Here is only the details I’ll need. The trip is jeopardy at the moment. I’m having trouble connecting with CBP for re-entry into the US. Just thought to check the operating hours here and Wilmington, and they require that I land prior to 3:15pm. I have a call into Bangor, Maine now, and hope to be able to re-enter there. Otherwise, I’ll need to reschedule this into a two day event.

Thank you Michelle, one of my readers, for taking the time to correct a few things and add value and safety to the trip. Still don’t know at this late hour if it will be tomorrow, but whenever it happens, I am better informed.

Michelle’s comments include:

  • Your documents and customs lists are correct.  Be prepared for a 10 minute wait when calling CANPASS.
  • [modified in the notes below as well] I think 866-WX-BRIEF can only be used when calling from a Canadian phone number!  You might have problems calling from an American mobile phone number.  Just in case, the direct number for the east coast is 519-452-4040, 1-866-541-4104.
  • There’s no Flight Services on 122.2.  You need the Halifax FIC FISE RCO map (included below) of the Flight Information Centres frequencies to get enroute weather reports, modify your flight plan etc.
  • When flying uncontrolled, we use 126.7 MHz to give aircraft position reports.
  • All our flight plans are filed with an assumed departure time.  You don’t have to “activate” them.  (But if you don’t depart as planned, you have to call to modify it or cancel.)  Foreflight works with a Canadian subscription, but if you prefer, flight plans can be filed on-line, and weather briefing is available here.
  • 45 degree entries to the pattern (we call it “the circuit”) at uncontrolled aerodromes are not permitted  (and are a potential accident when American pilots unknowingly do them because most Canadian pilots don’t know were to look for a conflict.)  Please study Figure 4.6 page 244 for the standard left hand-circuit pattern in the Aeronautical Information Manual.

Canada Checklist – Updated

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
      • SAINT JOHN
  • 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.
      *** Michelle says: I think 866-WX-BRIEF can only be used when calling from a Canadian phone number!  You might have problems calling from an American mobile phone number.  Just in case, the direct number for the east coast is 519-452-4040, 1-866-541-4104. 

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.

By fdorrin

Recently rated Gulfstream 280 pilot, working on instructor qualifications. WestWind and Astra corporate jet flight instructor. Contract corporate pilot. Own and operate a PA30 Twin Comanche. CFII; MEI; ME-ATP; SES; Typed in DHC-8, B-25, IAI-1124, IAI1125, G100, G280. Retired engineer / executive - Delmarva Power, Conectiv Energy, and PEPCO Holdings, Inc.