Monday, May 9, 2016

Well, it has been a little while.  There have been births and deaths, weddings and birthdays . . . all the usual things.  

We finally did bring on a new partner to the Two One Tango LLC, plus we made what we call a club for two others (non-equity and slightly different financial arrangements) for a total of five of us flying N6321T.  There is still one equity membership available, but we've throttled back on the search for a while.  

Our last annual was a mess.  Found we had a cracked right elevator that needed replacement, then a problem with the right gear required an extensive amount of work to put right.  Since then, a miserable flying winter in 2015-16 put a damper on activity until March, and a lingering brake problem has driven the maintenance folks at Landmark / Signature / TechnicAir (they changed hands) batty.  Nonetheless, we seem to be arriving in the main flying season with everything working, and tomorrow we'll find out if the last unaccounted and lingering drip of brake fluid has been eliminated.  

Just in time, too.  About a year ago we were flipping through the laptop photo album, and stumbled across pictures from Key West.  Those of you who have not been there may be surprised to learn that the southernmost point in the US is located in Key West.  We know this because there is a large buoy painted brown / orange / red where two streets dead end at the water.  It says its the southernmost point 's right there on the buoy.  

There is no business or public management bureau for the buoy.  It just sits there.  Tourists spontaneously line up all day long to get their pictures taken at the Southernmost point.  The closer you get to the front of the line, the more people turn to those behind them to ask if they'll take their pictures with their families and friends.  Sure enough, when you get to the front of the line you do the same thing with your camera.  The whole process takes maybe 15 minutes and you're off to see something else.

Well, with fond memories of the warm, tropical air of Key West in mind, it's only natural to think how great it would be if we only had bookends - pictures of friends and family lined up at the northernmost point in the US.  That would be Point Barrow, Alaska.  

. . . (long pause) . . . (scratch behind ear of your choice ;-) . . . 

320m (278 nm) north of the Arctic Circle, located on the balmy, scenic Arctic Ocean.  North of the Brooks Range and its north slope.  Even north of Prudhoe Bay, where the reality TV show "Ice Road Truckers" focused for several seasons.  You get the picture.  To be fair, though, the Canadians have an air base on an island north of Greenland several hundred miles closer to the north pole, so you'll understand we're just pikers imagining going to Barrow.  

So, with this idea stuck in the back of my mind, geez, wonder what it would take to fly 21T up to Barrow and make our way up to Pt Barrow?  

Well, here you go.  Frederick MD is the departure point down at the center of the range rings.  Ann demonstrated once again just how wise she is by declining the offer to come along.  My good friend Gary Bruner, on the other hand, has agreed to test our friendship by co-habiting a 21T for 70ish flying hours from 11 - 31 May 16.  

There are a lot of people who've published or otherwise written about such trips.  The Alaska 99s ( have a great piece which laid out the main routes of which there are three:  the Alaska Highway to the east and eventually through the Canadian Rockies to Fairbanks AK; the trench, a long, straight valley hundreds of miles long that runs from Montana to the British Columbia / Yukon border; and the Coastal route following the Alaskan Panhandle from Anchorage and Cordova to Vancouver and Seattle.  The Alaska Airmen's Association Logbook goes into an extensive discussion of flying to, in and from Alaska and is a great reference.    

Our route takes the Alaska Highway route going up, and proposes the coastal route on the way home after some extensive AK flying to Barrow and elsewhere in the state.  Initially, we'd thought to get as far south as Seattle, and pick our way through the Rockies back toward Frederick.  Then it occurred that we'd never actually spent any time in California, we missed Roswell on the Phoenix trip a few years back, and there was a song about Catalina Island many years before that.  With so many compelling reasons ;-), the plan expanded to include a trip all the way down to San Diego, visit relatives in Phoenix, fly to Roswell for lunch, and then head back home.  

Of course, there is still that unresolved final drip of brake fluid.  We'll see if we go on the 11th or work out a delay.   

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Little Change of Pace from our Usual Topics - 182RG Shares for Sale

We're selling shares in an extremely well equipped Cessna 182 RG based at Frederick, Maryland (KFDK).  This is a great "go places" machine which we've flown all over the country and the Caribbean, as we've shown in many other places in this blog.  

We're looking for partners with at least 500 total hours and some retract time.  An Instrument Rating is required for insurance.  Our LLC is debt free.   We have online scheduling.  Costs are a combination of quarterly fixed expenses and flying hours only.  

Aircraft Description:

Total Hours: 4950
Total Since Overhaul: 220 

-  GNA-430 WAAS GPS / Com / Nav Coupled; 
-  S-TEC GPS Steering (GPSS); 
-  KX-155A Com / Nav w/ GS Coupled; 
-  GTX-320 TXP; 
-  KR-87 ADF & KN-62A DME; 
-  WX-10A Stormscope; S-TEC 60-2 w/ Altitude Hold; 
-  JPI EDM-700 Engine Monitor; 
Tablet EFB w/ XM Weather; 
-  Internal WIFI for XM - iPad / Droid Link; 
-  Good Paint, Good Interior; 
-  Hangared. 

Price per Share: $20,000

Give us a call at 717-404-8726, 
   or email

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Back home, and thoughts.

Day 12, 18 Feb 2013.  The final day of our adventure.  We're in the Hampton Inn in Beaufort SC, doing the final bag drag and grabbing a little breakfast.  

We called the same cab and the same guy took us back to the airport.  This is all pretty routine at this point.  We pre-flight and blast off for Barnwell, a short flight of around 40 minutes, picking up a clearance in the air.  

This clearance business is getting complicated everywhere.  Turns out Beaufort approach is closed for President's Day so we scramble find a frequency to get our clearance.  By the time we do we're half way there.  

Barnwell is a popular place.  There was one guy pulling away from the pumps as we pulled in.  Two more planes land and get in line as we're topping off.  It's amazing what cheap gas will do for your popularity.  The fella watching us all mentioned they weren't sure how long prices would last, but they sure were happy to be able to help everyone while it lasted.  

We pick up one more clearance in the air enroute to Frederick.  Other than the usual headwinds (no matter what direction we're headed ;-) the sky is clear all the way home.  

We finally get Frederick in sight . . .

. . . and are cleared to land Rwy 05.

One more top off at Frederick's self-serve and we're headed for the hangar. 

It's still winter here so we need to take the usual precautions.  As we leave for Waynesboro she's plugged into the engine heater.  That's a necessary step unless you want to arrive for a flight one cold morning and find the oil has more the consistency of asphalt.  This is certainly a big change in perspective from the last two weeks.  We also asked Landmark Aviation, our local FBO, to take her in for a wash to get all the salt she's undoubtedly picked up in the Caribbean off her.  Never hurts to keep ahead of corrosion.  

So home sweet home.  It's time to build a fire.  It's going to be cold tonight.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The overall tale of the numbers:  4033 nautical miles, three countries, 36 hours of flying on the hobbs meter (sort of an engine clock) / 33.3 hours on the tach, 16 stops.  

There are a lot of things one can say about a trip like this.  It was a fun intellectual challenge pulling all the pieces together (in spite of the unreasonable four rules imposed by the participants - see our 19 May 2013 post ;-).  It required a good effort by both of us to keep it all on track while on the road.  In the end, it was satisfying to have successfully anticipated virtually all the main logistical issues.  

The main thing, though, is it was worth it.  Being able to share so many terrific places with my model friend, great people, natural beauty, man-made wonders, different ways of making a living, big money, small money, the hustle everywhere, civic interest everywhere -- this is positively stimulating and motivational.  

Of course, you can see bits and pieces of this everywhere you go.  You don't necessarily need to fly the Caribbean to find it.  It's hard to argue, after flying it, that these characteristics are so much clearer when one looks around.  With any luck, we'll be able to use a refreshed perspective back home.  Just one perspective, but who knows -- it might just be contagious.  And it might lead to another adventure.  

Back to the USA.

Day 11.  17 Feb 2013, and its a beautiful day by the looks of it early in the morning.  

Well, it's been a great ride so far.  In two days we'll be putting N6321T back in the hangar in Frederick MD.  We're stopping in Beaufort SC to visit a partner in the plane, Bill Schultz and his wife Betty, before topping her off for the last leg home.  But first, we need to clear BHS and US Customs, get a little more cheap gas, and hope for good weather.  

I mentioned the conversation with our taxi driver on the ride back to the airport in yesterday's post.  What I did not mention was breakfast before our departure.  We ate at Murray's Deli, kind of an "I Love NY" kind of a place with good food and one of the few places at Atlantic open early.  When we finished, I had to get some pictures because Murray's was right next to the harbor, and the harbor was filled with boats.  

Big boats, impressive boats, boats with boats, boats with their own jet skis,

boats with cranes mounted on the stern to raise and lower shuttle boats.  

All this was very impressive, but one boat in particular caught everyone's attention.  There was a boat with its own helicopter.  Talk about one-upmanship!!  I'll grant you I never actually saw the helo without its canvas cover, so for all I know it was a cardboard helo.  But still . . .

Anyway, I'd called US Customs the day before with a 1200L arrival at Ft Pierce, so once again the timing of the day's events was pretty much set.  After the drive to the airport, Bahamas Customs is another snap.  Just hand the ladies at the FBO counter your paperwork, they walk it back to a little room, and you're done.  I'd also filed that morning using  It worked this time (none of that stuff about needing a contract or agreement), but you have to pick up your clearance using a radio in the FBO.  Once we'd gotten 21T moved in from the lower 40 and fueling was underway, I called clearance and got a full route clearance.  

Departing was a snap.  After we got our clearance, all we had to do was make our departure time.  Bag drag, pre-flight, and we're a few minutes early.  Ground has no problem with that and we're off a little early.  

The flight to Ft Pierce is over Freeport.  

There is a bit of surface traffic out with us this morning.

 This is a long leg that starts with the usual number of islands along the route, and ends with a large stretch of deep water all the way to the Florida coast.  From the air the line marking coastal waters and the deep Atlantic is pretty clear as you can see below.

The only remarkable thing about this flight is chatter about a TFR over Ft Pierce.  We later learned this was for Mr. Obama's golf outing with Tiger Woods.  ATC routed us right in and we parked in front of Customs.  

After outbound and inbound experiences, I can definitely recommend Ft Pierce as a preferred and easy way to make the jump to the Bahamas.  An FBO guy came over with a baggage cart to help unload bags, and a customs guy came out to help as well.  We did the usual passport and Immigration form, and walked past the x-ray machines with instructions if no one was there to keep walking back to the plane.  Plane it was.  

As a Cherokee pulled in behind us and a business jet had pulled alongside, we decided to push her over to parking in front of the FBO and Tiki Bar - line guy helped again.  We dropped off the raft and life vests and grabbed some lunch.  Nice place with excellent food and good service.  While in the restaurant we filed for a flight to Beaufort SC and dinner with Bill and Betty.  I had thought about stopping once again at Valkaria, but Barnwell's gas was cheaper and we had enough to hit Beaufort and get to Barnwell the next morning.  

So one more uneventful flight up the coast to Beaufort.  The fella at the airport remembered Bill and 21T from a period in December 2012 through January 2013 when Bill had her down that way.  

We're getting used to the idea of grabbing a cab, so off to a Hampton in Beaufort.  This is a pretty little town just outside the Marines Parris Island complex.  

As you might imagine, there are a lot of Marines and retired Marines in the area.  Our taxi driver chats about how the area has been doing since the economy turned south.  He's doing alright so far.  

After cleaning up a bit, Bill and Betty arrive and take us downtown to The Plum.  This is a great little restaurant with what appears to have a good following.  Ann got the local shrimp ravioli, and I got the special.  Everyone completely enjoyed the food and it was good to catch up with the Schultz's.  

Tomorrow we're on our way home.