Flying in New York

Please have in mind that English is not my native language, there might be some mistakes. Enjoy the read!

Another item to cross off the bucket list again and again...

After knowing that I'd be travelling to NYC in July, I started thinking on what to do, besides those widely known landmarks, such as Empire State Building or Central Park. I remembered that many tourists, who are also pilots, rented an small airplane to bite the Big Apple from above. So I started to search for flying clubs and flight schools. After many hours of search and many emails (Quite a lot not answered) I got to Air Fleet Training, based at Essex County Airport, 50km (30mi) away from NYC, in New Jersey State, actually. After communicating them that I wanted to fly there with them, they sent me the rates, these were convenient, so the decision was made.

Postcards from NY

Fast-forwarding in time, I finally was in NYC, with a flight scheduled in 2 days. Those days flew past, and it was Friday 7:15am. Even though it was early I had no problem to wake up, I've been waiting this day for quite a long time to oversleep. It was a nice morning, skies were clear and temperature was OK, it would only get higher though. Streets were crowded as usual, and we were arriving late to the 8am train departing Pennsylvania Station, to Springfield, NJ, where we would meet with friends who took us to the airport by car. 
15 minutes earlier than scheduled, at 9:45am, we arrived to the airport. I introduced myself, and told them that I had a flight for the day. The asked me for my pilot's license and my medical certification, which I gave them. The flight instructor arrived by 10am, after all I had to go with him because I don't have a valid FAA license. Pierre, a  25 or 30 year old Canadian, who had been living in NY since 2014. After a small chat we were ready to go, he did weight and balance for the flight, and we headed to the plane. We got to the platform through a small door, placed in the parking lot, we didn't go through any security procedures and that caught my attention, I thought they would be more strict with security when it comes to planes+NY+foreigners...

Nice and smooth Mooney

After doing a quick walkaround to check for security we got into the plane. A 1980 Cessna 172P in excellent shape. Surprisingly I was told it was fleet's oldest plane (It would be the most modern). Pierre told me we've been assigned this plane because it was powerful enough to haul 4 persons and full fuel.

N52290, our airplane for today

Both doors were closed, everyone's seat belt was fastened and soon after we were taxing to the runway in use.

Taxing to RWY28

We placed the plane on the run-up area, where we would perform engine parameters check. This place was aside from the holding point, that's where I usually do it here in Argentina. I guess it's better to do it like we did it here, because you don't stop the flow of airplanes that are ready for take off.
            - Essex tower, N52290 on holding point runway 28

After a short silence, we see an airplane landing on the other runway (22). After them, I heard the magic words...

          - N52290, clear to line up and take off.
          - Line up and take off, N52290.
          - So, you want to do it? - Asked Pierre
          - Of course I want to do it! - I answered

So I advanced the throttle slightly to line the plane up the runway. Full throttle, the C172 started rolling on the tarmac, to our right a plane holding short for RWY22 went past, I was calling out for take off checks   -Engine parameters okay, speed alive. Everything's good,- Pierre nodded. Wheel sound suddenly muted, the airplane was in the air, just like it did for the last 36 years before. It climbed slowly, like a fully loaded C172 does...

On the air! 

New landscapes

We kept runway heading until 600ft, after that I turned to the right, heading to Teterboro Airport, the executive airport there. Landscape was different, small hills made up for a nice view as well as the woods down below. I'm used to huge extensions of flatland here, so seeing "high" terrain was different indeed. Neighborhoods were so different to what I'm used to. Houses separated equally, it's almost like if someone copied and pasted the houses through the ground. I was not bored.

Hudson River could be seen far in the distance, and with it, the George Washington Bridge, the last bridge into Manhattan. When we were close it, Pierre called the tower and asked for permission to fly down the river to Downtwon and back.

          - New York tower, N52290, requesting clearance for flight over Hudson River, to downtown...
          -N55290 cleared to 2000ft. to downtown via Hudson river and back.

What seemed like a hassle was just a radio call away. After listening instructions, I throttled up to climb to 2000ft and headed down the River always staying on the right bank. To our right, New Jersey State, to our left, New York State, city skyline could be seen in the distance. Below us, sightseeing helicopters, commercial flights to JFK, La Guardia and New Ark above, on our same level planes like us. A lot of traffic, but very organized. Enough talk, here are some images...

After baking left over Liberty Statue, and overflying the Hudson on the otherbank, we were above George Washington Bridge again and leaving the crowded airspace behind. We wen't back to 1500ft, to follow our footsteps back to Essex County Airport. We did direct approach to RWY28, this is right after a small hill, so I had to point the plane down right after it for the final approach. I did a gently touchdown, and after a long taxi to the platform, the prop stopped spinning.
It was a great flight, and  I could finally cross this item  off my bucket list, an item that I don't mind crossing out again and again because it's wonderful! I highly recommend to any pilot going to NYC to  do this!

Chopper was leaving, and so were we.


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