Tom Scott came to New York City to get a birdseye view of the Statue of Liberty in surprisingly legal airspace courtesy of Century Air. Pilot John De Groot explained before the flight how this particular span of Special Flights Rules of airspace works.
All over the United States, there are a lot of airports that don’t have tower controls, so you self announce. So this area is a self-announce area in one of the busiest airspaces in the world. And there are different reporting points through the SFRA. What you’re basically going to do is talk, and you’ll hear other aircraft that are doing the same thing. Anybody who is in that Special Flight Rules Area will be able to hear us.
After viewing Lady Liberty from above, De Groot took Scott over to the Empire State Building in Manhattan, where they once again had to report to a control tower. DeGroot was very pragmatic about flying in such a busy area.
It’s like everything else in aviation. It’s not necessarily hard. It’s just not forgiving. So the key is: know what you’re doing before you do it and don’t do anything that is off the script.