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Flying our Cardinal south for its new plumage - Long report



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 14th 05, 09:19 PM
Longworth
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Default Flying our Cardinal south for its new plumage - Long report

Rick and I flew our Cardinal south for a paint job with AOGPaint in
Mena, Arkansas last Sunday. The $6K saving and the opportunity to gain
some long cross-country instrument flying experience was definitely
worth the hassle.

Our departure time was delayed by the Northeast heavy downpour last
Saturday. We waited near noon on Sunday for the ceiling to lift up to
a reasonable 1000' then filed IFR from KPOU, Poughkeepsie NY to our
first stop at KPKB-Parkersburg, WV. We were in solid IMC for more than
half of the trip even at 10,000'. The flight was mostly calm. The OAT
at 40F and the wet windshield assured no-icing concerns. We were
vectored quite away from the airport for a gradual arc back to ILS Rwy
3. The runway became visible at around 1400' with the DH being 1085'.
Rick nailed the approach in spite of not having done one in a month.
He attributed his performance for a quick in-flight lunch. He recently
learned this tip from a fellow Cardinal flyer who reported always
having some food and drink an hour or so before landing.

It was only 3pm by the time we finished refueling and checking weather
so we decided to start the second leg. Originally, we had planned to
stop for the night in Paducah, KY but to assure daytime arrival, we
chose to stop earlier in Lexington. The weather enroute got better as
we headed southwest but we ran into light rain and IMC again near KLEX.
My ILS approach Rwy 4 was pretty much similar to Rick's previous
approach with the runway visible few hundreds feet before the DH at
1171'. Rick told me that there was no need to do a fast approach but
with 7000' runway, I decided to keep the speed up. Besides, the plane
is a lot more responsible with more power. We had hoped to have a
gleam of the fall color below but the only land that we saw from
Poughkeepsie, NY to Lexington, KY were the airport runways.

My pre trip research indicated that TacAir would be open 24hrs &
hotels with shuttle service would cost from $135 to $220. Our plan was
to call for a cab to a budget motel. It was a pleasant surprise to
learn that TacAir had special arrangement with Sheraton Four Points for
$49 crew-rate room. The hotel shuttle bus was not available at 7pm but
the hotel would pay for the cab service. We checked in a non-smoking
room but it was reeked with cigarette smell the moment we opened the
door. The replacement room smelled nice and clean and appeared to be
an upgrade. The hotel cafe was opened but we opted for the Cracker
Barrel across the street for better food selection. The hotel offered
high speed internet access but I was too tired to drag out my laptop to
check weather. We asked for cab service (also paid by the hotel) to
the airport at 7am. It was drizzled rain again with a ceiling of 600'.
Although this is 400' above ILS rwy4 minimum, we decided to wait a
while. This gave us a chance to drink some coffee and ate some lobby
cookies to fortify our earlier hasty breakfast sharing a leftover stale
bagel and an orange. By 9am, the ceiling was still at 600' so we
decided to file our flight plan and take off.

The straight distance from KLEX to KMEZ, our final destination was
510nm. We could have made it in one trip with about 650nm range for
our 50gal tank at 8gph. However, we have made it a rule of landing
with at least 2 hrs fuel reserve for IFR so we decided to make it in
two legs with a stop at KARG, Walnut Ridge Regional airport in
Arkansas. The sky started to open up a bit changing from solid
overcast to broken layers by the time we approach KARG. The ceiling
was reported around 2500' with 10SM visibility and light wind. We
asked for Localizer Rwy 18 and were told to maintain 3000'. The
controller warned us of a VFR aircraft at our altitude. When I
reported that we were in IMC, he was quite skeptical: "You are in IMC
at 3000?" I told him that it was a broken layer at our altitude and
we were in and out of the clouds. The controller voice got more and
more urgent with the VFR aircraft at our level and quite close to us.
While Rick tried to hold his heading and altitude, I swiveled my head
and tried my best to locate the traffic. This was a futile effort
being in and out of the clouds. I told the controller that I could not
spot the traffic and asked to cancel IFR. He said: "What? You want to
cancel IFR, the traffic was at 2900' blah, blah..." I said "We wanted
to get lower to be in VMC so that we could see and avoid traffic".
After having to confirm several times that we wanted to cancel IFR, we
were allowed to squawk 1200 and descent below the cloud level. Rick
flew away from the airport vicinity then circling back to KARG at
2000'. The landing was uneventful after those tense moments.

It was noon when we entered the terminal building and was
immediately greeted with several smiling faces. A tall gentleman asked
us where we came from. When I told him "New York", he asked "Are you
lost like the guy in Washington DC?" We told Gerry and his wife,
Linda that we were quite familiar with Arkansas because Rick's parents
had retired in Glenwood for many years before passing away few years
ago. We had planned to leave right away but Gerry talked us into
taking the huge courtesy van heading for McDonald. The FBO sweet old
lady told us about the opening house of the new airport restaurant, The
Parachute Inn with food served in Southwest Airlines plane No. N86 SW
and asked us to stop by to sign the guest book.

http://nwanews.com/story.php?paper=a...storyid=130462
http://www.kait8.com/Global/story.asp?S=3930004

We came back from lunch just in time to see Donna Robertson opened
the door to the plane and had a grand tour of the tastefully decorated
dining areas inside the Boeing 737. Having filled up with burgers,
salad and fries and not having enough time, we had to pass the cake and
punch to head for Mena.

Leaving KARG, we tried to contact Memphis center from the ground
for our IFR clearance. We could hear them loud and clear but they had
trouble hearing us. We decided to depart VFR flying low at 2000' along
our intended IFR route. The cloud stayed broken at 3000' but there
were a dozen or so small farm clearing fires creating a thick haze
layer just under the cloud. The air was acrid with smoke. In looking
back, Rick wished that he had taken some pictures of the farm fires and
the smoke haze but we were too busy trying to establish contact with
Memphis center. We were cleared as filed and were asked to climb and
maintain 7000' and reported at a certain fix. The fix was not defined
by any VOR intersections and Rick was having a hard time locating it in
our GPS database. Luckily, the controller told us he got us on his
radar and there was no need to report at the fix. The next controller
asked us whether we could fly direct to Hot Spring instead of heading
to Little Rock VOR. Of course, we accepted his offer to save at least
20nm. It was finally VFR weather with clear views below. Rick snapped
quite a few of picture of Lake Ouachita with many boat houses. Mena
was just ahead of us nestled at Ozark Mountain foothills.

Since AOGPaint located at the Northeast end of the airport, we
figured that Rwy 17 or 35 would be better than 9/27. Wind was reported
at 04 at about 4knots. Shortly after we announced entering the left
downwind for Rwy 35, a pilot announced that he was departing Rwy 17.
We told him that we would extend our downwind. I tried to stay high
to make sure that we could see him and ended having to slip quite a
bit. The landing was smooth. We made the first left turn and headed
to AOG. We had to wait for few minutes for a fuel truck to fuel a 172
with spanking new paint. Dennis and Linda greeted us and within few
minutes our plane was whisked away in the huge hangar by the crew of 5
men with their overall and hair splattered with colorful paints. Linda
is a super sharp businesswoman who is also AOG design artist. We
showed her an image of a paint scheme which we finally select before
leaving New York after viewing hundreds of Cardinal images from dozen
or so of Cardinal flyers flyins. It was a white/tan plane with blue
stripes which we used Photoshop to change the blue to dark red. We
also modified the tail section from solid tan to a tan wedge with a
dark red edge. Linda immediately recognized it as a 1986 Cessna with a
modified tail section. We wanted to retain the Cardinal image but were
concerned that the factory decal image was a bit too long such that the
Cardinal tail was too close to the red stripe. Linda told us that we
have another option of her Cardinal-in-flight painting which we quickly
chose over the vinyl decal. We selected basic white, Cabernet red and
Navigator tan from Sherwin Williams Jetglo and Acryglo charts. We then
went through the list of items need to be done with Dennis: replacing
copilot and side vent windows, installing new fiberglass wingtips,
stabilator tips, patching the lower nose bowl, a small crack in the
rudder tip, another one in the leg fairing and a slight indentation on
the stabilator bottom. The trickiest part is a slight dent in the left
aileron. One previous paint shop had offered to smooth it out with
bondo. Another insisted a re-skin. Dennis told us that he would not
bondo a control surface and too much shaping of the dent area may
damage it to the point of having to re-skin. So we told him just do as
much as he can.

Linda took us to two downtown hotels for our choice. The Sun
Country Inn was more modern with high speed Internet but with only a
Mexican restaurant across the street. The Lime Tree Inn was older but
had a good buffet restaurant onsite and near several fast food
restaurants. We chose the latter and had a nice buffet dinner and
satisfying hotcakes/waffle breakfast the next morning. Linda picked us
up at 9:30am back to the airport. We went through the list. I took
some pictures of the paint samples and of course the last image of our
'pet bird' in its old and tired plumage. Linda joked about also wanting
to take a 'before' picture then she quickly told us that she had never
displayed a before and after images of her customers' planes. As we
were leaving the airport heading to Little Rock, I told Linda that I
had contacted Mena Interiors for a quote on reupholstering the seat but
decided not to do it because of the cost. Linda told us that there
were two other interior shops which maybe more reasonable and offered
to take us back to check them out. She made some quick cellphone
calls. Within few minutes after returning to the airport, Christine?
from Southern Pro Aviation Aircraft Interior came with a piece of paper
containing the quote: $1200 for vinyl/fabric and $1800 for leather.
This is about half of what Mena Interiors had asked. I had also priced
Airtex interior stuffs which were about $900 for a do-it-yourself
vinyl/fabric kit. I quickly chose the leather option. We rode with
Christine to her shop to review the color choice and seat option. The
Jetglo Navigator tan matched the Khaki leather quite well. We decided
to keep it simple and not going with the two-tone leather or puffy
look.

The 2 1/2 hrs ride to Little Rock was quite pleasant with rolling
hills and tales about Linda's ancestors. Again, Linda dropped us off
at two hotels near the airport to check prices and options. I
preferred the Holiday Inn Express over Days Inn but it did not have any
vacancies. Both hotels still houses Katrina refugees. The Days Inn
was as budget as one could get with small, rough towels, dirty chairs
and no amenities of any kind (no hair dryer, no coffee pot, no ironing
board etc.). It offers free high speed Internet connection but not in
the room and the signal was very weak in the lobby. Well, at least,
the hotel offered shuttle service to the airport the next morning and
served bagel/juice/coffee at 5am.

We had a long stopover in Detroit before catching Northwest flight
from Detroit to Stewart. It was pouring rain as we approached SWF. It
appeared the rain had never stopped since we left. The regional jet
stayed at 3000' for a long stretch before landing at SWF. With the
ceiling at 100', heavy rain and strong wind we were glad to leave the
flying to another pilot. $60 cab fare and half an hour later, we were
back to KPOU to get in our parked car heading home and were relieved to
find the basement not flooded.

It was a successful trip. We got our plane delivered. We could
hardly wait to see our bird in its new plumage in a month.

Hai and Rick Longworth

Ads
  #2  
Old October 14th 05, 09:48 PM
Dan Luke
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Default


"Longworth" wrote:

We could hardly wait to see our bird in its new plumage in a month.


Good luck on that.

The local aero club got its planes painted at Mena, as did a couple of
private owners from around here (the price is hard to beat). To my
knowledge, none were done on time.

I hope your experience is different; please keep us posted.

--
Dan
C-172RG at BFM


  #3  
Old October 14th 05, 09:56 PM
Mark Hansen
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Default

On 10/14/2005 13:19, Longworth wrote:

Rick and I flew our Cardinal south for a paint job with AOGPaint in
Mena, Arkansas last Sunday. The $6K saving and the opportunity to gain
some long cross-country instrument flying experience was definitely
worth the hassle.


Wow, Hai. I sure love reading about your adventures! I really can't
wait until I'm making my own. I spent all my money on training, so I
just need to get money to fly ;-\


My wife is excited about flying with me, which I think is a real gift.

Although she doesn't want to Pilot, she is interested in taking the
pinch hitter courses, which I think is great.


Keep your stories coming!


Hai and Rick Longworth



--
Mark Hansen, PP-ASEL, Instrument Airplane
Sacramento, CA
  #4  
Old October 15th 05, 01:57 PM
Jay Honeck
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Default

Rick and I flew our Cardinal south for a paint job with AOGPaint in
Mena, Arkansas last Sunday. The $6K saving and the opportunity to gain
some long cross-country instrument flying experience was definitely
worth the hassle.


"Hassle"? How is it that we all love to fly, but a long cross-country
is viewed as a "hassle"?

:-)

http://nwanews.com/story.php?paper=a...storyid=130462
http://www.kait8.com/Global/story.asp?S=3930004


That's cool! That's exactly what we need next to the inn!

The trickiest part is a slight dent in the left
aileron. One previous paint shop had offered to smooth it out with
bondo. Another insisted a re-skin. Dennis told us that he would not
bondo a control surface and too much shaping of the dent area may
damage it to the point of having to re-skin. So we told him just do as
much as he can.


I'm surprised to hear that anyone would offer to bondo a control
surface. That's pretty dangerous, messing with the aerodynamic balance
of an aileron.

We had one re-skinned on our old Warrior (it was crinkled pretty badly
when we bought it) after someone here mentioned how flutter can happen
at any time, without warning, and is usually catastrophic. It can be
fine 999 flights in a row, and then just depart the airframe on the
thousandth flight...

It cost over $1000 to re-skin, but I felt a lot better about flying the
plane when it was done.

I preferred the Holiday Inn Express over Days Inn but it did not have any
vacancies.


shudder Things have to get pretty awful to actually "prefer" a
H.I.E. They are the biggest rip-off in the industry!

The Days Inn was as budget as one could get snip


At least Days Inns are exactly what they advertise: Cheap lodging. No
surprises, no regrets.

It was a successful trip. We got our plane delivered. We could
hardly wait to see our bird in its new plumage in a month.


Great story, Hai. I'm looking forward to the next chapter! (And I
hope it's not a "horror story" like so many "I had my plane painted"
posts have been...)
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"

  #5  
Old October 15th 05, 04:14 PM
Dale
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Default

In article .com,
"Jay Honeck" wrote:

shudder Things have to get pretty awful to actually "prefer" a
H.I.E. They are the biggest rip-off in the industry!

The Days Inn was as budget as one could get snip


At least Days Inns are exactly what they advertise: Cheap lodging. No
surprises, no regrets.


Have you ever stayed at a Days Inn? I just completed a road trip from
Anchorage to Arkansas then Oregon and returned to Anchorage. We stayed
at a Days Inn twice (St Joseph, MO. and Mt Vernon, OR) and I can assure
you if a Days Inn is my only choice in the future I'll sleep in the back
of my truck instead.

Pig stys.

--
Dale L. Falk

There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing
as simply messing around with airplanes.

http://home.gci.net/~sncdfalk/flying.html
  #6  
Old October 15th 05, 06:29 PM
Jay Honeck
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Default Flying our Cardinal south for its new plumage - Long report

At least Days Inns are exactly what they advertise: Cheap lodging. No
surprises, no regrets.


Have you ever stayed at a Days Inn? I just completed a road trip from
Anchorage to Arkansas then Oregon and returned to Anchorage. We stayed
at a Days Inn twice (St Joseph, MO. and Mt Vernon, OR) and I can assure
you if a Days Inn is my only choice in the future I'll sleep in the back
of my truck instead.


I've stayed at them in the past -- I won't stay at them anymore. But
that's only because my budget has improved -- if I were looking for
absolutely rock-bottom-cheap lodging, with few amenities, I'd stay
there again.

Pig stys.


Cleanliness at a hotel has NOTHING to do with the sign out front.
(Which is why staying at chain-hotels NEVER assures you of anything
except paying more $$ for the experience.)

I've stayed in brand-new 5-star hotels so filthy I wouldn't kennel my
dog there, and I've stayed in old Super 8s where you could eat off the
floors. Your experience all comes down to the local manager/owner's
attitude, and how well they supervise housekeeping.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"

  #7  
Old October 15th 05, 10:00 PM
Longworth
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Default Flying our Cardinal south for its new plumage - Long report


Dan,
My websearch on AOGPaint only showed one case where it took 4 weeks
instead of the estimated 3 weeks due to problem with the previously
bothched paint job. When I told Linda of our commercial booking to be
back in a month, she was trying to get us to come in a bit earlier
probably in anticipation of the next job. Just hope that everything
will go smoothly for us.

Hai Longworth

  #8  
Old October 15th 05, 10:07 PM
Longworth
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Default Flying our Cardinal south for its new plumage - Long report

Mark,
It's great that your wife plans to take the pinch hitter course. You
never know, she may end up wanting to fly herself and you too will have
to 'fight' for PIC time like us ;-)

Glad that you like to read my rambling reports. Just hope that we
will have a good one for the next trip flying the plane back to NY.

Hai

  #9  
Old October 15th 05, 11:11 PM
Longworth
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Default Flying our Cardinal south for its new plumage - Long report

Jay,

We are as much of flying fools as you and Mary ;-) In the last 4
months, we have made 3 long cross-country trips totaling close to
7000nm. The hassle I referred to was all the transportation logistics
booking commercial flights, getting ground transportations etc.. and
certainly not the flying by ourselves part.

It only costs you $1000 to reskin? Is this the whole aileron?
There is no way of knowing how much airplane parts would cost. We had
to replace our wingtips and had terrible time finding the shields.
Only one supplier has them in stock and wanted $550 for two little
pieces of aluminum. I checked another one and they said it would have
to be made-to-order by Cessna for $350 a piece. A place in Canada has
the right part for $30 but no left part. We finally found a used pair
from Wentworth for $35 a piece. When it comes to certified aircraft
parts, it feels like skyway robbery sometimes!

I had stayed at few H.I.E and they were all decent. The H.I.E near
Little Rock airport looked much newer and nicer than the Days Inn which
was definitely worth the extra $5 ($60 vs. $55). I telll you, the
filthy chairs they had in the Days Inn room definitely belonged to the
pigsty. Not sure whether the fact that they had to house some
semi-permanent guests had something to do with it. If I was the
manager, I'd haul them to the dump. I don't think that any guests would
want to return to their hotel after seeing such chairs in their rooms.

While traveling, we just want a clean room, a comfortable bed and a
working shower. Extra things like coffee pot, hairdryer, newspaper,
breakfast etc. are nice but not essential. It can be annoying if there
are too much nonessential stuffs in place of essential items. Our most
awful experience was a swanky hotel in Quito in our Galapagos diving
trip. The hotel had spacious lobby filled with art works, huge vases
of fresh roses everywhere. Our immense room was also tastefully
decorated with art works and fresh cut flowers. Plush bath ropes and
slippers were provided. At night, waiter brought expensive chocolates
and roses to put on pillows. We just got back from a week of diving
and therefore were quite mindful of high altitude effect. Quito was at
10,000'. Hydration was essential. After having a bout with Montezuma
revenge at the beginning of the trip from eating an unpeeled peach in
another swanky hotel in Guayaquil, I would not even want to brush my
teeth with tap water. The only water availabe was some tiny Evian
bottles at $3.50 each. That was the most stupid thing that a hotel
manager could possibly do. We told our tour organizer/tour guide never
to book any guests at the hotel.

About the paint shop choice. I had done as much research as I could
checking out the shop reputation and customers' feedback. Just cross
our fingers that no surprises will come up.

Hai

  #10  
Old October 16th 05, 02:54 AM
Morgans
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Default Flying our Cardinal south for its new plumage - Long report


"Longworth" wrote

Our most
awful experience was a swanky hotel in Quito in our Galapagos diving
trip.


Snip

The only water availabe was some tiny Evian
bottles at $3.50 each. That was the most stupid thing that a hotel
manager could possibly do. We told our tour organizer/tour guide never
to book any guests at the hotel.


So you were so ****ed off because of water?

I have been to Quito, also. There are stores all over the place, and you
could have gone out and bought some water. Always carrying water,
everywhere, is a standard practice.
--
Jim in NC

 




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