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Old 11th Oct 2017, 17:52   #1 (permalink)


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Bahamas Triangle?

A newlywed US couple flew a Cessna 150 from Texas to the Bahamas, stopped at Freeport and North Eleuthera in late September, but apparently never made it to their destination, Rum Cay, some 100+ miles distant. Private search and rescue teams have been looking, to no avail. Iím not a pilot; what are the specific dangers of flying there?
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 21:58   #2 (permalink)
 
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Iím not a pilot; what are the specific dangers of flying there?
None, provided you are experienced in flying and navigating over large expanses of water, which by all accounts this pilot wasn't.
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Old 11th Oct 2017, 23:19   #3 (permalink)

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Pretty remote in the Bahamas, screw up navigation and run out of fuel, or fly at night with no Horizon, no lights on the ground and in you go.
I have sailed the Bahamas on own boats 28 times, never saw dragons out there, but white squalls and water spouts can be on the menu and possible down a little airplane flying low and slow. :-(
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 00:34   #4 (permalink)
 
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The myth of the Bermuda Triangle probably grew from the frequent haze on bright "VFR" days that makes the horizon indistinguishable - all you see on a clear day is blue sky over blue water with no distinct interface. A non-instrument-savvy pilot could easily spiral into the water. I flew between Puerto Rico and the US dozens of times in the 70s, and saw the effect often.
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 11:01   #5 (permalink)
 
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Same here. On top of what Intruder posted, the visual blurring tricked me like this, more than a couple of years ago, no GPS et al:

Navigational preparation was outbound tracking from PBI, something of 150degs to ZBV (Bimini) with distance, prevailing winds and time checks. The VORs had DME already. After the time approached, the DME read back to 0, the needle turned opposite, i could not see anything but the horizon and blue waters. I turned and went over the station again, to make sure, still no island visible.....
You might know that warm feeling creeping up the back side of a very new pilot, indicating "i don't know what the frack is going on ....!".
As i was at 6500ft, i had the illuminating idea to descend, to go and check a little closer, before returning in panic. At around 2500ft the island gently appeared, the sunlight and water reflections had simply blended it out of our eyes perception!

Be careful out there!
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Old 12th Oct 2017, 11:07   #6 (permalink)
 
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Like Towerdog I have sailed and fished those waters and have yet to see a Dragon or little Green men, either at night or during the day. However the horizon can be be deceptive and squalls and storms are common occurances. They will not be the first or last to plough in unfirtunatly. In the 80,s when I was there, you used to see some rather fast running power boats at night with no lights, along with low flying A/C - made for intresting night fishing - always made sure we were lit up like a Chritmas tree to avoid collision !
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Old 13th Oct 2017, 10:26   #7 (permalink)
 
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I spent twelve years living in (or as the locals say 'on') Bermuda.

A very remote place but not thought of as such since pretty well the nearest land is New York and so its not thought of as such. Extremely unpredictable weather - very sudden sharp squalls appearing from nowhere and in winter severe gales (shes making up a little in localese) are very very common.

In summer when the Bermuda Azores high pressure is in place the air is still and the sea a flat calm with no horizon as has been pointed out. Even more scary were days with lovely fluffy white clouds because they reflected in the sea and produced not just uncertainty over a horizon but a completely false picture .

Another good illusion if approaching from the east /North east (ie coming from London) if there some clouds around was that it was hard to tell the island with its odd shape from clouds when looking into the late afternoon sun

So no dragons or monsters but plenty of hazards for smaller ships and flying light aircraft to Bermuda would just be insane although it happened very very occasionally. So no mystery to the 'triangle ' from my experience but it didnt make it any less of a danger and the occasional feeling that you really were along way from anywhere alone in an ocean wilderness
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Old 13th Oct 2017, 10:52   #8 (permalink)
 
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Some interesting points and observations, thank you.
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 02:13   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TowerDog View Post
Pretty remote in the Bahamas, screw up navigation and run out of fuel, or fly at night with no Horizon, no lights on the ground and in you go.
I have sailed the Bahamas on own boats 28 times, never saw dragons out there, but white squalls and water spouts can be on the menu and possible down a little airplane flying low and slow. :-(
I thought no GA night flying?
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Old 14th Oct 2017, 17:15   #10 (permalink)
 
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A 150 from Texas to the Bahamas...Jimminy Christmas, why?!
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Old 15th Oct 2017, 05:02   #11 (permalink)
 
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No Night VFR in the Bahamas. It has to be IFR. Only Freeport & Nassau are normally available at night. Others can be made available, with prior arrangement & much fees, however you still have to fly IFR, cancelling once 'landing assured'.

Anyway, MYEH to MYRP is an easy flight. You can follow the island chain until the southern tip of Cat Island and never be more than about 5nm from land. From the southern tip of Cat it's just over 20nm to Conception Is (longest over water section of this leg so 10 or 11nm from land at the midpoint) and then a bit over 10nm to MYRP. Considering they'd flown from Florida, presumably jumping off-shore somewhere near West Palm Beach to West End (shortest over water route but also the longest of the whole trip) and then island hopping to MYEH, this last leg isn't difficult.

I'd be more inclined to think mechanical or maybe fuel issue. It's only ~150nm direct, more of course if following the islands, but easily in C150/152 range. Would need to plan a fuel stop at Stella Maris when leaving (25nm to the west of MYRP) due no fuel at MYRP. If it were me, I'd want to get fuel at Stella on the way in, to make sure I had enough to get somewhere else when leaving Rum Cay in case Stella fuel became unavailable.

Last edited by Tinstaafl; 15th Oct 2017 at 05:14.
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Old 15th Oct 2017, 09:28   #12 (permalink)
 
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Southern tip of Cat Island to Conception is just long enough to get lost without a GPS but nobody flies without one of these nowadays. Do they?

You're right, more likely mechanical, but bad luck not to find shallow enough water to be able to walk to safety.

Just a thought. How long would it take to be found if you went down in the undergrowth even next to the runway at Rum Cay. The "new" runway seemed to be in the middle of nowhere and deserted apart from a scrap flying boat.
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Old 17th Oct 2017, 00:50   #13 (permalink)
 
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Airport environs, expected & likely routes would be the 1st areas searched. I wonder that a Mayday call wasn't heard. It's somewhat unusual for there to be no-one else in range on 122.8, the Bahamas frequency for everywhere except controlled airspace. I'd be yelling blue murder on that & 121.5.
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