Feb. 28, 2006 — Three teenage boys from the small island of Saba, Netherlands Antilles, will arrive Wednesday to spend three days on St. Croix learning all they can about Henry E. Rohlsen Airport and some of the airplanes that land there.
Saba, a dormant volcano, is serviced from St. Maarten by Windward Airways' twin-Otter, which lands on a 1,312-foot runway on an ancient lava flow. The island, at only five square miles and one high school, has limited educational resources. Several teenagers are interested in pursuing a career as a pilot and have formed a Be a Pilot Club to help themselves explore this career choice.
The boys held several fund-raisers, such as raffles and bingo games, to get the money together for the trip. Upon their return, they will put on a community slide show of their St. Croix adventure to show their thanks for the community response. Both Winair and Liat airlines made donations towards the boys' air tickets.
The visit came about when the Saba correspondent for St. Maarten regional newspaper the Daily Herald met pilot John Ballard, who helicoptered to Saba last year. Ballard was asked if he had any aviation/navigation educational materials that could benefit the pilot club.
Once back on St. Croix, Ballard collected his own materials and asked his pilot friends to contribute. When he was unable to bring the materials to Saba, he offered to spend some time with the boys if they could get to St. Croix.
In the meantime, the trip will introduce the boys to the entire island. The three youngsters are excited to get to know their neighbors to the north, who are only 45 minutes away. Ballard has arranged a visit to the airport tower and a tour of the tarmac to visit small and large aircraft. There will also be a "surprise" flight over the island for the youngsters. After an overnight at the Pink Fancy, the boys will take an island tour with Mr. Sweeney's Safaris tours and then a walking tour of Christiansted before departing on Friday.
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