Another Four Stamps

Monday Morning Inspiration

My flying this year has been limited to a stray, once a month flying. But it has been incredibly rewarding, and more inspirational, than the previous year.

As it happens, it’s almost finals week!


Although I have flown to Tangier Island at least a couple of times before (See Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Tangier Again), each time I missed getting my VA  stamp. Although Gert and I had comfortably made it to Niagara Falls in August, I still wanted to plan a fall flyout to Tangier, since I obviously have missed getting my stamps the previous times!

It was one of those rare days when we departed right on cue and arrived 30 minutes earlier than planned since Pax River was not too busy to let us cut across their airspace for a direct flight into TGI.


Lorraine’s was the only restaurant open in October which was great since that is the restaurant I had selected for lunch. After getting our VA Ambassador stamp,  we headed into town for lunch,  just ahead of a group of 10-15 people arriving from Hampton Roads!


Lunch and a pleasant walk back to the aircraft, we headed out for three more stamps: Hummell, West Point and Tappahannock. Three new airports to fly into, especially Hummel, a good short field practice. With four more stamps, we headed back home right on schedule. It was one of those rare, but incredibly beautiful and fun fall days of flying,  enjoying nature and just the joy of flying for flying’s sake.


What an inspiring and incredible day!

Tangier (Again) in Fall

Fresh on Fridays

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All photos courtesy Gert.

My Ten Favorite Flights

Flying is everything to me. After every new adventure, I start thinking and planning for the next one 🙂

There are some adventures, that are so out of this world, that I don’t mind repeating them… again and again!

Some time ago, I posted my Favorite Destinations!

Here are the latest ten of my favorite destinations, that I have done at least twice, if not more, so far!

#10: Monterey

#9: Santa Barbara

#8: Half Moon Bay

#7: Tangier Island


#6 Kill Devil Hills


#5: Key West


#4: SFO: Up Close & Personal


#3: NY Hudson River Corridor

Circling the Lady

#2: Bahamas


#1: Oshkosh


And, I will very likely do them again 🙂




Favorite Destination

Is there a favorite destination you love to repeat over and over again…

IMG_0589When the destination doesn’t matter, and it is all about the journey? Or maybe the destination is so complete, that it justifies the journey?

SouthermostPoint2Or sometimes, the journey or the destination is the least of your concern. They are only,the means to an end: the Joy of Flying?

exumas4There are a few destinations that come to mind… destinations I have flown repeatedly without question…


  • San Francisco Bay Tour, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Ynez, CA
  • Watsonville, CA
  • Monterrey, CA
  • Catalina Island, CA
  • Bahamas, The Bahamas
  • Tangier Island, VA
  • New York Hudson River, NY
  • Kitty Hawk, NC
  • Oshkosh, WI
  • Napa, CA
  • Key West, FL


These are just a few that come to mind….

Catalina091104-0032There are many others I hope to make….what is your favorite destination?


Celebrating 100 Posts. Derby Day. Check-ride Anniversary. And most importantly the simply joy of flying!

May is always memorable. I got my PPL . Three years later I got my Instrument rating.

“I hope we will be done by 3:00 pm, ” said Wanda, “I wan’t to watch the Kentucky Derby”

“I hope so too,” thought I. “With positive results.” For it was the day of my PPL check-ride and I wanted to get home without a pink slip! It was also Derby Day. And getting home to watch the race would be good too… I did make it home in time to catch the race that day. That was 12 years ago!

As it happens, Derby day was yesterday this year (5/4). And my favorite was ItsMyLuckyDay. Turns out it was not really my lucky day. Both with horses and with flying. The group that had successfully made it to the Bahamas earlier this year, planned a mini reunion. The plan was to fly to Tangier Island for some crab cakes and hanger flying. The weather refused to cooperate. And I never got to fly today.

Tangier is a fun island to fly to out in the Chesapeake bay. I have flown there a few times (see An Evening in Tangier or Planes, Trains, Automobiles or Tangier Again). Would have been fun to get in the air and celebrate the simple joy of flying.


Tangier Again

Hotel booked. Passport in hand. We were all excited about our upcoming fall trip to Niagara Falls. We had strategically planned this for the 3rd weekend in October to see the full splendor of fall colors as we journeyed north to fly over one of the natural wonders of the world and then visit them up close and personal both from the US and Canadian side.

Seven days prior to our flight the forecast called for clear skies and 50’s at Niagara Falls. Slightly warmer but ditto in the mid-Atlantic region. Exciting! Maybe this year we would get lucky and actually make this trip.

Three days prior to the flight the forecast called for partly cloudy and 20% chance of rain and still 50’s at Niagara Falls. Not so exciting but still things could change. There were still 3 days to go.

Two days prior to the flight the forecast was still the same but chance of rain was up another notch at 30%. This was not looking good. Hotel reservation cancelled. Maybe best to put the passport away.

One day prior to the flight forecast was 40% chance of rain, windy and still 50’s. Then by the hour chance of rain dramatically kept increasing: 50%, then 60%, 70% and on the day 80%. The low temperatures also meant freezing levels were going to be low. The winds meant moderate turbulence. So both Airmet Sierra and Tango would be in place.

In the mid-Atlantic though it was going to be a glorious fall day: 60’s and sunny. Tangier called for 70’s and abundant sunshine. Niagara will have to be another time. Tangier here we come for some crab cakes and veg cakes!

Four aircraft set off from four different airports and converged on Tangier. It was a little hazy but a picture perfect day to be up in the air. Nary a bump. Not a TFR in place along the route of flight as Linda and I flew blissfully south VOR to VOR, an hour later than planned (I don’t think I remember a time when I took off on schedule!). This time the aircraft was just back from 100 hour inspection and the GPS was being checked and updated.

The runway at Tangier can be intimidating: 2427 ft x 75 ft. I remembered my previous flights there when I had to do a go -around the first time before landing safely during my second attempt. This time I was well prepared, slowing the aircraft down and giving myself enough room to execute a stabilized approach on final. For good measure Linda reminded me that the TPA (traffic pattern altitude) was only 600ft at TGI. I touched down softly with plenty of room and gently applied the breaks.


The nose wheel shimmied and continued to shimmy excessively. Luckily having experienced this before I knew I had to pull the yoke back. But it continued to shimmy and the plane kept moving forward. We were going to run out of runway here soon. Finally it required both both Linda and me yanking the yoke full back to get the shimmying to stop.

Turns out most of Tangier shuts down in October in preparation for the upcoming winter and only Lorraine’s is open for business all year round. So it wasn’t hard for Linda and I to track down the others. Maryland is famous for it’s seafood,  especially crab. So it wasn’t surprising that everyone ordered crab cakes except Linda and me. Linda was not a big fan of crab meat and I of course ordered the only vegetarian item on the menu: Fresh garden  salad with a side of the potato wedges.

After lunch, we took the traditional leisurely tour of the island on a golf cart.  Our tour guide rattled off  historical  anecdotes and antidotes (as Debi calls them). It was fun and informative.  With a population of only 500 people, with one police officer, mainland a stone’s throw away by boat or aircraft, with few visitors this time of the year, Tangier is an idyllic getaway.  One where you could disappear without being found, all of us agreed.

The return was uneventful. Except for the periodic beeping on 121.5 and one or two broadcasts. And the final shimmy of the nose wheel on landing on return. This time Linda and I were better prepared.

Why does a nose wheel shimmy?

Turns out nose wheel shimmy is quite common on single engine Cessna. It can happen either with a problem with the nose strut assembly, the tire, the shimmy dampener or a combination of the three.  The best way to reduce or eliminate nose wheel shimmy is to keep the nose wheel in the air as long as possible when landing. Ultimately best to spend the extra $$$ to get it fixed to have a piece of mind when you ace your next landing!

See Also:
An Evening in Tangier
Planes, Trains, Automobiles

Planes, Trains, Automobiles

“An evening in Tangier Island”

Rush hour in DC is a nightmare! To think I could get to Manassas airport in an hour was wish full thinking. On a good weekend in light traffic it generally takes me 45 minutes to an hour. The trip out of DC was almost straight forward: a twenty minute train ride out to Alexandria to pick up my car at the metro station. Then the nightmare began. With almost every highway backed up, it was a ridiculous two hours later with endless stop and go driving, trying to find a highway that would get me to the airport fastest, that I finally arrived an hour late for my evening flight to Tangier Island organized by my flight school.

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