NJMP Holiday Mooney Fly In, Sunday January 6, 2013 - Reading
Today the New Jersey Mooney Pilots group held our first holiday party! Unfortunately it had to be postponed from the originally set date of December 30th because of weather. Things were looking favorable for making the fly in today until this morning. The day started when Cris called me to tell me he's too sick to make it. Apparently he caught whatever Peter had via text message (although I still have a suspicion that Peter is making up excuses after the latest discussions on mooneyspace). I got on the computer to have my heart sink when I discovered all of eastern NJ was socked in with low ceilings and IFR. Western NJ and PA were barely better with marginal VFR. I became worried that the postponed fly in would not happen.
I stayed vigilant and didn't fully believe the pessimistic TAFs. I kept calling the airport ASOS every twenty minutes for an update. What started as 700 broken, turned to 900 broken and 1400 overcast. 1400 broken went to 1600 scattered and by the time I got to the airport 7000 broken was giving way to clear skies! Things certainly were improving before my very eyes. I took off with occasional clouds remaining at 1500ft but by the time I reached Princeton, the sky was entirely clear. I chuckled when a pilot on the ground was asking another pilot in the air about the weather and the pilot reported it would not be a good day to go cross country. The day actually turned out to be excellent for flying out.
Tim and Larry's 1977 looking, 1978 Mooney 201
I departed Linden early with my brother and sister on board. We landed in Princeton to pick up Anthony and we continued west to Reading. After a year long hiatus, Anthony still remembered how to fly. He also brought along a pile of gadgets more sophisticated than what the airliners use to fly overseas. Despite the headwind, the flight went by quickly and we were the first Mooney to reach Reading. We waited on the ramp for others to arrive and as the clocked rushed past noon, we became fearful that no one else would show up. But soon enough, Tim and Larry showed up in their 1978 - 1977 looking - Mooney 201. We didn't get to chat for long about engines when another Mooney was on final to land. It looked like an M20J but wasn't quite an M20J and we kept trying to guess what it was. It looked too short to be a J but when it was taxiing toward us, the cowling surely did not appear vintage. Turned out to be a really pimped out M20E with all the J mods under the sun. Alan Fox arrived with his daughter and her friend from South Jersey Regional.
Alan shows everyone how to land an M20E with precious cargo on board
Jim and Vicki came from Lancaster in their M20C
Line of Mooneys dominating the ramp at Reading
We didn't have long to get to know Alan when another hard to guess model Mooney pulled in. This one was quite mind boggling because it had the paint job and look of a modern Mooney, shape of a M20B, features of a C. Jim and his wife Vicki arrived all the way from Lancaster in their stunning M20C. It seemed like everyone who was going to make it had arrived so we proceeded inside the Reading terminal for lunch at Malibooz. Atypical for a weekend, the restaurant wasn't busy so we got a lot of table space for our group. We enjoyed lunch and conversation. Discussions ranged from Engine Overhauls to some finer points about maintenance. A civil debate over the benefits of lean of peak operations broke out but I'm happy to report no casualties. Al Jones arrived from Caldwell before we finished in his M20K 231.
Alan's girls help open a gift
Tim and Larry checking out their new toys
Finally we drew our get together to a close with the Secret Santa gift sharing. Most of those who attended brought a wrapped aviation themed gift to exchange. We put out all the gifts on a table and drew numbers to determine the order of drawings. Some of the gifts that pilots got to fly away with included: plane wash spray, pint of camguard (though with the metal they're already getting in their engine, it's probably too late), license plate frame, a prop pastie spinner cover, and a 6 pack of Aeroshell 15W50. Everyone was happy with the gifts they received and it turned out to be a good experience. Folks either got something they are already happy to use or received something they have never tried before and could get to like. I think this is a tradition we'll look forward to repeating next holiday season.
NJMP 2012 Holiday Party Group Photo
The Mooneys pulled out and took off one after another and went their separate ways. With a steady tailwind, I brought the power back to cruise along at 155 knots ground speed on just 7 gallons per hour. We dropped Anthony off at Princeton and had an easy return to base in Linden. I'm glad we had such a nice turn out and hope those who couldn't make it come by for another fly in soon.
NJMP Mega Mooney Fly In, Saturday May 12, 2012 - Cape May
Saturday May 12, 2012 marked the culmination of months of planning for the first annual New Jersey Mooney Pilots Cape May Mega Mooney Fly In and benefit for the Atlantic County Toys for Kids Program. The idea of a yearly northeast Mooney event has been a goal from the very inception of the NJ Mooney Pilots Group.
The weather on Saturday was perfect for our event. Sunny, warm, not too hot, not too windy. I departed Linden early to get to the event to greet arrivals. I brought my girlfriend and my parrot along. After a quick climb out of the NY airspace, I let the parrot out of her carrier to sit on my shoulder. Her name is Kili and she is a Senegal Parrot. She helped me fly the plane and reminded me not to screw anything up cause she didn't want to get her feathers ruffled.
Kili gets excited when I take her flying
Jamie holds Kili
Kili shows you how to fly
We arrived at Cape May Wildwood Airport at 9AM. I was surprised to find that others had arrived even earlier. I instantly recognized Cris' Screaming Eagle and parked my bird in the space next to an unfamiliar 201 I later learned to be John Pallente's. Shortly after my arrival I watched a familiar white and red 201 pull in and park next to mine. Here came Brett and his guest. Larry and Tim arrived in their Mooney M20J. I thought theirs was a 1977 model but it turned out to be a '78 that had some of the other changes but not the characteristic antennas.
Brett arrives in his Mooney M20J 201
Larry and Tim arrive in their 1978 M20J
A funny looking Mooney pulled in and the first pre-M20E model to come to one of our meetings. We were guessing that it was a C but turned out to be a M20B model piloted by Steve. John shared with me some of the subtle differences that are the telltale signs of the specific year of 201 and how to tell. Joe arrived with his son in a "Deconverted C" Mooney M20D that was changed to retractable gear and effectively a C. This made me realize just how terrible I am at identifying older vintage Mooneys. Meanwhile a brown and white M20J pulled in that had arrived all the way from Virginia coincidentally visiting Cape May but also invited to our event.
Mike's Mooney and a lot of others
Cris invited everyone into the ready room for a talk by John Pallente about integrating the ipad in the cockpit after a quick and comical blessing of the fleet by a Navy Chaplain. John went into all the details of ipad use from which model to buy to registering traffic and weather on it. Mike came from Latrobe in his M20M Bravo. Finally we got to meet the infamous Peter "Smiles" who wasn't able to make any of our previous fly-ins. I was surprised to find him to be so... small. For a man of such big words I expected to see a giant. But Peter is a really friendly guy and we were happy to have him. Lastly we had a visit from Don in his sixty-nining double-O-seven M20C.
Cris' screaming eagle and John's 201 behind
Mike, Tim, Cris, and Larry
Peter and Brett finally meet. They have a lot of catching up to do from Mooneyspace =)
The group enjoyed burgers and hot dogs provided by the Toys For Kids program. Meanwhile pilots donated generously both in toys and cash. The event was surrounded by volunteers of all sorts and made it far more lively. The toys for kids program brought a lot of its own people out, the museum had volunteers, and the NJMP group provided organizers as well. The event was planned and organized very well. Visitors noted the parrot I carried around on my shoulder and were even thrilled by a small parrot tricks show performed just for them. We took a walk around the museum and checked out the Mooney parked in the same hangar.
Everyone checking out Cris' Mooney
We had a lot of Mooneys there!
Peter departing in his M20J
Things began wrapping up as Mooneys were slipping out of the neat line we had them arranged in. After everything was put away, Joe finally showed up. He took us over to his hangar and showed us the engine overhaul he has been performing on his 305 Rocket. I took Joe and his girlfriend up for a ride in my Mooney around the Cape. Finally it was time to say goodbye and go home. The event was a thrill to be a part of. Everyone was super friendly, the weather outstanding, the conversations fascinating, and the cause charitable. I hope this event can be the first in a long tradition of yearly northeast mega mooney flyins!
On Sunday March 11th, NJMP hosted our 4th Mooney fly in. Despite half our members with downed Mooneys, we managed to get one of our biggest turn outs for this fly in. Fewer members brought more friends so it made for a big turn out.
Big Mooney turn out
The daylight savings time switch did not play much of a role as most planes arrived promptly around 11AM. However, it did make the fly in feel unusually early. As I was taxiing in, I pulled right in to par my plane between Brett and Patrick's 201s. Immediately I recognized some familiar faces. Cris brought out two friends who keep their helicopter at Lancaster and they flew their whirly bird over so we could take a look. Patrick brought his aviation law teacher to get a taste of what Mooney flying is all about.
Cris talking about his M20S Screaming Eagle
Mooneys that got recently painted
Mooney guys checking out helicopter
Mark and his instructor friend arrived in a Piper Seminole but before you begin to doubt their commitment to Mooneys, let me point out that their 201 is in the shop for engine overhaul and repainting. It was nice to finally put a face to the name behind Oasis Pilot Supply. Brett invited his hangar mate Mike and his friend to our fly in. They arrived in a turbo charged, fiki, M20M Mooney Bravo.
Mike's Turbocharged Mooney Bravo
Some of our guys standing around in Lancaster Airport
Cris told the story of how he bought his Eagle turned Ovation for the umpteenth time and also got into how he had the red added to his originally bland white plane. Then he checked out Patrick's brand spanking new paint job. Everyone thought Patrick's repainted 201 MSE looked outstanding except Patrick himself. He was disappointed that he flew all the way to California and back to supposedly the best paint shop in the country and yet they didn't properly strip/repaint certain places like the gear doors.
Cris checking out Patrick's paint job
Dick came in his 231
We had to squeeze tight because the largest table in Fiorentino's only seats 10 while we had 12 attending at once. As usual, conversation went all across the board. We got talking about the new Mooney SB/AD regarding the tail assembly. Also had some talk about auto pilots. I polled attendees to figure out how many used auto pilot to get to our fly in vs hand fliers. Looked like three quarters opted to use their auto pilot on the way while 3 members flew entirely by hand.
Mooney guys having lunch at Fiorentinos
After lunch some had to leave early. Meanwhile the rest of us walked over to the other side of the airport to check out the pilot shop. Not as exciting as we had hoped but some of us came out with some small souvenirs. Everyone had an enjoyable time and we hope to see you at our next fly in.
Third NJMP Fly-In, Sunday January 29, 2012 - South Jersey Regional Lunch
Today NJMP hosted our 3rd Mooney fly in. Lots of people showed up to KVAY South Jersey Regional and we had a fantastic time.
I set out early this morning to preheat and prepare my M20J and headed east to pickup Patrick at Farmingdale. I had to follow the shoreline at 500ft despite turbulence and wake. Getting in was easy and finding Patrick on his ramp was not any more difficult. We took back off and set out for the fly in with no particular haste.
Getting into South Jersey was a little tricky cause you don't see the runway from behind the treeline until you are practically over it. Took a second to realize that what I was first seeing was actually Flying W. Partrick and I arrived a bit too early so we talked to a local pilot who showed us his pimped out Cherokee and Diamond. I was surprised that the 4 seat composite Diamond weighs as much as my Mooney yet is slower and with a substantially lower useful load of just 700lbs! Another point I couldn't agree with the guy on was his theory that more complex airplanes crash than fixed gear because pilots put them into stall by lowering the gear at minimum speeds.
Steve is looking over that Mooney with hungry eyes. I know it's a lot to take in all at once =p
Steve, Patrick, Mike and Doggie
Apparently our reputations precedes us because we had several people ask if we were the Mooney fly in. Looks like we are becoming known in the area and we haven't even tried yet. Finally the Mooney guys began showing up. Few at first and then in droves. Don B came in the M20E he rebuilt from a gear up. Then Al Jones arrived in his Maroon 231. It's amazing watching the 6foot 8inch giant emerge from his flying machine. It is an intricate process akin to the sequence of gear/door extensions on a 747.
Them Mooney Tails
Al emerging from his 231
Pushing Al's 231 back
Patrick drooling over the Jones's toys
Don and his restored M20E
Bob who we hadn't met before arrived in his 1988 205SE from Poughkeepsie. Shortly after, I watched a familiar blue and white rocket pull in piloted by Joe, the only other member to make every single one of our meetings since the groups inception. The 1979 M20K had undergone conversion to a 305 Rocket in the 90s.
The guys checking out Bob's plane and commenting on his door seal
Joe rocketing in his 305
We checked out each others planes and noted countless minute differences that outsiders would never even pick up on. Al showed us the clear tape he applied to the leading edges to keep the paint from chipping further away. Bob showed off his Aspen and GPS combo. Patrick felt a bit left out with his plain out for service but I think he enjoyed good company.
First line of Mooneys
We ran out of parking so we had to have a second line of Mooneys
We sat down at the round table of knowledge in the middle of the Runway Cafe. Don ordered a sandwich on a pretzel roll and that sounded fascinating so the rest of us wanted those too. Sure enough they came back to say they were all out so we got our cheese steaks on garlic rolls instead which were quite good. Al told fortuitous stories about his experience flying GA in Europe and user fees through the roof. Pilots would have to pay user fees on a per approach basis and it was prudent to shop around for which airport had the cheapest instrument approach. Cris arrived a bit later and joined our discussion. He showed off his new gadget he made for covering the gap around the spinner and designed to replace the need for cowl plugs. We'll see how his project goes.
Don, Joe, and Al analyzing the menu
As we were ending our meal the waitress came over asking us if we're Mooney pilots. She said our lunch was paid for and we couldn't understand what she was saying and had to ask three times. Turned out Peter (allsmiles) who was based at that airport and registered to come didn't show up and bought lunch for the group. After some of the stuff he stirred up on mooneyspace we were wondering if he was hiding or just couldn't make it but the good gesture was much appreciated.
Finally the Mooneys started to dissipate. I flew Patrick back to long island and then returned my ship to Linden. Unlike the previous event where we had a game to watch, this meeting was very laid back without a timeline. This worked out well and really gave us an opportunity to get to know each other, check out planes, share stories, and have a great time. I'm sure everyone will be looking forward to the next one of these as much as I.
Second NJMP Fly-In, Sunday January 8, 2012 - Lancaster Football Fly-In
Today we had an outstanding fly in at Lancaster Airport. This is the largest turnout NJMP has had and largest fly-in I have participated in. We've had guys come from as far as western PA, Long Island, and Maryland. All Mooneys attending were J/K models (some with conversions). No early models or long bodies were present. We had 8 Mooneys fly in for this meet and 1 Cherokee. I have a feeling that Cherokee is going to end up on Trade-A-Plane first thing tomorrow morning after this!
I got to Linden extra early but started my flight with a short hop to Central Jersey to get cheap gas. I didn't want to have to be worrying about that on the way back. From Central Jersey, I proceeded IFR to Lancaster. At 6000ft the ride was smooth as silk and most of the clouds were below me. I had a momentary encounter with clouds as I descended but that was the extent of IMC I experienced for the day. I got to Lancaster by 11:30 and was surprised that many of the guys had already arrived.
Flying my Mooney over the clouds near Allentown
I spotted at least 6 other Mooneys that were not there for our fly in. It sure was raining Mooneys on Lancaster today. Adam from Mooneyspace chose to come to Lancaster cause we were there but was on his way out just as we were arriving. Aras came to our fly in while dropping off his Cherokee for prop balancing. Jim showed up briefly and we marveled at his LED landing light installation and checked out Dick's Monroy ATD that saved his life.
Dick's M20K 231
Brett's super smooth flying 201
Patrick came first and foremost to watch the Giants pulverize the Falcons. He is in the process of meticulously upgrading his 1995 M20J. In fact he's flying out to Don Maxwell's tomorrow and then continuing to California for interior work. Seth, who I first met at the Midatlantic Mooney Fly In at Frederick, brought in his Missile and compared it to Joe's Rocket conversion. Joe stunned everyone with his engine out and 4 bladed prop stories as usual.
We had 8 seats at the table and 10 attendees. But people were coming and going so at no point were we too crowded. We discussed the usual Mooneyspace topics and shared personal stories you can't hear anywhere else. All in all the fly in was an outstanding success. I'm sure everyone is looking forward to doing this again some time.
Here's a few video clips (unfortunately I didn't get to take any video/pictures of the guys cause we were so busy conversing and checking out each other's planes, all the more reason for next time):
First NJMP Fly-In, Sunday November 27, 2011 - Flying W Lunch
Sunday November 27, 2011 was the first official/successful NJ Mooney Pilots group fly in held at Flying W (N14). I arrived before 11 and found my crosswind landing a bit lacking so I went around the patch to practice a bunch of times before anyone showed up. Cris came next in his Eagle (which turns out to be an unofficial Ovation 3). Some more time went by and no one was showing up so we went ahead and ordered lunch.
We discussed cross wind landing technique in a Mooney. Cris suggested air speed management, kick out, and aileron into the wind. I promised him I wouldn't post his landing on youtube so I attached it with this email instead. Hey, you all could have been there to witness it. Cris demonstrates roughly the same problems that I've been combating during my cross wind landing practice today.
Mike's Mooney M20J at Flying W
Cris arriving in his M20S Screaming Eagle
We watched a Mooney 231 land and wondered if it was someone from our group. So Cris went up and asked the guy and it turned out that he wasn't on our list but they knew each other. Thus Al Jones from Caldwell (N2310F) is now on our list as well. Then Don came and told us about fixing up the gear upped M20E that he bought. Don is based at Flying W so he didn't bring his plane over to join our line. Finally Joe showed up in his 305 rocket.
From left to right: Blue 305 Rocket belonging to Joe, M20S Eagle Cris, M20J 201 Mike
It was a lot of fun talking about Mooneys, checking out each other's planes, and just making some good friends. For everyone who couldn't make it, there's always next time. Hope to see all of you again soon.