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Thread: How best to introduce STOL flying to the Caribbean, any suggestions ?

  1. #1

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    How best to introduce STOL flying to the Caribbean, any suggestions ?

    Hi Folks,



    I'm looking for ideas as to how I should best go about generating interest in the building and flying of kit built STOL aircraft, in a region where they virtually do not currently exist.


    Over the last 30-plus years, I've worked in design and experimental flight test for several major OEMs and tier 1 suppliers.


    I began flying single engine piston aircraft in late 2008.


    I've never purchased or built a kit aircraft myself but I've worked in Liaison Engineering to support manufacture and modification of commercial and business aircraft.


    I believe there are many among the region's 2.5 million population who would be keen to fly "low and slow" around and between the various islands; such as retired airline pilots, business owners, high net worth individuals, active airline pilots and young commercial pilots building hours (interested in fractional ownership), as well as other aviation enthusiast (possibly just interested in being part of a "Build Assist" as a hobby).


    It would be great to learn how other communities of kit aircraft builders were formed and nurtured on the way to becoming well established General Aviation successes.


    Looking forward to hearing from many of you.


    Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this and for your suggestions.


    Best regards,


    dave

  2. #2

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    have a flyin and invite us all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    have a flyin and invite us all.
    That's an excellent idea !

    Thank you for your suggestion.

    Currently though the logistics would be very challenging for me to take on as a team of one.

    The North American GA community does have the odd fly-in and there is one in particular - "The International Air Rally" - where I have a 'networking connection' with one of the organizers. I'll definitely seek her advice regarding a future STOL kit aircraft adoption promotion.

    Your idea certainly opens up doors and I appreciate you having suggested it, thanks again.

    btw - some other suggestions, made via a local social media group, have included holding an "Air show". Combining the suggestions certainly would increase visibility of the event I'd expect, perhaps.

    Thanks again,
    Best regards,
    dave
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    Maybe host Young Eagles-type flights?

    Iíve given YE flights with kids and their parents, and often the parents were more enthused afterwards than their kids. The point being that YE flights sow a lot of seeds and some germinate quickly (yay, revenue now!) and others generate in a few decades (yay, a sales pipeline!).

    If you do a fly-in you might also consider having fly-outs similar to the ones done at New Holstein. If there are empty seats that could be filled with locals in your target demographic you might be able to generate interest and excitement amongst them. And the locals might be able to share knowledge of the area - history, weather, flora and fauna, etc - that would be interesting to the hosting pilot, making it more worth their time. It also might help to ensure that some builders attend your event so prospects can get their questions answered.

    Do any of the islands have business development offices that could help you make connections or identify available resources?
    Speedo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    Maybe host Young Eagles-type flights?

    I’ve given YE flights with kids and their parents, and often the parents were more enthused afterwards than their kids. The point being that YE flights sow a lot of seeds and some germinate quickly (yay, revenue now!) and others generate in a few decades (yay, a sales pipeline!).

    If you do a fly-in you might also consider having fly-outs similar to the ones done at New Holstein. If there are empty seats that could be filled with locals in your target demographic you might be able to generate interest and excitement amongst them. And the locals might be able to share knowledge of the area - history, weather, flora and fauna, etc - that would be interesting to the hosting pilot, making it more worth their time. It also might help to ensure that some builders attend your event so prospects can get their questions answered.

    Do any of the islands have business development offices that could help you make connections or identify available resources?
    All very great suggestions, thank you.

    Some of the suggestions have been considered and action already taken.

    For example, thanks to a lot of the footage available on YouTube that's been uploaded by Drone enthusiast, I've been able to post links to those videos which show the diverse remote beauty spots - throughout the island where I'm currently visiting - from the vantage point of up above. Most people have never visited such areas or are even aware that they exist.

    I've looked into contacting youth groups such as the scouts and air cadets but first need to have a program in place before I can expect to see any enthusiasm for the concept; schools and government backed organizations have to be very careful when it comes to activities involving kids and they are notoriously slow to approve initiatives, probably rightfully so.

    The fly-out concept is a fantastic one and I've had others suggest fly-ins and air shows be held.

    That's a challenge when there simply isn't the equipment around or easily available, to bring together logistically. They are however goals for the future; the last major air show held locally was in 2011 and it was very successful but I guess its the fund raising issue that prevents persons like myself from taking on such a challenge from the onset.

    I've begun with a simple 180 day venture, whereby I've so far contacted the local Civil Aviation Authority, the local Foreign Direct Investment agency, several Kit built STOL aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers and had a lot of Social Media engagement with aviation enthusiast through mediums such as Facebook. I've also recently reached out to a top local automotive customization outfit, to see if they'd be interested in a 'first step' foray into General Aviation, by helping to establish a "Builder Assist" facility. I'll be reaching out to others in the new year as well.

    It's all been slow progress during this first three and a half weeks but each day I try something new to add to what's been working and abandon what's definitely been a poor choice for strategy.

    I really appreciate your suggestions and I'll put thought into how to best engage families but as most Kit built aircraft tend to be limited in payload, the demographic and the mission may not lead to a large niche market but one never knows and it doesn't hurt to investigate the option.

    Cheers,
    Best regards,
    dave

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    I would consider starting with certified aircraft. It is not that hard to find a certified aircraft for 1/3 or less the price of a kit built aircraft. Usually with a higher payload also. The people you talked about targeting have the money to buy a plane today. They don't need to spend two years waiting to build a plane. You just need to find the local places for them to fly. Beaches, resorts, out of the way restaurants, once you get the 100 dollar hamburger tour set up they will have a place to go. Once you get some people flying and talking about the adventure MOREBETTERDISEASE will kick in and that is when people will start wanting to spend the time and money on some of the kit built planes.
    DENNY
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    My first question is where do you plan on flying in/out of?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    I would consider starting with certified aircraft. It is not that hard to find a certified aircraft for 1/3 or less the price of a kit built aircraft. Usually with a higher payload also. The people you talked about targeting have the money to buy a plane today. They don't need to spend two years waiting to build a plane. You just need to find the local places for them to fly. Beaches, resorts, out of the way restaurants, once you get the 100 dollar hamburger tour set up they will have a place to go. Once you get some people flying and talking about the adventure MOREBETTERDISEASE will kick in and that is when people will start wanting to spend the time and money on some of the kit built planes.
    DENNY

    Very good and practical advice Denny. Thank you for supplying it.

    There are however only around 6 privately registered aircraft on the island where I'm currently staying and the island nation has a population of just under 1.5 million.

    Those GA aircraft owners who fly around the region (inter-island) have indicated that they face lots of obstacles relating to international travel (immigration & customs regulations) in some parts of the region even though they are essentially regional GA traffic.

    Domestic GA flights (intra-island) appear to be limited to flight training and some sight seeing charters with some limited domestic island-to-island travel within the twin island nation.

    The local private pilot flying-for-pleasure scene appears to be 'on life support'.

    A lack of active airfields other than international airports, is also a challenge, as security procedures tend to make for a travel experience that certainly won't accommodate spontaneity.

    You're absolutely correct. Putting together recommended routes & itineraries is essential for promoting private GA flight in this part of the world and that doesn't require a kit building community culture.

    Growing adoption of GA as a hobby though is essential, if resources such as ATS, ATC facilities and ground based infrastructure are to be expanded to facilitate greater use of local air space.

    Regional aviation authorities are bound by law to consider "the economic benefit to wider society" when evaluating request for air operations certificates and calls to spend more on aviation, as their expenditures in support of such is essentially tax payer's money provided to them by their governments.

    Thus bringing in as many people into the system as can be encouraged to participate in GA related activities, is seen as being a compelling strategy. Kit building brings not just the owner-pilot but all sorts of other volunteers looking for an experience to add to their lives. For that reason, I'm pursuing the Kit built aircraft route with "Builder Assist" as a central attraction to increase public adoption.

    I'm going to give what you've stated lots of thought. Thanks for putting it into the mix.

    Cheers,
    dave

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AviationLed View Post
    Very good and practical advice Denny. Thank you for supplying it.

    There are however only around 6 privately registered aircraft on the island where I'm currently staying and the island nation has a population of just under 1.5 million.

    Those GA aircraft owners who fly around the region (inter-island) have indicated that they face lots of obstacles relating to international travel (immigration & customs regulations) in some parts of the region even though they are essentially regional GA traffic.

    Domestic GA flights (intra-island) appear to be limited to flight training and some sight seeing charters with some limited domestic island-to-island travel within the twin island nation.

    The local private pilot flying-for-pleasure scene appears to be 'on life support'.

    A lack of active airfields other than international airports, is also a challenge, as security procedures tend to make for a travel experience that certainly won't accommodate spontaneity.

    You're absolutely correct. Putting together recommended routes & itineraries is essential for promoting private GA flight in this part of the world and that doesn't require a kit building community culture.

    Growing adoption of GA as a hobby though is essential, if resources such as ATS, ATC facilities and ground based infrastructure are to be expanded to facilitate greater use of local air space.

    Regional aviation authorities are bound by law to consider "the economic benefit to wider society" when evaluating request for air operations certificates and calls to spend more on aviation, as their expenditures in support of such is essentially tax payer's money provided to them by their governments.

    Thus bringing in as many people into the system as can be encouraged to participate in GA related activities, is seen as being a compelling strategy. Kit building brings not just the owner-pilot but all sorts of other volunteers looking for an experience to add to their lives. For that reason, I'm pursuing the Kit built aircraft route with "Builder Assist" as a central attraction to increase public adoption.

    I'm going to give what you've stated lots of thought. Thanks for putting it into the mix.

    Cheers,
    dave
    I admire your ambitions for aviation in the Caribbean. But...
    I see youíre in Canada, one of the freest countries on earth along with the USA, to own and fly a private aircraft. Wide open places to go, umpteen dozens of airstrips and the freedom to do it in this great big land, itís awesome. However, very few of our flying conditions here can be compared to the Caribbean.
    Rules and regulations alone makes private flying in some of these places pretty difficult, expensive and not worthwhile. Here we have wide open spaces, ski hills, hockey, hunting and other stuff that canít be done easily anywhere else. The Caribbean offers sun, sand, and beautiful waters. For at least 8 months of the year, we canít offer any of those things. So where we actually live dictates what we can and canít do.
    IMO
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    Good question "Flying Dave".

    One of the discussions that was undertaken on Social Media involved the feasibility of establishing privately operated grass strips with FBO facilities.

    The regulations per the Civil Aviation Act for the island where I'm visiting, does not prohibit such; they cover use of the airspace above the surface and safety of operations. Local ordinances cover land use in many areas and those can differ.

    The idea is to import kit aircraft from OEMs in the US / Canada and assemble them locally via "Builder Assist" programs. The aircraft are for local and regional use only and would have to be modified to meet the Airworthiness Requirements specified by the local and regional regulatory bodies. The regulations tend to lean heavily on the international commercial aviation side of things, so I anticipate needing to apply for lots of waivers.

    The wider goal is to grow General Aviation throughout the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. There are only two ways to travel between the islands, by air or by boat. By air lets you see and experience a lot more in a shorter period of time.

    Thanks for your inquiry. If you have other questions or comments I'll be very happy to attempt to answer them.

    Cheers,
    dave
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-05-2019 at 12:57 AM.

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    "RoddyM", you're so right about flying in the US and in Canada.

    That's the sort of freedom I'm intending to promote in order to grow General Aviation in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

    The strategy to gain acceptance of the concept is simple. Ensure the highest level of safety possible, equal or exceed that achieved by the airlines.

    I'm confident that it can be done through the right type of intensive training program(s) which will also be designed to provide for a very enjoyable experience at the same time.

    The great thing about a "Builder Assist" program, is that future owner-pilots will spend a lot of time working on the build of their aircraft, allowing lots of opportunity to prepare them to operate safely once they take to the air in their STOL kit built aircraft.

    I believe it can be worthwhile once the unnecessary obstacles to adoption are removed.

    There is a willingness to so do all around, as long as it does not result in compromising safety.

    That's the feeling I am getting but I may be wrong, only time will tell and I'm committed to giving it an intensive go for 180 days.

    Thanks for your comments, definitely 'food for thought'.

    Cheers,
    dave
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-05-2019 at 01:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AviationLed View Post
    Hi Folks,


    I'm looking for ideas as to how I should best go about generating interest in the building and flying of kit built STOL aircraft, in a region where they virtually do not currently exist.

    Over the last 30-plus years, I've worked in design and experimental flight test for several major OEMs and tier 1 suppliers.

    I began flying single engine piston aircraft in late 2008.

    I've never purchased or built a kit aircraft myself but I've worked in Liaison Engineering to support manufacture and modification of commercial and business aircraft.

    I believe there are many among the region's 2.5 million population who would be keen to fly "low and slow" around and between the various islands; such as retired airline pilots, business owners, high net worth individuals, active airline pilots and young commercial pilots building hours (interested in fractional ownership), as well as other aviation enthusiast (possibly just interested in being part of a "Build Assist" as a hobby).

    It would be great to learn how other communities of kit aircraft builders were formed and nurtured on the way to becoming well established General Aviation successes.

    Looking forward to hearing from many of you.

    Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this and for your suggestions.

    Best regards,

    dave


    I've been asked why would anyone want to fly ' low & slow ' in the Southern Caribbean ?

    Here are some Points of Interest that might be worth exploring from above.


    1. Flying over the coastal forest
    2. Sand Cliffs & beaches in the Southland
    3. The unseen reef
    4. Wet lands & coconut trees
    5. Mini surprise Volcano in the making
    6. A closer look at sand Cliffs
    7. Beach combing
    8. Places to land for a beach BBQ
    9. Get away island life
    10. North Coast rain forest & beaches



    Please note
    :

    I do not possess the rights to any of the videos linked to above.
    The links are provided for educational purposes only per "fair use policy".
    My sincerest gratitude to the persons who shared their content freely (or with reserved rights) online.

    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-06-2019 at 11:22 AM.

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    How big are the islands? Would floatplanes (perhaps amphibious to store, fuel, maintain, etc at an established airport) be a solution to the lack of airstrips?

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    Quote Originally Posted by StudentPilot479 View Post
    How big are the islands? Would floatplanes (perhaps amphibious to store, fuel, maintain, etc at an established airport) be a solution to the lack of airstrips?

    A very astute observation on your part. Thank you for your inquiry and suggestion.

    In fact there are a couple of other ventures being looked into which involve float planes but they are commercial in nature.

    One involves making use of the Icon A5 to provide "Amazing Aerial Adventures" for Resort guest.
    The other is a commercial transport solution for business passengers and light freight and is based upon the business model pioneered by SurfAir.

    Both ventures are early phase 'Start Ups' (EIS 2022 and 2021 respectively) and neither of the services has been launched as yet. In fact the local and Regional Civil Aviation Authorities are yet to be approached for application for Air Operator Certificates.


    To answer your first question :

    The larger of the twin Island nation where I'm currently visiting, is about 60 km by 80 km. The smaller island is around 25 km from the larger one and its about 10 km by 40 km.


    The goal of my particular effort however is to grow General Aviation in the region by encouraging aviation enthusiasts to get involved in recreational activities that will help build and grow a sustainable community. I believe (strongly) that kit built aircraft and the "Builder Assist" concept is an excellent way to achieve the goal.


    Your comment regarding float planes is also applicable for kit built aircraft, as a Cub can indeed be put on floats.

    Thank you for offering up a great suggestion.

    Best regards,
    dave
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-06-2019 at 08:42 PM.

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    Dave,
    with all due respect:
    I appreciate your effort to expose the Caribbean to the exciting world of stol aircraft.
    I have spent time over the years crewing on boats Cruising thru the islands, most recently, two years ago. The animosity toward tourists has been on the rise for awhile. The local economy has taken a hit due the the DEAís quite effective efforts to quell the transport of locally grown marijuana, once a mainstay for local economy.
    Crime, poverty and desperation is on the rise.
    I wouldnít fly a kite down there anymore let alone a private aircraft unless at tourist hubs or private islands.
    Logistics - fuel, parts, mechanics, are few and far between.
    What island are you staying ?

    edit: sorry to sound so negative.
    used to be a beautiful area, tourism ruined it along with the culture.
    Last edited by Oliver; 12-06-2019 at 10:47 PM.

  16. #16
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    Have done some flying down there....

    Either people have tons of money or they have no money.

    Fuel is expensive. Not really that many places to go. Its not like you fly into airports in the bahamas and there is food there.

    When we go I have spare parts with me & tools to fix most common problems.

    Seaplanes? Used to maintain a supercub that lived in the bahamas 3 months out of the year. It only took 200 hours of work every year to keep up with the corrosion.

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    Dave,
    with all due respect:
    I appreciate your effort to expose the Caribbean to the exciting world of stol aircraft.
    I have spent time over the years crewing on boats Cruising thru the islands, most recently, two years ago. The animosity toward tourists has been on the rise for awhile. The local economy has taken a hit due the the DEA’s quite effective efforts to quell the transport of locally grown marijuana, once a mainstay for local economy.
    Crime, poverty and desperation is on the rise.
    I wouldn’t fly a kite down there anymore let alone a private aircraft unless at tourist hubs or private islands.
    Logistics - fuel, parts, mechanics, are few and far between.
    What island are you staying ?

    edit: sorry to sound so negative.
    used to be a beautiful area, tourism ruined it along with the culture.

    Not a problem Oliver, all honest opinions are valuable and definitely welcome.

    There may be a misconception though in that the idea is to import kit aircraft from US and Canadian OEMs and to establish a "Build Assist" facility locally to assemble the kits. It aimed at catering to the domestic niche demand which I believe to be a latent and aspirational need.

    Where I am presently, the economy is predominately Oil and Gas based with tourism being the mainstay of the smaller of the two islands.

    Indeed many of the islands within the Caribbean region are having issues with the rapid rise in tourism but their infrastructure has improved tremendously over the last decade because of it and they seem committed to continuing to develop their economies to facilitate even further growth of that sector. I'm referring to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean though and its a bit different compared to the Northern Caribbean perhaps.

    I'm currently in Trinidad. There's a local aviation institute attached to the national university and the region's largest native airline has its head quarters here, so accessing licensed aviation technicians and mechanics shouldn't be a significant challenge.

    In fact it is the retired cohort of aviation professionals (former airline pilots, technicians, mechanics) as well as business owners and active aviation professionals, as well as aviation enthusiasts with the means, that form the niche from which volunteers and kit purchasers are anticipated to come.

    Its really about getting locals to adopt General Aviation and grow participation in the same way as has been done with other high end hobbies and past times.

    A sustainable industry will be one which possess many, many different aspects under the General Aviation umbrella and one which has widespread public participation. I believe adoption of kit built aircraft and the "Builder Assist" concept, is just one small step in a long journey but a crucial one.

    I do share your concerns and they are being taken into account when it comes to developing the concept, so that it benefits not just those who participate directly but the wider society in a transparent and measurable way as well.

    Appreciate your candor very much.
    Cheers,
    dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    Have done some flying down there....

    Either people have tons of money or they have no money.

    Fuel is expensive. Not really that many places to go. Its not like you fly into airports in the bahamas and there is food there.

    When we go I have spare parts with me & tools to fix most common problems.

    Seaplanes? Used to maintain a supercub that lived in the bahamas 3 months out of the year. It only took 200 hours of work every year to keep up with the corrosion.

    Tim


    Thanks Tim for those insights.

    Although I'm looking at the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, so over 1,000 miles to the east and then another 800 miles to the furthest point south, some of the issues you pointed out apply and will have to be addressed.

    Corrosion would definitely be an issue for older aircraft but with proper application of today's coatings and the increased use of composites in products like the "NX" and the Carbon Cub, maintenance shouldn't be as onerous a task though it will require more effort than is typically needed in environments not subject to high concentration of salt spray.

    AVGAS (100LL) is definitely a challenge and will become even more so for everyone around the world, as the shift to more sustainable fuel occurs.

    I'm looking to power plants which can use MOGAS for some types of flying, as 95 Octane cost around 84 cents US per litre ($ 3.20 USD per gallon).

    I expect "All Electric" power plants - when they become commercially available - will really increase adoption of the sort of flying I envisage but that's five to ten years away.

    Regarding places to go and see, I put some links together in a list earlier within this thread. There are certainly enough diverse areas on just the island where I currently am, to develop 10 to 20 purpose established 'adventure routes/itineraries/airfields' , to facilitate approved excursions. I hope to work closely with the local Civil Aviation Authority and other government agencies to develop such.

    The issue of MRO capabilities was touched upon in an earlier message. It should not be a problem on the island nation where I'm proposing to initiate the concept, as there is already a local aviation institute present and the region's largest native international airline is headquartered on the island.

    Your points are however well worth consideration because they highlight weaknesses that exist throughout the region and which present significant challenges to adoption and growth, if the obstacles the weaknesses give rise to cannot be eliminated or at the very least, successfully mitigated.

    Thanks again for your insights,
    Cheers,
    dave

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AviationLed View Post
    ….I'm looking for ideas as to how I should best go about generating interest in the building and flying of kit built STOL aircraft, in a region where they virtually do not currently exist......I believe there are many among the region's 2.5 million population who would be keen to fly "low and slow" around and between the various islands; such as retired airline pilots, business owners, high net worth individuals, active airline pilots and young commercial pilots building hours (interested in fractional ownership), as well as other aviation enthusiast (possibly just interested in being part of a "Build Assist" as a hobby). It would be great to learn how other communities of kit aircraft builders were formed and nurtured on the way to becoming well established General Aviation successes......
    I'm curious what your interest is in creating a "well established General Aviation success"?
    IMHO if you're interested in low-n-slow, STOL, and/or off-airport ops.... I'd suggest "just do it".
    If others are interested, they'll jump in.
    If you're looking for a lucrative business venture,
    remember that the easiest way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start with a large one.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I'm curious what your interest is in creating a "well established General Aviation success"?
    IMHO if you're interested in low-n-slow, STOL, and/or off-airport ops.... I'd suggest "just do it".
    If others are interested, they'll jump in.
    If you're looking for a lucrative business venture,
    remember that the easiest way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start with a large one.

    A very fair question and one well worth addressing, thank you for asking it.

    I'll try to explain my particular interest in pursuing the venture I've taken on.

    I work professionally in the A&D industry in Canada as a contractor and I began my personal flight training back in 2008.

    I've noticed out here that there's a keen desire to grow aviation but the focus is almost solely on matters that facilitate the airlines, so flight for recreational purposes is almost non-existent despite there being numerous retired aviation professionals and enthusiasts living in the region.

    Personally, I love flying single engine, piston powered, general aviation aircraft and got hooked on the idea of STOL flying having discovered Mike Patey's channel about a year and a half or so ago.

    Since then I've followed people like Trent Palmer and Cory Robin on line, as well as the adventures the rest of the Flying Cowboys. It is through Social Media that I've grown interested in kit aircraft and STOL flying and subsequently have decided that adoption of the latter activity could help to grow general aviation in the Eastern & Southern Caribbean Region.

    General Aviation is the incubator for commercial aviation and I believe for GA in the region to grow and achieve sustainability, widespread interest has to be cultivated in activities associated with aircraft.

    Being an aviation professional for some 30 years, I also understand that as GA grows, all sorts of opportunities will open up and I have a couple of business ventures I'm either an adviser on or pursuing myself but their potential entry into service is more than a few years down-the-line.

    I'm also very excited about what the introduction of "All Electric" power plants will do for light aircraft adoption and general aviation in this region and I would like to be deeply involved in growing that nascent aspect of GA in the future from a business perspective.

    So in summary, my particular Canadian based business has a long term interest in the growth of General Aviation throughout the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region which I see as a future niche market for me to supply services.

    I believe that kit built aircraft and "Build Assist" facilities and programs, are a great way to get local general aviation en route to bigger and better things and I'm on a 180 day mission (end of week three currently) to promote the concept.

    I hope I was able to convey my particular philosophy and thus my particular motivation for the choice I've made. Most are skeptical when I explain my vision but that's to be expected, I would be too if I didn't believe so strongly that there is indeed a huge pent up demand for adoption of GA related activities.

    Again, thanks for your question and suggestion.

    Others have also recommended that I lead by example and certainly I'm giving considerable thought to starting a build but to do so will require lots of volunteers to assist, if it is not to be a year long or even longer journey. I'll be traveling back and forth between my Montreal home and my current location, so a personal kit build won't bring timely results at present - in support of the current initiative - but I certainly see myself acquiring one at some time in my future.

    I hope my response was thorough and clear.

    Note for everyone - I'm grateful to receive all feed back, whether it be skeptical or supportive, as all feedback helps me to fine tune the concept.

    Cheers,
    dave
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-07-2019 at 03:09 PM.

  21. #21

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    If the demand was that great for GA flying in the area it would have happened with the current available certified aircraft. Putting the word STOL on a kit built aircraft does not make it perform any better then some of the 60 year old aircraft. You need to get yourself a plane and do some flying. Youtube videos of STOL events do a very poor job of representing real off airport flying. I would have to agree with the others that from a business standpoint it is simply a money pit. The other issue is the cost of shipping all this stuff including the hassles with paint and chemicals. It may all be possible one day as political situations calm but with class 5 storms tearing the area apart every year that will take some time. No right or wrong just some things to think about.
    DENNY

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    If the demand was that great for GA flying in the area it would have happened with the current available certified aircraft. Putting the word STOL on a kit built aircraft does not make it perform any better then some of the 60 year old aircraft. You need to get yourself a plane and do some flying. Youtube videos of STOL events do a very poor job of representing real off airport flying. I would have to agree with the others that from a business standpoint it is simply a money pit. The other issue is the cost of shipping all this stuff including the hassles with paint and chemicals. It may all be possible one day as political situations calm but with class 5 storms tearing the area apart every year that will take some time. No right or wrong just some things to think about.
    DENNY

    Denny thanks for your very apt comments.

    I too have wondered why there wasn't that much private flying taking place.

    At my peak, I've flown over 120 hours in a single year in Canada and I even got in an hour (not logged of course) here (Caribbean) on a prior trip almost a decade ago, by going up with an instructor in a C172 rented from a local flight school. The experience was fantastic and I got to see a bit of the country in a way that one rarely gets to see.

    However, its only since the US introduced the LSA category that it makes it feasible to import aircraft into the region on a large scale. I say that because it would have to spark a lot of interest among the population to build support for getting approvals ( Import ; customs & excise, Civil Aviation Regulation ; Airworthiness, etc.) for many aspects of the concept. The importation of older aircraft has inherent drawbacks regarding MRO cost and really benefits only the owner / operator, providing little opportunity to attract others to aviation from a participatory perspective if they aren't keen on going up for the odd flight when invited to do so.

    You are correct, it hasn't happened, so I've asked myself and others "why not ?", the answers vary but they all point to obstacles to adoption and mostly a lack of organization, collaboration and a strong General Aviation community lobbying for more options to enjoy recreational flying.

    For example, when sUAS (Drones) first became available, there was an 'explosion' in adoption. Companies sprung up in no time at all and the latest technologies were being imported in significant quantities. Regulations were proposed in 2017 and later implemented. There was an immediate halt to business innovation relating to sUAS usage, simply because the community did not lobby sufficiently for its own interest and the regulations initially tended to favour manned commercial aviation as practiced by the airlines, making sUAS adoption more onerous and thus less desirable.

    There is a pent up or latent (unseen) demand to take to the air but no easy path to satisfy it.

    It is that - I believe - which is the cause of there only being six privately registered aircraft operated on the island (population of 1.44 million people).

    This particular island is outside of the hurricane belt, being the most southerly located within the Eastern Caribbean. Disaster resilience is a priority elsewhere, as outside investors from Asia, Europe and the US have been pushing for to protect their investments into high end tourist resorts throughout the hurricane belt and thus it could be expected that those considerations will also apply to future aviation support infrastructure.

    Regarding consideration of issues such as the cost of shipping or the handling of chemicals, these are not a problem on this particular island, as it has a long established chemical industry being an oil, gas and derivatives (chemicals) producer. Anything you can find on the shelves of US or European stores, you'll likely see here on the shelves of local stores as trade is pretty much extensive and fairly free. If not, you can order it online and receive it by air (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc. or via container shipping for larger items).

    Will introduction of kit aircraft and "Builder Assist" programs lead to a significant increase in participation in General Aviation activities by the local public ? I think so, others disagree. Only by testing the hypothesis will the answer be revealed and that's what my 180 day mission is intending to do.

    There is an increasing appetite among the local populace to explore their environment. There is also a desire to be more active socially among retirees, so satisfying these various needs for a niche segment that is easily financially capable of adopting the value proposition on offer, has a decent chance for success I believe. I'll have a much better understanding in just over five months from now.

    Thanks again for asking the important questions.
    Cheers,
    dave
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-08-2019 at 08:25 AM.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Dave View Post
    My first question is where do you plan on flying in/out of?

    Just realized Flying Dave that the response I provided in post #10, in response to your question posed in post #7, did not directly answer your particular question.


    Here's a more specific response :

    I'm looking at Trinidad & Tobago as the 'Start up' location.

    The twin island nation has a strong economy, even by US and European standards.
    GDP is around $31,000 USD (purchasing power per capita based upon 2018 figures).
    The size of the population is 1.45 million.
    The country is situated outside of the regular hurricane belt.



    The next market to address would be the English speaking islands of Windward Island chain consisting of :-


    • Grenada
    • Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
    • Barbados
    • St. Lucia


    Barbados would be the ideal market to approach first within this group.


    Finally the goal would be to introduce the activities to the English speaking islands of the Leeward Island chain consisting of :-


    • Dominica
    • [Montserrat]
    • Antigua & Barbuda
    • St Kitts & Nevis


    Antigua & Barbuda would be the first to focus upon within this group.
    Introduction of the activities to Antigua may follow closely behind introduction to Barbados.


    The time frame to get it all done ? ... as long as decade perhaps.
    Last edited by AviationLed; Today at 03:17 AM.

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