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Bermuda/Grand Cayman/Amelia Is.

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due for recurrent.
Oct 13, 2004
Well folks, got some BAADDDDDDDDDDD news. My company wants to take the plane to Bermuda, Grand Cayman, AND Amelia Island (sp?) in late September.

I have plenty of long-haul international time with a former ACMI carrier, however, I have yet to actually do any real "planning" for international trips, nor have I operated in these areas before.

I would appreciate any input from some folks out ther who have done this stuff Part 91. I know the regs/equip req's, but I would like to know of any quirky clearances or maybe a "heads up" on better places to stay than others.

For the record, I am planning on using Universal for a trip kit. I have never used them before, so info on what to expect from them would help as well.
Good news, all of the places you listed are fairly easy.

For Bermuda and Cayman contact the FBO in advance they will help you with customs. Both locations thrive on tourism and are glad to help

For Bermuda you should have an HF radio, but you only need one long range nav. You will make one position report on the HF. I am fairly sure that there is even an exception for the HF requirement if you can meet a minimum requirement for time not in contact, but I would not be wild about it. (see 91.511) The nearest alternate is back in the US about 600 miles, so plan accordingly.

I have not been to Cayman but I planned a trip there that did not go and I have friends that have gone. You will need a Cuban overflight permit.The FBO in Cayman will arange it for you, but you need to call several weeks in advance and you need to be on time. If you have passengers that show up hours late you could find that your overflight permit is no longer valid.

You will need all of the overwater survival gear. (see 91.509) This is all available as rentals from many FBO's in Florida, unfortunately we owned all of ours so I am not much help there.

You will need a valid airworthiness certificate, permanent registration certificate (not a pink slip), and a radio station license for your aircraft plus your license and medical. Be prepared to show them to US Customs and for god sakes whatever you do don't forget to call customs and advise them of your arrival time. ADCUS in the remarks section will not do and they are too stupid to look at the flight tracker and monitor the inbound IFR aircraft. Everyone knows that large amounts of dope are being smuggled on multi-million dollar corporate aircraft operating on IFR flight plans. That is why customs is so worried about us. Sorry that rant just came out of nowhere. US customs will be a much larger hassle than Bermuda or Cayman

You will also have to land in the greater South Florida Area coming back from Cayman unless you have an overflight permit. I would use FLL or FPR.
Avoid Miam if you can. You could use Key West, I cleared there once, but was not impressed. You will need a US customs form 178 Private aircraft enforcement form as well as declaration cards for all passengers ( one per family ). These forms are availble once you land, however having all of this info completed in advance streamlines the process and pleases the government pukes. You can get the 178 form off the US customs website as well as lots of other good info. The blue declaration forms can usually be had from the FBO that you rent the overwater survival gear from.

Amellia Island is 50 mi from my residence. I used to take the boss there on Friday and pick up on Sunday twice a month and my folks have a summer home there. Not much to do except sit on the beach, eat in the resturants, and drink beer. Did I mention that I am on vacation and will be going there next week to do all of the above. No night life, McGill aviation is the FBO has nice folks with basic services, catering can be had through the locals if you need it.

None of the places you mentioned are difficult and I would not use Universal for any of these destinations. There are no language barriers and because these locations thrive on tourism the FBO's do a great job of getting things done. That is not a flame on Universal or any other flight planning service, they are just not necesssary for these destinations in my opinion. It can be intimidating the first few times you head out on your own. It was for me. I remember thinking holy crap he wants me to take the airplane where. All of the Carribean is easy, just remember that they are on Island Time and that no one gets in a hurry for anything maaan. If I can help PM me.

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Hi you can contact my box if you need info, Universal weather is great and good planning, My boyfriend has been flying 91 for years and 135 and used to have his own certificate for 7 years, if we can't help we will be more than happy to direct you to the people who can help.

yes hf radio and some places close early so like I said pm and we will answer your question or refer you!
Stay at the Hyatt or Mariott in Cayman. Eat at Pappagallo's if it's put back together form Ivan.
Basops in Houston does flight planning/overflight permits/ handlers for less than Universal. 800-333-3563. You won't need a handler in Cayman. It's easier than Teterboro.
Looks like you have been given some good info and I don't have much to add. CL604DRVR seems to know his stuff, but for your first trip to these destinations, I'd go ahead and use a handler, if for nothing else, piece of mind. He made mention of the Cuban overflight permit and was right on the money. On a trip to Cayman, I had late pax and 30 minutes into the flight, noticed that the permit is good for a paticular "zulu" date and we would be crossing over Cuba the next Z date. Thank god for a flight phone and the handler, we got the issue resolved in time.

While in Grand Cayman we stayed in the Marriott and would reccommend it. In Bermuda, I've stayed at the Grotto Bay and the Sonesta Beach resorts. The Grotta bay is very close to the airport. The Sonesta is a fair distance from the airport but was quite a bit nicer. Rent scooters while you are there. You get to see alot that way and they were a lot of fun. Head over to the famous Swizzle Inn (and Swagger out) for lunch and a beer. Its walking distance from the Grotto Bay Beach resort.

I've flown to many beach destinations in the states, HI, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Carribean. Bermuda and Grand Cayman were far and away my favorite destinations of them all. Enjoy!

Cayman ramp can get CROWDED in the non-hurricane season, and fuel waits (only like 2 trucks) between the local airlines and the G-V's can be long

when you land you will make a 180 on the runway to back taxi to the gen-av ramp

don't expect a flagman or marshaller to park you, and be careful taxi-ing around when the ramp is crowded

might call the FBO a few days in advance just for FYI info
One more thing. You made need a TSA waiver to fly directly to the US from these countries. I do not belive that either of these counties is considered a portal country and if that is the case then you will need the waiver which takes some time to get. Start early on this and the Cuban permit. If you are using a handler they can help you with both. Info on the TSA waiver can be found on the NBAA website. The following is from the FAA.

Updated February 14, 2005

FAA FDC NOTAM 2/5319 regulates the IFR and VFR operation of aircraft to and from locations outside the United States.

U.S., Mexican, and Canadian registered Part 91 aircraft are allowed to operate point to point within the United States.

Part 91 operators are authorized to depart the U.S. with no intermediate stops within the United States (FDC 2/5319, Part III, paragraph C).

U.S. registered aircraft operating Part 91 IFR flights are authorized to fly to the United States via JAPAN, CANADA, MEXICO, THE BAHAMAS, ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES, AND NORTHERN IRELAND (FDC 2/5319, Part II, paragraph F).

VFR operations have limitations that are listed in Part II, paragraph A, and Part III, paragraph D. VFR operations are limited to aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 95,000 pounds or less. See the NOTAM for specific operational limitations.

Part 135 operators are authorized to operate to/from the United States with an Air Traffic Control assigned discrete beacon code (FDC 2/5319, Part II, paragraph I).

If an operator wishes to fly to or from the United States without having to comply with the requirements of FDC 2/5319, then a “waiver” is needed.

On May 20, 2004, NBAA met with TSA representatives to discuss issues associated with the current TSA Waiver program. During that meeting, the TSA confirmed that it decided to suspend the current "three trip" monthly frequency requirement necessary for operators to qualify for an International Fleet Waiver.

Hope this helps

If possible, avoid FLL Customs like the plague. The wait can be very long, and there is one f*cker there named PATEL who is a complete c*cksucker. He strives on being an ass, and should be sent back to Iran.

West Palm on the other hand is quick and painless......with federal employes who are actually nice to you.

Anyone else have any advice or dealt with that ass-clown at FLL?
That a$$ clown Patel berated me in front of a crowded customs office. I was on a part-135 flight and had a expired customs sticker. Also I did not fill out a paers report. Both are not required for 135 trips. We were empty coming back in the U.S. so he assumed we were prvt.
AlabamaMan!! said:
If possible, avoid FLL Customs like the plague. The wait can be very long, and there is one f*cker there named PATEL who is a complete c*cksucker. He strives on being an ass, and should be sent back to Iran.

West Palm on the other hand is quick and painless......with federal employes who are actually nice to you.

Anyone else have any advice or dealt with that ass-clown at FLL?

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