GRANADA, Nicaragua – Hoveringabove Nicaragua with a view that wouldmake the Greek god Zeus jealous, U.S.expatriate Max Trost looks down throughthe glass bubble of his helicopter and isreminded of Alaska.Trost might be the first person to evercompare Nicaragua to Alaska, but the veteranfreelance pilot, whohas logged flight hours allaround the world, sees thesimilarities.“They are both frontiers,”said Trost, 49, whoused to fly pontoon bush planesin Alaska.Nicaragua, he said, is similarlyinaccessible byroads, which are often inpoor condition and coveronly a small fraction ofthe expansive country.SEEING the need forhelicopter services inNicaragua to view realestate and reach otherwiseunattainable locations on the beaches andmountains, Trost flew his three-passengerBell 47 J20 from Costa Rica earlier thisyear and set up shop in Granada.Trost, who previously owned a plane inCosta Rica and operated Costa Rica JungleTours (TT, March 21, 2003), left Tiquiciafrustrated with the government and afterhaving been robbed and assaulted onnumerous occasions. Trost claims he wasrobbed of close to $50,000 in equipmentand priceless aerial videotape.“I couldn’t afford to stay in Costa Ricaany longer,” said Trost, who is part of agrowing wave of foreign expatriates relocatingto Nicaragua from Costa Rica. “Ithink Nicaragua is open for business, thepeople have been very helpful here.”AFTER securing all his flight permitsand a hangar at the Nature Air landing stripin Granada (perhaps the smallest “internationalairport” in the world), last OctoberTrost started Buccaneer Heli-Tours S.A.,Nicaragua’s only privatehelicopter service forreal-estate viewing.Trost is not a touroperator to take people onjoy rides, nor does hehave a commerciallicense to offer charterflight service.But with real-estatedevelopment taking offup and down Nicaragua’swest coast, Trost believesthe high-end developerswill seek out his servicesfor property viewing.Trost is also available toshoot digital aerial videoand still digital photographs of real estatelots.“Sooner or later, the people who needme are going to find me,” he said.THE advantages to flying a helicopter,Trost said, is that potential buyers anddevelopers can get a real understanding ofthe country’s layout with a bird’s eye viewof lots for sale.The incredible view from the chopperwith the doors removed allows a perfectvantage point to “discover” new off-the beatenpath plots or beaches for futuredevelopment, Trost said.The helicopter can also be landed inany area or lot that the pilot deems safe,allowing clients to check out land from theair and on foot.TROST said he hopes to find up tofour developers, investors or large realestatedealers interested in becoming fractionalowners of his helicopter. Thearrangement would work as an aerial timesharearrangement, in which each shareholderwould be eligible for a certain numberof flying hours each month.Trost would always pilot the helicopter.Fares for other clients are negotiated ona case-by-case basis with Trost.To contact Max Trost, call Nicaraguancell phone at 864-3927 or e-mail email@example.com.
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