I visit Long Island once every quarter or so to do work at the two horse race tracks up there - Aqueduct and Belmont Park. Getting to NYC has always been a pain. The drive is long (4 hours), the train, while painless, requires a few transfers and a cab, and flying commercially presents its own set of inconveniences. I needed to be at Belmont Park to support the last leg of the Triple Crown and to hopefully see California Chrome cross the finish line first! I decided to take the scenic route up to NYC and go up the Hudson River corridor, loop around the topside of NYC and then land at Republic Airport (KFRG). Republic Airport is about a 25 minute drive to the tracks and has on-premise Hertz rental cars.
My victim, or rather passenger for the day was my friend and coworker Dave, who also needed to be at Belmont for work. As soon as I mentioned I was traveling via my own airplane to NYC, Dave jumped at the opportunity to be my passenger.
The weather going up was just perfect. Some light clouds at 4,000', low humidity and amazing visibility.
Dave really enjoyed the trip up there. He's been the best passenger I have had yet in the RV. He remembered every detail of the safety briefing.
I had the GoPro running the entire time on the trip up and back. This was a great screen capture of heading up the Hudson river.
The new World Trade Center tower.
I think this is approaching mid-town.
KFRG was extremely busy with traffic. I was called for #4 for landing on nearly a 10 mile final. What made this landing more complicated was the aircraft in front of me had an approach speed of 65 kts, so it made for a lot of s-turns for me to maintain a safe airspeed and proper spacing.
We used the SheltAir FBO. The parking fee of $15/day was quite reasonable and the people were very friendly and helpful. One of the tie down ropes was badly worn, and they happily replaced it with a brand new one upon my request. I don't like being overly picky, but when it comes to the RV, I think it's warranted!
You simply cannot beat the rental car being driven right next to the airplane! Dave got a real kick out of how enjoyable it is to fly GA.
Safely on the ground we started to head to Belmont Park. I called up the office there to see if they needed us to pick up anything. They were first shocked we actually survived the "dangerous" flight up to NYC, and they were also surprised at how quickly we got up there. They asked us if we could pick up some Pizza's to feed the team. There is a great Pizza joint near Belmont Park - King Umberto's. The staff there is amazingly helpful and the food is fantastic. They even offered us a free drink while we waited. This day just keeps on getting better!
Fast forward a day and it's Belmont Stakes Day, with a Triple Crown contender. Since I work with the track, I have a full access badge which not only gets me into any area I want to go, but also allows me to bypass the crowds and walk through the track in the catwalk system. Here's a panoramic shot of the track from the Press Box.
Close up of the finish line.
The track was absolutely mobbed with people by late in the afternoon. I've never seen so many people in one place before. Business-wise, it was a great day for us. Not one issue whatsoever. We ran like a fine oiled machine. We were quite pleased and our customer couldn't of been happier.
Like all good things, they eventually need to come to an end. However, we still had the flight home to enjoy. I decided to take the route along southern Long Island back. There is a 500' deck carved our under the JFK class Bravo airspace to allow us to stick by the beach - albeit nice and low.
The trip home was uneventful. The weather was still great, but much hazier.
One last shot of us before we landed. I was home by Noon and had the rest of the day to enjoy.
Last Modified: August 13, 2023