by Charles Gulick
|North Position: 17097
|East Position: 21028
|Wind: 3 Kts, 206
|You've turned onto runway 22 at
New York's La Guardia Airport, ready to taxi into position for takeoff.
But first, use radar to examine your location. Zoom out until the runway disappears. You'll see three separate bodies of water, two of which, at about two o'clock, join like a pair of needlepoints. The thinner one is the East River, and the arrowhead-shaped one, directly behind you, is Flushing Bay. The bay joins with Long Island Sound just past the Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges, visible with their connecting highways on your screen. The broad blue brush stroke is the Hudson River. The geography to your right (this side of the Hudson) is the south end of the Bronx, and to your left, the Borough of Queens.
Zoom out one more notch. The pointing finger is Manhattan. A little sluiceway of water that doesn't show, but is about at the knuckle of the finger, connects the Hudson and East rivers. It's what makes Manhattan an island.
Return to your out-the-windshield view. The three buildings in the distance are the Empire State Building and the twin 110-floor World Trade Center towers. Just beyond the latter, but invisible at your elevation, is the Statue of Liberty. We're going to see all three from the air.
|Take off and climb straight out. Plan to level off at 1500, but as you pass through 750, start a shallow right turn to head approximately west, or until the World Trade Center towers are positioned well to the left on your windshield. Your objective is to fly between the towers and the venerable Empire State Building, once the tallest building in the world, which is or shortly will be visible. Head your aircraft to achieve that.
|Pause (P) before you fly too far, and admire the whole view below and ahead. You can see the East River (with the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn at the extreme left), all of downtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty (presently just a dot to the left of the Trade Center towers), and the Hudson River from its mouth in Upper Bay. If you have a bridge at the lower right on your windshield, that's the Queensboro Bridge. Across the Hudson is, of course, New Jersey. What doesn't show, here or in the simulation, are the beautiful steep cliffs-the Palisades-on the New Jersey side.
|As you fly on, use your right and left side views to see first the Empire State Building, then the imposing World Trade Center. Finally, use a rear view to take in the whole area from the New Jersey side of the Hudson. Keep this view until the Statue of Liberty, still just a dot, comes into the scene on this side of the Hudson (far right on the screen when looking directly rear). We'll have a closer look at the lady.
|Add carb heat, chop your power,
and start a descent to an altitude of
500 feet. As you descend, do a fairly steep 180 (approximately) to the
left, straightening out to get the statue directly ahead of your
Continue your descent, if necessary, to get straight and level at 500. Slow-fly the airplane. And don't use Pause until after the simulator accesses its disk. The dot will transform into a fullfigure statue, proud and solitary on its island. Get up close and personal. Time now to pause.
|Once past the statue, climb to 1500 feet while setting up a course to the right of the Trade Center towers (if you're not already on same). You'll soon see La Guardia directly ahead. The winds haven't shifted, so over the East River turn left to head 40 degrees and you'll be downwind in a righthand pattern for runway 22.
|As the airport passes on your right, take the highest radar view that shows the intersecting strips. It's a great graphic.
|Then, about as the airport
disappears off the bottom of your radar
screen, return to out-the-windshield and turn base (130 degrees) for
Enjoy your final over Flushing Bay, too, where the runway reaches right to the edge of the water. For a while, at least, you've been far above the huddled masses that make New York the savage and beautiful place it is.