Lifetime Pilot Considers King Air the Perfect Airplane for his Missions
Simon Hayot has spent a lifetime accumulating over 12,000 flight hours in a variety of aircraft models as a Caribbean aviation pioneer, business owner and published author. According to Hayot, there aren’t many King Airs operating in the French Caribbean, but his King Air C90 is the ideal airplane for his personal and business missions, as well as leasing it out to test and calibrate airport navigational aids. He said he doesn’t plan on getting rid of his C90 anytime soon … unless it’s for a King Air 200.
A Career Worth Writing About
Hayot has lived his entire life in the French Islands of the Caribbean except for short stints in Miami, where he obtained his U.S. pilot’s license, and France, where he received his European pilot certificate. “I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a pilot, so as soon as I was through school, I went and got my licenses,” he said. When he came back, Hayot settled on the island of Guadaloupe and started flying as a commercial pilot.
Hayot said when he was starting out as a pilot in the early 1970s, he flew DC-3s and had many adventures. So many, in fact, that he wrote a book that is currently a top seller in France. He plans to have it translated to English and sell it in the U.S. within the next year. The book’s title, “Tower, we’ve got a bull in the cockpit!” Hayot said, is very representative of what’s inside. “All the stories narrated in the book are true, and many photos are included, because otherwise nobody would believe it really happened,” he said. “It was a different time back then, with a lot less rules! It wasn’t uncommon to have large animals as passengers.”
Later, Hayot decided to launch an airline where he saw the need. In all, he began three airlines: Guadaloupe Air Cargo, which used DC-3s; Air Calypso that flew between the islands using Short 360-300s; and Air Caraïbes, which operated many types of aircraft, including Dornier DO 228s, Cessna 208 Caravans, Cessna Citations, and King Air 90s and 200s. This array of aircraft was used for shuttles between islands, air ambulance services and travel to France. Hayot later sold Air Caraïbes, which is still in operation today and is the main operator between France and the French Islands of the Caribbean.
Business, Personal, and Special Mission Operations
Hayot purchased his 1978 C90 from his close friend, Patrick Jean, in 2010. The aircraft was previously operated in France as a charter plane, and Jean bought it in 1996 to use for his business in Guadaloupe. Jean’s company, Omi-Fly, manufactured lenses for vision glasses and the King Air was operated to deliver its production throughout the Caribbean. “Since Patrick and I are close friends, I have been flying the C90 since he bought it and have flown the most hours on the aircraft than anyone else – 900 hours of my total 2,500 hours in King Airs,” Hayot explained. “When Patrick retired, I bought the aircraft from him.”
The King Air C90 is now flown by Hayot about 150 hours a year for personal use, as well as business. After he sold Air Caraïbes, he said he needed a new passion, so he launched his own brand of energy drink called Long Horn. He uses the aircraft to fly throughout the Caribbean to promote the drink.
One of his family’s favorite islands to travel to is St. Bart’s. “Their runway is famous for being challenging, as there is a hill on one end and a beach and ocean on the other. With the C90, it’s a piece of cake! I’ve never had a problem,” Hayot commented. “The King Air is perfect for me. Besides being able to land on short runways, which are located throughout the French Caribbean Islands, it also has a very roomy cabin. When we travel as a family, we go anywhere in the Caribbean and to Florida.”
Hayot also leases his King Air twice a year to the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC), France’s version of the FAA, to test and calibrate the airport navigational aids in the French Caribbean Islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti and French Guyana. He invested $150,000 for special wiring to be installed in the King Air so it could support the DGAC’s calibration bench test equipment.
Since owning the C90, Hayot has upgraded the panel with two GNS 430 WAAS (one Aspen and one Avidyne EX-5000), two Garmin transponders, a New Century autopilot and a new radar. When asked why he wanted to own a King Air, Hayot explained that when he had the C90s and 200s with Air Caraïbes, out of all of the various aircraft they operated, the King Airs were his favorite. “My dream is to one day own and operate a King Air 200,” Hayot said, “and one day I will.”
There’s no doubt that Hayot will make his vision a reality, as he has done his whole life.