Florida Again! PAGE 205.

January 8, 2006: Things happen fast when you own a fast airplane.  The RV-wannabe meeting did not happen on Saturday, but the oil was changed on Friday, January 6th.  When the pilot cancelled our Saturday meeting, I put the cowl back on the airplane and got it ready to fly.  My friend Monte needed some help that I could offer via my RV-9A.   With some shared expenses, and getting ahead of the coming weather front, I took off for South Florida again on Sunday with a return trip to the Atlanta area set for the next day, January 9th.  The trip south was not tight since the weather was perfect all the way to West Palm Beach.  I took some time this morning to stop off at Lawrenceville, Georgia to give another builder/pilot a ride in my airplane.  Marty Mason is a former Navy pilot who flew the P2-V when he was on active duty.  He is now retired and building a Europa which I have to get photographed soon for this web site.
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After a short flight down to the area near Stone Mountain, Marty posed on the ramp at Gwinnett County - Briscoe Field (KLZU) in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  He was very precise in his handling of my airplane in flight.  Others who have had some right-seat stick time thought the controls were very sensitive, but Marty handled the controls with ease!  I have been invited back to his home for dinner and a chance to see the current status of his Europa airplane construction project.  OH, YES!  One more thing!  Marty brought my favorite RED CUP back to me!  I had left it at his home on the last visit when I also did not have my camera to take pictures of his airplane project.

The photo above was taken at 11:08 AM and I was airborne again in less than 15 minutes heading for a fuel stop at Alma, Georgia again.  I called Atlanta approach a few minutes after departure and was pleasantly surprised when the controller asked about my RV-9A.  I gave him the total build hours and calendar months for my airplane.   I asked if he would like to check out the details on this web site.  I provided the URL for my home page and was handed off to the next controller as I headed for the Eastern edge of the Macon TRSA.  I brought a sandwich and some grapes for my lunch as I flew past Macon headed for Alma.  I also got out my camera to take this picture of the Dublin, Georgia airport as I passed it at 12:10 PM.  I was having trouble with the display on the camera and was not sure this picture was taken.
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I took this shot of the panel one minute later to see if the flash would fire, and it did.  The autopilot was flying the airplane, so I had a chance to work with the camera to get it working again.  When the camera display screen was still blank, I opened the battery box to "re-boot" the camera.  After that it seemed to work normally again.  As you can see by comparing true airspeed with GPS ground speed, the winds at 7,500 MSL this day were almost calm.
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I got to the ramp at Alma (KAMG) to refuel.  There was a pilot for Angel Flight waiting for another plane to arrive with a patient.  His plane was parked just out of camera range to the left.  The Bonanza arrived when I was parked at the pump getting fuel.  When they opened their door, a pair of Yorkshire Terriers jumped out and introduced themselves to anyone on the ramp willing to pet them.  There were also three people flying in the Bonanza, but the dogs seemed to be the dominant personalities with their exuberance for life and the grass area near the FBO entrance. 
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The Commander 114-B arrived as I was pulling my airplane over to the parking place you see in the photo above.  I directed them to the space I had just vacated on this side of the 100 Low-Lead fuel pump.

One of the Yorkies was running around on the ramp trying to avoid her owner.   Since I was familiar with the breed, I stooped down to extend my hand and the dog came to me after running under the 114-B and trying to get the attention of the pilot.   The little dog rolled on her back in front of me to let me rub her belly.  I did that, then got a good hold on one leg to keep her from getting up and away from her owner.  I asked if I could take a picture of the dog and her owner obliged.   Sorry, I did not get the name of the dog or the owner.  This was taken at 1:05 PM just before I loaded up and departed Alma about five minutes later heading for Jacksonville, Florida and points south.
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I passed by Jacksonville at 9,500 feet MSL at 1:47 PM.  This photo came out nicely using the wide angle default lens setting.  I am looking EAST at the center of town and the Saint John's River that comes in from the South at the right side of the photo and flows to the Atlantic Ocean after turning East just north of the downtown area.
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I realized there were some details I wanted to capture in the next photo.   I pushed the zoom button and tried the next shot to see if it would be acceptable.   As you can see, there is some damage with the camera as a result of it being blown off the wing last week during a fuel stop at the Okeechobee Airport.  The focus in the zoomed mode is not good.  You are looking at the junction of Interstate highway 10 where it meets I-95 near downtown Jacksonville.  I-10 comes into the photo at the bottom.  I-95 southbound crosses the bridge then turns to the south and exits the upper right corner of the photo.  Northbound I-95 runs to the left side of the photo about half-way from the leading edge of my wing and the top left corner of the picture.   Due to the poor condition of my digital camera, I did not take any more photos on the remainder of the trip.
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Jacksonville Center provided flight following for me until I was handed off to Miami Center as I crossed the Melbourne Airport.  I did get to see a King Air climbing out of the Arthur Dunn Airport with a load of sky divers aboard.  Their airplane passed about two miles ahead of me at my altitude and climbed about a 1000 feet above as they passed East of my flight path.  I was on the ground again at Lantana and parked on the ramp at 3:34 PM.  Since I had been parked here for New Year's weekend, the tie-down and check-in with the FBO desk was quick and easy.  They still had my information card handy from last week and just put in a new date for me.

January 9, 2006: The schedule called for a short flight up to Stuart to meet Monte again for a quick flight again to the Okeechobee Airport for discount fuel, but no lunch there today.  I did get a really good hamburger at the restaurant near the flightline at Stuart.  A good friend of Monte's needed a one-way ride to the Gwinnett County Airport to meet her son and brother.  This was the reason I was here and we departed Stuart at 12:30 PM enroute back to Alma, Georgia for fuel. 

The ride north along the Florida East Coast was easy at 8,500 MSL with a tailwind that averaged around 10 MPH.  The high-pressure area that dominated my route with clear skies on Sunday had now moved offshore and provided the tailwind on my way back home.  I worked the Orlando Class B controllers instead of Daytona Approach as I passed Melbourne heading up the coast on the Victor-3 airway.  I spent a good portion of the trip explaining sectional charts to my passenger along with playing tour guide as we passed the Kennedy Space Center and the other airports in the Brevard County area.   The only airplane we saw going past Jacksonville was an airliner inbound to the Jacksonville International Airport.

The cloud cover had been very sparse along the lower Florida East Coast and non-existent from Daytona Beach to a point between Waycross and Alma, Georgia.  There was a grass fire on the Waycross, Georgia airport as I passed by.  When I arrived at the Alma airport, another Angel Flight pilot from the Carolinas was awaiting the arrival of a pilot bringing up a patient from Florida in a Cessna 172.  Two days, two stops, one airport, and two Angel Flight missions - - that is what volunteer pilots do to show the value of general aviation to those in need.

I tried to contact Macon Flight Service after departing Alma with no success.   I wanted to know the extent of the cloud cover between my location and the Atlanta area.  I finally reached Macon Flight Service after flying half way to Lawrenceville below the broken cloud layer.  The landing at KLZU was at 4:25 PM.  After getting my passenger out and into the restaurant, I was off in a hurry to beat a front that had already brought some light rain showers to the Chattanooga area.  The visibility was less than perfect, but still better than five miles to offer VFR conditions when I arrived in the valley south of Chattanooga near Folks Field.  The surface winds were very light and I chose an approach from the south for my landing.  Wendell and his wife waved from the car window as I taxied up to the hangar.  They were on their way to the mall and a steak dinner in Chattanooga.  I was glad the weather had been favorable for the last leg of my trip from Lawrenceville to home.  I have updated the HOBBS meter on the home page to add this past weekend's flights to the total.

January 10, 2006: My autopilot failed during my return trip from Florida yesterday.  I took it out of the panel this morning and over to NavAid Devices for a quick repair.  One integrated circuit had failed and was replaced in short order.  I had it back in the airplane and ready to fly in the early afternoon.  Horace gave me some operating tips during engine start to insure a long operating life for my unit.

Wendell cut out the doublers for the fresh air scoops after I coached him on how to cut them to the proper size.  The holes are already cut in the fuselage and the lower wing skin of the RV-8.  I was cleaning bugs off the airplane and cleaning the windshield as he worked on the aluminum doublers for the air scoops.  I have some pictures taken last Friday as I gave him some instructions for possible weekend work and a couple of pictures taken today.  Those pictures BEGIN HERE in his section of this web site.

January 13, 2006:  I worked with Wendell yesterday to get him further along on his project.  You can see those details on his PAGE 12.  I also worked on the intermittent display screen of my digital camera while he was drilling holes in the fuselage for plate nuts, etc.  Around 4 PM, we quit work for the day and flew away in Wendell's Champ to visit another RV-8 builder who lives about 44 miles down the valley in Alabama.  You can learn all about that short visit on a new page for JOHN MYERS in the OTHER RV section of this web site.  I have posted three new pictures from Florida RV-9A builder Jim Streit on his PAGE 2.

January 18, 2006:  I have been working with Wendell as usual.  You can see his latest photos on THIS PAGE.  We flew down to visit John Myers again to get some additional photos for future reference.  Wendell wanted to get out his Cessna 182 for today's trip.  We stopped by Collegedale to get fuel for the 182 before putting it away for the evening.
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