Bahamas for a new pilot?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Sierra Echo, Dec 20, 2017.

  1. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We did five islands when we flew to the Bahamas. That was a couple of years ago but we only needed customs to check in on our first arrival and check out when we were going back to Florida. There was no need to check in with customs the rest of the time and at most islands no one cared that we landed or took off. The folks at the attended airports were very happy to help with anything we wanted but leaving without checking out wouldn’t have been an issue because we never had to check in.

    One of the advantages of going there GA is being able to go to many islands that can only be accessed by plane or boat. We happened to fly over Carnival’s island when going from Staniel Cay to Cat Island. One look at how people were crammed onto that beach was enough to convince me that GA was the only way to go (I don’t know how to sail).

    I got the pilots guide to the Bahamas and found it helped a lot with planning our trip. It was well worth the money.

    Have a good time.

    Gary
     
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  2. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    I’ve made 4trips to the Bahamas and 1 trip beyond (BVIs). Nothing could be a finer match; light planes and the Bahamas. Lots of airports on lots of islands. Lots of choices for customs stops . The 3 I’ve been to were all well run and straight forward. The air strips are in better shape than they first appear. The only rough one I ran across was Staniel but that has been since resurfaced I believe. Parking and tie down areas tend not to be well maintained so bring gear you probably won’t be able to use but be creative and you will get what you need. All govt related charges are posted, gas prices aren’t that bad so keep it filled.

    I have a plb, raft, preservers but no marine radio. You don’t need the Radiotelephone license. Follow US customs procedures to the letter and it will be fine.

    The Bahamas are very GA friendly, friendly and convenient in ways that aren’t obvious until sampling the TCIs and BVIs. The whole concept of an unattended public strip with no scheduled service is quite foreign elsewhere.

    I suggest that the OP start planning a trip!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Sierra Echo

    Sierra Echo Pre-Flight

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    Thanks Bill! I would love to start planning a trip, but first I need to get that pesky private pilot license out of the way. I'm doing my best to get that lined up as quickly as possible. Are you by chance based out of South Florida? I'm looking for a good CFI, and access to a plane, and I'm not excited by the flight school options, at least at TMB...
     
  4. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Nope. Other than HF is required if out of VHF more than 30 minutes.
    I cannot quote the reg, but we lived by that for many years.
    That said, things do change.
     
  5. Islandbrah

    Islandbrah Filing Flight Plan

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    TMB... Miami area? I am at KFMY SWFL. I didn’t want a school experience but honestly its the easiest way to “get it out of the way” quickly. I decided to go with Paragon. They really do have a nice program and facility up here. I started Dec 15th and I soloed this morning. I am going up for 6 tomorrow between 2 instructors and a solo in the middle. Multiple instructors (10 or so. I use 3) and multiple planes (a dozen single and 2 multi) helps scheduling all the requirements in a short time. Going to take 6 weeks total with the holidays wasting 2 weeks. I too cant wait to buy my plane when I’m done and hit all the fishing spots in the Caribbean.
     
  6. Sierra Echo

    Sierra Echo Pre-Flight

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    Yep, TMB is Miami Executive. By far my best option, due to area traffic. I've spent some time talking to some of the schools here but I'm hoping to go with a club / private CFI option. I wish I could schedule as aggressively as you - that's awesome! And congrats on the solo!!!

    Hopefully I'll see you at some random Caribbean airfield in the coming months :)
     
  7. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Actually, I'm more afraid of the American customs. My flight instructor was in a 172 flying from somewhere (Trinidad?) to the DR, then DR to San Juan. They caught an awesome tailwind and after calculating fuel, realized they had enough to get all the way to PR and save a day on their trip. But they had not filed a EFIS, with the net result of a $5000 fine for improperly entering the country. He managed to get it set aside, but that's still a huge reminder that you cannot just show up for US customs. Bahamas is easy - you land, they come out to you, you pay them money and you're good.
     
  8. pmiracing

    pmiracing Filing Flight Plan

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    We flew there two years ago, right after getting my instrument rating. I believe the best thing you can do to retain knowledge is to use the heck out of it right after the checkride. Be smart and do lots of planning, but don't be scared to use it. Customs on both sides was a breeze, but have everything(paperwork) in order just in case they ask. I was far more worried about it all than customs was. Everything I read about US customs made it sound horrible but it was nothing. It may have helped that we were a family of 5 that didn't exactly fit the "drug smuggler" profile, but it is way easier than commercial TSA. We are going back in March this year.
     
  9. Paulie

    Paulie Line Up and Wait

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    I've worked several airlines that flew to and we're based in the Caribbean. Not one airplane carried a HF radio. These were both part 121 and 135 operators. The Caribbean is not the Pacific. With the exception of from the Turks to the Dominican republic you can see the next island on a clear day. Nothing is out of VHF range. Stop posting false information, there is no requirement for HF.
     
  10. Paulie

    Paulie Line Up and Wait

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    San Juan customs are manned with jerks, better to go to Isla Grande which is within 20 miles. Customs at the USVI are also full of jerk storm trooper wannabes.
     
  11. Paulie

    Paulie Line Up and Wait

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    For some reason when going from the United States Virgin Islands to the US or Puerto Rico you must pass through customs but not when going the other way.