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NYC Skyline Flight with Mike

manhattan-southIntroducing first time flyer’s to the world of general aviation has got to be one of the most rewarding benefits of being a private pilot. After my wife discovered Facebook (and in turn found all of her old friends) I decided to give it a try. It didn’t take long for me to find all of my old friends, one of which was my former next door neighbor Mike. The last time I saw  him (01/2001) I was only a student pilot.

Flight Details:

My preferred route for this flight is to depart Morristown airport KMMU and switch over to Newark Tower KEWR (127.85). (Newark has a low altitude frequency that is used for helicopters and light aircraft traveling in the Newark area, they are usually very helpful, but always have a backup plan). On the ground at Morristown I asked the controller if he could work on a handoff to Newark; he said he would try but then later told us to try again once airborne. We did and were denied (Newark was using runway 11 for arrivals and our little Cessna would through a monkey wrench in things).

On to plan B:

The northern route:

The northern route that I find works well is to depart Morristown (KMMU) on a heading of about 030, climb to 1500 feet, transition Caldwell’s airspace (KCDW), follow Route 80 (or the VOR at TEB). Once past Caldwell call Teterboro tower (KTEB) on 119.5 and ask for a handoff to LaGuardia (KLGA) 126.05 for the Hudson River. As some point they will ask what you want to do (duh), but you don’t want to jam up Teterboro’s frequency with your request until they are ready. If you do you will be told to screw off, it will sound something like this “aircraft calling Teterboro remain clear of the class delta” (OUCH!). But lesson learned not this time. He gave us our handoff and had us cross overhead Teterboro at 1200ft from there we were handed off to LGA. Once you make contact with LGA life is good. Just ask and they will normally accommodate your request. I asked for the Hudson River south to cross at Central Park to the East River south, around the tip of Manhattan and back north on the Hudson @ 1500 feet and that’s pretty much what we got (we were asked to climb to 2000 feet once over Central Park for traffic but were cleared back down shortly after).

Mike was taking pictures the entire time and loving it! I was also having a great time flying our nicest aircraft N159SP our Cessna 172sp on a beautiful night. On our flight north on the Hudson River we had traffic at our 6 o’clock (behind us) and closing. It took LaGuardia tower four or five calls to get him to slow down. This is the reason I fly the NYC area talking to ATC. Our way home was pretty much the opposite of the way out but this time I got to show off my landing (ok N159SP lands like it’s on a pillow regardless of the pilot in command).. Safe flying!

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda