First Bahamas trip and things learned
Did my first Bahamas trip over the last 2 weeks. Like others have said, it is very doable and I will return at some point. Thought I would relay a few experiences and lessons learned from my point of view.
I am a 900hr pilot. Finished the RV in 2014. Very comfortable with it and have made about 5 long distance trips. This is my first "over water" trip and first time out of the country.
My plane is classic skyview equipped with ADSB and AP. Garmin 396 also feeds into the Dynon.
After reading other write-ups and using an on-line Caribbean travel site, I was surprised at the weather. It was raining the entire time. Being VFR only, I had more anxiety during the trip wondering when we would be able to come home, than a concern of over water flight, or red tape problems. You forget how much weather data we have access to in the US compared to what is available on Cat and Long Island. Even discussions with US weather briefers led to multiple disclaimers of "well I have limited information, but..."
Customs to and from was no problem. Very user friendly.
I had two plane related problems:
1. My plane stays in a hangar. It has never had any significant rain. After about 15" of rain on long island, I was surprised by hydraulic lock of the engine on trying to start for departure. I pulled the #3 intake tube and drained about 3 cups of water from the sump. Removed the top plugs and cleared the cylinders. That was a bad feeling when I contemplated what I would need to do to get any significant engine repair work done. Started without difficulty and after running on the ground a while, was able to fly home without difficulty. On review of this forum, I was surprised at the limited remarks on this happening to others. I always thought a small amt of water may get in, but now realize all the water from the top of the cowling flows forward and follows the upper radius back into the cowling, landing right on the air cleaner. (horizontal induction). Will address with cowl plugs I suppose. I think the water flow volume would be to much for a 1/8" hole in the snorkel. +/- on the sniffle valve.
2. On my return, one hour from Fort Pierce, my AP released and I had pegged airspeed readings of 511mph and overspend warnings. AI was also going wacky. Alt and navigation otherwise functioning. Backup GPS working well. On my arrival, Dynon dx the problem as a faulty ADHARS-200. They overnighted one to me and that fixed the problem. The plane has 300hrs on it with first flight in 2014. The unit is out of warranty. New one was $1200. Now I have a faulty unit that is a minimum of $250 to diagnose. I don't think it can be used as a backup since the backup unit is a ADHARS-201. I will look in to it.
Beaches were unbelievable and I highly recommend Fernandez Bay Village and Cape Santa Maria.
Didn't get to go island hopping secondary to weather.
I will go again.
RV-8 finished 9/15
Flying S Air Ranch (10XS)