Jun 13, 2019 – Preparing for Canada

Very sorry folks. I’m embarrassed that somehow a number bullet format got all over this very important post.  Cleaning it up as we speak. Go figure that this would be the one that drew several great ideas and positive feedback.

***  Here we go for another try…..

If you can add something here I’ve missed – please let me know. This is a work in progress, and I’m using it to figure out the customs process on both ends.

Read through the charting and money discussion at the start of this blog and you’ll see the details about preparing for travel into Nova Scotia from Delaware. I’m not blazing any trails here, but interpreting what others have done and preparing to describe the experience.

I’m spending money preparing for the trip to Nova Scotia on the 20th. $380/ year on Jepp USA and Canada; $270 for Jepp Garmin chart data for USA and Canada on the 530W navigator in my airplane. I also paid $70 for an FCC Restricted Radio Operators permit. The later being a pointless government money grab – accomplishing precisely zero for my money.

As for electronic charting, up to now I’ve occasionally been using the company iPad for Jepp and Canada charts.The company iPad model is an older one. It is heavy, short on memory, and beset with security features that make it a pain in the ass to use. It does not have ForeFlight, so I’d be forced to rely on the Jeppesen FliteDeck app instead. I’m retired and don’t like being forced to use something I really don’t care for.

The end result is that I’ve been leaving the company iPad turned off and simply using my own iPad with ForeFlight and NOS. My life is simpler and more enjoyable, but it can cause confusion discussing approaches with clients that have Jepp plates.

Doing the right thing: I was talking with my friend Tom B the other day. He is a Gulfstream instructor in my office. Tom mentioned that he recently purchased the USA Jepp charts for his iPad for the same reasons I mentioned. Now he has Jepp in ForeFlight for both personal flying and works, and doesn’t have to suffer with FlightDeck or company iPads. What the hell am I doing saving a few dollars when this is something I use everyday! Done!  I paid the money and feel like I should have done this last year.

Forget getting the company to update iPads and transition to ForeFlight. Crusades like that exceed my level of interest, and have little chance of success.

Canada Checklist

First thing I had to do was to become familiar with the Canadian Provinces. I need to know that so that I can ensure I have updated charts for the regions I’ll be using, and don’t load up charts I don’t need.

Documents for the aircraft:

  • Standard airworthiness certificate
  • Permanent registration certificate (no temporary certificates)
  • Radio station license
  • Operating limitations and weight and balance information
  • ID date plate
  • Transponder with Mode C or a TSA waiver if the aircraft is not so equipped
  • Either a 121.5 or a 406 MHz ELT
  • Current charts
  • Insurance for flight into Canada: Private aircraft must be covered with liability insurance and proof of coverage must be carried onboard. 
  • User Fee Decal: Customs and Borders Protection requires an annual user fee decal ($27.50) – allow a few weeks for delivery. You can buy decals online. For decal questions, call CBP at (317)-298-1245 or send an email to [email protected].

Documents for the Pilot:

  • Current passport
  • Medical certificate
  • Restricted radiotelephone operators permit: Note that this is in addition to a station license for the airplane!
  • Pilot certificate with an English proficient endorsement

Documents Passengers will need:

  • Current passport

Entry into Canada

  • There is no need to contact U.S. customs on departure – eAPIS filing is sufficient.
  • FILE eAPIS: File an eAPIS (CBP’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System) passenger manifest with CBP when departing from and arriving back in the U.S. Manifests must be filed at least one hour before departing from or arriving in the United States, but pilots can file as far in advance as they wish, giving the option to provide information for the return trip via the Internet before leaving home.
  • CALL PRIOR TO ARRIVAL: Provide advance notification to CBSA by calling 1-888/CAN-PASS (226-7277). You must provide notification no less than two (2) hours but no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival.
    • The pilot will be given an ID number that must be provided upon arrival.
    • You will be required to provide the customs office with information about yourself, passengers, and your flight.
    • A filed and activated flight plan is required for border crossing, and your first landing in Canada must be at an airport of entry. Following are a list of airports of entry near my planned destination, for use as alternates:
      • YARMOUTH
      • HALIFAX
      • CHARLOTTETOWN
      • FREDERICTON
      • SAINT JOHN
      • GREATER MONCTON
  • UPON ARRIVAL: If there is no customs officer present, immediately contact the Canadian CANPASS office again at the same number and receive an arrival report number or be advised to wait for a customs inspection.

Phone Numbers:

    • CANPASS: (888) 226-7277 or (204) 983-3500,
    • Canadian Flight Service: 866/WX-BRIEF (992-7433) Weather and file flight plans.  This telephone number can only be used within the borders of Canada. More specific flight services and local weather advisories can be obtained by contacting the individual Flight Information Centres within each Canadian province. The numbers are shown in the graphic below.

Returning from Canada

  • The first landing in the U.S. must be at a designated airport of entry with a customs office. See this list
    • KILG – Wilmington, DE (302) 326-0600
    • Burlington VT (802) 864-5181
    • Morristown, NJ (973) 267-0302
    • Harrisburg, PA    (215) 597-4606
  • Prior to departure, make direct telephone contact with the customs office at the U.S. destination airport, and notify of ETA at least one hour before and no more than 23 hours before the ETA. (Do not rely on entry of “ADCUS” in the flight plan.)
  • After landing at the U.S. airport, taxi to customs office and wait in or next to the airplane for customs officers to inspect airplane prior to exiting the plane or immediate tie-down area.