Hudson River Skyline Flight

Today we flew the Hudson River scenic flight.  In the plane was my instructor and future co-pilot Matt. We have been wanting to take a flight with my CFI through the Hudson for a while. If you are unfamiliar with the area there was a recent mid-air that caused a change in the rules for the Class B exclusion corridor. We wanted to see how an old salt handles the airspace before we tried it ourselves.

The exclusion zone is basically an area over the Hudson where they raised the floor of the NY Bravo. They did it to accommodate transient and sightseeing aircraft without necessity of being cleared into the congested airspace above. The new rules essentially raised this airspace by 300ft and now requires mandatory reporting points. You are also required to carry a NY Terminal Area Chart. To learn all of the details I highly recommend checking out the FAA NYC Course.

We departed Caldwell around 10AM. The sky was clear but fairly bumpy with crosswinds on the departure and landing. As soon as leaving the traffic pattern we contacted Teterboro KTEB tower to transit straight across to the Hudson. Fortunately they were not to busy and allowed the transition at 1,100. We then made a right turn into the Hudson and maintained 1,100. The rest of the flight was just as described in the special rules. We did drop down for a counter clockwise turn around the Statue of Liberty. After heading back north we continued to Alpine tower and shot back in for Caldwell. The actual flight was pretty straightforward and uneventful but very fun and the views were excellent. I highly recommend it.

Matt was able to take plenty of pictures during the entire flight so check them out below.

Studying for the Written Exam

The next item I checked off my list was the Private Pilot Knowledge test. It is a 60 question test that you have 2.5hrs to complete. Out of the 28,473 Private Pilot Airplane exams administered during 2008, 91.58% people passed with an average score of 84.14 (source). Those are very good statistics. I would  attribute that to the fact that anyone taking the test actually wants to fly so they put extra effort in learning the material.

Up until this point I had been reading through the big Jeppesen book chapter by chapter. It really is a great book in my opinion and has a ton of information. When it comes to learning the theory and information you need to fly that book does the job well. That being said I do not think that book by itself could prepare someone for the knowledge test. This test like all other standardized tests has a very particular way they ask you questions. Getting accustomed to the questions and how they are answered is by far the hardest part.

I used several resources to prepare. The one I thought helped the most with learning the actual material was the King School DVD course. John and Martha King go through every section on the exam and show exactly how each question is answered and the best part is how the FAA tries to trick you. I sat there hour after hour and watch the entire course while taking notes, it was a huge help. Now my next task was to practice the actual test taking using real questions and timing it. For that I used two more resources. Exams4Pilots and Gleim Private Pilot Software. Both of these were critical in preparing because they have the exact same questions and figures that are used on the test.

Where I Am At

Just a quick update on my progress. I have about 53hrs total flying time. I still need to complete the following: 1.5hrs of hood, 1.9hrs of solo, and 3 hours of dual within 60 days of the check ride. Written test is coming up soon. I am very happy with my progress up to this point. I don’t feel rushed or inadequately prepared. However when it comes to flying the learning is never over. I may be close to finishing the regs but have a lot of work to do to be confident and prepared for check ride day.