by Alfred Poor
From Paradise to the Stars
The Bahamas are a study in contrasts. From the crowded Freeport nightclubs to the isolated beaches of the out islands, from the high-rise tourist resorts in Nassau to the thatched hide-aways, there’s a setting for just about every taste and temperament.
This flight takes you from one extreme to another. You’ll depart from Paradise Island in Nassau, with its groomed golf courses and sparkling condos, and then fly down to Stella Maris, a simple resort on Long Island, east of Georgetown on Great Exuma Island. With its own airstrip, it is a favorite spot for divers and pilots who are looking for a low-key spot for rest and recreation.
Planning the FLight
It’s a long flight, and there is only an NDB at Stella Maris to guide your arrival (when it’s working). You could follow the chain of islands leading to Great Exuma and then make the hop over to Long Island, but for this trip, I’ve planned a route for you to fly direct. You’ll use VOR beacons to the side of your course to track your progress.
You’ll depart from Runway 9 at Paradise Island, and then turn south as you climb out. Continue south until you intercept the 132º radial from the Nassau VOR (ZQA, 112.70) which should be at about 16 nm from the VOR as shown on your NAV1 DME readout. This should put you on the 71º radial for the Eleuthera VOR (ZGV, 112.50) at a distance of 54.7 miles, which you can check using your NAV2 radio OBI and DME readouts.
Turn to follow the outbound radial, and continue to climb. You’ll probably be at about 6,000 feet by this point, and will want to climb for another 7 minutes or so to reach your cruising altitude of 9,500 feet.
When you reach this altitude, you should be about 25 nm from the Nassau VOR and about 51 nm from the Eleuthera VOR on the 62º radial; level out and trim for a 130 knot cruising speed. At this point, check your time. The checkpoints—shown on the flight log that I have created for the flight—are now spaced every 10 minutes for the next 40 minutes. You will use your NAV radios to check your position, though you may also want to keep track of the islands that you’ll be able to see along your route.
After 10 minutes, Nassau will be 46 nm behind you, and Eleuthera will be 48.5 nautical miles away on the 38º radial. If the distance to Eleuthera is greater than that when you cross the 38º radial, it means you are to the right of your desired course. If the distance is less, then you are to the left.
After 20 minutes, Nassau will be 68 nm away, and Eleuthera will be about 55 nm away on the 15º radial. Sometime during the next 10 minutes, you’ll lose the Nassau VOR signal; the flag on the OBI dial will switch to OFF. At this point, tune the NAV1 radio to the Mosstown VOR on Great Exuma Island (ZEM, 112.2) and set the OBS for the 166º radial.
At 30 minutes since starting your cruise flight, Eleuthera should be 72 nm away on the 356º radial, and Mosstown 37 nm on the 166º radial. In the next few minutes, you’ll lose the Eleuthera signal. Switch your navigation panel to show the ADF instead of the OBI for NAV2 (see Appendix C for details on the ADF), and tune it to the Stella Maris beacon frequency of 526. If the beacon is in service, you should see the ADF needle pointing straight ahead.
After 40 minutes from the start of cruise, Mosstown should be 22 nm away on the 198º radial, and the ADF needle for Stella Maris should be pointing straight ahead. At this point, you may be able to see your destination.
When Mosstown is 21 nm away on the 237º radial, you will be about 24 nm from your destination. Slow down to 80 knots and start a 500 fpm descent. You should be in perfect position to make a straight-in approach and landing on Runway 13 at Stella Maris. Give a call to the hotel and they’ll send a car for you, and there will be a tall, cool drink waiting for you when you reach the reception desk.
Getting Ready to Fly
You can either use the World Airports menu to select Paradise Runway 27 from the “CBN - Bahamas” list and then taxi to the other end of the runway, or you can enter the following into the World Set Exact Location window:
North/South Lat.: N 25 04 40.8
East/West Lon.: W 077 18 02.3
Altitude (ft): 7
Heading (deg magnetic): 90
Next, set your navigation radios. Tune NAV1 to 112.7 for the Nassau VOR, and set the OBS to 132º. Tune the NAV2 radio to 112.5 for the Eleuthera VOR, and set its OBS to your first cross-check radial: 71º.
With that, you should be ready to take off. In spite of the long flight, you will never be out of sight of land, and the VORs will make it easy to track your way right down the chain of islands to your secluded destination. Have a great time in the islands, and don’t miss snorkling on the reef off the beach on Santa Maria Bay, at the northwest corner of the island.
< Situation file: XC-CA2