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February 5, 2014
By Alyssa J. Miller
Bahamas Habitat is gathering pilots to fly to the islands Feb. 20 through 23 to work with Bahamas Methodist Habitat on projects ranging from putting up drywall in a medical center to painting the Zion Children’s Home, a facility that opened in June 2013 to serve abused and neglected children.
Pilots who participate in the “Fly In to Serve Others” event will learn about international operations, including electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) and clearing customs in both countries, oceanic weather, over-water flying and planning, and international air traffic control communications, said Steve Merritt, president of Bahamas Habitat.
Merritt said that 15 aircraft slots are already filled, and five more are available. He said there also is some limited space for pilots who want to participate but don’t have an aircraft. Most of the open spaces in the aircraft participating are filled with supplies for the work projects and other needs on the Bahamas.
The group will meet at Showalter Flying Service at Orlando Executive Airport on Feb. 20 for lunch before departing on the 330-nautical-mile leg to Governor’s Harbour on Eleuthera Island. The airport is near Bahamas Methodist Habitat’s Camp Symonette where the group will be based during the work project.
The group will work on projects on Friday and on Saturday morning, and then sightsee Saturday afternoon before returning to Florida on Sunday. Registration costs $350 per person and covers accommodations at Camp Symonette and most meals. Pilots should register online before Feb. 13.
Bahamas Habitat offers the Fly In to Serve Others event in the spring and fall, and provides humanitarian relief flights to the islands after natural disasters, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011.
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Public Benefit Flying,
Looking out over the turquois Caribbean Sea from Cat Island seems like paradise. But look left, right, or inland across the street and it looks as if something exploded. Trees are twisted and uprooted, asphalt washed off the street like tar paper, mattresses and furniture piled in heaps, sides of home collapsed or missing. Hurricane Irene pummeled parts of the Bahamas Islands, and general aviation pilots are working to provide food, water, and shelter to those in need.
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