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Caribbean Trek – Crash at St Barts

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This flight provided my first approach ever to the infamous Rwy 28 at St Bart’s .Gustaf III airport (TFFJ). The only approaches there are visual approaches. Of interest about St Barts is all the attention given to landing on Rwy 28. Caribbean trade winds flow with the seasons and almost as many landings occur in the opposite direction, on Rwy 10.  During this Caribbean Trek the surface winds have all been from the east.  Thus all my landings have been to the east. But I decided I just had to try landing on St Bart’s 28…  

Turns out St Bart’s Rwy 10 is just as challenging for different reasons.  Interesting read in this link is the Tradewind Aviation service policy pertaining to altitude and distance from land when flying in the Caribbean.  Click: Every Step Needed Into St Bart

And this link is a video that shows a landing on 10 and a later takeoff on 28:


Up off of St Maarten’s Princess Juliana airport.



Some of the varied terrain and water of the island.



Saint Barthélemy out ahead in the distance. The French owned island country ‘s name is often abbreviated to St-Barth in French, and St. Barths or St. Barts in English



Here is the view of my first approach into St Barts Gustaf III Airport with the first freeware scenery I used.



It was a nail biter.  As you cross that famous hill above the threshold, with the runway sloping away from you, you get a real sensation of speed, though 80 knots is 80 knots, right? 

I successfully made the landing, but as I rolled to a stop down the runway I heard this terrific crash, and all of a sudden there was a second scenery runway, and my Island Hopper Grand Caravan was suspended and motionless above both runways.  You can see that I was at the end of the runway scenery I was landing on, but the newly appearing second runway was much wider and extended farther out ahead. It did not appear until the crashing sounds.  Strange!  Do not recall anything similar to this happening to me in almost 35 years of flight simulation.



In this second shot from my suspended state you can see the zero ground speed, approximately 50 ft of elevation on the altimeter, and my taxi power setting, 

I quit the flight and then repositioned myself for takeoff on 28.  As I lifted off, at about that same point on the runway, the crash and suspension happened once again.  Definite scenery overlap.



Here Is a subsequent approach with a different scenery.  I determined that the conflict was with either a freeware St Maartens scenery I had found, or with a freeware East Caribbean scenery (each covers more than just one island).  I may have even had three general freeware island sceneries loaded at once and each may have some overlap.

I am now using a St Bart scenery by a Marc.Guitteny and a Virgin Islands by  STARSEED PRODUCTIONS LLC.  No more conflict but this very good scenery by Guitteny is more challenging.  I came in too steep a couple of times and had to go around.



Here I am off of St Bart after one of the missed approaches, airport in the distance behind.  Still shook up enough I failed to extinguish my landing lights. LOL



The go arounds provided a closer look at the island of Saint Barthélemy, the Les Gros Islets (those off-coast rock formations) and cruise ships anchored in the bay.



This third attempt using the Guitteny scenery looks better and was successful. Absolutely no chance to hit Ctrl-V farther down. Need to try my hand at Fraps.



Rolling out to a stop after a successful landing.



No. I did not roll out this far.  Just taxied on down to get a great look at the bay and to turn around.  It’s a narrow runway with a turnaround pad at its end.



A good look at the terminal and base of operations at what is named Gustaf III Airport.  It is named for King Gustav III of Sweden, under whom Sweden obtained the island from France in 1784
(it was sold back to France in 1878).



Ready for takeoff for my return to St Maartens.  Daunting, but not as daunting as the approach and landing.



Off from St Barts one final time, with another good look at the near scenery as well as the other islands in the distance.



Another good look at the island of Saint Barthélemy, bay, and the Les Gros Islets.



Downwind on return to Princess Juliana International Airport on Saint Maartens.



On final. Much better weather today provided a better view of the scenery.  That same ship is still anchored below the approach path!



A view of the character of the area surrounding the Princess Juliana airport.

Edited by lodestar
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