Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hudson River Adventure

Expanding your comfort zone

There are specific procedures for flying the Hudson VFR corridor. Current N.Y. sectional and terminal area charts are required and should be reviewed thoroughly. You must take great care to remain at or below designated altitudes in order to remain under class B airspace. The maximum altitude along the portion of the route we flew was 1,300 feet MSL. The maximum allowable airspeed is 140 knots IAS.

A dedicated CTAF is used solely for traffic flying the Hudson corridor. You fly the river much as you would drive on a road—along the right bank. There are mandatory waypoints along the route in which you must announce your position.

As we neared the Verrazano Bridge, our entry point, I was spellbound by the spectacle that unfolded before us. There was New York in all her glory. I stared in awe as we circled around and made a pass directly in front of Lady Liberty. It was surreal to see her so up close and personal from our vantage point.

We passed over Governor's Island and saw the entire island of Manhattan looming ahead. As we continued northbound along the east bank, goose bumps rose on my arms as the new Freedom Tower came into view. The construction phase had just reached a milestone that week, and the Freedom Tower was deemed the tallest structure in the New York skyline. What a thrill to be there to witness it—and especially fitting to do so from Miss America.

My camera worked overtime as we passed over the mighty Intrepid and flew past the iconic Empire State Building. It was sensory overload with so much to take in. All too soon, we crossed over the lofty towers of the George Washington Bridge, turned left and made our way back toward home.

I was amazed by how low stress the flight was. We encountered only a few other aircraft, mainly sightseeing helicopters. It wasn't the mayhem I had envisioned it would be. This adventure is viable for anyone who takes the time and effort to prepare and become familiar with the charts and procedures, which are found on the N.Y. VFR Terminal Area Chart. Always be sure to check the NOTAMs, as there are frequent TFRs issued in the area.

I brought a lesson home with me. As pilots, we're given the opportunity to see and experience things in a way that most people only dream of. If we allow ourselves to expand our horizons, the world is ours to explore.

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