Aug 18, 2013: The Marisa Mission – Leg 1

There were no pictures added here yet – nor any movies. I have been playing with the NFlightCam I paid for, and found that it is dangerously distracting. Really. It needs so much attention they decided to just walk away. Mostly the product does not meet minimum expectations; the vendor discontinued it; and now wants to sell you the GoPro and hope you’ll trust them. Not.

Honestly, had I not left the thing home I would have used it in this case. Let me tell you why over the next few posts.

The day prior started out with me doing a few things for work – from 5:30 AM until around 1:30 pm. First beer shortly after that, and then LA and Scot showed up. Then its off to the Indian River yacht club for swimming; Red Stripes, Sharks, and Miller Lite for awhile. The IRYC isn’t as nice as it sounds, but then again, it’s better. The adults got to hang out and talk about various things, and I got to forget about my day – and the week that preceded it. The fun continued as we headed into the Cultured Pearl in Rehoboth, for another amazing late night sushi experience. They even had a jazz singer that I wanted to dislike, but wasn’t able to. She was good – it takes courage to do what she does.

Getting to the flying – You would have liked to see what it was like starting up a twin at Georgetown on a cool summer morning. I would like to have shown you that on a video too – so that you can understand why I smile so much. The mission today, however, would require my full attention and every safety precaution I could muster. I was about to launch into encroaching rain showers and low visibility just north of the field to go get my friend Mike B. Heading up to get him would afford me the opportunity to warm up and make sure the airplane was ready before I picked up Marisa. I knew it was, but wanted an added assurance.

Feeling good on a Sunday morning – much better than the previous Friday flight to Gaithersburg – I enjoyed every solitary minute. It is impossible to ignore the privileges I enjoy when I roll back the hangar doors to see that beautiful speed machine waiting to go. It looks fast just sitting there. It is fast just sitting there.

Rain was coming down steadily, so I sent a text to Mike to let him know I’d fuel there – in the protected hangar. Bump came down with the fuel truck and I topped off all six tanks. I now had 6.5 hours of fuel aboard, and was ready to go.

Lining up on the runway – I felt so natural and at home. Bev and I had done much more dark morning / low IMC takeoffs than this light morning – low imc I was about to undertake. I was ready, and decided to forego the autopilot entirely. I did set it up, in case I needed it, but left it off as I climbed into the rain storm. Holy cow – what a machine.

Dover asked me almost immediately if I had the weather. I assumed it would be similar to Georgetown’s, but had to admit I didn’t have it yet. They then asked me what approach I wanted, and all this was while I was hand-flying a twin in IMC. I told them to stand-by – I’d let them know.

I decided next that I didn’t need to listen to Dover’s weather first – the GPS 27 from SOPHY would work – I could circle to land if needed. Winds were stronger out of the north – the further north you went. That ended up being not the best choice, as the northerly winds favored runway 9. Once I figured this out – I didn’t tell Dover but decided to handle it on my own – which is ok.

Inbound on final for RW9, I was in the clear and cancelled IFR. I continued my approach VFR (visually and on my own) until 1 mile file, when I practiced a circling approach technique. Apparently I sucked at that today, and didn’t compensate for a much strong north wind than anticipated. I turned base too close to the runway, and the base to final turn trigger an alert in the back of my mind concerning a recent accident. After my turn to final – I was unstable and more than 2 runway widths south of RW9. I initiated a go-around. Kudos to reading accident reports and the myriad techniques I read about.

Next time around was picture perfect. Like NERC self-reports – it is not nearly as painful when you confess and fix it, as when you try to push the envelop because of some pressure that never existed. Just go-around. I have 3500 hours and I still go around.

Mike met me on the ramp, and after a hot start issue on the left again, we IM’d Mike and departed.