I decided to take one more flight around Manhattan (for now) - the only problem was that my plans to do so during sunset were ruined when I got called in to coach at the gym, and by the time I was able to fly it was just past midnight. Obviously there are sound abatement rules in effect past a certain hour for aircraft flying over the city. But you know what? I exercised my virtual power and canceled them for tonight. Tough ######, virtual residents of Manhattan.
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I logged on to VATSIM, hoping again that La Guardia tower would become active at some point in the night, but despite the weekend things were pretty dead in NYC airspace. Still, to practice I set up all my comms and did my best to type out my location on the appropriate frequency whenever I was over a well-known landmark. Did a much better job of it this time - to bad no one was really around to notice.
Basically I flew from KJRA on West 30th St north to Central Park along then doubled back south to Midtown and beyond to Ground Zero - given that it is Sep 11th today, I figured I should pay my respects. After swooping past Ground Zero I headed north over the East River until I came abreast of Midtown, where I crossed over and searched out a rooftop helipad I had noticed earlier. It took me 3 go-arounds, 2 near crashes and much stress but I managed to set the helicopter down on the edge of the pad - and not the edge of the building.
After the rooftop landing I flew north along the Hudson to cross over at the George Washington Bridge and head east to KTEB... except I never spotted the GWB. I was passing over the mouth of the Harlem River before I realized how far north I had gone. #####? I turned around and headed south and spotted Route 80 leading to the GWB... but no GWB. I thought maybe the bridge was just not lit so I looked closer and it was simply gone. Quick!! Somebody call Carmen Sandiego!
After getting my bearings back I headed west to land at KTEB, all the while tuning to the proper comm frequencies and broadcasting my location and intent. Again, just good practice. Though my approach to the airport was better, I still managed to enter into a hover about 75 yards short of the pad. What I like to do to land is descend like a plane until I'm over the helipad at a hover at about 50 feet, then descend vertically. Generally how copters approach and land in real life. The problem is this helicopter has no floor windows, so even when I'm close to the ground, it's hard to tell exactly how close - and no I do not trust my altimeter for this. After three go arounds I finally gave up and just let her settle down on the apron wherever the hell she wanted.
I think this is my last flight in the Robinson R22. Nice small spry little craft but not being able to see down while landing just sucks. Next helicopter trip I'm going to hop into the Bell 206 Jet Ranger. Dunno when that'll be since I plan to hop back into a fixed wing craft for some more cross-country VFR next. Where to where I haven't decided yet, or when. Could be tomorrow, could be next week!
But it'll probably be tomorrow.