Flying in The Bahamas is truly simple and well within the capabilities of the lightest single-engine aircraft. Leaving the east coast of Florida, your first landfall will be Grand Bahama Island (60nm) or Bimini (50nm). While conditions are typically VFR, GPS is the most reliable and accurate method of navigation, and will get you to even the most remote of our islands.
Nassau (New Providence Island) and Freeport (Grand Bahama Island) are the major population centres. Flight operations are conducted within the equivalent of a US TCA with radar coverage. There are approach control, tower and ground frequencies. Nassau and Freeport both offer Flight Service facilities. Nassau is the seat of Government, the hub of commerce and the busiest airport with the most airline traffic.
The other 58 airports in The Bahamas are uncontrolled and use standard procedures. All pilots monitor Common Traffic Advisory Frequency, CTAF 122.8, advising their position and intentions. Left traffic patterns are used: the pattern altitude is 1,000' AGL. Outbound traffic announces before occupying the runways (there are no taxiways except at Nassau and Freeport) and departs straight out or turns left, climbing above the pattern altitude as soon as possible.
VFR night flying is prohibited in The Bahamas during official sunset to sunrise. Controlled airspace requires VFR minimums of 1,500' and 3 miles clear of clouds. The VFR minimums for uncontrolled airspace differ from the US requirements of 1000' and one mile clear of clouds, and in sight of land or water.
You must file a US International Flight Plan before departing the US and your first point of arrival in The Bahamas must be an Airport of Entry (AOE).
Each person on board the aircraft must have proof of citizenship - passport or copy of birth certificate.
Return to the US requires an International Flight Plan filed to the most convenient US Airport of Entry. You may advise Customs of your ETA by including the word "ADCUS" (Advise Customs) on your Flight Plan. In addition, you must call US Customs and give at least one hour's notice prior to arrival.
All aeroplanes must have a transponder, 12" registration numbers on the plane, and one US Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person. Life rafts are advised but not required.
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Things book up well in advance in The Bahamas, so don’t hang about! Take a look at the below pages, here on our website, to see what’s available at the moment.