Ft. Lauderdale to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
Trip End Mar 30, 2013

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Flag of Turks and Caicos Isl.  , Providenciales,
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Flights outside the US have a few more steps than domestic flights. First is the electronic Advanced Passenger Information System (eAPIS) set up by US Customs and Border Protection to gather information on who is leaving and entering the country in small planes (and vessels).   I've used it before, but I don’t use it often enough to be fluent so I re-learn it every time.  The password to gain access also expires after 90 days (I’m  told) so if you use it infrequently, you probably will have to reset your password as I did.  Flying beyond the US’s air defense zone (ADIZ) requires you be in communication with ATC, so either file IFR or go VFR with flight following.  Talking to a charter pilot at Banyan about preferred routing to Providenciales, he said don’t bother with IFR when the weather is good, just ask for VFR and flight following and go direct.  I planned to do that, but filed an IFR flight plan as a backup.  When I called Miami clearance delivery after engine start, she started rattling off my clearance so rapidly I didn’t have a chance to interrupt and tell her I didn’t want it, I was going VFR.   So I took the IFR clearance which wasn’t must longer than the direct route anyway.  The clearance at 9,000 feet was: KFXE BAHMA ZQA A555 BTLER MBPV.

The weather was brilliant; just low clouds hugging some of the islands strung along under my route.  The larger ones have names I found on the charts, but there are many, many others.  I’ll never get tired of flying over islands rimmed with white sand beaches and surrounded by turquoise water.

Along the way I flew into a new air traffic zone above the transition altitude so I reset the altimeter to 29.92 inches and started using flight levels (FL090) instead of altitudes in feet.  All familiar from my RTW flight.  Miami Center kept communication, control and radar coverage all the way to BTLER where I was handed to Providenciales (Provo for short) Approach for my descent into MBPV.  There were a few gaps in comms but I got picked up again at Mayaguana Island. I really don’t know the extent of Miami's radar coverage.

There were 20 kts winds on the surface at MBPV, fortunately blowing right down the runway so  landing was no problem.   I started to turn off the runway at the first turning but was instructed to taxi all the way to the end (Charlie) where the Provo Air Center and GA parking is located.  They apparently don’t have a parallel taxiway connecting the commercial ramp with the GA ramp.  Tower told me to expedite my taxi, so I barreled down the runway at 50 kts because I knew there was a plane landing right behind me.  Fast taxi, but not fast enough, the guy coming in behind me elected to go around because I was still on the runway.  If I’d known the spacing was that tight I could have landed long and gotten off sooner.  One thing I discovered on my RTW flight is that nobody knows my plane type so they don’t know what it can and can’t do.  Maybe they thought it was jet and needed the whole runway.   I remember aggravating the tower guy in Dubai (an American) because he put me in the ILS landing sequence with the commercial jets but I was too slow and screwed it up a little ("can’t you go any faster?").  Well, yeah, I can, but the plane won’t land.

I was listening to XM satellite radio all the way down.  The satellite coverage footprint ends somewhere outside the borders of the US but I don’t know where.  I guess I’ll find out when I ventured farther south.

TCI Immigration and Customs is available right at the FBO so it’s a breeze to get through and jump on the shuttle provided by the FBO to get to the hotel.  I booked a nice place on Grace Bay beach.  After staying in some really low level places on the RTW flight, I’m determined to enjoy myself when I can.  60 minutes after landing I was at the beach bar, starting my way through the list of drinks with little umbrellas.  In Seattle this time of year, drinks come with little gore-tex parkas.

I’m here for three nights and intend to make the most of the fine weather and fine dining.
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Luiz Mário Peixoto on

Hi Harry, I'm a Brasilian Private Pilot and I'm the president of Aeroclube do Amazonas. I did this trip for three times two of them in a Turbo Arrow IV, from Manaus to Lakeland / Sun & Fun and back in 2010 and another time in a Saratoga II TC from Eden Prairie - Minneapolis to Manaus last year. This is a beautiful flight, Good Luck to you and Enjoy it.
If you prefer in your back trip to USA you can land in Manaus in our AirClub, I'll wait for you here in Manaus and I'll give you an hangar to park your plane overnight.
My Best Wishes.
Luiz Mario.

eskimo on

Well done in escaping the USA once again.
You are already making us jealous and so we are planning some more of our own trips to warmer climes.
Enjoy yourself in paradise and safe flying as you head further south.
Patrick and Linda

harry4123 on

Luiz Mario,
Thanks for following the blog, and for your offer of hangar space at Manaus. I haven't planned my return trip yet but I would like to fly over the Amazon. For my trip south along the coast I will try to do this without handlers so if you have information on fuelers and GA parking at SBNT, SBSV, SBVT, and SBFL, please send me a message. Thanks. Harry

harry4123 on

Thanks, Patrick. So far the flying is pretty good in the Caribbean, no TS's, but landing into gusty 20 kt winds seems routine around here.

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