What You Need To Know
Flying The Bahamas is truly simple and well within the capabilities of the lightest single engine aircraft. When leaving Florida’s east coast, first landfalls occur at Grand Bahama Island (60 NM) or Bimini (50 NM). Overlapping VOR/DME of NOB signals provide course guidance from the US coast and throughout the most frequently traveled routes in The Bahamas. Interested in taking a quick glance at our Aviation Map? Download PDF.
You must file an eAPIS manifest and a US International Flight Plan before departing the US and your first point of arrival must be at a Port Of Entry in The Bahamas. Each person aboard the aircraft must have a passport. Drivers license or voter registration cards are not sufficient. Return to the US requires an International Flight Plan filed to the most convenient US Airport of Entry and advising Customs of arrival ETA by including the word "ADCUS" in the remarks section. US Customs requires one hour notice of arrival. Accomplish this by following the procedure outlined in the Flight Plan Procedure section of this publication. All planes must have transponder, survival gear, 12" numbers.
- Flight Plan Procedure
- VFR Flight Planning Chart
- US Coastal Ports of Entry
- Bahamas Airports of Entry GPS “C” Coordinates
- Bahamas Airport Information
The information provided is for VFR planning and enroute reference only.
The planning chart section shows dashed lines between flight destinations to indicate suggested VFR routing, using VOR radials. Solid Lines indicate NDB course lines or the necessity for dead reckoning procedures. Any depicted course lines are magnetic (true course, adjusted for local magnetic variation). Distance between points is shown in nautical miles.
All locations shown with dashed course lines have ground transportation and hotel accommodations available. The absence of a course line indicates that a depicted airstrip is very remote, the runway condition is unmonitored, food and lodgings may be unavailable or the airstrip may be privately owned and barricaded in the owner's absence.
Pilots are encouraged to examine the planning chart course lines to determine where ports of entry, maintenance, fuel and lodgings are available. The interior of this publication is called the island profile section and its purpose is to supply specific airport information and to portray the actual shape and configuration of each of our most frequently traveled islands. Pilots will find it most helpful to match up the view from the cockpit to the exact depiction of island shoreline, location of towns and settlements and their relationship to airports and runway headings.
Isogonic lines and other operational information changes with time. Please refer to current BAHAMAS AREA WAC or IFR charts, published by US/NOAA and Jeppesen Sanderson, for critical flight information. AOPA can provide members with an excellent Bahamas pilot kit, for this purpose. Carefully note any change of information (magnetic variation, frequency changes, etc.). Any of the larger Florida Gateway FBO operators, especially at International Airports, will be able to provide current charts, rental flotation gear, Bahamas customs documents and a proper pilot briefing on international procedures.
Nassau and Freeport are major population centers. Nassau is our seat of government, the hub of commerce and airline traffic. Flight operations are conducted within the equivalent of a US TCA. Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island, tower operation Control Zone. Nassau and Freeport are both busy airports with FSS facilities located in their main terminal buildings. All other airports in The Bahamas are uncontrolled.
Standard uncontrolled airport procedures are in effect; all pilots monitor blind transmission of position advisory and intentions on 122.8, left turns, pattern altitudes 1000 AGL. ATA operations require inbound traffic to come in low, with stated intentions and pattern position reports. Outbound traffic announces before occupying runway and departs straight out or with left turns, climbing immediately above pattern altitude. Runway operation must be 'into the wind.'
VFR night flying is prohibited in The Bahamas, during official sunset to sunrise. IFR is easily accomplished. Controlled airspace at Nassau and Freeport requires VFR minimums of 1500, 3 miles clear of clouds. Uncontrolled airspace at VFR minimums differ from US requirements; 100a, one mile, clear of clouds and in sight of land or water.