2019

Caribbean Air Rally 2019

We owe this wonderful adventure to our dear hosts and partners

 

Every year,  fun,  passionate and  like-minded people get together to share unique and binding experiences. The Itinerary is planned taking into consideration slowest aircraft. Alternate “overland route” are always suggested but not mandatory.

On this 10th edition, the rally group will celebrate in Antigua, Tobago, St-Lucia, the province of Samana in the Dominican Republic

April 2019, the International Air Rally  celebrated 10 years of Flying in the Caribbean!

Air Rally Caribbean experiences since 2010 have contributed to develop itineraries mapped out for pilots interested in island hoping, taking into consideration the  availability of fuel on route for slowest aircraft, the security and the services provided at the airport as well as the quality of the experience rich in culture and authenticity. Caribbean Skyway destinations are identified as ‘aviation friendly’.

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Sunday, March 3 (Fort Lauderdale, KFXE) :

Our usual meeting point:  Fort Lauderdale Executive Jet Center (former Sano Jet Center)  the perfect place to start a Caribbean adventure. Warm welcome from lovely ladies !

Welcome back guys and girls ! happy to have you back ! says Brigit and Lynda… Briget and Linda take care of everything, car rental, shuttle to hotel, fuel the plane.

The workshop starts at 3.30 PM at the Courtyard by Marriott,  Fort Lauderdale Cypress Creek. where pilots will be staying for the night. Perfect location ! You can see your plane parked on the other side of the fence.

Quite a team with us this year ! Bill and Suzanne Harrelson. Bill circumnavigated the globe via the North and South Poles in 2015. After the Rally he embarked on a new record attempt: a westbound solo flight around the globe to beat Max Conrad’s eight-day record from 1961.and succeeded! see his story HERE

During the workshop, pilots are briefed on safety, navigation, air transport regulations, customs, international flight planning Cacricom and eAPIS.

eAPIS must be filed as follows:

  • Monday March 4: Exit US- @FXE
  • March 15: return to KFXE
  • Refueling point requiring eAPIS: March 5 & March 12 : Ceiba TJRV

 Pick-up Tshirts, luggage and name tags & bug fogger (1 per plane required by Tobago)

Paperwork, documentation and items in hand:

  • 20 General Declarations partially completed
  • 6  International Flight Plan Form partially completed
  • Copy of  Daily Schedule loaded on ipad or at reach during the journey
  • Copy of the kneeboards (ipad loaded), to be consulted every day we fly
  • Valid Passport for everyone onboard
  • Aircraft documentation : registration, Airworthiness cert. Pilot License, Medical & insurance
  • US Tourist VISA  (European participants)
  • Tshirts & name tags & luggage labels
  • School supplies & gifts for the kids in St-Lucia welcoming pilots at the airport to visit the planes**
  • Food & beverages in the plane is a must before each flight

The meeting over, we all went to celebrate !  and we know where to go : Las Olas Boulevard for a fun dining experience with great ambiance, bars, galleries and lots of people in the streets.   The rally experience creates strong bonds. 70% of the participants are old timers, happy to meet again. We all forget were we we come from which language we speak, the type of plane we fly, we are all in for the same reason and for the same experience.

Monday, March 4 Puerto Plata, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – MDPP : 656 NM

Hotel shuttle to FBO- Squadron departures set by team leader:

YELLOW TANKER    (under 130 KNOTS)        RED BARON   ( 130 TO 160 KNOTS)       GREY WOLF   (OVER 160 KNOTS)

Suggested route : Fort Lauderdale (KFXE) –  Exuma Intl (fuel option) MYEF  282 NM – Puerto Plata MDPP  374 N

Planned  Fuel Stop : Exuma International (MYEF)    ($50 Gov. Tax)   – all forms already filled out by Odyssey FBO, with the information sent ahead. fuel and customs done in 40 minutes TOP !. $0.50 fuel discount for Air Rally planes,  0$ handling fee

Another great flight over the Bahamas

Puerto Plata –  MDPP Change the clock 1 hr ahead

The Air Rally always is certain to receive VIP service at any of the Dominican Republic airports thanks to the support of Mr. Collante, director of DR airports and our dear friend, Christiern Broberg Technical director. Mr. Pacheco Puerto Plata airport manager and Ramona, Perez, airport operations manager  receive the teams.0$ fee is highly appreciated always. Flight plan filing is done day prior by tower personnel who collects all flight plans ahead to insure early departure, no delays ! Puerto Plata is a one night stop. The hotel was only 20 minutes away.

General Declaration stamped in hand and Flight plan to Antigua delivered !

 

We walked to the restaurant and lounge OTTIMO for a group dinner-The Air Rally provides vouchers rather than imposing a buffet

 

 Tuesday, March 5: ANTIGUA (Antigua & Barbuda)   524 NM

 CARICOM  to Antigua-

Suggested route: Puerto Plata MDPP → Puerto Rico TJRV (fuel)  294 NM- Antigua  TAPA 230 NM

 

Landing at the Antigua International VC Bird

The Rally was hosted in Antigua numerous times with the support of Antigua airport Authority and Antigua Tourism.  Signature FBO received the pilots. We thank Cameron N. Singh | Area General Manager Antigua, St. Kitts & Nevis for his support,  waiving the fees as well as providing appreciated fuel discount. We are grateful to  Antigua Airport Authority for waiving NAV FEES for Air Rally participants !

 

 Signature FBO received a recognition Plaque from the International Air Rally

After clearing customs while enjoying lunch at the FBO, Signature transported the group to  the ‘all included Jolly Beach Resort’

                 Beautiful beach ! Relax, enjoy the beach and the Pina coladas !

                Group dinner at Lydia’s seafood restaurant on the beach reserved for the group 

 

There is no question that some of the beaches, little coves and inlets are among the most beautiful in the world. Enjoying a mile long of powder white sand beach on the warm waters of the Caribbean sea in this might be what you want to do In Antigua but  there is history and adventure too.

 

Jolly Beach is a resort with a family atmosphere. The ladies working there are fantastic, always smiling and singing !!! courteous and happy to be of service. I must say, this was a 5 star experience in terms of service. Lovely lovely people !

The night show was amazing

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Wednesday, March 6: ANTIGUA (Antigua & Barbuda)  

Antigua is famous for Regattas ! We proposed sailing with Ondeck Sailing which offers an introduction to racing but no one volunteered, The beautiful beach at the Jolly Beach resort was, for many, a great place to spend a relaxing day. Others  hired a taxi to visit the Unesco World  Heritage site : 1745, restored Georgian-era marina, Georgian-style naval buildings and structures, set within a walled enclosure. The natural environment of this side of the island of Antigua, with its deep, narrow bays surrounded by highlands, offered shelter from hurricanes and was ideal for repairing ships.

The construction of the Dockyard by the British navy would not have been possible  without the labour of generations of enslaved Africans.. Its aim was to protect the interests of sugar cane planters at a time when European powers were competing for control of the Eastern Caribbean.

Participants also enjoyed St John’s plein-air beachside bars and quaint restaurants and entertainment hubs located in Dickenson Bay, Jolly Harbour and English Harbour.

 

 

Thursday, March 7: TOBAGO (Trinidad & Tobago) 362 NM – CARICOM to Tobago

The Air Rally appreciates the support of the Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, also Airport  Authority and ATC, and General Aviation Association of Trinidad & Tobago, GAATT workign hard at promoting GA in the region. The association coordinated the fuel supply to Tobago, as there is normally no avgaz on the island.

Landing at the  ANR Robinson International Airport

 

Sadie-Monique, mandated by Tobago Tourism & culture was there always with her beautiful smile !! Tobago Tourism arranged for FBO SWISSPORT to handle the group clearance at no charge.

 

 

                             Transport to  beautiful Bacolet Beach Club, our home for 3 days !

At 7 PM everyone boarded the bus to    where the Caribbean Air Rally celebration was held.  

Tobago’ Secretary of Tourism and culture invited the participants to a  Beach Barbecue Experience,  Bon Fire and cultural entertainment  on the Beach- Store Bay Beach Facility . The recognition award was delivered to the Secretary of Tourism and culture here represented by Sadie-Monique

Open bar ! great buffet !!! Helen enjoying a punch decorated with a paper plane.! Nice touch ! Thank you Tobago !

Eric made it through encouraged by Scott standing behind !

 

TOBAGO IS YOURS TO DISCOVER FOR 2 FULL DAYS !

 Friday March 8th 

Tobago  unique location at the southern end of the Lesser Caribbean chain of islands provides for wonderful diving conditions. Trinidad, Tobago sister island  is located just seven miles from the coast of South America,  directly opposite the mouth of Venezuela’s 1,590-mile Orinoco River. The fresh water flow from the Orinoco is channeled  between Trinidad and Tobago, and up Tobago’s Atlantic coast. The rich waters of the Orinoco are responsible for the amazing diversity of marine life for which Tobago is famed. Tobago claims the largest brain coral in the western hemisphere. Located in Speyside’s Kelleston Drain, this colony is 10-feet (3m) high by 16-feet (5.3m) wide. Huge specimens like this may make brain coral the most memorable, but the waters are home to around 300 different species of coral.

 A day of diving and snorkeling and lunch at the Blue Water Inn at Speyside

 

Saturday March 9

Another day in paradise

At 6 PM the pilot briefing took place to prepare our next day flight to St-Lucia. Flight plans were handed to Tower. CARICOM filed to Exit Tobago and to enter  St-Lucia

Tobago briefing at the hotel. All pilots attended

The presence of T&T Air Traffic controllers (center)  was highly appreciated !

7:00 PM      Group dinner at the  Café Havana

Sunday March 10- SAINT-LUCIA  172 NM

On this short flight, we suggested that pilots have pirate ‘ID’, a wig, a hat, a head band, an eye patch..! The kids are waiting for you …! Time to give out the gifts…

Landing at the George F. L. Charles Airport (

 

Eustace Cherry, St-Lucia Chief Aviation Officer MBA/A, CFI, took matters in hand:.

The group of 15 aircraft will be able to park at the smallest of the 2 airports and remain there for 2 days.

 

Across from the runway High school students accompanied by their teacher and dignitaries were waiting under the pavillon where a buffet was served.

 

St-Lucia received the recognition plaque

St-Lucia has never seen so many private aircraft land in Castries. A special effort has been made to receive the participants of the Caribbean Air Rally.

The students got to enjoy an introductory flight !

 

Bay Garden Hotel, is only 8 km from the airport  staying at this hotel, give us access to the resort’s Reduit Beach and a number of restaurants and Treasure Bay Casino, Enjoy Rodney Village ! dinner at the Sea Grapes Beach Bar and restaurant

Monday, March 11       

The St-Lucia department of Tourim invited us to discover the best of St-Lucia !!!

Stop at the Morne view point over looking City &  Marigot Bay then La Soufriere for a tour of Botanical Gardens

                                Lunch at Morne Coubaril courtesy of Tourism St-Lucia 

Members of the Devaux family have owned various lands in St. Lucia, but that of Morne Courbaril, at Soufriere, is the only one which remained in the hands of the family for more than two centuries.  The Plantation currently produces cocoa, coffee and copra, as well as growing a vast selection of tropical fruits such as orange, grapefruit and lime, all of which are used to make juices, available in the restaurant. Additionally coconuts are harvested and used to make coconut cake, also available at the restaurant. https://mornecoubarilestate.com/estate/

To be continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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