Citizens aren’t the only ones isolated these days and a New Jersey pilot took advantage of the empty skies in what is normally the world’s busiest airspace with a video tour of the big three New York airports in his RV-8 last week. “I flew my RV-8 from Caldwell, NJ to EWR>LGA>JFK the other day and I believe I may be the first to have done that in an homebuilt/experimental,” Jon Weiswasser told AVweb in a message. He did “low passes” (really low) at Newark, La Guardia and JFK to the amusement of controllers who have seen their workload shrink drastically over the last few weeks.
Weiswasser, the leader of an Eagles tribute band called Eaglemania, normally produces videos going through the planning and execution of missions to band gigs in his Meridian demonstrating the practical use of private aviation. For this flight, he pulled out his tricked out RV-8. He said his knowledge of the airspace, especially the Hudson VFR Corridor, and his careful planning helped a lot but it all came down to the controllers. The first one in Newark approved the runway buzzing with a chuckle before handing him off to La Guardia. There, the controller was obliging but as Weiswasser climbed out he delivered the bad news that JFK couldn’t accommodate him. Weiswasser pressed on and asked for himself. He was cleared for the low (really low) and over with a couple of 777s in the mix.
What a cool guy. And I love the attitude of American ATC to light GA. I am in the UK and during the aviation shut-down caused by volcanic ash, I asked to overfly London’s Gatwick airport. I got approval and did – but not below 1,000′
The last time I saw traffic that “light” was after 9-11. This guy did pick a beautiful day for the flight and for filming. I flew in – out of KJFK for over 20 years starting in 1990 and those controllers can be extremely accommodating and helpful when asked. They will tolerate very little stupidity especially during the various “rush hours”, like the evening elephant walk to Europe. One day, I heard JFK tower working very patiently and helpfully with a student pilot that got lost. He was supposed to be up north in Connecticut and he was in southern Long Island looking at more water than he had ever seen when he stumbled upon 119.1 at KJFK Tower. I have seldom heard a more frightened voice asking so timidly for help. As I was driving a 747 freighter, I kept quiet because I could little and we had plenty of gas to wait. The voice at KJFK was one I had heard many, many times over the years and he worked very patiently with the lost student and got him on the ground at MacArthur safely. Three of us big jets were holding patiently off the shore listening raptly to a professional at work. Very inspiring.
Second Dave C’s comments about the JFK ATC. I regularly use the <500ft VFR south shoreline transition and on more than one occasion – without asking have been "cleared into the Class Bravo at or below 1,100 – there – that should give you a smoother ride".
Jon….your the man. Talk about right place..right time. Everyone who has flown the N.Y. corridor, has probably wished that they could do what you did ….AT LEAST ONCE. As you said, if you don’t ask??? Outstanding video, incredible flying conditions and great ATC help. Only one thing missing….”LIFE IN THE FAST LANE” playing in the background.
I fly Angel Flight’s in Florida and sometimes have a couple of hours + return flight…ALONE. So, I turn on the EAGLES and sing my best backup to HOTEL CALIFORNIA and all the other songs, between ATC communications. Doesn’t get any better.
Thanks for sharing. Looks like you are or have flown Crazy Horse? Did it in 94 ….you will have a blast.
Jon: An apt title for this video would be “Take it to the Limit.” What an awesome flight and an incredible video for the rest of us run of the mill pilots. I am so damn jealous — thanks for sharing!
Really? You printed this? Did you forget about the misery happening just below? Tone deaf. Have a nice flight. But keep it to yourself not splashed all over the Internet.