Flutter around the Dutch Antilles
Twin-Otter to Saba
by Jan Koppen
In February 2020, my friend, Mr. Michael S. Prophet and I travelled from Amsterdam to the Caribbean the ‘old-style’. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines brought us comfortably in their 27 years young Queen, "City of Nairobi", to Willemstad, Curacao. During our spotters-trip to the Caribbean we took the opportunity to flutter around the Dutch Antilles, to spot and photograph the aviation activity on these tiny islands. The 5th island we visited was Saba, which is, only a 20 minute, Twin-Otter ride from St. Maarten. Enjoy the pics, video and captions.
Winair's head office at St. Maarten.
The Winair workers take great pride in their company's progress, their have truly built back stronger and better after the devastating hurricances Irma and Maria.
Morning departure to Saba.
Winair proudly displays the flag of country St. Maarten on their aircraft.
DHC-6 Twin-Otter PJ-WIQ. The aircraft first flew on November 17, 1979 as PJ-WIQ and was accepted by Deutsche Luft Transport (DLT) on December 07. This airframe enjoyed a long and various career. Next to DLT, she operated respectively for; - Skytrail in Tanzania, Winair (PJ-WIN), Unity Group, Kenn Borek Air Ltd., Planes & Parts Ltd., Air Bom (Borneo), before returning to Winair at Sint Maarten.
PJ-WII DHC-6 Twin-Otter. Originally delivered to Brymon Airways in the UK in April 1980 as G-BGZP, the Islander passed through a succession of owners, including Jersey European Airways and Skytrail Safari Club from Tanzania, before ending up with Winward Islands Airways International in March 2012.
The Twin-Otter, PJ-WII, was preparing to leave on its schedule to Saba.
Doors open, a pristine "Whiskey-India-India" has an aura of understated efficiency.
Back in April 1980, this Twin-Otter started her career with Brymon Airways in the UK.
Ready to roll. Commander C. Dublin, waits for taxi clearance at St. Maarten before departing to Saba.
F/O, Miss Charra, at the helm of PJ-WII.
Let’s start No. 1. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop engine really is a wonderful engine.
Winair flight WN401 to Saba o/b DHC-6-300 Twin-Otter PJ-WII.
The front office of PJ-WII, but can a photograph communicate the feel of this wonderful machine?
Our airspeed was 150 knots at an altitude of 3.000 ft. and decending with 500 ft. per minute.
Saba's 1300ft runway looks really short from the pilot's perspective.
Flight WN401 approach and landing on Saba airport.
After dropping me off and a quick 7 minutes turnaround, this Twin-Otter backtracked and lined-up for departure, off the shortest commercially used runway in the world.
After a 7 minutes stop the aircraft would then return to St Maarten with another load locals and bird-spotters.
Welcome to Saba, the unspoiled Queen.
Cheers to experiencing the Saba Landing at the Saba Flight Deck.
A couple of hours later, I had climbed the top of this, 2855 ft. high, sleeping volcano, "Mount Scenery".
The beautiful village Windwardside.
A plaque and the communication tower on top of Mount Scenery.
Overview of the village Windwardside.
Overview of Saba airport. With a runway of only 1300ft and steep cliffs on both ends, this must be quite a challenging airport for the Winair
DHC-6's to land on!
DHC-6's to land on!
A superb located church in the village Hells Gate.
Located on the island of Saba, Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, known to have one of the world’s shortest commercial airport runways. At only 1,312 feet long.
The bright colors of Winair DHC-6-300, caught by the camera, on a sun-drenched day at Saba.
Twin-Otter PJ-WIP was delivered new Malaysia Airlines in 1983. This airframe served with the Malaysian flag carrier and its regional subsidairy's 31 years before being cancelled from Malaysian register. The aircraft was picked-up by Canadian aircraft broker Unity Group Winnipeg who sold her to Winair almost two years later.
Saba's beautiful Caribbean style terminal !
Cliffs surrounding the shortest commercially used runway in the world at the start of one of my shortest internatioanl flights at around 12mins back to St Maarten.
St. Eustatia is visible in the far distance.
Here, Winair Twin-Otter, PJ-WIP, is just commencing its take-off roll from runway 12 at Saba.
The airport with the shortest commercially serviceable runway in the world, located in a beautiful setting on an unspoilt and breathtaking little island. Welcome to Saba! One of the four daily Winair flights is backtracking the runway.
The late afternoon Winair flight touches down in Saba. The difficulty here is to keep clear of the cliff and then stopping within the next 1.000 ft after touchdown. Just image landing here with some cross winds.
The Twin-Otter is turned around in under 10 minutes on Saba.
PJ-WIQ is named after Gerrit Draai. Mr. Draai is a member of Winair's supervisor board.
The famous STOL Twin-Otter cockpit.
Winair flight WN442 from Saba to St. Maarten o/b DHC-6-300 Twin-Otter PJ-WIQ.
Self explaining GPS.
Captain Nigbett and F/O 'PT' at the helm of our Twin-Otter.
Turning onto short finals in our Twin-Otter. The first officers hand is on the roof mounted throttle control.
DHC-6-300's, PJ-WII and PJ-WIP, are seen here at St. Maarten, awaiting their passengers before their next flights.
PJ-WIP is named after Mr. Freddy Johnsen. Until he passed away, he was the General Sales Agent of Winair in Saba, his family has handled Winair since the start of the airline and still do today.
Thumbs-up by Capt. Nigbett, our Twin-Otter pilot.
'PT' is a proud Winair pilot.
Another, very efficient turn-round for this Winair DHC-6-300.
Evening sunlight glints off DHC-6-300 PJ-WIQ at St. Maarten International during February 13, 2020.
Anguilla Air Services is a regional airline based at Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) in Anguilla.
The St. Maarten based commuters are hard working aeroplanes.
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