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A Cub and a camera

Flying with Joe Costanza, aka bananasssssssss

Pilot Joe Costanza, perhaps better recognized by his Instagram handle @bananasssssssss (nine s’s), is known online for his engaging photography and video work, mostly of him flying a Piper J–3 Cub from his home airport in New Jersey, The Flying W (N14). But for him, the Cub life was never a given.

Bananasssssssss

“One or two videos I have landing with light ground fog, one of those rare instances where I look back and the footage was 10 times cooler than I imagined.” (Photography by Joe Costanza) For the outside the airplane stuff he uses an Insta360 One X3 or even a GoPro. Joe Costanza’s 1941 Piper J–3 Cub is right at home in rural New Jersey. Joe Costanza aka bananasssssssss

“I always wanted to be an airline pilot, even from my first lessons in a 152 I wanted to fly something bigger, faster, more complex.” But after some time at the airlines like Spirit, Costanza realized he missed general aviation, but wasn’t in a financial position to return to GA flying in the way he wanted.

“When I first upgraded to captain at the airlines, I could finally afford it. I got the Cub not that long ago, in August 2018,” he says. “I figured naturally I like airplanes, I like cameras, let me put the two and two together.”

His photography and videography have captured social media, and his videos regularly get a million views or more. And while the following is nice, he says “the best part about growing fairly largely on Instagram is all the different people that you meet, and I’ve created some really cool relationships.”

Costanza’s work is a “one man operation” that he sets up solo. “There’s a private grass strip nearby that’s owned by the two nicest people. They have a pancake fly-in breakfast once a month and they’re incredibly welcoming people and I almost feel like it’s my own airport. So, I go there, and I set up my camera equipment, and I can be there for hours on end.”

He never sets up his gear on a runway (of course) and aims to fly in the early morning for several reasons: “The golden hour lighting is great, and most people are at work. So, I’ll go right around sunrise, and I’ll set up my tripod off the runway, focus where I’m landing, press record, then go fly around. And I’ll get video from that and get screenshots that I can edit.”

“I actually don’t know why or how I picked that name. I think I originally intended Bananas (for no good reason) and had to get to nine s’s before it was available.”Costanza notes that he’s lucky to have such access for photography. “If it’s a busy airport obviously you can’t just sit there and shoot video and take pics all day long.”

A love of aviation and specifically general aviation is at the heart of all Costanza tries to showcase with his work, and he intends to keep flying and shooting. The goal, he says, “is to have more Cub hours than Airbus hours.”

[email protected]

Follow Costanza’s photography and flying on Instagram and YouTube.

Instagram: @bananasssssssss
YouTube: @bananasssssssss



Alyssa J. Miller

Alicia Herron

Publications Content Producer
Publications Content Producer Alicia Herron joined AOPA in 2018. She is a multiengine-rated commercial pilot with advanced ground and instrument flight instructor certificates. She is based in Los Angeles and enjoys tailwheel flying best.

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