COVID-19 pandemic opens up busy airports to private and military flyers
Airlines are flying significantly less flights due to the massive drop in air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although travel is beginning to recover, daily traveler numbers are still down around 90% from the same period last year. This news is devastating for the aviation industry, but it has allowed a very unique opportunity for some aviators.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen sporadic YouTube videos of same brave general aviation pilots pop up on the web who have flown into some of the largest commercial airports in the country.
Prior to the pandemic, it would be extremely difficult to fly into an airport like New York LaGuardia or Chicago O’Hare in a single engine Cessna or RV-8. Impossible in some cases due to the sheer volume of traffic. Many of these airports these days are like ghost towns enabling some very creative cross countries.
Still, it isn’t easy just to hop in a plane and fly
With ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions in full force in some areas of the country, it isn’t always easy to rent a plane or find an instructor to fly in challenging class B airspace. If you own your own plane, or have access to one, it is possible though. We’ve even seen one pilot who made a cross-country flight between New York’s three major airports. We’ll show you the videos on the next few pages.
Tour de New York in an RV-8
Our first video that peaked our interest in this concept comes from YouTuber Life in the FL. He owns an RV-8 and has some great general aviation content of his flying adventures. In this episode, he filed a triangle route between New Jersey’s Newark airport to LaGuardia and then New York’s Kennedy airport. On a normal day, he would have been cussed out by a New York controller. In this video though, the controller just makes a slight chuckle, scoffs at him a bit, and then provides clearance for his requested route.
It is interesting to note that in this video, he only requests a low approach. It’s about as low as you can go when flying a plane, but we love the creativity to avoid a full stop and the fees that would most likely result in a landing at three of the most busy airports in the nation.