Most Frequently Asked Questions By Private Pilot
1. What are the closest islands to Florida?
- From Palm Beach / Miami / Ft. Lauderdale, Bimini is only 50nm
- Grand Bahama only 60nm.
2. What equipment is required to fly to the islands?
- You must have a Mode C transponder
- 12″ tail numbers,
- U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person on board. A life raft is not required, but is suggested.
3. What special procedures do I follow when departing the U.S.?
- File an International or DVFR Flight Plan and activate it in the air
- Close the Flight Plan in the air prior to landing on 124.2 or 128.0 (Nassau Radio) or if unable, with 800-WX-BRIEF or (242) 377-7116 on the ground.
4. Is flight following required?
- No, but you will be able to stay in contact with Miami Center until they hand you off to Nassau Approach.
5. Is fuel readily available, and how expensive is it?
- Avgas is currently available at nine airports in the Islands you are never more than 20 minutes flying time away from fuel.
- The average price of Avgas is currently $5.25 a gallon.
6. Can I land at any airport?
You must land at an Airport of Entry (AOE) the first time you enter the islands. Normal hours for Customs are 9am – 5:30pm daily, check with the airport for specific hours.
7. Can I arrive at night?
Instrument-rated pilots can fly IFR into Nassau or Freeport after sunset. These are the only airports with instrument approaches at this time. Some other airports have lights for emergency use, and others will be added in the near future.
8. What proof of citizenship is required?
You need a Passport for entering the Bahamas, and returning to the U.S.
9. What forms are required?
Complete three Inward Declaration and Cruising Permit forms (C7A) You will keep one stamped copy with you for traveling to other islands to show Customs at other airports. In addition, an Arrival Report is required at Nassau and Freeport, and at some other airports for twins. Each person also will complete a Bahamas Immigration Card.
10. What fees can I expect?
a) The following Landing fees should be expected at many of the Government airports.
Aircraft Weight (lbs)
Up to 4,000
4,001 – 6,000
6,001 – 14,000
14,001 – 34,000
34,001 – 59,000
59,001 and more
b) The FBOs in Nassau and Freeport may charge ramp fees as well.
c) All persons pay a $29 departure tax, including pilot and co-pilot.
11. Are there any overtime fees?
There are no overtime fees for private, non-commercial aircraft.
12. What about Experimental and Light Sport Aircraft?
A Standardized Validation has been approved for Experimental, for the purpose of operating a United States or Canada – registered amateur-built aircraft in Bahamian airspace. Light Sports Aircrafts, operate within the requirements of the Sport Pilot privileges and limitations listed in US FAR 1.315, is also approved. No further action is needed.
13. What about BasicMed?
Bahamas and FAA’s BasicMed Certification under 14 CFR Part 68 for pilots flying to/from and within The Bahamas, Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority has granted approval. The Bahamas continues is legacy of assuring easy access and a warm welcome for GA guests. Pilots flying with a BasicMed certificate are welcome in The Bahamas.
14. Can I bring my pet?
Yes, you will need an Import Permit. Call Agriculture, (242) 325-7502.
15. Do I need to file a Flight Plan when flying between islands?
No, just be prepared to show your Cruising Permit if there is Customs when you land.
16. What forms must be filed when departing?
Fill out two outbound General Declaration forms (C7), surrender your copy of the Immigration card, and pay departure tax of $29 per person.
17. What kind of Flight Plan do I file when returning to the U.S.?
You will file an International Flight Plan with 800-WX-BRIEF or Nassau Radio 124.2, 128.0. Once in the air, you must contact Miami Radio 15 minutes before penetrating the ADIZ, just past Bimini. Contact Flight Service on 126.7. They will give you a discrete transponder code. Do not penetrate the ADIZ without this code.
18. Is ADCUS on the Flight Plan adequate notice for U.S. Customs?
No, you are required to contact them at least 1 hour before arrival. A phone call is the only way to comply.
19. Do I have to land at any particular airport in the U.S.?
There are many convenient Florida airports with U.S. Customs.
20. How can I get more complete information on all the airports and procedures?
The Bahamas & Caribbean Pilots Guide is the complete source for all the information you will need. It can be purchased at many Florida FBOs, or directly from AOPA Pilot Publishing at 1.800.USA.AOPA (800) 872-2627, 301.695.2000.
21. What numbers must you call for weather information?
Both in the U.S. and The Bahamas 1 (800) WX BRIEF /242-377-7178 /242-377-7116.