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About 35 years ago I decided to land my 1974 Piper Supercub at JFK. I normally flew VFR to small airports. I flew it from the Berkshires to California without talking to anyone on the ground. I preferred it that way. I had flown to the edge of Labrador and often to the Caribbean and had flown into Teterboro occasionally. I had about 600 hours flying my trusty 1200 lb taildragger. I had a friend flying into JFK from Europe in a few days and it seemed like a good idea. I knew how to fly the plane but I wanted to sound like a professional pilot to the tower. I stated my intentions and the tower directed me to land on runway 31L and I got in the pattern about 5 miles out.

PROBLEM – there was a 20–30 mph headwind. I land about 40 mph and fly the pattern around 70mph

The tower broke all protocols “Supercub 55PZ your BLIP isn’t moving on our radar and you are slowing up traffic back to Düsseldorf” They asked if I would like to try a crosswind landing on runway 4R. I didn’t feel I had much choice and they lined me up at a low altitude.

NEW PROBLEM – It is impossible to land a Supercub with a 30 mph crosswind. Solution – the runway was about 130 ft wide and I landed almost perpendicular into the wind stopping in the middle of the runway aimed about due west.

Taxiing to Atlantic Aviation was tough but they welcomed my “BLIP” and parked me between a Gulfstream and a Bombardier Challenger, where my antique was visited by dozens of bored deadheading pilots; earning the van driver a lot of generous tips. He said I was welcome any time.