Advocacy Opens Borders
IN DECEMBER 2010,
18 airplanes— 17 of them light-sport aircraft
(LSA) flown by sport pilots—flew the 85 nautical-mile route
from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Freeport, Bahamas, for the first
international sport pilot fly-in.
Earlier this year, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
changed its rules to allow U.S. sport pilots, using a driver’s license
medical, to operate in its airspace. That rule change resulted from
a relationship established between EAA and the CAA through its
participation at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in recent years. The
hourlong flight to and from Grand Bahama International Airport
(FPO) was safely and easily accomplished through thorough
planning and preflight briefings. Greg Rolle, from the Bahamas
CAA, assisted with the necessary paperwork and customs
associated with international travel. More importantly, the
experience was one the participants will never forget.
LSA aficionado Dan Johnson, EAA 368861, said, “The
experience was spectacular in many ways. Large FBOs
catering to the jet crowd—such as Odyssey in Nassau—offered
polite and excellent service even though we bought a mere
$30 worth of fuel. My overall experience suggests that LSA
can easily negotiate and navigate flights from mainland USA.
What an opportunity for sport pilots.”
EAA’s advocacy team continues to work to reduce the
barriers to your participation in aviation. The Bahamas
became the first international country to accept a U.S. driver’s
license in lieu of a medical certificate for sport pilots, and
with that precedent made, we will continue to push for
Canada and Mexico to follow suit. Until then, take the short
trip over to the islands of the Bahamas, and thank them for
opening their borders.
Colors swirl vibrantly in the southern out-islands, en route by Breezer S-LSA to
Staniel Cay, Bahamas.
Arrival at Staniel Cay. Each LSA carried enough baggage to stay several nights. Fuel
cost round trip from Ft. Lauderdale: $75 per person.
10 Sport Aviation Februrary 2011