Short Fields Throughout The Caribbean

The LRI was installed on our R/STOL equipped Piper Aztec and its performance evaluated at a number of short fields throughout the Caribbean area over the last sixty days. Special emphasis was placed on the notorious and restricted airport of St. Barthelemy, which has one of the world's most difficult and dangerous approaches, and for which I am the designated check airman for the local authority.

Without exaggeration, I consider the LRI both astonishing and essential. In my opinion, it is a must for any short field operation - so much so, I would not like to be without it now that I have used such an invaluable instrument.

Of course, the LRI should be monitored, along with the Airspeed Indicator, as part of a continuous panel scan. Both instruments actually compliment each other, each with a vital function. But it was consistently evident that the LRI was far more sensitive - and instantly responsive - during the critical stages of any STOL approach and landing. This was especially true at St. Barths, where a minimum, yet safe approach speed must be maintained at an unusually steep angle in order to control the aircraft in ever-present wind shear conditions, clear a hill just before touchdown, and to minimize the chances for an often fatal missed approach situation. The same was true for approaches into the island of Saba, which, I am told can lay claim to the world's shortest commercially-used airstrip.

In conclusion, I consider the Lift Reserve Indicator essential for any pilot, irrespective of experience level, who truly wishes to experience the pleasures of safely flying any small aircraft to it maximum precision.


St. Barthelemy