Carribean Flying Tips?

El Duderino

Jet Aircraft Pilot
Joined
Jan 12, 2002
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I have flown the Carribean for several months in the past, but have returned to it again. I have since flown a year or so and have recently developed some concern about getting lost, losing satelite reception, not being in communication with center, or anyone for that matter, losing an engine in the middle of the drink, low fuel, flying at night over 550 mile in 400s over open water before geting to my destination, etc. I would appreciate any rule of thumb, suggestions, and tips. I have the Bahama and Carribean Guide, and The Video of Bahama Flying. Both have been helpful, but I am looking for more info on communication failure, survival, Thunder Storm Avoidance without radar, etc. The 135 I'm working for asks that there pilots atleast "try to fly in all weather." I know I am the PIC(91.3 I think), but that doesn't matter, and have lost two jobs because of this right of mine. Thank you for all help, it is difficult for me to get help at the Hangar on these issues, because of some mental problems floating around the place, so all the help is much appreciated and needed.

Dude
 

flint4xx

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Dec 6, 2001
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Have a GOOD survival kit to include an EPIRB. Always fly high enough for Miami ATC reception if you can, it'll should give you time to glide to an airport too. Use your radar to ground map the islands, even a tourist map works for that. Keep copies of everybodies customs and immigration forms, and fill them out in advance. Beware of stong easterly winds when your westbound. Have plenty of gas. Your on your own with the weather. Good luck.
 

hyper

We got "change" alright.
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
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I've done a fair amount of hours flying around the Caribbean, unfortunately most of it in IMC (of course, I always catch all the red lights too). As flint4xx said, you're on your own with the weather. Be as educated as you can be about weather systems and trends in the Caribbean. There are so many variables that it would be impossible to lay them out on a discussion board.

Miami needs you at 6,000 ft to pick you up in most cases. I always had a list of freqs. handy so I wouldn't have to flip through the AF/D when I lost them or was trying to establish comms.

You're company should issue Jepps app. plates. If not, carry them anyway. The NOAAs only have the DOD approved approaches into MYGF, MYNN, etc. For instance, this leaves a choice of one (I think it's a VOR-DME) approach into Nassau when there are actually many in Jepps.

Mandatory Equipment: handheld GPS of your choice.

Skud running is pretty common there as well due to the lack of approaches at many destinations, but at least you don't have as many obstructions protruding from the terrain.

I've never been real impressed with most of the "radar services" in the Bahamian area.

Hope this helps.
 

jsoceanlord

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night flying is basically IMC in the islands - kind of a black hole. watch out for what I call monsoon rain showers. Clouds build up over the islands, which make them easier to find. you can get wind direction for landing by reading the surface of the sea. the paperwork can be unreal; inbound and outbound gen. dec's, etc. The dorado NDB in puerto rico is powerful enough to be picked up on the ground in key west FL! some remote airports may say they sell fuel, but when you get there and need it, they may be out!
 

ShawnC

Skirts Will Rise
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Jan 17, 2002
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Well this is Second hand information, one of my friends did the math and hes says that if you fly at 10,000 ft to the Bahamas, you will always be within gliding distance because, at anyone time you would be only 25 miles from shore. That is if you leave Palm Beach to the West End. If you can fly higher do so.

I highly suggest you rent or buy a EPIRB you can get them at any boating store, make sure you get one with the GPS built-in if you are buying one, that can dramaticly lower the time it would be needed to rescue you.

Note: I have not flown it, but I have done it by boat.
 
T

TDTURBO

Oh Boy do I have a story for you! I just got back from spending 3 weeks Island hopping in the Bahamas from 11/25-12/11/01. I have to get back to work but will elaborate later tonight.
 

727PAA

Well-known member
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Dec 30, 2001
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enuff
quick tips

If you lose com, don't be afraid to ask any one of the high flyers for a relay. I've passed info to Miami alot and never minded it once.

Also remember 121.5 . Most Airline guys will monitor it over the Caribbean for just such a problem.

If you end up going to Haiti...No RADAR at all!!! Everything is position reports, so, go over the format again every now and then.
 
T

TDTURBO

Don't worry about GPS satellites going out-that's the least of your worries down in the Bahamas. I left Venice Beach IFR to Freeport with no problems. Customs is a breeze and nothing else (except outrageously expensive cab rides) was a problem. The problem I did have, however, was in Nassau. We were running from Hurricane Olga the entire trip and while we were in Nassau, a storm moved in. Naturally, the FBO we parked at didn't have tie downs, and due to the high winds, I was concerned. I called the airport to have the plane moved next door to Executive Air (they were equipped with tie downs). After much Mickey Mousing around, I was assured that the winds wouldn't be a problem and all would be well. I left them the hotel number, just in case. 3 days went by and it was time to leave. As we loaded the plane, we were surprised to find that all of our baggage was gone! The air had also been let out of the tires! After speaking with the Embassy and the American Consulate, it was determined that airport security became suspicious when I asked that my plane be moved and the Royal Bahamian Police and the Drug Enforcement Unit were called. They got a locksmith and broke into my plane without a warrant and seized all our luggage. Naturally, nothing was found and they let us go (without an apology) and all that was lost was 5 hours of our time and some clothes were ruined. When they finally brought our luggage to us (from the other side of the island), as we inspected our possessions, we noticed ketchup stains on clothes which tells us they were stuffing their faces as they debated whether or not to plant a kilo of blow in our bags in an attempt to extort bond money from us on our way out. Being fearful of their prior unlawful tactics, I didn't want to raise a big stink and therefore decided to reduce the possibility of any future creative law enforcement tactics. This was their down seasonn (because of 9/11) and we were 2 of the very few tourists on the island for them to suck money out of. The Bahamas are very nice and the locals are incredibly hospitable, but when it comes to navaids, government, or getting anything accomplished in a timely fashion, forget it!
Also, they are in no hurry to remove airplane wreckages...we saw at least 3 wrecked planes at the end of the runway on Andros, 2 on Nassau and 3 in Bimini from who knows when. One of the wrecks came in handy in Bimini, as we needed fuel, so they punched a hole in the wing and siphoned it out so we could head back to the States.

All in all it was a nice trip, I am flying over Cuba to the Caymans with Belladonna, (girlfriend and new member here also), in June. I hope I don't have to ditch in Cuba, that would be interesting to say the least!

Tim
 

TurboS7

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Sounds to me you forgot to "tip" someone to watch your airplane for 3 days, and you for sure "ticked" somebody off. Welcome to the islands man.
 
T

TDTURBO

LOL.....I must have spent 500 bucks tipping everyone. It wasn't the locals that were the problem, it was the government not letting the (more than willing) employees of Executive air move my plane. They, (the local security), got pissed when Exec Air tried in vain to relocate my plane. They have some odd problem with towing aircraft around at night, even by airport employees! They are really backwards down there but the people are real nice.
 

El Duderino

Jet Aircraft Pilot
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Jan 12, 2002
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all of your replies werevery helpful, sorry I hven't gotten back sooner. My computer is down. Thank you for the attention.
the dude
 
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