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                If you are pondering your first international flight, or if you wish to experience a truly “general aviation friendly” international destination, the Bahamas is difficult to beat. An archipelago of 700 islands start- ing less than 50 nm off the east coast of Florida, it is a dream destination for pilots. As many pilots already know, the Bahamas suffered a devastating blow by hurricane Dorian and images of destruction have been circulating the internet, creating the perception that the Bahamas is out of business. Nothing could be further than the truth! Indeed, the northern islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama were decimated, but the majority of the Bahamas islands were untouched and are operating normally. What the Bahamas people need more than anything to help them rebuild are visitors to their remaining island destinations. They need people to visit and bring their tourism dollars while enjoying the beauty and hospitality of the island nation. The pilot community is best suited to help make this happen as we all have our own aerial transportation and can easily move around the islands. Planning Your Flight Once you have selected where you want to go, you need to determine which airport is closest and is suitable for your aircraft. Your first landing and your last takeoff from the Bahamas must be at an Airport of Entry (AOE). If the airport you select for your destination is not an AOE, then you will need to select an adequate AOE convenient to your route of flight. Fortunately, the Bahamas has 18 AOE’s conveniently located on most of the major islands, and 10 of them have fuel, which may influence your choice of AOE. However, you should always plan on hav- ing enough fuel to reposition to another airport with fuel, just in case. As you will be flying over water, you should arrange to have life jackets and a life raft on board with adequate capacity for all aircraft occupants. There are FBO’s on the Florida east coast that rent survival equip- ment for overwater flights, and several are located at one of the eight United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “Designated Airports” where you will need to land to reenter the U.S. Selecting one of these FBOs can make logistics easier on the return. International flights require that you pay special atten- tion to crew, passenger and aircraft documentation (please refer to my article on international documentation in the May issue, and note that bringing pets to the Bahamas is more difficult than other countries). Remember, if you are flying a CE500, CE550 or CE560 model aircraft under a single pilot waiver issued by the FAA with a limitation that reads, “Not valid outside the US unless approval is obtained by Civil Aviation Authority,” you must obtain a specific approval from the Bahamas Civil Aviation Department in order to utilize it in the Bahamas. Remember to verify that your navigational database and charts packages include the Bahamas as part of their territory coverage. The procedures for flying to the Bahamas are pretty straightforward. First, you must properly file your USA eAPIS departure manifest for your outbound flight. If Select Airparts         AIR    November 2019 / TWIN & TURBINE • 19 

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