Saturday, April 16, 2011

something good finally

I realized (thanks @jasonensminger) that i neglected to actually post about last week's trip! And here I am on another trip. Time flies! I went to visit my parents and completely forgot.

Last week I had a pretty easy 3 day trip. Our first day was uneventful, a miracle in my option when you have to go to LaGuardia twice. We had a nice, if short, layover in NYC, just enough for me to hit the gym and get some sleep.

Our 2nd day we headed to FLL and flew a Cancun turn! First, you really get a better sense of close Key West is from Cuba when you're in the air. From over EYW you can easily see the coast of Cuba. It's standard practice to enter Cuban airspace on flights to the Southern Caribbean, and airlines make arrangements with the Cuban government (through the US State Department) for those rights. Overall the Cuban ATC is fantastic, although local traffic typically speaks Spanish with the controllers.

As for CUN - wow, what an airport! The ground crew was extremely professional, the gate agents nice, the cleaners had the airplane interior sparkling and smelling like a Bath and Body Works before we left. The terminal is brand new with clearly painted lead in lines for the gate. After push back the ground crew performed a FOD walk, looking for foreign object debris that could damage the aircraft.

Mexican ATC is pretty laissez-faire so you can't expect the explicit taxi clearances that you'd get from US ATC. Ours was "follow United to runway 12R." Hmm, ok!

Day 3 started out rough - no one wants to wake up at 3 am. It was worth it for the flight to LGA. Flying over the ocean up the east coast we had a fantastic sunrise to enjoy. Heading into New York we were cleared to descend to 4000 feet and "fly direct to the bridge and then proceed north up the river." Best. Clearance. Ever.

This is apparently an old school LGA approach, where you fly to the Varranzano Bridge (which I'm sure I didn't spell right), then turn left, head right at the Statue of Liberty (!!!) and fly up the Hudson river. At 4000 feet. It was a fantastic tour of New York City. Immediately below and to our right I could see Ground Zero, the Empire State Building (which is even more impressive from the air), the lights of Time Square and Central Park. All in the early morning clear-as-glass air. North of Manhattan just make a right turn to intercept the final approach course and shoot the visual approach to runway 22. A-mazing. Definitely one of the top 3 flights of my life (one of the others was my very first flight in a jet, in which we did much the same approach).

Blue skies!!

1 comment:

Jason Ensminger said...

Thanks, I was waiting for that. Got my new Garmin 340 audio panel and they found about five hot wires under the dash that could have caused the short. They assured me that every bare wire with power has been capped so hopefully no more ASRS reports to read. Funny you should mention the Hudson flight. I went to high school on Sandy Hook NJ(the giant peninsula across the Raritan Bay from the Verrezano and could see the bridge from my high school daily). When I was a kid, I flew out of KBLM with my grandfather in a PA28 and he would take me up the corridor at 1200 MSL often at dusk when the city was just lighting up. These eyes haven't seen a more beautiful sight in the ensuing 30 years. I can still see in my mind's eye the people in the restaurant at the top of the WTC(windows on the World) waving DOWN on me in the airplane as we were about 100-200 feet below them as we flew by, but close enough to make out facial features. Too bad I'll never be able to show my children that(nor would I much care to as the space is way to busy now compared to 1978). Keep writing kid. BTW, if you want to get the passenger's perspective and see some pics from the more recent ASRS check out my wife's blog. And if you do, please encourage her to pursue a private pilot certain, if for nothing else, the safety of our kids...