This time of year, many pilots are dreaming of warmer weather and perhaps a flying getaway to the islands of the Bahamas or another Caribbean destination. Flying the islands is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things any pilot can do in a small airplane–we’ve been doing it for decades at Sporty’s and we keep going back every year.
But even in the age of the Internet, there is a surprising lack of information about many airports outside the US. Planning a trip here demands you get the most up-to-date information. That’s why the Bahamas and Caribbean Pilot’s Guide has been such a popular reference book for the past three decades. This comprehensive book offers a unique mix of public data, personally verified airport information and helpful aerial pictures of airstrips throughout the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and more. It gives pilots an added measure of confidence that a 12-month old chart just can’t match.
Now, this information is available as an iPad app, so you can replace the large (and fairly heavy) book. The app is laid out much like the print book, with a helpful tab-style navigation menu on the right side of the screen. Each area of the Caribbean has its own tab, which are further divided by island and airport. In addition to data about runway length, frequencies and customs, there is some valuable editorial additions–including real world pilot reports of runway conditions, up-to-date airport pictures and even reviews of hotels and restaurants. This is invaluable when planning a visit to a new island, and we’ve found the comments to be pretty accurate over the years.
There is also some good general information about international flying, with tips about customs, survival and flight planning. For first time island flyers, this should be required reading.
The app isn’t perfect, with some grainy pictures and some missing features, we think. But the information is outstanding and the convenience of having it on your iPad makes it a good app–you will most likely reference the information before and during your trip to the islands. If it saves one customs overtime charge, it will more than pay for itself.
The Bahamas & Caribbean Pilot’s Guide app is $49.99, and is available in the iTunes App Store.