During RPI's family weekend, the Rensselaer Aeronautical Federation was doing their normal semesterly "RPI Flyby", in which they take students up in their tiny (four-seater) planes and skim the skies above Troy and Albany. Matt and Gino went a few years ago, and somehow I convinced myself that it would be neat to go myself, if only for the photographic opportunity. So, I reserved the Sunday 10AM block for Matt and I to go, and... we went!
That's our little plane! We had a pilot and a copilot, and Matt and I got the back two seats. It was hard to get in, but once in, there was plenty of room for the four of us. We had headsets, and could hear both our pilots and the ALB tower, though we weren't able to talk back (luckily!).
I didn't realize how small Albany International Airport was; I'm pretty sure it's quite a bit smaller than Burlington, now that I see it from the air (Wikipedia says they're comparable (with BTV winning) in the number of aircraft which call them home, but Albany sees almost twice as much traffic).
That's the center of our campus in the middle of autumn. You can see pretty much all of the important buildings except Low and West Hall, and from this angle it's even more clear how ridiculous EMPAC looks next to the rest of the buildings. The smallest building, just to the right of center, is the home to my department.
The symmetry of Freshman Hill looks much more awesome from the sky than it does from the ground. My old home, Cary, is the topmost L-shaped building (in the upper-left, directly to the left of topmost-Barton's double-L structure). Davison, though worth less of a mention, is the white-topped L-shaped building in the bottom right.
Carol's house! (also Andrew, Christine, Jillian, Kim, Nick, Ryan, and Zarin's)
It was a really small plane... Before we got started, they asked us if we were OK doing negative Gs; I said "not really", and Matt was all "definitely", so, of course, we did them :-) They handed Matt a pen to hold on his palm and watch it float; I hadn't considered all of the repercussions of the word "negative" (I was thinking "zero"), so my camera smacked me in the face. Good fun.
Empire State Plaza! It's been a while since I've been there on the ground, but it looks pretty neat from the sky.