• Saturday, November 20, 2021 12:51 PM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Scott Dyer

    In mid-October, I was fortunate to resume my Angel Flights post-pandemic by taking an Afghanistan veteran and her mother to visit the vet’s son in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  This was what we call a “compassion” flight, one principally for family unity for a deserving passenger, rather than for medical treatment.

    I’ve been doing Angel Flights since sometime in the mid-1990s when WAA Member Andy Alson asked me to fly right seat with him on a wintertime Angel Flight from Rochester to New Haven.  We had a Baron that evening and Rochester was a true winter wonderland with poor taxiing sightlines due to piles of snow.  But it was a good trip and I was hooked. 

    Since that first Rochester trip I’ve done hundreds of these flights in my Cessna 210, and almost every one was very rewarding as a way to use my aviation skills to help people in difficult times.  I’ve flown in 2001 a 9/11 first responder NYC firefighter so he could have a short vacation with his family in Peoria, Illinois where they were temporarily relocated; repeated trips with a little girl and her family so she could be treated in Pittsburgh (she sadly  succumbed, ultimately); a middle of the night trip for another little girl from Farmingdale to Allegheny County Airport so she could receive a liver transplant (landing just behind the aircraft carrying her new organ at 1AM); and many trips with a disabled Marine who was shuttling weekly from NYC to his home in Maine as he went through an HVAC apprentice program on Liberty Tower.

    Most of the trips though, have been adults and children going to medical treatments or evaluations around the East, from Toronto and Montreal as far south as Raleigh-Durham.  Many times, the destination or start of the trip is BOS.

    This most recent trip started out as a request for staffing to us Angel Flight pilots as a two leg trip, from Fryeburg, Maine to Fayetteville, North Carolina, with a break between flights in the mid-Atlantic.  Two pilots and planes were sought, one for each leg.  Knowing this was a veteran flight, I signed up for both legs so that she wouldn’t have to coordinate with two different pilots and be subject to differing views on weather or mechanical problems. 

    My main passenger was in her mid-50s, and she was accompanied by her mother who is caring for her (she suffered brain injury as well as losing a limb in an accident while she was stationed at Ft. Bragg in 2018).  The mother and I coordinated the trip about 10 days in advance, specifically knowing that it always possible it could slip due to weather.

    A day before we were going to depart,  a northeast/southwest cold front that I had been watching was scheduled to come across the east coast in mid-afternoon and into the evening on the day of our flight.  Thunderstorms would be popping up across northern New England around the time we’d be departing Maine, and then a squall front followed by the main cold front would harry us on the route to Fayetteville all day.  I decided to push the flight to the next day, when no significant weather was forecast for the route.

    And so we flew.  The passenger and her mother were a joy to meet.  The FBO at Fryeburg and a friend of the family were most accommodating in our loading up and we flew the first 3 hour leg, passing directly over JFK, and then over Delaware Bay to Easton, Maryland for refueling.

    The Easton FBO was likewise wonderful, quickly refueling and helping us assist our passenger with egress/ingress of the aircraft and use of a golf cart to move her into the FBO.  There must have been 4 people helping us get into the FBO and then on our way.

    The last leg was a 2 hour flight to Fayetteville, with the same excellent service from the FBO.  Watching my passenger meet her son, who she hadn’t seen since she was injured a few years ago, and his new wife, I was touched by the joy on all sides.  I had been impressed on the way south by the gentle strength of the family in dealing with my passenger’s injuries and needs; now there was a happy reunion of mother, son and grandmother where only a few short years before there was likely little hope of my passenger’s survival.

    Following the late afternoon drop off in Fayetteville, I headed on the short flight to Raleigh for an overnight (and dinner!) before heading home the next day.  The trip home was unexceptional with some unforecast moderate turbulence on final to HPN Runway 34 making me work a bit harder just before landing than at any time on the flight north.

    All told, this was “just another” Angel Flight, and in a way it was.  As I pulled into my tiedown back at HPN about 27 hours after leaving the previous day, I felt satisfied and happy at using my skills for a greater good.  What I remembered, too, is that each patient flight is special and this one won’t be soon forgotten.

    (Scott Dyer is a WAA Board member, and a CFI/II based at HPN, who flies his Cessna 210 for both Angel Flight NE and Patient Airlift Services.)

  • Monday, August 23, 2021 8:44 PM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Michelle Judice

    Vladimir Vallejo has worked at Westchester County Airport since 2015 and chances are you may have spoken with him without even realizing it. He is an Air Traffic Control Specialist at “Westchester Tower” who admittedly loves his job because everyday is different. His career is taking off and he leaves us in August to continue his role at one of the busiest airports in the nation...LaGuardia Tower. The move is a career enhancement that will provide a fun challenge and what’s more, his new “office” offers a view of the Manhattan skyline and NYC bridges from the state-of-the-art facility.  

    It all started when an airline pilot friend suggested he become an Air Traffic Controller.  He didn't know anything about the profession but moved ahead full throttle and applied to Vaughn College and was accepted into the ATC program. Essential skills for a controller are the ability to listen and talk at the same time, absorb a lot of information at once, quickly organize your thoughts and develop a plan and most notably, work under pressure. Although that may seem overwhelming to you and I, Vladimir assures me that experience and repetition enable him to prioritize which makes the job less stressful. Besides, he doesn’t think about this because he’s too busy!

    The best part of his job at HPN was meeting and working with a great group of people. He's been known to pop into an FBO to talk with the pilots of a particularly cool airplane. I am told by an anonymous source that the coffee might have something to do with this as well. Kidding aside, his favorite aircraft are the HondaJet, Cirrus Vision SF50 and the Cessna 208 Caravan with floats.  

    Vladimir has also appreciated the support that Airport Operations provides to ATC. They facilitate dialogue, answer any questions thrown their way and in general, have been an ally to his team. This may explain the good friend he found in Airport Operations Supervisor, David Montiverdi who speaks highly of "Vlad" and his character. He says, "If you ask around, you will find plenty of pilots who can speak to how well liked and accommodating he has been over the years. Very cordial, he often makes conversation with the many familiar voices in and out and even makes a point to know the names when he can."

    Not surprisingly, assisting with Tower Tours was a highlight during his time here. He enjoyed the chance to educate pilots about useful information but more importantly, explain why controllers issue these instructions or restrictions. There is a reason and it usually relates to flow control, entrail spacing, weather or the controlled chaos of coordinating the arrival and departure of everything from light aircraft, helicopters and flight students to scheduled commercial flights all at the same time. Tower Tours are not currently available but will resume when safe to do so.

    Good luck Vladimir from your friends at HPN!  Maintain your best forward speed.

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:38 AM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Dan Shamir

    What’s better than a flight in a single-engine airplane on a beautiful spring day? A flight in a single-engine airplane to a special destination! Whether your flight mission be the $100 ($300) hamburger, a Pilots N Paws dog rescue flight, or flying someone who has never flown in a small airplane before, having a great destination can elevate your flying experience exponentially. 

    One such destination that I frequent is Cherry Ridge Airport (N30) in Honesdale, PA. Located just 75 miles straight-line distance northwest of HPN, Cherry Ridge is close enough, yet far enough to constitute a satisfying day of flying. Once you take-off from HPN, head west to the Hudson River for a nice view of the Tappanz...I mean Mario Cuomo Bridge. From there you can practice flying a VOR needle on the 128 degree radial inbound to Huguenot (HUO). Once you reach station passage over HUO, track the 294 degree radial to N30. Of course you can also stop pretending that it’s 1981 and dial in N30 on your new (and expensive) GPS panel or iPad and fly directly to the field. Either way, remember to look out the window for some exciting scenery like the Delaware river and the High Point Monument located to the south as you fly overhead HUO. 

    Cherry Ridge airport is located about 6 miles due north of beautiful Lake Wallenpaupack. The lake is a good size and becomes an easy landmark to find while airborne. Surrounded by sprawling fields of grass with a few wooded areas, a 2986’ paved runway awaits you in good condition with the numbers 36 and 18 freshly painted on the pavement. The airport is actually a fly-in community with a connecting taxiway that leads to a number of houses with hangars. There’s nothing tricky about flying into Cherry Ridge airport but the simplicity is much of the charm and allure. Located on the field is a genuine mom and pop restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. The huge paved ramp area in front of the restaurant makes parking a breeze even on the busier weekend days. The restaurant offers fresh, wholesome food at very reasonable prices. Almost every seat in the joint has a good view of the runway for a pleasurable dining and airplane spotting experience. 

    Another benefit of this airport is that the restaurant is open on Mondays, which is a rarity. Be advised that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, however there is a small lounge in the building that remains open, providing access to a seating area and bathrooms. 100LL fuel is available via a recently updated fuel pump located across the ramp from the restaurant. There are also a couple of maintenance shops on the field, which make the possibility of having a maintenance issue a little more palatable. 

    Cherry Ridge airport can also be more than a day trip destination. In the quaint town of Honesdale, you’ll find antique shops, motor lodges, restaurants, and more. In the summertime, nearby Lake Wallenpaupack offers all the attractions of water sports and boating. In the winter time, there are some small ski resorts in the vicinity. Cherry Ridge airport has been one of my favorite “fly-in” destinations for years. Check it out for yourself and it may become a favorite of yours, too!

  • Monday, March 29, 2021 9:00 AM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    75 Dogs Transported to Westchester as part of Valentine’s Day mission


    Top: The SATO Project volunteer holds new arrival from Puerto Rico. Middle: The Levene family of Chappaqua greets new dog Zena.

    WEST HARRISON, NY (February 13, 2021) – Million Air Westchester, the luxury FBO at Westchester County Airport, hosted The SATO Project in an emotional day that united rescued dogs and their new families over Valentine’s Day weekend. 

    The Sato Project collaborating with Wings of Rescue airlifted 75 dogs to the FBO’s hangar where they were received by loving families. The flight was part of the “Love is in the Air” mission to save more than 500 at-risk shelter pets during the week of Valentine’s Day with support from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the spirits company’s Vodka for Dog People program.

    All of the dogs were rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico, saved from a severe hoarding situation, abandoned, or pulled from overburdened animal shelters impacted by recent earthquakes. The Sato Project has rescued, rehabilitated, and flown more than 5,000 dogs to the Northeast.

    “We were very grateful for the opportunity to host The SATO project and provide the space for this loving union between Westchester families and their new pets,’’ said Roger Woolsey, CEO of Million Air. “The work that this organization does is nothing short of miraculous and we were proud to play our small part in this effort.’’

    Dozens of volunteers arrived at Million Air on Saturday, Feb. 13 to help unload the animals, complete paperwork and unite them with their new families who eagerly awaited their arrival. 

    John and Allison Levene of Chappaqua and their children, Owen, 6, and Shane, 3, were there to pick up Zena, who was rescued as a tiny pup from a plastic bag dumped by the side of the road. Zena, now four months looking healthy and happy, rewarded her new family with plenty of kisses. 

    “We lost our dog a while ago, and we are all very happy to have Zena,’’ said John Levene.  

    There is a stray dog epidemic in Puerto Rico, where an estimated 500,000 roam the streets and municipal shelters average a 94-96% euthanasia rate. For the past decade, The Sato Project has rescued, rehabilitated, and flown more than 5,000 rescue dogs to the Northeast.

    Also contributing to the cause on Saturday was Rita and Vincent Santelia of Silver Lake Pizza who donated lunch for dozens of volunteers. 


    Headquartered in Houston, Million Air is an award-winning network of luxury executive FBO terminals spanning four continents. Million Air has been named Best Large FBO Chain for the past nine years delivering genuine care and exceptional service to aircraft owners, pilots and their distinguished guests. Million Air also provides aircraft charter, management, sales, and aircraft maintenance as well as FBO services. To read more about Million Air, visit www.millionair.com.  


    The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico. Founded in 2011, the 501(c)(3) has transformed the lives of more than 5,000 stray dogs—vetting them to the highest standards and finding them homes in the Northeast. The Sato Project is also addressing the underlying causes of overpopulation via spay/neuter initiatives in underserved communities and has serviced more than 7,000 companion animals since 2014. Since Hurricane Maria, the organization has distributed more than 130,000 pounds of food and humanitarian supplies to the island. To learn more or support our work, visit TheSatoProject.org or follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter


    Wings of Rescue is a donation-based charity flying large-scale transports of at-risk shelter pets from overcrowded shelters and disaster areas to shelters where there is empty kennel space and where no local shelter pets are displaced by the flights. Founded in 2012, Wings of Rescue utilizes volunteer pilots flying rescue missions in their own planes as well as chartered cargo planes to “Let the Fur Fly”. Since its inception, more than 50,000 pets have flown to safety. To donate, please visit Wings of Rescue and Facebook.

  • Friday, March 05, 2021 6:27 PM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    The Westchester Aviation Association and the Academy of Aviation will award two aviation scholarships in 2021 for flight training in the amounts of $6,000 and $2,500. The scholarship amounts will be awarded as a credit to be used at the Academy of Aviation flight school located at Westchester County Airport and must be used within one year of receiving the awarded amount. 

    In addition, The Westchester Aviation Association will offer a Professional Development Scholarship to enable qualified candidates to pursue business aviation leadership skills and further progress in their business aviation career. 

    Read the full announcement Here

  • Wednesday, March 03, 2021 12:52 AM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

ATC Quarterly Meeting Thursday, December 10, 2020

WAA Members are able to login to their accounts and view the recording Here.

Presentation created by the WAA on the Westchester County Airport and all of the benefits it brings to our community

HPN PowerPoint December 2020.pdf

11/29 Runway Closure Update

HPN Airports Operations has decided to take the advice of the WAA's very own Scott Dyer and cancel the Notam closing Runway 11/29 during tower closure periods.

Effective Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Runway 11/29 will be open during the tower hours of operation 0700-2200. Thank you, Scott for continuing to keep the lines of communication open between the General Aviation Community and the Operations team at HPN.

11/29 Runway Closure Update

HPN Airports Operations has decided to take the advice of the WAA's very own Scott Dyer and cancel the Notam closing Runway 11/29 during tower closure periods.

Effective Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Runway 11/29 will be open during the tower hours of operation 0700-2200. Thank you, Scott for continuing to keep the lines of communication open between the General Aviation Community and the Operations team at HPN.

HPN Traffic Conflict-A Teaching Moment

A traffic conflict situation we can all learn from occurred one morning recently at Westchester County Airport, when it was operating as a non-towered airfield.   We at the Westchester Aviation Association ("WAA") hope that a review of this situation can be useful in causing us to think about safe operations and how our actions can contribute to professional operations.


The field was VMC, with 10 miles visibility and a 4,600' broken ceiling.

The essence of the incident is that a jet departing HPN taxied to Runway 34, in the dark, shortly after 5AM. The jet had obtained a "hold for release" IFR clearance for its short repositioning flight. In the meantime, a twin turboprop under VFR flew a right base to runway 34, turning about a 2 mile final. It made CTAF calls in the blind on a 4 mile right base, and on a 2 mile final. The jet called Approach to state it was ready to depart. It was released, with a void time 9 minutes later. It requested, and was granted, an early right turn direct to DPK VOR on departure rather than flying the Westchester 7 departure. The jet reported that it was "rolling". ATC told the jet that it showed traffic on a 2 mile final, at 1,000'. The jet acknowledged the call but did not report the traffic in sight. The jet then stated on CTAF that it was departing Runway 34. Words were exchanged between the twin turboprop and the jet, complaining about the jet taking off with the turboprop on short final. The jet responded that it had a void time clearance. The jet completed its flight, and the twin turboprop landed on Runway 34.


Non-towered operations at HPN require a high level of cooperation among aircrews and high vigilance in avoiding traffic conflicts.

  1. In the recent situation, the jet departed with traffic on a 2 mile final, or less, that would cover the distance to the runway in about 30 seconds. That departure clearly caused the arriving turboprop to be concerned about separation from the jet on the runway. Such a traffic situation could require a very low altitude go-around by the turboprop if the jet delayed its departure at all, or had any issue that would cause it to abort its takeoff. It can be assumed that Tower controllers would not have cleared the jet for departure with the twin turboprop on short final at 1,000' or below. While it is not known if the jet had the arriving traffic in sight, either way would counsel that the jet should have delayed its departure with no other aircraft reporting in the pattern.
  2. A void time of any duration should not have caused the jet to depart with traffic on a short final. The void time was 9 minutes after ATC release. A delay of departure of several minutes by the jet would have eliminated any potential conflict, especially since it had already been granted an expeditious routing that avoided having to fly the SID, and would have easily complied with the void time restriction. One reason ATC gave as lengthy a void time as 9 minutes for the jet may have been that the controller saw the traffic on final and planned that the jet would depart after its arrival. Even were the void time only a few minutes away, safety suggests that the departure not occur and a new void time be obtained because of the traffic situation
  3. The turboprop flew a non-standard pattern to Runway 34, flying a right based to a 2 mile final. All arriving VFR aircraft are required to observe the standard pattern for the HPN runways (e.g., left hand traffic) when approaching the airport to land, unless instructed otherwise by the tower. In this case, the tower was not operating so VFR operations should have used left hand traffic patterns. While the pattern used int his case did not seem to contribute to the conflict situation, there have been recent occasions, when the Tower has been closed in busy periods, when some traffic is flying left and right patterns, with base legs pointing aircraft at each other. Please fly left traffic unless instructed otherwise by ATC.
  4. Arguing on the frequency, either pilot/ATC or pilot/pilot, accomplishes no purpose and is contrary to safety. As understandable and right as objections to an operation may be, it is far better practice to talk about it once on the ground whether by telephone with ATC or through call to the owner/operator/chief pilot of the other aircraft. And, a corollary: profanity should never be used on the air.

We at WAA encourage all of our airport users to fly safely and cooperatively. And we hope that you will join us at the December 10 7:30 pm virtual WAA/ATC meeting, details of which are available here: Click Here to register for the meeting. 

The Northeast Virtual Aviation Safety Stand Down 

This WAA sponsored event took place on Saturday September 12, 2020 via a Webinar and was attended by 170 guests. This live event took the traditional aviation safety stand down to the next level! The event included multiple different live presentations, each followed by Q&A. The WAA would like to thank Gene Benson for his partnership on this informative session.

WAA Members are able to login to their accounts and view the recording Here.

HPN Corporate and Jet Avoidance of VFR Aircraft

Please take a few moments to watch this detailed video created by Scott Dyer, WAA Board members and CFI. The video details what corporate and jet crews need to know about avoiding VFR aircraft around Westchester County Airport, including inbound/outbound VFR routes, transition routes and practice areas. Much of the battle of avoiding conflict is knowing where the VFRs usually are.


Westchester Aviation Association is a non-profit organization.

P.O. Box 447  |  Purchase, NY 10577-0447

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