I wasn’t going to start this blog until we were beyond the U.S. border but I can’t help myself – yesterday was way too cool. Randy had always dreamed of flying the Mooney down the Hudson River at low altitude, into Manhattan. But then came 9/11 so the idea of a single engine plane flying within a few hundred feet of millions of people seemed a little outlandish.
But low and behold – with some planning and the 123.05 frequency, he did it! And I bet you didn’t hear any news reports of an errant pilot and co-pilot crashing into buildings or the river!
So here’s the quick version of the adventure, and of course the photos tell the real story: 90 miles down the Hudson River into Manhattan, around the Statue of Liberty (twice), to Staten Island, back up to World Trade Center, Central Park, Riverdale, and Sing Sing(!) returning to Poughkeepsie. At an altitude of just 800-1000ft, you could almost touch the bridges and buildings.
A bit more detail if you’re interested: Like a highway, you stay on the right side and since there are no traffic lights in this busy airspace, voice becomes the signal. The aviation rule is to announce yourself at each of several landmarks as you pass them on the 123.05, so other pilots know where you are (“Mooney, George Washington Bridge, southbound”). Or Clock or Alpine Tower or Intrepid. That’s it! Just had to find The Clock, which turns out to be a giant clock across from the Battery that was built by Colgate in 1924. It was all pretty surreal.
It was especially moving to be allowed to fly so close to the Statue of Liberty – no TSA, no special forms, no nada. The ultimate Freedom of Movement – what a country!