Bahama Islands

My plan to fly my airplane to the Bahama Islands with two of my sons during their spring break in my mind was a “guys adventure,” However, my wife at the time, Sherry Stark, was Deputy Mayor of Columbus, Indiana. and her boss, the mayor, learned of my trip and insisted Sherry needed to be included.

I had no objection to that. Sherry had flown with me on numerous flights, and although had some uneasiness about the bounciness of small airplanes in minor turbulence, was a good sport about it.

Our route involved first flying to Stuart, Florida, where my parents had a condo, spending the night with them and then flying to Palm Beach where we would acquire the floatation devices and depart for the islands.


The transit to Nassau International Airport was a breeze. No issues with ATC during the ADIZ penetration. The Nassau International Airport has one runway, miles long for the commercial airliner traffic. However, on that day it had 25 MPH crosswinds. In order to stay lined up for the landing required a wing down crab countering the wind. Our airplane was virtually 90 degrees wing down as we flew toward the runway. That’s a very awkward feeling for passengers. My wife was moaning loudly. Chris, sitting in the right seat, suddenly exclaimed, “Dad, look at all those wrecked airplanes down there.”

Sure enough, other small private airplanes, not reaching the runway had crashed short of landing. How long they had been there is not known. Just too expensive to remove the wreckage, I guess. Nevertheless, we landed safely.

Two days later we took off for Freeport, one of the other islands where I had arranged accommodations for a couple of days. The weather was okay but with tropical thunderstorms in the area. I had filed an instrument flight plan. When arriving over Freeport, I found a rain squall centered on the airport, with zero/zero visibilities. No problem, I just told air traffic control that I would orbit north of the airport until the squall moved on.

ATC was not pleased with my decision and wanted me to cancel my flight plan, releasing them of further responsibility. “No, I still wanted their radar coverage and traffic updates. Soon there were two other aircraft orbiting in our area waiting for the weather to clear.

Needless to say, my back seat passenger was not comfortable doing our orbits with two other nearby airplanes. Finally, the weather cleared.

Tongue in cheek, I announced, “Now that we have sunny skies, I think I’ll just do a little sight-seeing.”

From the back seat my normally unprofane passenger loudly exclaimed, “Get this damned airplane on the ground!”

Yes Ma’am.

The rest of our vacation was trouble free and a fun experience.

4 thoughts on “Bahama Islands

  1. Jim,
    You are kind of an interesting guy !! Maybe you should write a book,…or two !!
    Very much enjoy reading about your adventures.

  2. Jim, another interesting and fun adventure. It sounds like Sherry might have been a little bit nervous about your flight plan. I don’t blame her, I would have been even more vocal about landing. By the way, I missed you and Michele at the Villages St. Patrick’s day celebration on Sunday. A lot of decorated golf carts, as usual.

  3. Good call., but She Who Must Be Obeyed would have flown commercial and had us Uber to the hotel.

  4. Jim… I absolutely love reading about your airborne adventures…and with your sons! I’m guessing you guys recall those times with great pleasure. The closest I’ve come to that with son Frederick is riding the NYC subway in from LaGuardia. –Norm

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