December 8, 2020
Recently, Paul and I flew both the East River and the Hudson River Exclusions. It was a magnificent clear day [CAFB]. We worked as a crew; Paul flew as Captain and I was his First Officer, on the radio and helping with navigation and checklists. I know that there are some Blue Sky pilots who have done this or a similar route many times, but I also know that there are some who are too concerned to attempt it for fear of straying outside the boundaries or violating ATC instructions.
First, I would say that if you can hold an altitude and a heading, you can do it. You should take the course at FAAST.gov; it will give you everything you need. Second, I would suggest for a first attempt – not flying the East River or Statue of Liberty and instead just fly the Hudson.
This video should give you an idea what to expect. It includes almost all of our ATC exchanges and I have edited out all other extraneous transmissions. Obviously, it won’t be an identical experience for you, but it will be similar.
We are very fortunate to have this ability; it’s a wonderful testament to our Air Traffic Control system and the flexibility of the Airspace structure in the U.S. This would not be possible in many other countries.
[side note: I learn as I try these videos. Some day I’ll remember to shoot the video in landscape mode.]