Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

East Coast By LSA


Twenty-five hours in a Remos GX


Approaching the Class Bravo airspace, we began our sequencing into Opa-Locka International Airport, a large general aviation/corporate jet airport a few miles north of Miami International. Upon taxiing to the FBO, we realized we were the smallest aircraft there. Getting out of our trusty light-sport aircraft, I looked around and felt like a high-roller parking next to a few Gulfstreams and Boeing Business Jets.

We got ourselves a rental car, and blindly headed to the nearest hotel that our iPhones told us to go to. We freshened up in our room and headed to the great South Beach of Miami. Between the people, music, palm trees and lights, the whole atmosphere down in Miami was incredible and mesmerizing.

One of the best nights ever...until we got back to the hotel room, where I found myself restlessly trying to sleep with my aviation headsets on to help win the battle against Dave's
wretched snoring.

Day Three
We headed to the airport and casually began the hour-long journey down to our ultimate destination. From the night before, a Key West vacation frame of mind had already settled in. Taking off out of Miami, ATC had directed us east then south, to clear the Bravo airspace, bringing us over South Beach. What a view it was; flying over the beaches of Miami with the whole strip of hotels. What a change this was from the skyline of New York City and the beaches of Long Island.

Being an ocean lifeguard in Westhampton Beach, N.Y., I have a great passion and appreciation for the ocean. Seeing the gorgeous light- blue waters of Miami, I couldn't help but periodically exclaim, "Oh, my God!" This quickly stopped, after Dave panicked and thought there was an aircraft issue every time I said the phrase.

And so on we continued down south, following the Keys all the way. While flying, we couldn't help but notice how many times the water changed color, from light green to blue to murky beige. Once the water began to become beautiful turquoise and Caribbean clear, we knew we were close.

Out of the corner of my eye, an F-15 Eagle came shooting up from behind us at about 15,000 feet. All I thought was, "Welcome to Key West." From my flight-simulation days, I knew that there was a naval air station right next to Key West International Airport, the F-15's most likely destination. After transitioning through the Naval Class D airspace, we were soon enough joining the traffic pattern at Key West International Airport. Getting out of the plane, and looking around me taking in the scenery, I felt a great deal of self accomplishment. It felt surreal, and that I was dreaming still.

The Return
We spent two days in Key West, taking in the sun, jetskiing around the whole island, snorkeling on the coral reefs and kayaking around some isolated islands. Unfortunately, our responsibilities were waiting for us back in N.Y., along with a flight-instructor checkride I was due for now. So on our day of departure, we woke up at the crack of dawn, and we were at the airport and wheels up by 5 a.m.

We made our way back to Long Island, N.Y,. in one day, with fuel stops in Daytona Beach, Fla., Charleston, N.C., and Norfolk, Va. On the journey back, we lucked out with clear-blue skies the entire way, and there was even a slight tailwind. Arriving back home at Brookhaven airport at about 8 p.m. concluded our epic 25.1-hour adventure flight. And what a flight it had been. I had made my dreams into a reality.



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