Flying the Caribbean (Part 4) - to South Caicos -- Ever been in a Holding stack with 2 airliners?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by wayneda40, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We're now heading out over the water, refueling in the Bahamas, and on to Turks & Caicos. Decent weather, an interesting instrument approach to a busy airport, and 2 nights on very quiet enjoyable island.

    Share your "holding" stories... ours was in a holding stack with two airliners.

    We had a super easy time clearing at Exuma, Bahamas... but a pricey and slow time clearing at Provo, Turks & Caicos... what experiences have you had? Do you use a handler or role your own? On this trip thru six countries, we tried each way?

    Controllers... what are your thoughts about working approach and tower, on a busy weekend, with no radar?

    Thoughts, questions, and suggestions? I'd love to hear from you.
    Thanks for your insight and enjoy the video!
    Wayne, the GeezerGeek Pilot
     
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  2. GBSoren

    GBSoren Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nice video. The landing fees are crazy! I've flown to the Bahamas a couple times, we've never had landing fees. Avgas isn't cheap tho.
     
  3. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, the Bahamas were quite reasonable and also quick... however Provo in Turks & Caicos was crazy pricey, and as the next video episode will explain, we were not allowed (seems an ATC issue) to depart South Caicos to the Caribbean but had to return to Provo to "check out".
    Wayne
     
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  4. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It was back in the late 80's before south Texas had approach radar coverage. WX was around 700 over and several corporate airplanes were headed to McAllen for then Senator LLoyd Bentsen's father's funeral. When we got there we were #5, all of us stacked over the outer marker 1000 feet apart. To top it off when we opened the door the FAA was there to ramp check us! Real nice of them to ramp everyone coming in for a funeral.

    Nice video.
     
  5. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Turks and Caicos is a known hassle as a technical stop going to the Eastern Caribbean. Most folks one-leg it to PR from the bahamas if they have the range, or add an additional stop over Puerto Plata in the DR on their way to the lesser Antilles in order to avoid Provo. Much less of a hassle and some savings of consequence, especially considering these bucket list trips are round trips (if the engine cooperates over water that is LOL).
     
  6. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A ramp check after a stack of 5... long day. Thanks.

    Agreed. Provo was indeed a pain, although South Caicos (for our 2-night stay) was quiet and pleasant. Then we went on to BVI and further to the east. On the return we made a tech stop in Puerto Plata and had a small hassle because we chose to not use a handler.

    Wayne
     
  7. Computerjim

    Computerjim Pre-Flight

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    Provo is way out of line! A bunch of bandits. Why did you have to go back to Provo to leave the Turks? Grand Turk (MBGT) has customs. If I were to do that itinerary I would gas at Exuma, enter and depart from MBGT, and make a gas stop in the DR at Puerto Plata (MDPP)
     
  8. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Jim... the FBO (Blue Heron) in Provo said we needed to return from MBSC to MBPV before departing to BVI... but we didn't buy that. So when we landed MBSC we talked to the Customs/Immigration lady as well as the MBSC Tower controller, and they both said we could indeed depart MBSC southbound for BVI. However when we arrived at MBSC to depart, the very nice MBSC Tower controller said that at the last minute she was told by Provo ATC that we were not allowed to depart southbound to BVI, but indeed needed to return first to MBPV. Seems this was an ATC issue, not Customs/Immigration. My suspicion is that there might be some $$$ flowing from the FBO to make this happen.

    I agree, next time I'd go Exuma to Puerto Plata -- and that is exactly what we did (in reverse of course, MDPP to MYEF) on our return northbound.
     
  9. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Did you land at Providenciales, or just use the Approach to get underneath, cancel and then press on VFR to South Caicos. Working Approach and Tower combined is not a big deal. I've done it but not when it's 'truly' busy. Did the controller really sound busy? in between instructions to IFR traffic was there a lot of VFR traffic in the pattern, landing and taking off? If so was every one on the same frequency?
     
  10. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes, we landed Provo IFR, cleared customs/immigration and topped off, and then continued to South Caicos... intending, after a 2-night stay, to then continue southward to BVI. But Provo ATC required that on the way out we return to MBPV. So we then topped off again at MBPV, and flew MBPV direct TUPJ.
    The Provo controller was pretty calm and collected, and also yes, there appeared (on our traffic screen) to be VFR traffic being sent on base legs into the pattern. And yes, just two frequencies (approach and tower) manned by the same person.
     
  11. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    I had a set of bad experiences at Provo about 3 years ago , bad enough that I vowed never to return to the TCIs, EVER.

    Provo is a fine stop. Pricey perhaps but I have no problem with that. Not out of line IMHO. Our intent was to land there for fuel , twice. But my objective was to send several days in Middle Caicos and move on to the BVIs before returning to Provo again for a tech stop.

    But I was simply lied to by multiple people on multiple occasions. Without going into details, their goal seemed to insure I would come in the first place. Airport officials confirmed that my itinerary as stated was fine... everything was fine until first contact with ATC. Once on the ground, everyone still agreed everything was fine except that it wasn’t. Cost us almost 2 days to figure out no one could be believed.

    I LOVE the Bahamas, I love the BVIs, I will never darken the skies of the TCIs ever again. I just completed installation of bigger tanks so I can overfly that hole next time around.

    It’s not about $$$. I’m sorry that I’ll never fish their very fine Bonefish flats again.


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  12. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Bill, sorry that your experience in TCI was overall so bad. Our time on South Caicos was quite pleasant and the locals very friendly. My criticism centers on Provo... price (FBO, fees) and most importantly the illogical need to return to Provo (and doubling our fees there) before continuing southward to BVI.
     
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  13. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    Didn't pull the "cannot hinder the journey" card?
     
  14. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    In my case, I don’t begrudge the FBO prices/fees or the ‘you can’t pass go unless you go to Provo’ procedures. Location is all they have to trade on and it’s their right to profit from it, even fleecing those passing through. I got a chance to observe that dance as I wasted a day and half negotiating my way around Provo trying to get permission to land on Middle Caicos.

    I had found and communicated with ‘airport commission’ people about operating out of there to do a little fishing. I rechecked before taking off in FL. When I got there the airport had been closed. Instead of telling me that it had been closed for months and would stay that way for the foreseeable future, the same airport officials promised me that I would probably be granted permission ‘after I contact so and so’ or after this or after that. Everybody knew each other and basically kept the facade going until I gave up on landing there. We found a place to overnight on Provo, took a ferry, rented a car, etc until I got where I was going. Then I find out one of the airport people was the person I rented the car from, and rented some overnight accommodations from. With my identity hidden he also explained why and how and when the airport was closed.... the bastard.

    Everyone was great... just unnecessarily misleading. Tell me the real deal and I would have done exactly what they wanted, done it a day or two longer, and returned to the place the following year.

    Had a great time in the BVIs.


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  15. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Bill, very good point you make that "Location is all they have to trade on and it’s their right to profit from it, even fleecing those passing through."

    We also had a very nice time in BVI (landed Beef Island, ferry to Virgin Gorda), Dominica, Nevis, and then Exuma on the return to USA.
     
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  16. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    Loved the video. Trips like these are what I'm after
     
  17. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    We landed at Beef, sailed around the BVIs with friends, then returned to the plane and flew out to Anegada to do some Bonefishing. Anegada is a big flat sand spit in contrast to the hills of the rest of the BVIs. Nice place to sail or fly into. Much quieter and remote feeling than the rest of it.

    Learned a good lesson at Beef. Didn’t find a real GA FBO but had a handler operating out of an office there. I was parked amongst a line of jets with no tie downs or chocks in sight. I wrongly figured that my handler was going to get my plane parked. Instead I returned to find that it had been jet blasted and wind blown around the ramp while we were sailing! Stupid on my part but good lesson about taking care of plane business before moving on.

    Anegada had a customs office so one can fly in or out directly... but there’s no fuel.



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  18. wayneda40

    wayneda40 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Very pleased that you enjoy the videos.
    Wayne