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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?

    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?
    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 you’re 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, it’s 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 can’t be done easily anywhere else. The Caribbean offers sun, sand, and beautiful waters. For at least 8 months of the year, we can’t offer any of those things. So where we actually live dictates what we can and can’t 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 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.
    Last edited by Oliver; 12-06-2019 at 10:47 PM.

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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; 12-11-2019 at 03:17 AM.

  24. #24
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    Gotcha. All of my experience has been in a jet and from TNCM north. You are definitely going to have an uphill struggle but I wish you good luck.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AviationLed View Post
    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
    Dave,

    I don't think you have any idea what it really costs to build a kit.

    Tim
    Likes DENNY liked this post

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by behindpropellers View Post
    Dave,

    I don't think you have any idea what it really costs to build a kit.

    Tim


    You are correct Tim but I've been in the aircraft design/manufacture/flight testing and production domain since the mid 1980s, so I'm not entirely clueless.

    You are very right however to point out my short comings with respect to building of kit aircraft.

    To help me to begin to understand some of the issues, I recently joined Bryan Walstrom's new builders Facebook group, having watched all of the videos he produced and posted to his Experimental Aircraft Channel. I've also watched literally over a hundred videos of Kit builders in action as shown in YouTube videos documenting their efforts, over the last year or so.

    There is however no substitute for undertaking the real challenge and as one who has worked in liaison engineering, I'm keenly aware of the difference between what is planned and what can actually occur once 'tool hits metal'.

    In terms of what it cost with respect to both effort and money, I'll probably underestimate on the time / schedule front and overestimate on the cost, simply because of 30 plus years working for OEMs.

    This is the purpose of my 180 day mission prior to even acquiring a Kit, to gain knowledge.

    In this region, the demand and desire have to be unleashed and the capabilities awakened.

    Thanks for your comment, I will remind myself continuously that I have lots to learn.

    Best regards,
    dave

    ps - in terms of acquisition and build resources, the anticipation is that clients can anticipate having to pay the equivalent of the price of a new Luxury SUV, such as a Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd Edition. A "Builder Assist" program will require them to put in around 1000 man hours of work spread over two to four years on average. Aircraft will likely be produced at a faster rate however the intention is to ensure that the owners and pilots are trained to the highest safety conscious standards possible and the "Builder Assist" program will also be leveraged in its structure to do so.
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-14-2019 at 01:38 AM.

  27. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Dave View Post
    Gotcha. All of my experience has been in a jet and from TNCM north. You are definitely going to have an uphill struggle but I wish you good luck.

    "Flying Dave", yes indeed it is going to be a monumental struggle. Thank you for your wish for good luck.

    Just looking at what someone like Cdr. Bud Slabbaert has managed to accomplish with the CaribAvia annual regional conference in only three short years, starting from scratch virtually on his own, is a great source of inspiration. Major OEMs are now signing on to sponsor events and global coverage has become a staple of the event.

    I'm no Cdr. Sabbaert of course and can never be. I'm only one month into a six month mission however, if I've read things correctly, others will take up the challenge and eventually Kits made in places like Yakima (WA) and Homedale (ID), as well as by other manufactures in other locations within the US and Canada, will be on their way to customers in the Eastern Caribbean sooner than one might think.

    That's essentially how GA will become more widely adopted regionally in the quickest time frame.

    It's all about recreational flying and wetting the public's appetite for aviation adventure.

    Thanks again for your comment and wish.

    Cheers,
    dave

  28. #28

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    There is LOTS of flying going on in the Bahamas. Lots of airports. Very receptive customs, easy in and out, AVGAS availability on some of the islands, little crime away from Freeport and Nassau. Get the AOPA book on flying in the Bahamas and you will be overwhelmed with info. STOL aircraft though??? Why? There are so many airports down there that there is no need! My favorite place is Andros Island. Easy access to the US mainland, several airports, no or low crime, etc.

    I personally would not fly my cub down there or keep a plane down there though. I take my Cirrus. 1 reason - the winds. Reason 2 - flying over water for long distances requires an inflatable raft and that would mean no place for a passenger in a 2 place aircraft. Reason 3 - corrosion would devalue a plane at the rate of many thousands of dollars per year.

    Remember - bright and passionate people have been flying taildraggers into the beautiful Caribbean for 90 years. No viable island based STOL tourism aviation industry has emerged. Don’t set yourself up for shattered dreams.
    Last edited by Tennessee; 12-14-2019 at 08:50 AM.
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  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    There is LOTS of flying going on in the Bahamas. Lots of airports. Very receptive customs, easy in and out, AVGAS availability on some of the islands, little crime away from Freeport and Nassau. Get the AOPA book on flying in the Bahamas and you will be overwhelmed with info. STOL aircraft though??? Why? There are so many airports down there that there is no need! My favorite place is Andros Island. Easy access to the US mainland, several airports, no or low crime, etc.

    I personally would not fly my cub down there or keep a plane down there though. I take my Cirrus. 1 reason - the winds. Reason 2 - flying over water for long distances requires an inflatable raft and that would mean no place for a passenger in a 2 place aircraft. Reason 3 - corrosion would devalue a plane at the rate of many thousands of dollars per year.

    Remember - bright and passionate people have been flying taildraggers into the beautiful Caribbean for 90 years. No viable island based STOL tourism aviation industry has emerged. Don’t set yourself up for shattered dreams.

    Hi "Tennessee" thank you very much for your very valuable insights and comments.


    I probably need to be more clear as to what my objective is and where I am referring to.


    • The objective is to Grow local and regional (Eastern & Southern Caribbean) General Aviation in the part of the world which I'm currently visiting.


    • The twin island nation is about 10 miles from the South American continent and the Eastern Caribbean region runs north for just shy of 900 miles and contains over 10 distinct island nations.


    • It is on the other side of the Caribbean compared to the Bahamas (which are over 1000 miles to the west north west) and flying locally would very much constitute a different sort of experience, one aimed at building interest among local populations, as opposed to encouraging pilots to make hazardous long haul journeys from the North American continent in order to fly personal STOL aircraft in the region; eventually, local rentals would certainly present a much better option for North American pilots who vacation in the region, to enjoy 'low & slow' adventure flight.


    • Most of the island nations have one or two international airports thus associated restrictions and cost of operating in and out of them aren't attractive for the casual flyer looking to enjoy recreational flying. In fact many of the points of interest and activities I'm looking to promote are of the 'off airport' type; e.g. Beach BBQs, Reef fly overs, River runs, Dormant Volcano sight seeing, Hill top landings, etc., etc.


    On December 5th, I posted a list of links (refer to post #12 in the thread) that sort of show - through YouTube videos - what the points of interest (POI) to visit might be. If you're interested in comparing the POIs to what you've experienced flying in the Bahamas, have a look at the videos and provide feedback if you're so inclined, it would be much appreciated as I'm very interested in the views of all who enjoy taking to the skies.

    Thanks again for responding and helping me to better understand the various concerns, perceptions and expectations of aviation enthusiast the world over.

    Why is there currently virtually no STOL flying or adoption of Kit aircraft in the Eastern & Southern Caribbean ? ... I addressed that question previously in post #22 of this thread; basically, new technology, changing lifestyle desires, improve economic circumstances, all play a part in opening up new opportunities.

    Your suggestion that I refer to the AOPA guide for flying in the Bahamas as an example will be extremely helpful I expect, as pilots and aviators the world over tend to seek similar information about the domains in which they plan to operate, whether they be local to the area or guest visiting from a far.

    Cheers,
    dave
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-14-2019 at 12:04 PM.

  30. #30

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  31. #31

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    I've lived and commercially flown in the area you describe. First, as stated above, the people with enough money to buy and build a kit, just buy a Bell 407 and be done with it. When I was there I was flying a larger helicopter, but if I was to have my choice of airplane, it certainly wouldn’t have been a Cub, Cub derivative, or STOL aircraft. And I LOVE all things Cub. The above mentioned Cirrus would be a good choice, as it’s not largely metal. I think you’re dramatically underestimating the degree of corrosion that happens to metal component aircraft down there. Another function is the need for something that could buck a substantial headwind when over water. The wind is always blowing. Almost always from the same direction but 90% of the time the wrong way. Explain that…


    Furthermore, operating in and out of unimproved strips in that part of the world is asking for one heck of a pile of problems. I won’t spell that one out, but there is a reason why we have as many resources down there as we do. Do you want to dance that polka? I don't.


    Stick to the improved runways, that may or may not have services, on a flight plan, and you won't have a problem. The people are really friendly and helpful. Color outside the lines, and God forbid something bad happens and you need help, you had better have a network of friends with connections in-country, or you’re screwed.


    Not to be bearish on youtube as it can be a valuable resource, but I think the better way to learn how to build a kit airplane is to buy one and build it. Let me tell you, it’s a real big pain in the neck and I live 15 minutes away from Javron. I can’t imagine dealing with customs for two months every time I was over talking to Jay. This is what South of the border would be like, at least some of the time.


    Lastly, many of the people I was around brought their flying devices to the states for maintenance as there is much better availability to just about everything here. And that’s just maintenance, not the sum total of construction.


    This is all opinion but based on personal experience.


    Sik

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikorsky View Post
    I've lived and commercially flown in the area you describe. First, as stated above, the people with enough money to buy and build a kit, just buy a Bell 407 and be done with it. When I was there I was flying a larger helicopter, but if I was to have my choice of airplane, it certainly wouldn’t have been a Cub, Cub derivative, or STOL aircraft. And I LOVE all things Cub. The above mentioned Cirrus would be a good choice, as it’s not largely metal. I think you’re dramatically underestimating the degree of corrosion that happens to metal component aircraft down there. Another function is the need for something that could buck a substantial headwind when over water. The wind is always blowing. Almost always from the same direction but 90% of the time the wrong way. Explain that…


    Furthermore, operating in and out of unimproved strips in that part of the world is asking for one heck of a pile of problems. I won’t spell that one out, but there is a reason why we have as many resources down there as we do. Do you want to dance that polka? I don't.


    Stick to the improved runways, that may or may not have services, on a flight plan, and you won't have a problem. The people are really friendly and helpful. Color outside the lines, and God forbid something bad happens and you need help, you had better have a network of friends with connections in-country, or you’re screwed.


    Not to be bearish on youtube as it can be a valuable resource, but I think the better way to learn how to build a kit airplane is to buy one and build it. Let me tell you, it’s a real big pain in the neck and I live 15 minutes away from Javron. I can’t imagine dealing with customs for two months every time I was over talking to Jay. This is what South of the border would be like, at least some of the time.


    Lastly, many of the people I was around brought their flying devices to the states for maintenance as there is much better availability to just about everything here. And that’s just maintenance, not the sum total of construction.


    This is all opinion but based on personal experience.


    Sik

    Hi Sikorsky, thank you very much for your detailed comments, very useful and much appreciated.



    Issues previously addressed:

    Some of the comments (nature of the niche market, the usefulness of builder assistance facilities, even the environmental challenges regarding maintenance) were dealt with in earlier responses, so I won't bore everyone by repeating what I provided as replies in response to similar comments presented previously and I invite you to refer to them if you haven't already.



    Concept's target market :

    To add a bit of clarity, the concept's aim is to widen adoption of General Aviation (GA), in particular private aviation. So it's more about attracting folks like those in a now rapidly expanding "Drone" community (after the sector experienced a 'near death' situation immediately following introduction of regulations covering sUAS operations) that's embraced operating in the local NAS within the constraints of Civil Aviation Authority regulation & guidelines, as well as adopting some of the lighter aspects of aviation best practices; such as paying attention to weather in advance of flying, flight planning, vehicle pre-flight inspections, etc.

    This has demonstrated - to some limited extent - that there's interest by a good number of individuals in taking their experiences to the next level.

    Another cohort which may find the prospect attractive, are those involved in power boat racing. STOL flying is the opposite of power boat racing, in terms of the purpose of the endeavors but the similarities when it comes to tinkering with machines and a desire for adventure, are commonly held by those who typically participate in both hobby activities.

    The type of individual, apart from those just interested in building things, who is likely to adopt a kit built aircraft is not going to want to wait 4 years to get into their aircraft and fly around for fun, hence the reasoning behind providing one or two local builder assist facilities.



    Aspects of the Value Proposition :

    Regarding off airport landing areas, lots of locations exist which will prove more than 'fit for purpose' once rehabilitated. In fact, during WWII there were 4 to 5 times the number of airfields on the Island where I'm currently visiting.

    The choice to promote STOL kit aircraft adoption means that airstrips need not exceed 1/5 th of a mile - if that much - and makes for many more possible fun destinations inland.

    One would certainly work with conservation organizations and local communities to create a network of desirable locations ('trails' for aviation adventurers so to speak) to visit and enjoy for the weekend aviator(s) or suitable for an after work stress lowering flight.

    My particular goal is to encourage the importation of kit aircraft for private use and to partner with the key US and Canadian based manufacturers, to set up one or two local "Builder Assist" facilities within which to provide a different kind of fun and rewarding, social and learning, experience for anyone interested in participating in aviation as a hobby, so that safety is emphasized and becomes inherent in the industry's growth from the bottom up.


    Resource challenges :

    Resources, in terms of aviation skilled individuals, isn't seen as a problem, as there is a local aviation institute which produces technicians and mechanics. The regional airline is also head quartered on the island, including its engineering facilities. I thus expect there's an ample supply of retired skilled individuals who are quite capable and might be interested in both kit aircraft building and acting as mentors for those new to aviation.



    Off Island excursions :

    I guess I wasn't clear in indicating that flights would be predominantly domestic (no customs, no immigration) and if persons chose to venture beyond the shores of any particular island for adventure then the use of private grass strips with FBO facilities would relieve some of the problems you've highlighted.

    There is already legislation proposed to do away with restrictions and red tape for flights which take place entirely within the CARICOM community, meaning eventually no customs or immigration issues for operators of member nation registered aircraft.


    General :

    The photos below were taken a decade ago when I rented an aircraft to go for a fun flight. It is too rare an undertaking and although the weather that day wasn't good, I and my passenger thoroughly enjoyed the activity and I'm sure many others today would love to pursue something similar, in much better weather of course

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    Note :

    These ten year old shots don't do much to show the diversity of sites to see and visit nor the typical flying weather one might experience during the dry season. Like many places in the world, if the weather isn't ideal for flying at the time you plan to depart, just wait an hour or two and it usually clears up.




    Thanks again for your comments.

    I haven't previously given too much thought to kit built helicopters, as being in the commercial aircraft design and manufacture business, I'm very much aware of the higher expense associated with helicopters when it comes to both their manufacture and their operation (for the same payload carrying capacity as their fix wing counterpart). It may be time for me to give rotary flight an unbiased look.

    Cheers,
    dave

    btw - if we're talking about the same region, rest assured I know what you're talking about regarding issues with border and NAS security

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    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-26-2019 at 10:29 AM.

  33. #33

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    I'm curious, is there grant/government capital behind this or are you wanting to set up the builder assist facilities yourself? I don't see the market but I'd like to be wrong. The more minds and abilities thinking outside the box is how major developments have happened. Who invented the VG? Beets me, but I'm glad they did.

    Sik

  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikorsky View Post
    I'm curious, is there grant/government capital behind this or are you wanting to set up the builder assist facilities yourself? I don't see the market but I'd like to be wrong. The more minds and abilities thinking outside the box is how major developments have happened. Who invented the VG? Beets me, but I'm glad they did.

    Sik
    Hi Sikorsky , a very valid question.

    Personally I'm one to go the private sector route 100%.

    Governments supplying tax payer's money are bound by law to ensure that the general public benefits from the expenditure and that typically means loss of flexibility and also loss of some measure of control for the venture.

    I'm thus proposing a concept that is private sector led and financed however, I have approached a government institution which assist with communication and obtaining approvals when it comes to engaging the many varied forms of government (national, county, etc. and state enterprises, organizations and authorities). They have been very supportive and were among the first to respond to my out reach begun seven weeks ago.

    The concept must be sustainable, if growth in GA is to be achieved. There must also be the ability to take on risk which is something governments are less willing to do unless there is a wide, obvious and measurable public interest to be served that will ensure across the board bi-partisan support at the political level.

    I'm looking for various solutions when it comes to "Builder Assist", as it's not meant to be a commercial operation where the intent would be to sell kit aircraft.

    Instead the "Builder Assist" facility would be a component in a system where the goal is to support both the kit aircraft purchaser and the person seeking an opportunity to get involved in aviation as a hobby, in such a way that aviation safety - as desired by the local regulator - is achieved to the regulator's satisfaction.

    I envisage achieving such through training programs which focus on safety, providing applicable quality aviation knowledge and social interaction that is fun focused.

    I'll be approaching such private sector businesses as performance vehicle customizers, composite hull boat builders, light steel fabricators, machine tool importers, etc., to see if any are interested in partnering with overseas kit aircraft suppliers to set up local "Builder Assist" facilities.

    The value proposition for such businesses might be among many things, an opportunity to :-

    • establish an association with aviation for brand enhancement purposes
    • network and gain access to a new local niche market
    • advertise primary goods and services
    • cross sell products
    • venture into a nascent industry


    Just all hypotheses at this point of course. 2020 will tell.

    Thanks for your question.
    Cheers,
    dave

  35. #35

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by AviationLed View Post
    Hi Sikorsky , a very valid question.

    Personally I'm one to go the private sector route 100%.

    Governments supplying tax payer's money are bound by law to ensure that the general public benefits from the expenditure and that typically means loss of flexibility and also loss of some measure of control for the venture.

    I'm thus proposing a concept that is private sector led and financed however, I have approached a government institution which assist with communication and obtaining approvals when it comes to engaging the many varied forms of government (national, county, etc. and state enterprises, organizations and authorities). They have been very supportive and were among the first to respond to my out reach begun seven weeks ago.

    The concept must be sustainable, if growth in GA is to be achieved. There must also be the ability to take on risk which is something governments are less willing to do unless there is a wide, obvious and measurable public interest to be served that will ensure across the board bi-partisan support at the political level.

    I'm looking for various solutions when it comes to "Builder Assist", as it's not meant to be a commercial operation where the intent would be to sell kit aircraft.

    Instead the "Builder Assist" facility would be a component in a system where the goal is to support both the kit aircraft purchaser and the person seeking an opportunity to get involved in aviation as a hobby, in such a way that aviation safety - as desired by the local regulator - is achieved to the regulator's satisfaction.

    I envisage achieving such through training programs which focus on safety, providing applicable quality aviation knowledge and social interaction that is fun focused.

    I'll be approaching such private sector businesses as performance vehicle customizers, composite hull boat builders, light steel fabricators, machine tool importers, etc., to see if any are interested in partnering with overseas kit aircraft suppliers to set up local "Builder Assist" facilities.

    The value proposition for such businesses might be among many things, an opportunity to :-

    • establish an association with aviation for brand enhancement purposes
    • network and gain access to a new local niche market
    • advertise primary goods and services
    • cross sell products
    • venture into a nascent industry


    Just all hypotheses at this point of course. 2020 will tell.

    Thanks for your question.
    Cheers,
    dave
    You’re enthusiasm is remarkable! In the late 90s, I had the same, but it was in plans to operate a PC-12 scheduled charter service in Eastern Canada. As the research and planning advanced it became increasingly evident this venture wasn’t going to work. I didn’t have enough money nor would anyone with both sense and money come to the party. So it died and all that remains is a thick book containing the business plan that never happened. I even got a commercial license and an IFR rating to be ready to go. But no. It was painful to have sharp business people raise an eye brow on the idea. And was getting a lot of raised eye brows. Passion is nice but doesn’t always or maybe rarely equals success.
    Don’t you just love it when others tell what you “should do?” That was the warning- here goes; buy yourself a STOL aircraft and fly it all around the Caribbean just because you want to. Enjoy that fully on your own time and schedule. Would be an amazing adventure. You’ll get some others enthusiastic about that kind of flying too and you can give them some tips nothing more. They can follow you or dream. They’re choice. Up to them. You’ve done your part.
    Happy New Year!
    Likes hotrod180 liked this post

  36. #36

    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoddyM View Post
    You’re enthusiasm is remarkable! In the late 90s, I had the same, but it was in plans to operate a PC-12 scheduled charter service in Eastern Canada. As the research and planning advanced it became increasingly evident this venture wasn’t going to work. I didn’t have enough money nor would anyone with both sense and money come to the party. So it died and all that remains is a thick book containing the business plan that never happened. I even got a commercial license and an IFR rating to be ready to go. But no. It was painful to have sharp business people raise an eye brow on the idea. And was getting a lot of raised eye brows. Passion is nice but doesn’t always or maybe rarely equals success.
    Don’t you just love it when others tell what you “should do?” That was the warning- here goes; buy yourself a STOL aircraft and fly it all around the Caribbean just because you want to. Enjoy that fully on your own time and schedule. Would be an amazing adventure. You’ll get some others enthusiastic about that kind of flying too and you can give them some tips nothing more. They can follow you or dream. They’re choice. Up to them. You’ve done your part.
    Happy New Year!


    Thanks RoddyM and Sikorsky for your suggestions.



    Motivation :

    The proposed venture isn't about me though, it's about growing General Aviation within the region.



    Vision :

    The longer term vision is that Electrification - will without a doubt - first benefit light aircraft and adoption will explode due to a tremendous savings with respect to first and foremost operating cost. Lots of opportunities will present themselves as a result of the transformation.

    Kit built aircraft will be among the easiest and earliest to facilitate modification to incorporate electric propulsion, once the battery weight (energy density) issues are solved; lots of new innovative product to hit the market in 2020, so look out.



    Opportunity :

    The Eastern & Southern Caribbean island nations within the archipelago, are perfect locations for promoting "Green" aviation.

    They have ample supplies of clean energy (solar, wind, wave, geo-thermal) and are lacking in regional infrastructure in terms of convenient and easily accessible ways to visit the various islands for adventure.

    A great potential incubator for growth in GA over the next decade, the decade which will focus on introduction of electrification.



    Venture :

    "Start Ups", in particular "Lean Start Ups", are about find solutions to problems or about satisfying needs which may be either blatant or latent.

    Success depends upon how compelling the solutions are in the mind of the target archetype - when offered as Value Propositions in the market place - and how well the associated business model is tuned to deliver the desired outcomes for all key stakeholders.

    Launching an industry where it does not exist, is never easy but it is exciting and I anticipate it will be well worth while.



    Takeaways :

    I'm grateful for all of the comments and suggestions I've received since first posting in this forum and other similar forum.

    I still have 19 weeks to go in my six month mission. It's looking very promising to me at this point, regarding there being a market for the solutions, one just waiting to be captured and developed.

    More than one person has recommended that having an aircraft operating in the proposed role locally is the best way to generate interest and that is certainly going to be an objective going forward.


    Thanks RoddyM for the New Year wish, may yours be filled with success and satisfaction.

    Cheers,
    dave
    Last edited by AviationLed; 12-27-2019 at 10:00 AM.

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