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Lunch flight to York PA with my son and the Northeast Flyers

Yet another chance to meet-up with my fellow pilot friend Gary http://gmflightlog.blogspot.com of the Northeast Flyers and also get some more IFR experience along the way. I had originally planned to fly our Cessna 182RG since I had just earned my complex / high performance endorsements and logged the required 10 hours in the aircraft, but due to a failure of the gear warning system the aircraft was grounded so we took our trusty friend N159SP.

This was also the second time I have used fltplan.com to file my IFR flight plan. I really like the “Planned ATC Route & EDCT Email/Text Message Notification” feature. It sends you a message when your flight plan has been filed with ATC and in most cases lets you know the expected route of flight. You can set up notifications on fltplan.com by clicking on the “Planned ATC Routes & EDCT” link on the left hand side of the page (in the orange box).

Well anyway back to the flight. My son and I arrived at the airport a bit late as always and started the preflight. I got him seated in his car seat and called for my clearance. “Clearance on hold” is getting to be the norm so I did my run-up at the ramp.

I received the following clearance:
Cleared to- KTHV (York PA)
Route– “Morristown Five departure – radar vectors Lanna – as filed” “LANNA ETX V162 HWANG”
Altitude– Climb and matinee 2000 expect 4000 10 minutes after departure. (Filed 6000)
Frequency– 119.2
Transponder– 2202

It was a bit bumpy on our way up to 4000 and it looked like we might get some IMC time passing through the CB clouds (5000 with tops around 8000). As I passed 5000 feet the air smoothed out and the ride from that point on was good. The video cuts off before my landing at York since I forgot to grab my 32GB flash card and I only had a few gigs left on the internal memory.

It was fun flying through the clouds and at one point I kicked in the autopilot so I could take some video and pictures. After that, I turned the autopilot back off so I could sharpen my IFR flying skills. It is a funny thing flying through CB type clouds. It can be bumpy in them some times but on this day they were pretty tame. As I approached a cloud I would get a few bumps, followed by smooth air, when inside the cloud I would again hit a few more bumps and on my way out my tail would get a nice little “kick” to the left causing my nose to yaw right. After a while I would anticipate this and push the left rudder peddle just a bit as I broke out of each cloud. Check out the video..

As I approached York airport a departing aircraft announced his departure on runway 35 so I set up for a crosswind entry for 35. Just as I made my call an aircraft on the ground reported “departing runway 17” he also mentioned that the winds were favoring 17. According to the AWOS it was a toss-up between the two so I elected to take his advice and turn my downwind 35 into an upwind 17. Since we were the only two aircraft in the pattern this wasn’t much of an issue. As I turned base for runway 17 it became obvious that I was still too high (maybe a tailwind at altitude). I guess I got used to the sink rate of the 182 RG with its 40 degrees of flaps. I turned final and made the call for the go-around. My second approach was still high but workable. I slipped her all the way down final and still landed a bit long but with 5000 feet of runway it wasn’t even close to an issue.


We taxied towards the FBO and found an open spot. I was happy to see Gary’s airplane 08R sitting there, at least we didn’t miss everyone.

We walked into the Kitty Hawk restaurant just as Gary, Dave, Vince and Dave G were getting up to leave. We talked a bit about our flight down and took a walk over to Dave’s new Chipmunk. After checking out the Chipmunk we walked over to our airplane and I showed them some of the nicer features of our airplane. Then we walked over to Gary’s Beach Sundowner 08R.

Gary has a really nice airplane. It’s got a Garmin GNS530 panel mount GPS and a Garmin 496 coupled to the Zaon XRX traffic avoidance system. My favorite thing about the Sundowner is the amount of room it has inside and that it has two doors. Many low wing airplanes such as the Mooney and Piper models have a single door on the co-pilot side making it a bit difficult to enter and exit not the case in the Sundowner.

After saying our goodbyes Steven and I headed back to the restaurant with Dave G from Capital City to get a bite to eat. We had a long conversation with Dave regarding his recent EAA young eagle’s issues. Seems Dave G had been participating in and or organizing Yung Eagles fly out events for the past 5 years and just this year the EAA notified him that they would no longer provide insurance coverage for the event if he was going to offer rides to people over the age of 17. I can understand why the EAA would make that request given the fact that we live in a world where people sue for just about anything, but to Dave’s point he was offering rides to developmentally challenged “kids” of all ages and he didn’t want to break up the group. You can tell that this guy has a hart of gold and I hope he and the EAA can come to an agreement. As Dave knows all to well, life is not without its challenges but I believe good things come to good people.

After a quick look at the time I noticed we only had 10 minutes to “pumpkin time” (“pumpkin time” is when you exceed the two hour limit beyond your estimated time of departure, your flight plan is removed from the ATC computers and we were about to do just that). We made our way to 9SP, powered up the avionics, made a call to Harrisburg clearance delivery and picked up our clearance.

I preformed a quick preflight (oil, fuel quantity, and walk around) got inside and setup the radios along with my flight plan in the GPS, completed the run-up and contacted Harrisburg for my release.

I was granted my release with a “fly runway heading” instruction. I switched back to York CTAF, announced my departure, checked base, final, and the runway and departed runway 35. After departure I switched back to Harrisburg but instead of switching to the departure frequency set in the stand-by position on COM1 I switched to COM2 where I still had the clearance frequency. This didn’t pose much of an issue since the same controller was working both frequencies but he gave me a friendly reminder to switch to the departure frequency. OOPS can’t be perfect all the time. 🙂

During my climb to 7000 I was given vectors at first and was then cleared direct East Texas VOR. As expected I had a nice tailwind and enjoyed some really cool sights flying through the CBs. There was a trough passing through the area causing some cloud cover over northern NJ but nothing to be concerned about (tops were all below 10,000 feet). This was just a great flight in and out of IMC. As soon as I was handed off to Allentown I was cleared direct Stillwater STW. I elected to fly the ILS 23 approach at Morristown. It wasn’t as nice as my one the previous night but it was what I would consider a good approach (no more than one dot deviation at any time). The landing was a bit flat (not enough trim at the DA) but it was a greaser.

Thanks for taking the time to read about our latest adventure. Please feel free to add your comments below.

Are you a pilot or aviation enthusiast? Would you like to share your stories with our viewers? Send me a message via the contact us page and I will gladly post your stories on our site. Until next time.. Happy safe flying everyone!

More pictures

Aircraft: Cessna 172sp N159sp
Flight Rules: IFR (IMC and VMC)
Approaches flown: ILS and Visual
Route of flight: IFR route as per fltplan.com
Altitudes flown: 6000 MMU -> THV 7000 THV -> MMU
Total time billed: 2.9 TAC
Total time logged: 3.5 Hobbs

Comments welcome. Thanks for reading!

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda