Flying around Curacao in a C182

ArrowFlyer86

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I booked a trip to Curacao and then last minute just thought about renting a plane there. Now I've got some reservations on a C182 to fly around the area for some sightseeing.

Curious if anyone has been there before and has any recommendations for sights that would be cool to see from above? Or any flying tips for a 182 after doing nearly all my previous time in an arrow? Or frankly any general tips for tropical flying (99% of my time has been normal ol' boring midwest flyin')?
 
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I booked a trip to Curacao and then last minute just thought about renting a plane there. Now I've got some reservations on a C182 to fly around the area for some sightseeing.

Curious if anyone has been there before and has any recommendations for sights that would be cool to see from above? Or any flying tips for a 182 after doing nearly all my previous time in an arrow? Or frankly any general tips for tropical flying (99% of my time has been normal ol' boring midwest flyin')?
Nuthin other than enjoy the view of the Island rather than the top of a wing
 
I imagine they are going to give you a pretty good check out on the plane. Did they tell you How many hours will you need to fly with CFI for a checkout?
 
I imagine they are going to give you a pretty good check out on the plane. Did they tell you How many hours will you need to fly with CFI for a checkout?

They haven't told me how many hours yet, I should be getting those details tomorrow. They just said that I would fly with a safety pilot of theirs (presumably a CFI). Should have more details on that soon.

Sounds like fun,don’t forget to give a pirep. Good luck enjoy.

Will do! Hope to capture some good photos to share.
 
Never flown a GA plane there.

The ABC's are reliably windy which is probably an understatement. And not the kind of wind that dirs down much at night.

Any Caribbean island I've been to has been bumpy in a A320 on long straight in finals

So I'm guessing it will be winds like 20kts continuous from the same direction the entire stay. And moderate to heavy chop over the water and over the cactus desert terrain. Maybe be to not bring a non pilot who wouldn't like those conditions.

The windward sides of all 3 islands are very photogenic with the bigger waves crashing in.

Oh, forgot to mention just how hot it is. I think I'd soak a bandana in water and drape around the back of your neck before starting the fkight.

Hopefully you'll get a day with winds down a bit and maybe close to sunset would be smoothest like anywhere else.

Wondering if you will see Venezuela from up in the air, very close.
 
Bon dia.

I'll address some issues for the OP, using Sinistar's comments as a spring-board ( @ktup-flyer @Tom Wells ).

There is typically haze, which would normally preclude views of Venezuela, and there may be serious cautions regarding entry into Venezuelan airspace.

There will indeed be heat, so it's best to keep ground operations to a minimum (early morning flights could be advisable to beat both the heat and the inbound commercial traffic). The heat happily diminishes as you climb past about 3500 MSL, but you may wish to stay low, depending on what you'd like to view and how much fuel you want to burn.

Correct, there is wind, and it's wise to expect a pretty stiff left cross-wind. The airport is on the east coast. Once off-shore, the mechanical turbulence will fade, but approaches and departures can be lumpy. The lovely views of the west coast would be worth taking in, but the mechanical turbulence would likely be significant.

Bonaire would be an easy destination for a day-trip: Wonderful views (with or without a snorkel) and good food.

Night VFR is an unlikelihood.

Never flown a GA plane there.

The ABC's are reliably windy which is probably an understatement. And not the kind of wind that dirs down much at night.

Any Caribbean island I've been to has been bumpy in a A320 on long straight in finals

So I'm guessing it will be winds like 20kts continuous from the same direction the entire stay. And moderate to heavy chop over the water and over the cactus desert terrain. Maybe be to not bring a non pilot who wouldn't like those conditions.

The windward sides of all 3 islands are very photogenic with the bigger waves crashing in.

Oh, forgot to mention just how hot it is. I think I'd soak a bandana in water and drape around the back of your neck before starting the fkight.

Hopefully you'll get a day with winds down a bit and maybe close to sunset would be smoothest like anywhere else.

Wondering if you will see Venezuela from up in the air, very close.
 
Thanks for the advisories and recommendations! I'm talking to the rental place tomorrow to discuss details and this'll help! So far a beautiful island. And I definitely felt chop on approach!
 
Curacao was fantastic. More pictures contained on the following thread since I hit the maximum.

Here's a few photos of the island and resort and then a breakdown of it below.
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Downtown Willemstad
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Kokomo Beach
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At Kokomo we also watched BraveheartSax, an excellent musician and entertainer. Got a quick video. If it weren't for the guy next to me screaming it would have been even better! https://gopro.com/v/8vDvvW58EeXyN

West Point
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The people there are fantastic, both the locals and the Dutch tourists. I don't think we encountered a single unfriendly or unhelpful person. Though it reminded me a lot of Hawaii where everything runs on island time, there isn't a serious sense of urgency to do anything. That's nice in a vacation setting for sure, but sometimes it means you might have to ask twice if you need something quickly :)

At the resort I met a number of Hurricane Hunter pilots (didn't even know that existed!). I saw their C130s when we were landing and was kind of surprised to learn they were operating for that. The guys were flying the max hours allowed, 8h/day 7 days a week. Apparently taking off from Curacao and were approaching Fiona from the south. When they described what they do I was blown away, I'd never heard of it. Just hop in a C130 and fly... into a ******** hurricane. When they get "weathered out" at a particular altitude they'll do another pass at a higher altitude, starting at 2500, then 5k, 10k etc. Also kind of funny that one of the guys flies A320s for his normal job for a major airline, flies C130s into a hurricane, but what really scared him is flying GA :eek:. Anywho cool people to bump into and talk about flying with!
 
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Only one of us had undertaken dive classes so we did snorkeling instead. My GoPro waterproof casing was broken and they didn't have a spare so I had to rely on pictures from my phone, which didn't come out amazing. But here's a couple:

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Probably the coolest experience on the trip was getting a tiny rental submarine for us (plus the submarine pilot) who then took us down 500' to check out the marine life and inspect shipwrecks. What started off as a nerve racking experience (never liked going into the deep ocean in a boat) let up pretty quickly and became one of the coolest things I've done. It's amazing too how I'm OK hopping in a janky ass plane and flying to 10k feet, but the deep sea gives me the willies! The journey starts off by piloting it right next to these picturesque waterways where people are swimming/snorkeling/diving, and then you pretty much just go outside a breakwall and dive fast. It's incredible how steep the ocean wall is, the entire dive down it's just a steep wall. The sub is rated to dive 480 meters (~1575 feet), but for liability reasons they only dive to 200 to allow ample safety margin (something I think airplane pilots can appreciate!). I have a video here that gives some perspective of the steepness.

Our submarine as taken by a diver at the start of the trip
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Slowly diving...
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I wonder what's 150 meters deep?
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Inspecting a shipwreck
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A rope after 30+ years of being submerged
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Shipwreck from rear
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Underwater avionics!
AL9nZEWkjaHdqR5qAqg1_KeVqlAFWs8GEMiVs1aounIaA35HpRpPqAaCnTjf6Scct1KntgPjBeLpTPidnTAPPJrp68mZTv7SdKrSND-ddyl3YC2RQ7lDrf1unIM7vTrRYLqR4WAmpp1HnZDn1u5-y7SMnqZRzw=w1730-h1297-no


And a video to give some perspective on how F STEEP the ocean drop off is...
https://gopro.com/v/4yqyaXRlpkq1P
^Hosted on my GoPro

And here's us slowly moving along (max speed is 3kts)
https://gopro.com/v/dMeMOaVQ2BKWo
 
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Unfortunately I was not able to fly due to the most insane storm I've ever experienced, which was scheduled to be an evening flight right before sunset. The forecasting down there is either terribly difficult or of completely poor quality. The wx was forecasted to be cloudy but ended up being sustained 75mph+ winds with torrential downpours that stranded vehicles and collapsed at least 1 big structure (that was next to us!). Then we helped push cars that had gotten stuck and stalled out in the flooded waters. If you watch the video of the winds or check out the storm pictures you'll understand why the flight didn't happen!

Want to fly into this?
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Waiting in line at De Vissarij (best place for sushi... worth waiting in hurricane force winds... And the Dutch agreed because no one was defecting from the line even after we were getting murdered by winds and rain).


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Once the storm really got going:
https://gopro.com/v/pJ9JJlKevM1Gm

Partial power outage, everyone sheltering in the tiny kitchen of the restaurant. The dutch were still treating it like a grand party soaking up beers, laughing, smoking and having a good time. The staff took care of us to the max.

I wish I'd gotten a video of it, but the restaurant is partially built over the water and the waves were ripping up through the floorboards 1-2 feet high. Never had seen anything like that!
 
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