Monday, September 19, 2011


First Hurricane Irene, then tropical storm Lee left the Northeast drenched and weather conditions ugly. VFR pilots were getting a lot of time to read aviation magazines. The weather broke on Saturday but family commitments kept me busy at home. Sunday the sun came out again and I went out to the airport.

Ralph was preflighting his beautiful Tripacer and came over to ask if I was going to the Limerick Fly-in. I had missed the one in Trenton on Saturday and didn't even know that Heritage Field (KPTW) had one planned. I decided to overfly Pottstown and head to Brandywine, a field I had never been to before. 4PS performed well, I think we were both glad to be airborne on such a beautiful day. Cool temperatures thicken the air and the wings and engine like that. Visibility was fantastic and I was really surprised NOT to see any fall colors yet. (Good, I'm not ready for the damnsnow.) The Dynon HS34 worked well and I had no low fuel pressure indications. Nice

A few were in the pattern and one was on a simulated VOR approach to 090. I overflew the field to get a position on everyone and decided to make a non-standard right hand pattern to follow the the Piper on the approach. It all worked well and ended with a sweet landing and easy exit at the first turn off. As I held short to reconfigure for take off a helicopter called 3 miles out for landing. I asked and was granted permission to get out in front of him. He watched my departure to the west although I never saw him.

A slight chop started to bounce us at 2500' so I climbed up another thousand and eased around the northern edge of KLNS airspace. I monitored the tower frequency and found Lancaster was busy for a Sunday morning. Smooth air on a beautiful day, especially after a long wait is such a wonderful feeling. As I started my descent I saw a large radio tower directly on my flight path on the crest of a mountain. I thought my terrain avoidance should be calling that for me, and as I was about to take a note in my "gripe" log Sally came on to tell me about it and created a hazard window on the GPS to point it out for me. Cool Stuff.

I had been to 58N before. I a nice little strip with some flight school operations close to Hersey. Another "4PS" resides there, also in the classic silver and blue. The airport owner has had some engine problems with that airplane and is not at all happy with the support received from her salesman in Lancaster. While I've had a few bugs, these folks have had enough of the PiperSport. I explained that I was still in love, and we agreed that a lot of that has to do with the excellent support I have received with my issues. 10 gallons of gas from the pump and I was on my way. While I waited the last few minutes for the oil to warm up, a Piper Cub did a low pass right in front of me.  Fantastic.

The trip home was nice. I decided to hand fly and followed RT322 south of the Reading airspace. I called "Approaching Home Plate" at 10 miles alerting my wife that I was inbound. She came out to help with cover and tie downs .A sour note to the whole day was a lousy landing at Butter Valley. Moderate gusty variable winds, meant I should have added a few knots to my final approach speed, but I didn't. Dropped it in....rats.

Brandywine is about 30 miles from Butter Valley, Reigle is about 50 miles away. Lunch at the Airport restaurant was a BLT and a cup of coffee.

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