Tropic Ocean Airways, the Fort Lauderdale and Miami based seaplane airline owned and operated by a U.S. Navy TOPGUN fighter pilot, performed another first last month by departing Bimini for the first international night flight in the island’s history.
Known for returning commercial seaplane service to Bimini in 2011, Tropic Ocean Airways has developed and operated Resorts World Bimini’s seaplane flights since August 2013 in addition to Tropic’s existing Bimini seaplane service.
To augment Tropic’s regular seaplane service direct to Resorts World Bimini, the team took delivery of Resorts World Bimini’s first amphibian aircraft in late March from the factory, flying it over to South Bimini airport for the inaugural event. The seaplane was parked prominently behind the stage where various members of the Bahamian government, including Prime Minister Christie, spoke along with the Chairman of Resorts World International.
Rob Ceravolo, CEO of Tropic, attended the celebration. “It was a historic event and I’m excited that we were a part of it,” Ceravolo said. “I was honestly very proud of the Tropic crew during the chairman’s speech….he spoke about our seaplane operations and how they have grown to be one of the largest in the world. Our team actually developed the operational procedures for safely flying to and docking at Resorts World.”
Historically, all seaplane flights operated to the southern part of the channel, where the waterway is much wider with more available space. The dock at Resorts World is in the narrow part of the channel at the northern end.
As a Naval Aviator with two aircraft carrier deployments, Ceravolo is no stranger to challenges in aviation. “We basically reinvented the Bimini seaplane operation. The weather this winter was difficult in that narrow channel, but we developed sound Operational Procedures that our crews utilize and we continue to manage a safe and successful operation. I am very proud of what the Tropic team has accomplished in a short amount of time.”
After the conclusion of the ceremony, Ceravolo, along with Nick Veltre, a Marine Corps veteran and co-owner of Tropic, climbed into the cockpit of the amphibious aircraft and departed Bimini with Resorts World employees onboard, thus completing the first international night flight to Fort Lauderdale in Bimini’s history.
Tropic Ocean Airways, www.flytropic.com