I just got back from a short trip to New York with my family and my first visit to Teterboro airport. A big advantage of Teterboro is that it has customs at the airport, so I was able to fly non-stop from Ottawa rather than landing just over the border to clear US customs.
Once again, I was surprised at how (relatively) quiet New York Approach was. I always hear pilots either complaining or boasting about the rapid-fire radio traffic, etc., but the radio was much noisier (and faster) departing Ottawa than arriving in New York — on arrival, my sector wasn’t any busier than, say, Albany Approach, much less Ottawa or Toronto Terminal. Maybe it’s just that we Canadians talk even faster than NY air traffic controllers pumped up on caffeine and adrenaline …
I was VFR arriving at noon on Monday and was able to fly straight to the airport and directly into a tight right downwind for runway 01. Leaving VFR around 3:00pm EST Wednesday afternoon was a bit busier, but my delay was still only about 10 minutes waiting behind a line of bizjets (tower let me cut into the middle of the line and take off from an intersection). This was my third time flying into New York airspace — I previously landed at Caldwell, NJ (Essex County Airport) VFR and Farmingdale, NY (Republic Airport) IFR in low IMC. Some pilots, and even flight instructors, are too nervous to fly into NY — I think the reputation for scary airspace and ATC is completely undeserved. If you can handle flying in Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal, you can handle New York, at least arriving from the north. Get out there and try something new.
The down side is getting into the city from any of the airports I mentioned. A limo from Teterboro to SoHo cost USD 90, including tip; a taxi from SoHo back to Teterboro cost USD 80, including tip. By comparison, parking the plane for two nights at Teterboro cost (I think) USD 25, since the first night was free with a fill up. My total bill at Teterboro, including fuel from Ottawa (23 US gallons, at high Teterboro prices), parking from Monday to Wednesday, and tax was only USD 139, which is a lot less than the ground transportation. Next time, we might try the cheap municipal express bus to the Port Authority if we don’t have too much luggage. As an alternative, it might be worth paying the USD 100 fee at La Guardia in exchange for an easy USD 18 cab ride into midtown — if anyone’s tried that, please leave a comment or pingback/traceback from your own weblog to let me know how it went.