Postcards: Flying the empty skiesPostcards: Flying the empty skies
Two pilots, one Cessna, in the middle of a pandemic
September 1, 2020By Julie Summers Walker
Faced with being housebound during the COVID-19 pandemic, pilots Filip Wolak, a professional photographer in New York City; Sarah Tamar, a commercial pilot for Tailwind Air in Westchester County, New York; and a 1973 Cessna 172M named Rusty finally made a dream come true. Sarah writes:
Sarah Tamar and Filip Wolak wrote about and photographed their trek across the United States in a Cessna 172, which began in early May. They said the majority of their trip was “flamping” (flying and camping) in order to keep costs low and avoid the crowds. The empty parking lot at Cedar Point’s amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, on May 28. Other remarkable images included John F. Kennedy Airport at a standstill on May 7; a wastewater treatment plant in Texarkana, Texas, on May 12; the landlocked and desolate Navajo Nation on May 16; a cattle farm in Nebraska on May 25; and a healthy green rim of the Grand Canyon on May 17. Tamar blogged daily about the trip and her observations on a COVID-19-affected world are poignant.
“We’d been dreaming about it for years. Flying across the country coast to coast in a small airplane. It is the ultimate fusion of flying, discovery, adventure, and the unknown. When COVID-19 hit and the world became precarious, we decided it was finally time. We also knew it was an opportunity to document the world from above in its remarkable new state.
“It took us 20 days and close to 90 flight hours, but we find it hard to only measure the experience with simple time. The adventures we found along the way were unparalleled; the people we met incredible, brilliant, helpful, and kind; and the journey was like nothing we could have imagined. It was a boundless explosion of joy, challenges, brand-new vistas, and the bittersweet and unique opportunity to witness our country during a global pandemic.”
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