On the way to the SOAPA Key West Meeting
of May 18 - May 21, 2005

by Ernie Martin

Introduction and Overview

The Skymaster Owners and Pilots Association (SOAPA) is holding its 2005 meeting in Key West from May 18 to May 21, 2005. On the way there, if you can come into Miami a day earlier, I've arranged for a see-it-like-a-native evening in Miami. The meeting and the Miami stop-over were posted in the Message Board of Kevin's Skymaster Website and the following overview is excerpted from there (or you can go directly to Details if you read the posting recently).

Participants would arrive in Miami around 2 or 3 PM on Tuesday 5/17. Those flying their Skymasters come into Tamiami (TMB) airport (free overnight parking and fuel is about $1 less than in Key West). Those flying commercial come into MIA. I will pick-up at TMB at 3:30 and pick-up at MIA at 4:30 (other pick-ups may be possible). After checking into the hotel ($79 with breakfast) and freshening up, we would go out on the town in a fleet of SUVs that I'll borrow from friends. Although the itinerary is still being developed, we'll hit South Beach and go for fun places and ethnic food (don't worry, I'll guide you).

Late arrivals could rendezvous with the group "on-the-fly" by calling our cell phones.

I'm hoping that those flying commercial can catch a ride to Key West on Thursday on some of the Skymasters (there's room for 3 in mine), so that everyone can get to see the beautiful Florida Keys from the air.

The remainder of this page provides additional details on the Miami stop-over.


Flying into Miami. Two suggestions. First, if you come in VFR, get flight following into South Florida (around Lake Okechobee call Miami Center on 132.25 and closer to Miami call Miami Approach on 125.5). Second, consider a busy but more scenic route along the coastline.

FBO. If you arrive at TMB on Tuesday at the suggested time (2 - 3 PM), I will be there to greet you and help you tie-down (bring your own ropes). AirSal (305-251-1982) has graciously offered free tie-downs without conditions, but I hope that you will fill up with them (their fuel price is the lowest around and, as mentioned above, about a buck less that in Key West). AirSal is near the Northeast corner of the airport, at the end of 9L or the start of 27R.

Contacts. My cell number, if you need me, is 305-562-0565. My good friend, A&P mechanic and Skymaster expert, Luis del Rosario, has set time aside on Tuesday and Wednesday to help in case anyone needs him; he may be reached at 305-322-6849. Ray Torres, a Skymaster owner and head of RT Aerospace, the designer and manufacturer of the gear door removal STC and other mods for the Skymaster, will help me with the airport pick-ups and be available for discussions.

Hotel. You'll be staying at the Dadeland Hampton Inn, 8200 SW 70 Avenue, 305-269-0072. Make your reservation early and identify yourself as a Skymaster pilot coming in as a group to get the $79 rate; if you have trouble, ask for Fritz.

Tour. In addition to South Beach, details of the evening's itinerary will be posted here as they become available. It may depend in part on how many people sign up. By the way, although I've lived here for over 20 years, I'm also open to suggestions.

Departure for Key West. Next morning, at a time set by the group based on how much partying they did, we'll do a pick up at the hotel to take you to TMB for our mid-morning departure to Key West.

Fees and Costs.There are no fees. I'm pleased you all are coming to my neck of the woods, and I'm happy to add this option to your Key West meeting. The only costs are those you pay for hotels, meals, etc. If the size of the group is manageable (meaning: I can handle them with my cars/SUVs), there will be no ground transportation costs; if not, some of you may have to pay for shared cabs.

Registration. If you're going to join us for this festive evening, please send me an e-mail once you solidify your plans. Let me know:

  1. How are you arriving (commercial or in your Skymaster)?
  2. Who is in your party?
  3. Expected time of arrival.
  4. If coming in your Skymaster, any seats available to take attendees who flew commercial into Miami down to Key West and back? (Passengers will be expected to share fuel expenses with you.)
You can e-mail me at . If there are questions or matters better handled by phone, feel free to call me at 305-665-8352. Unless I'm out of town (or flying) I'm there most of the time, with 10 AM and Mon-Thu 7-9PM a virtual certainty. If I'm not at that number you may try my cell phone.

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