Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Let's Go To Jamaica, Mon!

The TBMOPA demonstrates the real value of type clubs

"Yeah, I love how well the TBM is made," said TBMOPA pilot Barry O'Neill. He owned 14 different airplanes before he ended up in a new 850 with Garmin glass. "Folks hear what a new TBM costs, and right away, they think, 'Hey, I can buy a used jet for that amount of money.' They are right, of course, but they're not considering the difference in operating expenses. I may get there 15 minutes after the jet, but for half the cost in my turboprop."

But the airplane talk soon faded as the group transferred to the Sandals Royal Plantation Resort in nearby Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Now it was time to choose between the various activities available, like scuba diving, sailing, tennis, kayaking, windsurfing, and on and on. There are several fun attractions within a short cab ride from the hotel, like Dolphin Cove, where you can swim and perform along with 16 trained dolphins, or the iconic Jamaican attraction—the majestic Dunns River Falls.

While the others found some fun to fill their hours, Jack Pelton explored the island from the left seat of a Cessna 206. Captain Errol Stewart, who runs the Caribbean Aviation Training Center in Kingston, Jamaica, sent over a G1000-equipped Stationair to pick up Pelton and give him a bird's-eye tour of the lush island. The flight school is surprisingly busy, flying 70-80 hours of dual a month on the comparatively tiny island nation, where avgas is already $8 gallon. A solid number of CATC graduates are now flying for airlines around the world.

Cuban Overflight
For any number of reasons, American pilots are skittish about entering Cuban airspace. Perhaps it's because Cuba is a communist country. Perhaps it's because of the incident where Cuban MiG-29s shot down two Cessna Skymasters belonging to Brothers to the Rescue. Regardless, the truth is that dozens of American aircraft, including most U.S. airlines, cross back and forth over Cuba every day. In effect, all you have to do ask permission first.
A Cuban Overflight Permit is all that's required, and it's surprisingly easy to get. All requests, made at least 48 hours in advance, must include the following information:

• Name, nationality and address of aircraft operator
• Aircraft type and registration
• Place of origin
• Routes through established Cuban airspace corridors, Maya, Giron and Nuevas
• Date of flight
• Purpose of flight
• Number of passengers
• Proof of insurance

Permission for a Cuban overflight will include a number that's entered into your international flight plan. You'll be expected to contact the Havana flight information region (FIR)/control area 10 minutes prior to airspace entry. You'll also need to be operating with a flight plan filed at least one hour prior to entering Cuban airspace, and your overflight will also require:

• An aircraft registration certificate
• Airworthiness certificate
• Licenses for all crew members
• Aircraft log books
• Onboard radio station licenses
• List of passengers showing place of embarkation and destination

Cuban Overflight Permits are requested through the Ministerio Del Transporte Area Aeronautica, Calle 23-No.64 Vedado, Plaza de la Revolución, Cuidad de La Havana 4, Cuba, or by calling +011 537 838 1126.


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