again – I’m supposed to be retired and was forced to learn more than I wanted to.

Fly safe!  I’m really looking forward to writing about the return to flight for N833DF, and hope it is anti-climatic.

I appreciate your readership.


By fdorrin

Recently rated Gulfstream 280 pilot, working on instructor qualifications. WestWind and Astra corporate jet flight instructor. Contract corporate pilot. Own and operate a PA30 Twin Comanche. CFII; MEI; ME-ATP; SES; Typed in DHC-8, B-25, IAI-1124, IAI1125, G100, G280. Retired engineer / executive - Delmarva Power, Conectiv Energy, and PEPCO Holdings, Inc.