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The view: The hospital ship USNS Comfort tied up in the Hudson River, from 1,500 feet

The pilots: Brian Kelly in the DA40 flies lead, Matthew Wittman in an RV-6 in formation

The photographer: Claire Wittman

The airplanes: Diamond DA40 and Vans RV-6

The mission: Formation flight from Caldwell, NJ (CDW), to Blairstown (1N7) for a social-distance-compliant picnic lunch, with a tour of New York City en route.

The memory: Flying is one of the few aspects of life that continues much as before during the COVID-19 quarantine. Today (4/12) was a beautiful spring day, and we took advantage of the near-empty airspace to escape our confinement in our cramped New York City apartments and fly in formation overhead Newark Airport (with one solitary Delta departure) and take the tour of the city we have flown single-ship many times. Controllers were very nice to us—I suspect they were glad of the slightly unusual request. We departed Caldwell separately, joined up at 1,500 feet overhead the airport, and called up the Newark tower controller for a bravo clearance.

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Matthew Wittman
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2 replies
  1. Enderson Rafael
    Enderson Rafael says:

    ” Flying is one of the few aspects of life that continues much as before during the COVID-19 quarantine.” I wish that could be applied to airlines. Gatwick is operating with 99% less traffic. We need a rebound. And we need it quickly.

  2. Joel Godston
    Joel Godston says:

    Neat photo Claire, Brian in your Diamond DA40 and Mathew in the RV-6. I was born and lived on Staten Island. one of the 5 boroughs of New York, until I left to become an Aeronautical Engineer at RPI beginning in 1952…graduated…became a pilot in the US Air Force flying Piper Cub, T-28, T-33, and B-47 aircraft… then flew T-33, F-84, and F-86H aircraft flew in the Mass. ANG/// finally owning and flying a Cessna 182 …that we (Annemarie and I) flew over New Tork City and Staten Island. Cheers and keep up with your flying…I did for 50+ years… lots of fun, joy, and some exciting times I cherish, and shall NEVER forget!


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