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Scenic New York City Flight With Todd of My Flight

Back in September of 2009 I “followed” a fellow pilot and aviation blogger on Twitter not really thinking much of it. Soon after, Todd from responded with a message that his wife’s family lived near my airport and was wondering if I would like to go flying someday. As with just about any pilot, I agreed.

Fast forward to November of 2010. Todd sent me another message, he mentioned that he would be in the area visiting family and was wondering if we could go flying.

Always willing to take someone up and enjoy the sights I decided to offer up one of my NYC Skyline flights. He mentioned that he had done it once before, but I knew it wasn’t “my” NYC Skyline flight. Most pilot’s fly in the Hudson River Exclusion Zone at or below 800 feet. This is an awesome flight, but the issues caused by helicopters taking off from the heliports along the river banks turned me off to that route years ago well before the Hudson River midair collision.

As mentioned in some of my earlier posts I use a different route.

On the ground at Morristown I request taxi clearance for a departure to the East, my hope is that the controller will assist with a hand-off to Newark. If the tower isn’t too busy I sometimes ask for the hand-off, but that has only worked once. I normally just depart and contact Newark Tower on 127.85. My initial call is something like “Newark Tower, Skylane 4757t just departed Morristown 1000 for 1500 would like overhead for the Hudson River”. If all is well they will come back with a class bravo clearance and a squawk code, from there they will tell you to fly over the runway 22 or 4 numbers. Make sure you have EWR in your GPS. It is almost impossible to spot from the air when you are more than a few miles out at that altitude. Once overhead they will normally ask what you would like to do next. I usually ask for a few turns around “the Lady” and a hand-off to La Guardia for the Hudson River north. Once I am handed off to LGA I will request “overhead Central Park to the East River south”. This has always been granted to me, every once in a while they will ask you to climb to 2000 feet for better radar coverage, but it didn’t happen on this flight.  The plus side is that I get the opportunity to fly over Newark Airport, Central Park and the East River all of witch are off limits to non controlled aircraft. The only down side is that you have to fly at 1500 feet so flying around the Statue of Liberty isn’t as nice, but everything else is better.

The original plan was to fly during the previous night but a cold front came in that day causing wind gusts over 20 knots,  not acceptable weather for this mission. So we postponed the flight for the next morning. This was a bit of a letdown for me, since I knew the SkyLine is an awesome sight at night, but Todd had other plans that night and was leaving the next day, so if we were going to fly this would be it. I decided to plan on flying to Sky Manner airport n40 after the Skyline flight that way we could do some talking over brunch before heading back to Morristown.

On to the flight:
After a quick call to flight service (I always call Flight Service before my first flight of the day as a CYA) the weather looked good, clear skies but some leftover bumps from the day before were expected. We preflighted 4757T and got going, right away I felt the bumps, nothing crazy, just light chop. We contacted Newark and after a brief confusion (my mistake) we got the squawk code figured out and were on our way. As planned we passed over the Newark runway 22 numbers and headed for the Lady. I was surprised to see how busy the Bravo was over the River, but ATC was doing there thing and so were we. I had some Video footage, but lost it all when I accidentally deleted it during a computer house cleaning session. I tracked northbound on the Hudson River, over Central Park (I crossed over the lake) and south on the East River. After reviewing some of the footage I realized that I was a bit closer to the shoreline than I used to fly, I will make it a point to bring it over the river a little bit more next time.

While on the East River I requested a hand off back to Newark. We passed back over the runway 22 numbers and headed towards Sky Manor with Flight Following. The landing and approach into the airport was uneventful and we were soon enjoying the food at this great little airport.

After brunch we headed for the airplane. On our way back to Morristown I had Todd fly the 182RG a bit. I pointed out how much heavier the 182 is in feel compared to the 172, one thing I have grown to like while in IFR conditions. Our arrival was nice and soon we were saying our good buys.

It was great flying with Todd and hearing about some of his experiences as an Aviation blogger and pilot (Flying with the US Navy / Marine Corp Blue Angels and Chuck Aaron in the Red Bull aerobatic helicopter just to name a few)!

Make sure you check him out on his site

Link to Todd’s write-up

Click to view Photos

Flight description: NYC Skyline Flight with Todd of My Flight Blog dot com
Aircraft: Cessna 182RG N4757T
Pilot: Mike Bennett
Flight rules: VFR
Weather conditions: VMC.
Winds: Out of the South West at around 10 knots
Ceiling: Clear.
Co-Pilot: Todd M.
Flight time: 1:20

As always comments welcome. Happy safe flying everyone!

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