Transcontinental Trip Report - Coast to Coast in the Arrow III

One of my favorite things to read on these forums are the trip reports from simmers on challenging long distance virtual adventures.

As mentioned in another topic recently, one of my other interests is aviation history and I enjoy reading about the pioneers of aviation who trail blazed routes around the world when manned flight was in its infancy.

Merging these two ideas saw me planning to fly the length of the original North American Transcontinental Airway System, established nearly 100 years ago for the purpose of delivering mail between the eastern and western coasts of the US.

Trip completed: 17th June 21

Remarkably this long distance flying was all done visually (for the first few years at least), using lit beacon towers and concrete arrows on the ground to mark out the route for pilots. Open cockpit Curtiss Jenny biplanes were the aircraft of choice at the time, taking around 32 hours each way to make the crossing. The following YouTube clip elaborates further:

For my recreation in MSFS, I’ve opted to drive something with a little more horsepower in the form of the Piper PA-28RT Arrow III from Just Flight. I’m also utilising GPS navigation, with the PMS GTN750 mod installed, giving me the ability to couple my autopilot to it as a nav source. My city to city route is true to the original airway however, mirrored almost completely by the modern day I80 interstate that runs between San Francisco to New York.

The flight plan was hand built in Little Nav Map and is broken down into more manageable 3-5 hour chunks, as I’ll be sitting at the desk monitoring the flight the entire time, switching fuel tanks every 30 minutes and staying in contact with ATC on the radio.

That being said, the flight will still be conducted under VFR using real world weather and real time sim rate for the flying. I’ll be traversing the continent from west to east to take advantage of the prevailing tail winds, hoping for favorable conditions IRL that coincide with on my days off from work where I am able to boot up the sim.

Leg 1 is the most mountainous, departing KHAF on the Californian Pacific Coast, and crosses overhead Sacramento (CA), Reno (NV), Elko (NV) before landing at Salt Lake City (UT).

Leg 2 is the longest and departs SLC and continues west overhead Rock Springs (WY), Cheyenne (WY), North Platte (NE) to Omaha (NE)

Leg 3 departs from Omaha, and crosses Des Moines (IA), Chicago (IL), and for the sake for keeping the session times at a practical length, finishes at Bryan (OH).

Leg 4 is the final leg and departs Bryan, then crosses Cleveland (OH), Bellefonte ( PA ), before arriving into New York (NY). Both the airfields that bookstopped the ends of the original transcontinental route are now disused, so instead, I’ll be completing the trip by landing at KFRG, on Long Island- being the closest active runway to the original site.

Total route length is 2351 nautical miles with my flight planning estimates tell me it’ll take approximately 14 hours of continuous flying to achieve the crossing. I’ll be writing a diary as I go, researching the areas I pass enroute, along with capturing ample screenshots and posting them in this thread.

If this is the sort of thing that interests you too, feel free to hit the little bell at the right of the screen for notifications when future updates are posted. I also welcome anyone with local knowledge of places that I’ve passed (or areas that I’m yet to pass) to contribute to the topic. I’m not from the US so am relying solely on a Lonely Planet guide and Wikipedia for my intel. Any new factoids are always greatly appreciated and make the journey more fun!


We’ve done this with cross countries that align to major trans-cons highways, most notably I-90 Boston to Seattle and more recently I-40 Barstow to Wilmington.

About an hour in the seat is about what most folks can stand in terms of available time, breaking it down into 150nm (at the longest) chunks. You’ll also find it tough to stay VFR with Live Weather. I was chased by a persistent system just past Texas all the way into Tennessee, that’s about four legs for 600nm, with additional time and distance invoked finding safe crossing altitudes and heading diverts to stay out of the worst cells. All those legs, as well as a few others became IFR.

If you really want to stay VFR, use weather presets. Just a suggestion. Good luck!


Leg One

I lucked out with a high pressure system to kick the tour off, with mainly clear skies and a light westerly breezes forecast right along the western seaboard.

My new PA28R was waiting for me out on the apron at Half Moon Bay. The GA airfield on the outskirts of San Francisco is a favorite of mine, with fond memories of flying here virtually in the good old days of Flight Unlimited II.

A full load of fuel was ordered, 38 USG a side, with a conservative burn rate of 15 USG allowing for about 4 and half hours endurance plus 30 minutes legal reserve. Today I’d be targeting speed rather than economy, with 31” manifold pressure and 2450rpm giving an indicated speed around the 150 IAS mark.

After priming the cold motor, she kicked into life on the first turn of the key, and was the only man made noise to break the otherwise still and quiet morning at the seaside airfield.

I taxied out for runway 30, gave myself a good wind of right rudder trim, dropped the 10 degree of flap, switched on landing lights, and set the transponder to ALT.

A rolling call was made, power applied with much anticipation, got airborne for the first time on what would be by far the longest and furthest flight adventure I am to make in any simulator to date!

Levelling initially at 1000 feet, the first rays of morning sun broke across the Santa Cruz Mountains, warming the cockpit and instantly making the early start feel worthwhile.

I tracked along the suburban coastline at low level, banked right to cross the famous Golden Gate Bridge to glance out at Crissy Field off the starboard wingtip.

The flat grass park, now a public recreation reserve was in fact one of two airfields used as the San Francisco terminus of the 1920’s transcontinental air mail route, along with Marina Field a few miles further along the seafront.

The grass runway was 910 meters long and quickly became obsolete as larger aircraft required longer length. Poor visibility from sea fog often prevented operations from the airfield due to its position adjacent to the water, and after the Golden Gate Bridge’s construction was completed in 1937, an alternative airfield was commissioned 15 miles to the north at Hamilton Field. After World War II, a paved runway was constructed at Crissy and it remained an active US air base through to the 1970’s, primarily serving as medivac airport to bring patients requiring urgent care into Letterman Army Hospital. National Park Service took control of the site in the 1990’s, and after an $18 million restoration, it reopened as a public space for the residents of San Francisco in 2001.

With the power back, I watched the iconic landmarks of Alcatraz Prison, San Francisco city center, and Pier 39 slide by, I couldn’t help but hum the tune of Stereophonics - Have A Nice Day, especially since the weather was so good.

Shortly after, I put the aircraft back into a climb, and upped my altitude to 4000 feet to comply with the US’s east-odd, west-even cruising levels (opposite to the north-odd, south-even rule in the long thin country I fly in normally!).

It didn’t take long until I was overhead the Californian State Capital, tracking the McClellan Sacramento (MCC) beacon on Nav 2 as a backup to the GPS.

Crossing overhead KMCC, I set my next heading towards Reno, and began a step climb up to 10,000 feet to ensure terrain clearance with the Sierra Nevada mountain range immediately to the east of Sacramento.

Shortly after levelling off, the terrain had risen up significantly, and patches of snow were visible just below from the cockpit as I crossed the state border into Nevada. An 8 knot tailwind was discovered, yielding a pleasant ground speed around 170 knots, which remainder fairly consistent from the remainder of the flight.

Glimpses of Lake Tahoe could be seen off to the right of my track, but a slight deviation to the left to follow the Truckee River canyon around rising terrain were required to before a natural basin opened to reveal the city of Reno.

A minor heading change once again now saw the flight path entering a barren desert environment, crossing a vast expanse known as the Lahontan Valley. In prehistoric times, the whole area was underwater as a lakebed, with the fingers mountain ranges that jutted out above the horizon marking its shoreline.

It was impressive to see how much the landscapes had changed in a relatively short distance from the departure point, with the windswept patterns in the sand and rugged bare terrain below contrasting vastly the temperate coastal climate of the Bay Area.

One hour and six minutes later, I crossed over the small town of Elko. This was the first sign of human habitation since leaving Reno, and a welcome sign to break up the loneliness of the desert.

My course now turned due east, to track through a low point in the snow covered Ruby Mountains ahead- locally nicknamed the Swiss Alps of Nevada.

State Highway 228 follows a dip between the peaks known as Secret Pass, and allowed my Arrow III to make the passage through at 10,000 feet whilst maintaining a safe margin from terrain below.

The view ahead now was bright white all along the horizon, which I initially thought meant widespread low cloud with thoughts of diverting to an alternate airfield springing to mind.

However as I got closer, I realised the white on the ground was actually giant expanses of salt flats, with the famous Bonneville Flats Raceway just off to the right of my wingtip as I homed in on my final destination of the leg, Salt Lake City.

The blue expanse of Great Salt Lake was the next colour to fill my windscreen, and 15 miles out from the city at its south eastern shoreline, I commenced a gentle descent down towards the TCH beacon.

Breaking off overhead the international airport, I made a visual arrival around downtown SLC, spotting the famous Mormon temple in the photogrammetry, before lining up with runway 34 at KBTF (Skypark Airport, Bountiful) to make a full stop landing. I was greatly relieved to pull off the active runway, taxi up to the fuel pumps and shut off the engine with almost every aspect of the flight having gone to plan.

Local time was just after 10.45am, and I was definitely ready for a morning coffee, to grab a bite to eat and stretch my legs!

Total flight time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Total distance: 563 nm


Thanks for the heads up @CasualClick, appreciate the advice! Were those cross countries you’ve mentioned IRL or in the sim? Either way, if you’ve posted images anywhere, I’d love to see a link?

An hour and a half sim time is usually the most time I spend in front of the computer too, so that matches up with the 150nm distance you’ve mentioned at the speed I have been travelling in the Arrow. I took your advice on board and did the first hop between Salt Lake City and Rock Springs yesterday evening to make todays mega stretch a little more bearable. That being said, I’m trying to make a particular effort on this tour to cope with flying the longer sectors, using the US crossing as a dry run before committing to a much longer UK to NZ sim flight I have been quietly planning on the side!

As for dealing with real world weather, I’ve been doing pre flight prep on the NOAA Aviation Weather Centre website to figure out what conditions to expect enroute. I’ve been lucky so far, but definitely would be switching to my SoFly wx presets if it was forecast to be full IFR for long chunks of time. Localised storms break up the monotony of continuous CAVOK on these longer over land routes and look prettier on my screen too! :grinning:


I use SoFly myself. Excellent plugins and they have some WX “recipes” others haven’t recreated.

I-90 Coast-to-Coast: Boston to Seattle Complete

I-40 Barstow to Wilmington Complete

I-95 Miami FL to Haulton ME (Underway)

As far as a World Tour, that was a really tough one. I only tried it once, average stretch was easily 900nm per leg, some were 1200nm for a technical fuel stop.

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Thanks for the links @CasualClick, I clearly need to hang out in this sub forum more often. Your journeys are great to witness vicariously!

Leg Two

After a fuel tank top up, quick sandwich and caffeine hit at the airfield café, I was ready to jump back into the Arrow for Leg 2 of the transcontinental adventure. A light northerly breeze was favoring runway 34 as the active, so being careful to lean the engine for the high density altitude, I started up and backtracked the parallel taxiway to line up full length takeoff. Fortunately the turbocharged IO360 was capable of providing 42" of MAP, even up at 4200 ft AMSL, and soon enough I was pulling back on the yoke, airborne once again.

For the visual departure, I maintained the centreline whilst retracting gear and takeoff flap, then rolled left 180 degrees to continue climbing southbound towards the middle of Salt Lake City. High terrain immediately east of the airport prevents an on track departure, so the quick detour south provided great views, and the higher I climbed, continued to reveal the sheer scale of the metropolitan area.

Passing 7000 feet AMSL, I turned up Parleys Canyon initially following the I80 interstate once again as it left the city. Once clear of the hills and able to sight the horizon again, I made a left cut towards the Echo Reservoir, then reintercepted my flight plan track of 058 track towards the OCS VOR/DME on 116.0.

The flat plateau below me was around 7000 feet AMSL, so leveling at 10,000 feet on the altimeter, I was only around 3000 feet AGL for the next 130 miles.

As I flew along, I criss crossed several enclaves of lush green irrigated farmland scattered throughout the desert valleys, before reaching the small township of Lynman. Shortly thereafter, any trace of greenery disappeared for good as the desert sands took hold again creating a rather stark boundary between the two landscapes.

Clear skies and great visibility showed nothing but desert sands for the next hour, until the twin townships of Green River and Rock Springs came into view, nestled among dramatic canyon walls carved out by the Green River.

I elected to make a full stop into KRKS (Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport), in order to break up the seat time for the remainder of the planned leg. Light winds and a quiet traffic pattern allowed me to follow the main road out of Rock Springs, then turn left to align with runway 03.

Upon touch down, I rolled ahead to vacate the runway left into the GA apron, and shut down at the fuel tank for a top up of motion lotion. Thunderstorms with tops above FL410 were reported north of Cheyenne, the next stop on the route, and whilst they were not preventing passage to the east at this stage- they can be unpredictable in nature and worth planning conservatively around.

Once the engine was running again, I taxied to depart from the longer main vector, runway 09, as the field elevation of 6765 feet AMSL was the highest I’d be operating from on the entire coast to coast traverse.

A noticeably longer takeoff roll followed, with the air molecules required to get the Arrows wing flying in much shorter supply here compared to the down at sea level.

High terrain between KRKS, and the next mail route stop, Cheyenne required a climb to 12,000 feet AMSL for safe passage. I learned that interestingly, Part 91 general operating rules in the States permit continuous unpressurised flight without any supplemental oxygen between 10,000 & 12,000 feet, with supplemental O2 only required above 12k.

The snow capped Medicine Bow Mountain, within the creatively named Snowy Mountain Range lied directly on track, and has previously proven to be perilous to aviators. In 1955, a United Airlines DC4 crashed into its summit whilst flying VFR at 10,000 feet. Investigators theorised that an incorrect altimeter setting was to blame, and due to the hard to access location of the crash site, parts of the aircraft remain there to this day.

As I approached said mountain, I flicked the autopilot into HDG mode and steered my bug left, then right to weave around the forest clad topography, before re establishing the 082 track towards CYS VORTAC.

At the base of the mountain range sits the city of Laramie, home to the University of Wyoming. The I80 runs through Laramie, connecting it to nearby Cheyenne, the state capital and largest city in the state.

Cheyenne was established in the 1860’s as a railroad settlement, growing rapidly in size earning it the nickname the Magic City of the Plains. The airport was constructed in the 1920’s to serve the east-west air mail route, and grew itself to become the primary location B-17 bombers were fit out and dispatched from during World War II. Wikipedia tells me that the rear gun turret on the B-17’s are named the Cheyenne owing to the fact they were designed and built here!

These days the airport is a joint civil-military field, with scheduled United and American feeder services connecting the area’s 100,000 residents to Denver and Dallas. KCYS also functions as a high altitude airliner test site for Boeing and Embraer with the 787 and 737 Max models both tested here.

A slight heading change onto 078 magnetic was required overhead the beacon, which would track us towards North Platte. This section of the route saw us crossing from the Mountain time zone to the Central time zone, as well as flying across the state border into Nebraska.

My knowledge of the state is pretty low, mainly based of references to corn from Penny on the Big Bang Theory. Leaving the city, the surrounding countryside revealed a patchwork of irrigated agricultural fields, neatly aligned within a giant grid system, aligned with the four points of the compass.

The terrain level below the flight path descended considerably from the high plateaus of Wyoming, enabling me to drop my cruise level down to 8000 feet in search of favourable wind conditions.

The large thunderstorm cell mentioned earlier was clearly visible off to the left of our route, with big rain bands streaming from its base and the occasional lighting bolt flashing out to my peripheries for a short time after departing Cheyenne.

Blue skies were ahead on the horizon though, and soon enough I was back in the clear overhead the South Platte River, following its course towards the town of North Platte, where a parallel watercourse merges with it to form the larger Platte River. The town is famously home to worlds largest rail depot- The Bailey Yard, which was visible under our right wing upon arrival overhead.

The final destination of Omaha was what I set my heading to next, Nebraska’s largest city with some 975,000 residents. Interestingly, it does not hold the title of state capital, which belongs to nearby Lincoln, a little to the south west of my route.

I was happy to finally see the sprawl of Omaha’s outer suburbs come into view as again, I crossed the Platte River and commenced my descent towards KOMA.

The tower instructed me to join a left hand downwind for runway 18, allowing for great views of downtown Omaha and the Missouri River in the early evening light as I made my overhead join. Touch down went to plan, and after a short ground roll, I vacated the runway via the high speed taxiway to my left, crossed runway 32 and came to a halt on the GA apron at 6.32pm local time.

Total flight time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Total distance: 1301 nm


Leg Three

Conscious of the decreasing daylight, I made it a quick a turn around at KOMA as I possibly could, topping the tanks up, taking a quick toilet break, and raiding the vending machine at the FBO for some sustenance to get me through the next leg.

20 minutes later, the engine was running again, and ATC instructed me to taxi to runway 14L for a visual departure. At 1845 local time, the throttle was being fed forward, airspeed was on the increase and I was rotating the aircraft to climb skyward once again.

The Missouri River that runs through downtown Omaha, and around the perimeter of the airport marks the state boundary with Iowa. My next destination on the transcontinental mail route was the city of Des Moines, however I had noticed a nearby settlement bearing my family name several miles north east, so made a climbing left turn on my climb up to 6000 feet to make an overfly before departing the area. Bonus points to anyone who can name the town!

Crossing the I-80 interstate again, heading was set towards KDSM, 91 miles away on the 083 track. I settled into my routine of leaning the engine out, setting up my 30 minute timer, and watching the scenery slide by as the sun sank lower in the sky behind me.

One tank change later, and Des Moines came into view (pronounced “Deh Moin”), the state capital and largest city in the state with a population of 215,000. The city is located along the banks of a river sharing the same name, which translated from French becomes ‘of the monks’. Apparently Trappist monks settled in huts along the banks of the rivers mouth (downstream at the Mississippi end), with this fact being referenced on early maps for the area, and the name stuck.

Today the city is known as the US insurance capital, with several major companies headquartered here such as Principal Financial Group and the Meredith Corporation. The offices of whom were visible in the collection of high rise buildings just off to my left as I over headed the airport, continuing on my way east.

KIOW, Iowa City was the next waypoint, 95 miles away with an ETE of 30 minutes. A strong sense of deja vu was starting to creep as, crossing endless patchworks of flat farmland, with a flat horizon in all directions as far as the eye could see. In no time, the next urban area popped into view, the states original capital, and home to the University of Iowa.

It was becoming very apparent that I wasn’t going to make Chicago by nightfall, however, was not too worried about this as the metropolis looks just as good illuminated in the dark as it would by day. I had used the VFR Flyway chart for the city to plan my transition around the ridiculously busy controlled airspace at Ohare International, which would see my detour along the western boundary of the city, across the northern suburbs to then come back south along the lake front to reintercept my west/east track out towards Ohio.

It was still 147 miles of flying between Iowa City and Chicago however, crossing the famous Mississippi River just north of Davenport and into the state of Illinois as I hummed along at 158 knots groundspeed. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the sky light up the scattered cloud layer beautiful hues of pink and orange creating a lovely ambiance in the sim.

As the skies grew darker, a whole sea of red lights appeared ahead and below me. At first I thought it was a graphics glitch, but soon realised it was beacons marking wind turbines spread across a vast area just outside of La Mollie.

To comply with the VFR flyways in the Chicago airspace, I make a descent down to 2500 feet, double checked my altimeters baro sub scale was set correct, and levelled off. In order to get a good view of the world famous skyline, I was going to need to make a fairly significant detour around the wider city limits in a clockwise direction to keep out of the class B airspace.

Soon enough the bright lights of outer Chicago came into view, and with a sense of anticipation, I tracked towards the first mark to hit, a visual reporting point called ‘White Ash Farm’ in the far southern suburbs.

From here, I turned north to follow highway 59 for 28 miles. This lead me in me a corridor of uncontrolled low level airspace between De Page and O’Hare airports, up to the intersection of highway 59 and interstate I90.

Overheading this mark, I tuned the Northbrook VOR/DME on 113.0 Mhz and track inbound on the 231 radial heading 051 for 14 miles, then turned due east as I passed over the top of the beacon to head directly to the shore of Lake Michigan, 5 miles away to the east.

Navigating became easy from here, turning south east to follow the shoreline towards the well light skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. I had Kayne West’s Homecoming track cued up and hit play as the stunning scenery of the Windy City appeared on my screen. (Payware Landmarks Chicago from Orbx)

Weather couldn’t have been better, with clear skies and the starscape above twinkling just as much as the city lights below. This moment was certainly the highlight of the whole trip for me, and was over far too soon as I had picked up a 17 knot tailwind and was groundspeeding near 170 knots heading towards Gary Airport (KGYY).

The Indiana state border runs between downtown Chicago and the eastern suburbs where KGYY is located, and I soon crossed this as I over headed the airfield to continue on to my final destination of Williams Country in Ohio.

The terrain ahead on my flight path was all lower than 1000ft AMSL, and as there was not too much to see in the darkness, remained at 2500 feet, bumped up the power to try and cover the last 130 miles of this leg as quickly as I could.

This final stretch of flying today saw the flight path cross into the Eastern time zone, with an ETA for my time at the threshold calculated as 9:28PM local. The state border into Ohio was also crossed 15 miles before reaching the field, a small uncontrolled GA airport with a single 1400m runway at the edge of the town of Bryan. The airfield was one of the stopping points for the transcontinental air mail route, with a plaque located there in the real world to record it’s historical significance.

Fortunately the airport lighting system was working, and the traffic pattern was empty for my arrival on the 07 vector. A short backtrack to the apron was made, mixture cut, mags turned off and battery powered down to complete a very rewarding day of flying.

It’s now time to order a cab into town, find a hotel, and get a bit of rest before finishing the tour in daylight. Thanks for reading!

Total flight time: 12 hours 01 minutes
Total distance: 1869 nm

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Leg Four

After a couple of hours shuteye at the local hotel, the taxi dropped me back at the airfield just on sunrise to get the Arrow ready for her final day of flying to New York City.

The 532 nm stretch today would see us continue east, through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey to complete the tour in New York State. Fuel tanks were topped, engine started and whilst she warmed up, listened to the ATIS to discover a 5 knot headwind was favoring runway 25 this morning.

A quick backtrack was completed, landing lights flicked on and rolling call made and we were off! A left-hand climbing downwind departure followed, levelling off at 4000 feet to track the Dryer (DJB) VOR/DME on the outskirts of Cleveland on a beautiful clear morning.

As I approached the Sandusky Bay, I step descended down to 3000 feet in order to stay out of Hopkins International bravo airspace. Upon reaching DJB, I adjusted my heading to track out on the 060 radial for 14 miles, and descended down to 1900 feet to remain below the controlled airspace boundary.

The 060 track took me all the way to the Lake Eire shoreline, where I rolled right and followed its course towards the high rises of downtown Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL)- my mail route flyover point for the the city.

Cleveland’s downtown hosts a variety of culturally significant tourist attractions being home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland History Center, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History along with the Cleveland Botanical Gardens with a 17,000-square-foot glasshouse! The FirstEnergy Stadium where the Cleveland Browns NFL team play their home games is prominently situated on the waterfront, also looking very impressive from above during a low level fly by.

Overheading Burke, a bank to the right aligned me with my next course of 111 degrees magnetic. This would take me to the Philipsburg VOR (PSB) across the state border into Pennsylvania some 170 miles away with an ETE of 55 minutes.

As I cleared the controlled airspace layers, I climbed up to 4000 feet again over Clevelands outer suburbs, looking quintessentially ‘American’ with neat rows of treelined avenues, baseball diamonds and long straight thoroughfares painted on the ground below.

My flight path eventually took me back into the countryside, although for the first time on the transcontinental crossing, it was lush green sways of forestry that lied beneath the wings rather than the patchwork of flat fields. The further east I travelled, the terrain began to progressively underrate too, rising up to form the spine of the low lying Appalachian Mountains.

An high layer of overcast cloud slowly thickened on the horizon ahead of me, bringing welcome shade from the bright sunlight as I eventually arrived towards it. Crossing the PSB beacon, I continued overhead the small airfield of Bellefonte (N96), a small airport located just north of PA State College that was once used as another of the transcontinental mail route stops.

The terrain below was very distinctive, with alternating linear ridgelines and valleys running perpendicular to my eastbound flight path. Each ridgeline appeared to be covered in forest, whilst each valley contained small settlements, roadways and railways running in a north/south orientation. You know you’ve been flying for a long time when it becomes aesthetically pleasing to come across rural townships that not been constructed in grids for the first time on the trip!

Just outside of Bellefonte, the town of Pleasant Gap with highway 144 cutting through the geographical Pleasant Gap was spotted, confirming I was on the correct flight path towards the New Jersey Coast.

The next 149 miles flew by, crossing overhead the Susquehanna River just north of Harrisburg, then Allentown before the first glints of the Atlantic Ocean coast came into view from the cockpit. A strong sense of relief was felt as I passed the mouth of the Raritan River into Sandy Hook Bay, physically ticking the box of flying coast to coast of North America- but the journey wasn’t over yet!

New York City has immensely congested airspace, with only a narrow VFR flyway transit lane along the Hudson River permitting low level flight past the downtown area. In order to get to the Long Island side of the metropolis required some careful navigation to stay outside of Newark, La Gaudia and JFK International’s bravo airspace.

I had immerged from the overcast cloud band into a gloriously sunny and clear morning in the Big Apple, and to comply with the flyway charts instructions, descended to 1300 feet. Crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn, I levelled off, powered back to slow down enough to enjoy the scenery, then tracked north towards the Statue of Liberty.

From here, it was a slight turn right to line up with the Hudson River, with thoughts of Sulley making a forced landing in his A320 springing to mind as I hummed along past possibly the most famous city skyline in the world, picking out the likes of the new World Trade Centre and Empire State Building as I followed the watercourse along the side of Manhattan Island.

As I reached the George Washington Bridge, I was able to turn right again, to pass overhead the Van Cortlandt Park in the Brox, then track due east towards Glen Island Park in New Rochelle. This route put me overhead the Long Island Sound, skirting La Gaudia’s airspace, allowing me to track south east into Nassau County, adjacent to the borough of Queens.

I was tracking a GPS waypoint for a location known as Roosevelt Field, site of the former Hazelhurst Field. This flying site was the takeoff point for many historic pilots in the early history of aviation, including Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 solo transatlantic flight as well as Amelia Earhart and Wiley Post. It was also the east coast terminus for the Trans Continental Airmail Route, but repurposed into a military airfield during World War II. It did revert to a civilian airport again after the war, but closed in 1951 after the site got sold to real estate developers. Today the complex is split us between an industrial park, townhouses and retail shopping, including the Mall at The Source on the site of the former runway.

The nearest airport I could find to land at was Republic (KFRG), in East Farmingdale. I tuned up the ATC frequency from overhead Roosevelt Field and was instructed to make a left hand downwind for runway 01.

Power was reduced further, flap and gear lowered, and before I knew it, I was on my final approach for the tour. Surface wind was reported at 344/7 as I crossed the piano keys at 9.47am local time and taxied in to the GA apron to park up with a sense of satisfaction that this flight adventure had actually been completed successfully! :grinning:

Thank you for joining me on the trip- I’ve got a busy few days coming up at work IRL, but afterwards, feel like a virtual holiday to the Nordics might be on the cards…

Total flight time: 15 hours 33 minutes
Total distance: 2401 nm