When we reported that Dr. Jon Weiswasser flew into New York’s Big Three airports in April (and neglected to acknowledge that he’s a vascular surgeon in addition to being a drummer for an Eagles tribute band) it was a novel and kind of surreal thing to report. But since then, thousands of GA pilots have been adding locations like JFK, LAX and ORD to their logbooks as the skies are still pretty empty over some of the world’s busiest airports. It’s pretty hard for controllers to justify strongly suggesting the carb heat crowd go somewhere else. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that while some controllers gripe about the uptick of GA traffic, now that the novelty has worn off, they can also be downright accommodating.
The WSJ talked to GA pilots from around the country and collected some interesting anecdotes on landing on the big runways. CFI Sean Stefanak, from Farmingdale, New York, said the controller handling him warned a FedEx crew to beware of the wake turbulence from Stefanak’s Cirrus. Vince LaDuca took his 11-year-old son into LAX in his Grumman Tiger. “Take your pictures, man. This is like the once-in-a-lifetime,” LaDuca told his son as they set up for 25L at LAX. Airport authorities don’t differentiate between props and turbofans so can’t quantify the increased “bug smasher” traffic but one pilot told the WSJ he was number two behind a fellow piston pilot at JFK recently and number three was also burning gasoline.