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Caribbean Air Service, Inc

Began operations out of Opa Locka Airport, Miami, Florida back in 1997 (C-50262) as a part 135 carrier flying Piper Navajo Chieftains.

Its owner was Mr. Dana Murphy an Afro-American who was born and raised in Boston Massachusetts (Murphy is a twin and his twin brother was a commercial instrument rated pilot and his older brother Ric Murphy Started a commuter airline called Spectrum Airlines which was the second Black owned air carrier in the U.S.).

Murphy was a student at Daniel Webster College who became a commercial pilot although he did not fly his planes his functions were to oversee the day to day operations of Caribbean Air Service.

Prior to Caribbean Air Murphy was also sole owner of a TV station in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Caribbean Air flew cargo and passengers throughout the U.S., Caribbean, South America, Mexico and Cuba. Caribbean Air was the first Black owned company to service Cuba. The company surrendered it certificate as a direct result of 911, it stopped operations in 2004.


The company made national news when on December 17, 1999 Caribbean Air Service flew the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to Cuba. It became the first American orchestra to perform in Cuba since the Cuban revolution.

July 20, 2000, the company made national news again when 75 year old Chief Pilot for Caribbean Air Service Herbert Waite who was rated an ATP pilot and his copilot, Filip Hansson a commercial rated pilot were killed in a plane crash just after takeoff from Nassau, Bahamas. Waite who was also a pilot for Allied Air Freight Inc. out of Opa Locka Airport had just departed Nassau in an Allied Air Freight DC-3, N54AA when then aircraft began having engine problems. Waite contacted the tower and requested to return back to the airport. Within minutes the aircraft crashed into a pine forest and burst into flames.



Upon ground impact Waite was ejected out of the cockpit window, he died as result of massive body injuries. The copilot died from the fire. It was later reported that Waite chose to land the aircraft in the forest rather than flying the aircraft near a school which was on the approach to the airport. It was also reported that this flight was the copilots’ first commercial flight in which he was second in command and that the copilot had feathered the wrong engine.

Waite had flown to the Bahamas hundreds of times. Waite had such clients as Peter Fonda, Raymond Burr and former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. In September 1993, in one of Waite’s well known flights he and two other pilots were falsely accused of smuggling dynamite to terrorist. They were arrested and placed in a Colombia prison. The pilots were cleared and finally released on Thanksgiving Day in 1993.

The company made national news again in 2001, when one of their Piper Navajo PA-31-350 Chieftain landed safely at Opa Locka Airport on one wheel. On Apr. 25, 2001, a 22 year old pilot, Sebastian Pardo was on final approach to Opa Locka Airport with a passenger onboard.

As he was going through his check list for landing he lowered his landing gear lever to drop the landings gears, he noticed he did not get a three green lights which would have told him all three landing gears down and lock. In stead he only got one green light which meant only one gear dropped. Pardo contacted the tower, tower personnel confirmed only one wheel down.

Pardo circled the area in order to burn up fuel while the event was being broadcast live by local and nation news stations. After circling for about an hour Pardo brought the plane in for a landing on one wheel. Pardo had shut the right engine down as he made his final approach he touched down on one wheel with precision. As the plane slowed down, the aircraft eased over on its left wing and skidded to a slow, straight stop. The pilot and passenger were able to walk away without a scratch. Murphy said “Pardo had been hired because of his strong flying skills”.

It has been reported that Caribbean Air Service was the fourth of fifth inline for a Black man to start an air career service in the U.S. and it is the first Black carrier to have received a 135 certificate from scratch.

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