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Thread: Boarder Crossing

  1. #1
    CubDriver218's Avatar
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    Boarder Crossing

    I know this has been covered before, but the only thread I could find was from 2006. Time flies and a lot changes in 12 years.
    I'm trying to figure out exactly what you need to do to fly up to canada an come back. I know where the customs spots are that I'd stop at on floats or on wheels, but what else is there to it?
    Do you have to call ahead?
    Is a flight plan required?
    If you're on floats in the middle of nowhere do they still offer round robin flight plans?
    Isn't there a site you have to go to, to register your passengers now?

    Any help is appreciated.
    Fast or slow, always low, freedom of flight soothes the soul.

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    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

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    Plan way ahead... try to do the computer stuff way ahead... I have spent hours with it not working.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    You need to have a eapis acount and fill out eapis stuff on line for everyone in the airplane, needed for going both ways over the border. Call canpas before you go to Canada. Get a customs sticker. File a flight plan and get a squak code when you cross the border.
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    I would also call ahead to the places you plan to cross at because some have quirky procedures that aren’t written down anywhere or they have different times that they need to be notified about when you’re coming in. I think International Falls wants a 2 hour heads up and Baudette wants a 1 hour heads up call.
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    Heavy on the call ahead recomendation

    The website for reg to the eapis is a pain just pick a good time for you,grab a beer or two and wade through it

    Talk to everyone you can on the radio when you go back and forth. Had a person in INL accuse me of not giving them a notice,REALLY!!!! told him to roll back the tape and then he pulled back on the throttle
    Talk to everyone 2X
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    Every border crossing is a small fiefdom with its own rules and regulations. The only mission is to make no mistake so that pension and health benefits are never endangered. Call, write and document. Often. Be unfailingly polite and cooperative. Don't argue, just do. A border crossing is the one place where you as a citizen of the United States have zero constitutional rights. And don't forget that so long as everyone is being stopped a border crossing can be declared anywhere within a hundred miles of an international border within the United States.

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    A nightmare for the occasional cross border flyer. Probably why I haven't crossed the imaginary line since 1995.. has nothing to do with unpaid speeding tickets in Ohio !!
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    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    When you file your eApis, take a print screen of the msg that says it has been submitted. Save/print-screen the return email (usually within a few minutes after sending) that approves your submission. Having the print-screen on my iPad saved me at Skagway when the Customs person said they had no record of me submitting my eApis. He was ready to probably throw the book at me until I showed him the print screen. Almost comical to see him back down and become polite after I showed him proof.

    When you call in advance (minimum of 2 hours prior to arrival) be sure to write down the name of the officer who you speak to (U.S. or Canadian). Or if you are delayed in route, you can radio ATC to contact customs to tell them you're delayed--ask ATC to please get the name of the officer they speak to and let you know.
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    x2 on phone calls and names.. cleared at Sweetgrass Montana once, identifier is 7S8. It’s a road crossing with a grass strip and the agent drives over to meet you.. did the e-apis but wouldn’t take the 7S8 identifier. Called the agent, he said to enter the identifier for Great Falls and put a note in remarks that I was landing Sweetgrass. I always ask for and write down the name. Sooooooo.. land at Sweetgrass,same agent is there, clears me says have a nice day.. At my next fuel stop my wife said the agent in Great Falls wanted to talk to me.. Relayed the story, he called the Sweetgrass agent and verified everything. He then proceeded to tell me it was my fault because I didn’t put a K in front of the identifier. Trying to explain there was no ICAO identifier for Sweetgrass was futile.. He said to use the K next time.. ALWAYS call and get a name..
    Mark
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    C-FIJK's Avatar
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    Is a transponder mode c also required i believe so as they want to give you a transponder code !!!
    Gerry Marcil

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  12. #12
    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    You can get a transponder waiver if you apply ahead of time. I had a friend do such with apparently no issues. Simpler to have a transponder though.

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    Dismal experiences just about every time and always different for me. Last trip to Churchill MB we filed with eAPHIS and filed flight plan with flight service, called canpass and filed a master manifest with NAV Canada with airport stops including where we would RON and then terminate trip. Several times before departure when trying to activate a flight plan which is mandatory in Canada, the controller had no record of plan even though we had entered and received flight plan authorization using our smart phones. We got chewed out in Red Lake Ontario for departing as 2 planes even though you are talking to Winnipeg I believe on an RCO. Entering the states we had filed eAPHIS a day before to arrive back in International Falls MN. 25 miles north of the border I called US flight service for a transponder code. They attempted several times to try to get me one but said it was busy at center or with whoever hands out the squak code. As I neared the border I called them again and said I was entering US airspace shortly and needed my transponder code and asked if I should continue. They said your discretion. So I landed at International Falls and asked that my flight plan be closed and they do that for you even contacting Canada. I parked in a circle on the ramp that says customs and waited 40 minutes. I was 10 minutes early on arrival. I called customs and asked if they were coming and they said they had no record of me. I told them I filed eAPHIS and they said they don't look at that and need to be called. They show up an hour later and sniff my plane with some wacky instrument looking for a dirty bomb and go through every piece of paper I have from the aircraft to pilots license to my medical. It's not a fun experience and never a consistent one. Actually landing in Canada going north and calling canpass is the easiest part as they generally give you a authorization number and let you depart again without inspection. The US side can be the worst part of the trip. I see why many pilots have quit crossing. If you are not computer savvy and old school it's a shitty bunch of hoops I think.
    Last edited by scout88305; 02-10-2018 at 04:02 PM.
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    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    U.S. > Canada > U.S. no transponder, no problem, just request a transponder waiver from the FAA (done online- do it a week in advance even though you'll probably get approval in a day or two).

    Sweetgrass eAPIS? Not needed, nor is a flight plan. You aren't flying across the border, you are "driving" (taxiing) across the border (okay you are actually straddling the border- I'm in the U.S. I'm in Canada, I'm in the U.S. I'm in Canada). Any place you actually fly across the border you will need an eAPIS and a flight plan. A Canada flight plan (as long as it's daylight and not IFR) can be as simple as just letting someone know where/when you are flying. You will need to file a flight plan "flying" from Canada into the U.S.

    Central/Western Canada customs is great. With a CanPass you might never even speak or see a Customs agent. With CanPass you just let them know when you will land, and as long as you aren't late just sit there until the time comes and if no one shows up you don't even need to call, just take off and continue your trip. This is with a CanPass only, if you don't get a CanPass there is a different procedure you need to follow.

    U.S. Customs, well that's a horse of a different color. Always call ahead of time (two hours typically but always check the border crossing for specific rules and hours) to get "permission" to land. Once you land 9 out of 10 times the agent will seem like a dick, and sometimes they are, but usually they aren't really. My own personal belief is they are trained to behave this way in order to illicit a response that might indicate the person crossing has something to hide.

    And as others have said, document, document, document. You'll probably never need it, but it will make life a whole lot easier if you do.

    One last thought about flying in Canada. Their TFRs aren't published the way ours are in the U.S. so they don't show up on Foreflight or Garmin Pilot. But they also don't have TFRs for the all the different reasons we do. Generally it is for things like fire fighting. So check ahead of time if there are any TFRs along your route, and any time you talk with a tower ask them for a TFR update- for sure during fire season.

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    Not sure what you're getting at.... flew from Lethbridge to Sweetgrass to clear US customs... eApis required..
    Mark

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    Barnstormer, can you really just “taxi” across the border, clear customs like a car, then proceed without the eAPIS craziness? Wow, because if you can that’s beautiful news to me! Please confirm.
    About 3-4 years ago I wanted to fly from NB to Greenville Maine, and wanted to do just that; Land in Spednic Lake on NB side, taxi over to US Customs Vanceboro, clear like a car, then proceed. Sounded simple enough. Called Vanceboro customs, explained that to the lady on duty, she said US Customs has no problem at all with that, just call and let them know when we’d be there. However, she said Home Land Security might not like this arrangement, and gave me a number to call in NJ. HLS said “no sir”, can’t be done without eAPIS. So we drove to Greenville.
    The result of untold damaged brought on by creatures of nine eleven. You’re fortunate now to have someone who recognizes reality and is trying to throw the brakes on before we loose all of our freedom. Our guy (loose term) doesn’t have a single clue.
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    So, entering the US with a private aircraft, in everything I’ve ever seen, requires eApis.. and remember, no one has ever been questioned by any government agency for filling out too much paperwork.....
    Mark

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    scout88305's Avatar
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    Thank a sheepdog today for they are standing guard!

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    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    eApis not required at Sweetgrass or other "taxi across" locations such as Eckhart International (1S1)? Hum. You might be (probably are) totally correct. But I'm not taking that chance. Easy to create & file on-line. Do you really want to roll the dice with "The Man?" Not me.

    I've done 1S1 crossing by the way. Filed eApis. Called 2 hours in advance. No problems either way.

  20. #20
    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    RoddyM, I don't know anything about float flying and crossing borders but I suspect there is not a Seaplane Base that straddles the Canadian/U.S. border, that is owned by both countries and both countries have their own Seaplane Base designation. But that's just a guess. If my guess is right then the situation you describe would require eApis.


    mam90 you are probably correct that you won't get dinged for filing too much paperwork. But I think you will get a kick out of my ramblings below.


    Ted, you reminded me about one of my trips thru Eckhart (1S1). It's not the same as Ross as the entire runway at Eckhart is on the American side. But as you know you do taxi to the border of Canada and then push the plane across once Canadian Customs has cleared you if they want to look at the plane. Short version of the story is I was taking my nephews Sturgeon fishing in BC. Taxied up to the border and then walked to the Canadian Customs building where we spent about four hours before they asked me to push across my 185. I did and the officer commenced to violate the 185. He then refused to allow one of my nephews into Canada due to a DUI back when he was in high school (unless we paid $250 and waited two weeks which would then make him eligible). Anyway I decided to turn back, walked over to U.S. Customs and asked them if I needed to file an eApis to get back in. They said no, just push it across the border and you are good to go. Its possible they just felt sorry for us. I haven't had a reason to cross there since.


    Okay first an additional note on CanPass. To take advantage of what CanPass has to offer when entering Canada by plane everyone on board has to have a CanPass, otherwise everyone must treat their arrival as a non-CanPass arrival.


    Now about Sweetgrass. For those who are unfamiliar Sweetgrass is actually the name of the "town" in Montana near the airport, the airport being named Ross International which is a turf strip, that runs roughly east/west, that is actually an International Airport (you can clear both Canadian and U.S. Customs here- there is a highway nearby with Customs) that straddles lengthwise both the Canadian and U.S. Border, so certainly fairly unique as International airports go. Canada designates it as CEP4 (associated with the "town" of Coutts), the U.S. designates it as 7S8 (associated with the "town" of Sweetgrass).


    Now here is where ones mind starts to get blown. If you are in the U.S. and land there you are in the U.S. So you can fly to Ross Intl from say Shelby Montana, land, go visit Sweetgrass, then fly back from Ross Intl to Shelby and never talk with U.S. or Canadian Customs. If you are in Canada and land you are in Canada. So you can fly from say Milk River and land at Ross Intl, go visit Coutts, then fly back from Ross Intl to Milk River and never talk with U.S. Customs or Canadian Customs.


    To further blow ones mind lets say you are an American in Canada headed to the U.S. You land at Ross Intl (CEP4) and tie your plane down so you can visit a friend in Coutts. You guys decide to drive across the border to visit a friend in Sweetgrass. Your Canadian friend has to head home but you stay in Sweetgrass for a while longer.


    Time to head back to the plane. You and your friend are both in the U.S. Your friend drives you out to your plane in the U.S. You get out, shake hands. Your friend leaves. So there you stand. Next to your plane on the turf at Ross Intl. You are in the U.S. Where is your plane? Okay so your plane is still in Canada. But you are in the U.S. because you've already cleared customs. Now you climb into your plane. Did you just enter Canada? If so you have to call Canadian Customs to get cleared into Canada. So now both your airplane and you are in Canada. Of course Canadian customs already has you cleared into Canada in their system even though you actually left Canada and entered the U.S. Or do they? Everything is computerized these days and Canada and the U.S. share databases of their citizens. They may decide this seems fishy and come over and completely inspect your plane.


    Or you don't do that. While still sitting in the airplane do you file an eApis and wait an hour or two before calling U.S. Customs to come over and clear you into the U.S. Or do you just call U.S. Customs. Of course now you have to tell them you are already in the U.S. but your plane isn't and you'd like it inspected. That seems hugely fishy to them so they come over, tear your plane completely apart and crawl up your hinny with a microscope.


    Or do you just climb in your plane and continue your trip in the lower 48. Does anyone really care?


    Or let's say you are in Canada and land at Ross Intl because of engine trouble. You decide it's cheaper to take the wings off and trailer it across the border to get it repaired in the U.S. The plane is in Canada. You are in Canada. You contract a Canadian transport company to take your plane across the border. Do you need to file an eApis to enter the U.S.? You and your plane, which arrived by air at Ross Intl, are not flying across the border, you are driving across.


    Okay so none of this is very likely, but certainly it's possible.


    But let's entertain another scenario that really happened to me. So a friend and I are flying down to the Lower 48 from Alaska. Fast forward a couple of days and we've been flying all day and in the air for about 4 hours. We both have to pee really bad. We call U.S. Customs while in the air as we approach Ross Intl. The customs officer explains it will take about 30-45 minutes before she can get over to us and that "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES" are we to get out of the plane. We land, shut down and sit there. We are both about to explode and fortune would have it that a U.S. Border Patrol agent drives by. We flag him down from inside the plane. We explain our situation. He smiles and says "you two come over here I want to talk with you". We jumped out of the plane and took a good long pee. We then walked over to his truck, stretching our legs, and talked for a while. Eventually here comes the lady Customs agent and she is furious that we got out of the plane and doesn't care that we were under the watchful eye of the Border Patrol Agent the entire time. My friend starts telling her about another lady Customs Agent here that he took out to dinner once. Thank heavens the two were friends cause the anger started to wain.


    What could we have done different? We could have landed and "stayed in Canada" got out of the plane and pee'd. Then called U.S. Customs. Would we have to get back in the plane because "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES" get out of the plane even though we are already out? What if after peeing we'd decided to grab some lunch before continuing. When done do we get back in the plane to clear U.S. Customs and file an eApis even though we actually "arrive" in the U.S. by declaring we want into the U.S. (you don't even taxi anywhere at Ross Intl to clear Customs if you parked in the right place to begin with)? Or do we just call Customs and ask them to come over and clear our plane and us?


    Crazy stuff. Certainly a very unique airport, and I suspect there is no way a new one like it could be built today.

  21. #21
    tedwaltman1's Avatar
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    Wow Phil, you certainly have been through the wringer with Customs.

    I've done the border maybe 10 times. As someone else commented, the Canadian side has always been pleasant, free of angst. The U.S. side always seems to have some drama, never my fault but I’m always left with apprehension. They have all the power.

    Again, I have no problem going into Canada. Coming back to my own country sucks.

    Once, on another visit thru Skagway, my passenger really had to pee. No customs agent in sight. We knew the std “You better not get out of your plane” rule. I called the Customs phone # and explained the situation. They gave us both permission to visit the restroom as long as we came right back. No rhyme nor reason to who does what when.

    Another time when I called U.S. Customs to give them our 2 hours advance notice on a Sunday morning the agent told me I had to give them 48 hours (!!) advance notice if it was a weekend. I finally had to ask to speak to the supervisory agent on duty to get around that obviously false statement.
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    Well Phil, let’s just say after 30 years of dealing with CBP (or their predecessor) on a regular basis I’ve had enough experiences to not want to test these quirky theories! Maybe we’ll start a new thread for those experiences... When the guy says you departed Canada with a plan to land at 7S8 to clear US Customs, I’m guessing CBP would expect an eApis was filed.. (Remind me to tell you about being detained and videotaped in Beijing for about 4 hours sometime....)
    Last edited by mam90; 02-10-2018 at 08:31 PM.
    Mark

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tedwaltman1 View Post
    eApis not required at Sweetgrass or other "taxi across" locations such as Eckhart International (1S1)? Hum. You might be (probably are) totally correct. But I'm not taking that chance. Easy to create & file on-line. Do you really want to roll the dice with "The Man?" Not me.

    I've done 1S1 crossing by the way. Filed eApis. Called 2 hours in advance. No problems either way.
    CPB personnel at 1S1 expect eApis. In our last trip, two planes filed eApis, neither arrived at Porthill. After calling Porthill, they insisted we refile, which caused about a 2 hour delay.

    Other experiences:
    • You need to add a "K": the identifier is K1S1 in eApis.
    • Your experience will vary depending on who is manning the station. The first time we crossed, it was very formal, we had to stay by the planes at the tiedown until someone met us. Despite being formal, the agents were pleasant and efficient. The second time, we got tired of waiting and called from the tiedown - the person answering didn't know where the tiedown was, insisted we taxi and park right in from of the stairs (IMHO, some planes wouldn't make it up the grass incline). Agents were surly.
    • Turn off your phones and put your cameras away. While we stood around at the station, an agent went to the planes and removed the SD cards from two cameras that were laying on the seats. We waited 20 minutes while they trolled through our vacation pictures.
    Last edited by sjohnson; 02-11-2018 at 12:03 AM. Reason: tupo
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    [QUOTE=Barnstormer;709528]RoddyM, I don't know anything about float flying and crossing borders but I suspect there is not a Seaplane Base that straddles the Canadian/U.S. border, that is owned by both countries and both countries have their own Seaplane Base designation. But that's just a guess. If my guess is right then the situation you describe would require eApis.

    MN/ONTARIO Border at International Falls MN and Ft. Frances Ontario. Rainy River splits the two and the center line of river the line. Seaplane docks on both sides for clearing customs. I've seen the ugly side of authority and wouldn't want the hassle getting called out for landing US and then taxi across without all the filing, flight plan, and notification.
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    https://www.eapisfile.com/Docs/eAPIS/private_flyers_guide.pdf


    https://www.aopa.org/go-fly/destinat...sked-questions

    Suggest you read through both these sites, then come back with questions. Most of the vital stuff is in there.
    It's much easier to bring a firearm (long gun) to Canada than it used to be, so that's one of the few things that has improved.
    One thing they don't tell you is to pre-register your long gun/firearm with the US CBP at one of the border stations. They will give you a receipt with your serial number and firearm description written on it, and it greatly facilitates crossing back in. They will treat you like royalty compared to what it's like bringing back a firearm that wasn't pre-registered. Even the Canadian officers seem to appreciate seeing that "validating" receipt.
    Do not bring a pistol, and do check the list of allowed long guns.
    Last edited by JohnnyR; 02-11-2018 at 08:46 AM.

  26. #26

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    Going through your pictures is well above and beyond the norm for a GA arrival, although it is legal.
    https://www.acluaz.org/sites/default...der_rights.pdf
    https://www.technologylawsource.com/...ellular-phone/

    Our family went through the Trusted Traveler program (NEXUS) specifically so we don't have to deal with issues like that. It involves fingerprinting and a background check to assure of a lower risk of threat, making crossings easier for members. Highly recommended if you frequently cross.

    You are supposed to stay inside your plane and in the designated area - away from other aircraft and people.

    I'm armchair quarterbacking here, but I'll wager the reason they were surly is probably because you didn't follow directions and subsequently put yourself in a situation where the responding agents could easily have assumed you ditched items outside the airplane upon arrival. Consistent behavior like that from our GA population could and probably would create a scenario where CBP makes it even more difficult for GA pilots to file and cross the border back into the U.S. I'm assuming you had passports and all the other required documentation, and weren't a grumpy smart-a--, giving them another excuse to ruin your day.

    Not trying to hammer you here, just using your example to show why things can get difficult at the border, and what we can do as a group to make it better.

    Most CBP agents have to deal with extraordinary pressure to not "fail" and allow bad guys or bad items into the country. Their families' food & rent depends on it. Therefore they are already pre-loaded to identify us as potential threats. What we can do is be pleasant, know the rules before arrival, follow the rules and be understanding of what can be a pretty cruddy but important job.

    That all said, there are some CBP agents that revel in controlling the situation, and some of them step outside normal boundaries. Know your rights and know what both they, and we, are supposed to do. See above website to understand those rights.

    Sorry for the long response, which is intended for all of us, but I often read or hear about this or that CBP agent who ruined someone's day. The issue can often be tracked back to someone not knowing the rules. Guess which party typically falls into that category. Hint: it isn't the CBP employee!

    Quote Originally Posted by sjohnson View Post
    CPB personnel at 1S1 expect eApis. In our last trip, two planes filed eApis, neither arrived at Porthill. After calling Porthill, they insisted we refile, which caused about a 2 hour delay.

    Other experiences:
    • You need to add a "K": the identifier is K1S1 in eApis.
    • Your experience will vary depending on who is manning the station. The first time we crossed, it was very formal, we had to stay by the planes at the tiedown until someone met us. Despite being formal, the agents were pleasant and efficient. The second time, we got tired of waiting and called from the tiedown - the person answering didn't know where the tiedown was, insisted we taxi and park right in from of the stairs (IMHO, some planes wouldn't make it up the grass incline). Agents were surly.
    • Turn off your phones and put your cameras away. While we stood around at the station, an agent went to the planes and removed the SD cards from two cameras that were laying on the seats. We waited 20 minutes while they trolled through our vacation pictures.
    Last edited by JohnnyR; 02-11-2018 at 08:56 AM.

  27. #27

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    CBP officers are people, so there’s good ones and bad ones, just like any other profession. I’ve dealt with both. While I have no info on this 1S1 experience, in general a tough job does not excuse unprofessional or poor behavior. And unfortunately doing everything by the book does not guarantee a good experience. Such is life.
    Mark

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnstormer View Post
    RoddyM, I don't know anything about float flying and crossing borders but I suspect there is not a Seaplane Base that straddles the Canadian/U.S. border, that is owned by both countries and both countries have their own Seaplane Base designation. But that's just a guess. If my guess is right then the situation you describe would require eApis.


    mam90 you are probably correct that you won't get dinged for filing too much paperwork. But I think you will get a kick out of my ramblings below.


    Ted, you reminded me about one of my trips thru Eckhart (1S1). It's not the same as Ross as the entire runway at Eckhart is on the American side. But as you know you do taxi to the border of Canada and then push the plane across once Canadian Customs has cleared you if they want to look at the plane. Short version of the story is I was taking my nephews Sturgeon fishing in BC. Taxied up to the border and then walked to the Canadian Customs building where we spent about four hours before they asked me to push across my 185. I did and the officer commenced to violate the 185. He then refused to allow one of my nephews into Canada due to a DUI back when he was in high school (unless we paid $250 and waited two weeks which would then make him eligible). Anyway I decided to turn back, walked over to U.S. Customs and asked them if I needed to file an eApis to get back in. They said no, just push it across the border and you are good to go. Its possible they just felt sorry for us. I haven't had a reason to cross there since.


    Okay first an additional note on CanPass. To take advantage of what CanPass has to offer when entering Canada by plane everyone on board has to have a CanPass, otherwise everyone must treat their arrival as a non-CanPass arrival.


    Now about Sweetgrass. For those who are unfamiliar Sweetgrass is actually the name of the "town" in Montana near the airport, the airport being named Ross International which is a turf strip, that runs roughly east/west, that is actually an International Airport (you can clear both Canadian and U.S. Customs here- there is a highway nearby with Customs) that straddles lengthwise both the Canadian and U.S. Border, so certainly fairly unique as International airports go. Canada designates it as CEP4 (associated with the "town" of Coutts), the U.S. designates it as 7S8 (associated with the "town" of Sweetgrass).


    Now here is where ones mind starts to get blown. If you are in the U.S. and land there you are in the U.S. So you can fly to Ross Intl from say Shelby Montana, land, go visit Sweetgrass, then fly back from Ross Intl to Shelby and never talk with U.S. or Canadian Customs. If you are in Canada and land you are in Canada. So you can fly from say Milk River and land at Ross Intl, go visit Coutts, then fly back from Ross Intl to Milk River and never talk with U.S. Customs or Canadian Customs.


    To further blow ones mind lets say you are an American in Canada headed to the U.S. You land at Ross Intl (CEP4) and tie your plane down so you can visit a friend in Coutts. You guys decide to drive across the border to visit a friend in Sweetgrass. Your Canadian friend has to head home but you stay in Sweetgrass for a while longer.


    Time to head back to the plane. You and your friend are both in the U.S. Your friend drives you out to your plane in the U.S. You get out, shake hands. Your friend leaves. So there you stand. Next to your plane on the turf at Ross Intl. You are in the U.S. Where is your plane? Okay so your plane is still in Canada. But you are in the U.S. because you've already cleared customs. Now you climb into your plane. Did you just enter Canada? If so you have to call Canadian Customs to get cleared into Canada. So now both your airplane and you are in Canada. Of course Canadian customs already has you cleared into Canada in their system even though you actually left Canada and entered the U.S. Or do they? Everything is computerized these days and Canada and the U.S. share databases of their citizens. They may decide this seems fishy and come over and completely inspect your plane.


    Or you don't do that. While still sitting in the airplane do you file an eApis and wait an hour or two before calling U.S. Customs to come over and clear you into the U.S. Or do you just call U.S. Customs. Of course now you have to tell them you are already in the U.S. but your plane isn't and you'd like it inspected. That seems hugely fishy to them so they come over, tear your plane completely apart and crawl up your hinny with a microscope.


    Or do you just climb in your plane and continue your trip in the lower 48. Does anyone really care?


    Or let's say you are in Canada and land at Ross Intl because of engine trouble. You decide it's cheaper to take the wings off and trailer it across the border to get it repaired in the U.S. The plane is in Canada. You are in Canada. You contract a Canadian transport company to take your plane across the border. Do you need to file an eApis to enter the U.S.? You and your plane, which arrived by air at Ross Intl, are not flying across the border, you are driving across.


    Okay so none of this is very likely, but certainly it's possible.


    But let's entertain another scenario that really happened to me. So a friend and I are flying down to the Lower 48 from Alaska. Fast forward a couple of days and we've been flying all day and in the air for about 4 hours. We both have to pee really bad. We call U.S. Customs while in the air as we approach Ross Intl. The customs officer explains it will take about 30-45 minutes before she can get over to us and that "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES" are we to get out of the plane. We land, shut down and sit there. We are both about to explode and fortune would have it that a U.S. Border Patrol agent drives by. We flag him down from inside the plane. We explain our situation. He smiles and says "you two come over here I want to talk with you". We jumped out of the plane and took a good long pee. We then walked over to his truck, stretching our legs, and talked for a while. Eventually here comes the lady Customs agent and she is furious that we got out of the plane and doesn't care that we were under the watchful eye of the Border Patrol Agent the entire time. My friend starts telling her about another lady Customs Agent here that he took out to dinner once. Thank heavens the two were friends cause the anger started to wain.


    What could we have done different? We could have landed and "stayed in Canada" got out of the plane and pee'd. Then called U.S. Customs. Would we have to get back in the plane because "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES" get out of the plane even though we are already out? What if after peeing we'd decided to grab some lunch before continuing. When done do we get back in the plane to clear U.S. Customs and file an eApis even though we actually "arrive" in the U.S. by declaring we want into the U.S. (you don't even taxi anywhere at Ross Intl to clear Customs if you parked in the right place to begin with)? Or do we just call Customs and ask them to come over and clear our plane and us?


    Crazy stuff. Certainly a very unique airport, and I suspect there is no way a new one like it could be built today.
    I have crossed at both Sweetgrass and Porthill and I would never want to test the no Eapis theory at either. You’re crossing an international border in an airplane. Why not file the Eapis and not worry about it? I think just about any FBO within a couple hundred miles of the border has a computer you can use. And I’ve done it with my iPad and cell phone as a hot spot a few times too.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

  29. #29
    Doug Budd's Avatar
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    I found out the hard way that in Canada even though it's not a towered airport you still have to announce yourself on the radio before landing.


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  30. #30
    irishfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Budd View Post
    I found out the hard way that in Canada even though it's not a towered airport you still have to announce yourself on the radio before landing.


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    Can you tell us what field you were flying into. Some are still controlled airspace, via remote on the radio, to a controller in Toronto and you need transponder, and conversation before entering "the zone". Other than that NORDO is absolutely still legal in this country, although there is also absolutely no reason not to be blindly calling out your intentions if you do have a radio whether it's an airfield or a lake... on the appropriate channel.
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  31. #31
    Doug Budd's Avatar
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    Brandon Saskatchewan


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  32. #32
    irishfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Budd View Post
    Brandon Saskatchewan


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    You mean Brandon Manitoba?? It has scheduled West Jet passenger service, I would expect they wanna hear from you a few miles out.

  33. #33
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    Sorry it is Manitoba. The guy that called me told me that it is required to call in. I didn't know that . Before I took off I looked at a airport facility directory and it never said anything about it. But now I know. He was cool about it, lightly chewed me out and that was it.


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  34. #34
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    Perfect time to say this: "another country heard from".
    I wouldnt take one other pilots comment / opinion as gospel.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyR View Post
    Going through your pictures is well above and beyond the norm for a GA arrival, although it is legal.
    I am acutely aware of this, but legal does not mean right. I am kicking myself that we didn't put away the cameras. We did turn off our phones. BTW, this authority extends to 100 mi of the border, and in some areas, is routinely abused to evade 4th amendment search restrictions.

    We could see an agent intently clicking through something on her PC, but it wasn't until we returned to the airplanes and found one of the camera memory doors open that we realized what happened. The agents were so focused on distracting us for 20 minutes that they forgot to ask us the basics: did we have weapons or fruit.

    Our family went through the Trusted Traveler program (NEXUS) specifically so we don't have to deal with issues like that. It involves fingerprinting and a background check to assure of a lower risk of threat, making crossings easier for members. Highly recommended if you frequently cross.

    You are supposed to stay inside your plane and in the designated area - away from other aircraft and people.
    Yes, and the penalties are draconian, which is why we were confused when the CPB agent we called expected us to go the road station without being met at the plane.

    I'm armchair quarterbacking here, but I'll wager the reason they were surly is probably because you didn't follow directions and subsequently put yourself in a situation where the responding agents could easily have assumed you ditched items outside the airplane upon arrival. Consistent behavior like that from our GA population could and probably would create a scenario where CBP makes it even more difficult for GA pilots to file and cross the border back into the U.S. I'm assuming you had passports and all the other required documentation, and weren't a grumpy smart-a--, giving them another excuse to ruin your day.

    Not trying to hammer you here, just using your example to show why things can get difficult at the border, and what we can do as a group to make it better.
    Nope. Everyone in the group is an experienced international traveler, was polite, and we followed instructions to a T. eApis was filed, we called in advance, had records and passports. I have been through Porthill before. We all briefed the process before flight. At least two of the group has dealt with authoritarian border patrol agents far worse than CPB, although I wonder about CPB's trends.

    Most CBP agents have to deal with extraordinary pressure to not "fail" and allow bad guys or bad items into the country. Their families' food & rent depends on it. Therefore they are already pre-loaded to identify us as potential threats. What we can do is be pleasant, know the rules before arrival, follow the rules and be understanding of what can be a pretty cruddy but important job.

    That all said, there are some CBP agents that revel in controlling the situation, and some of them step outside normal boundaries. Know your rights and know what both they, and we, are supposed to do. See above website to understand those rights.
    And I think this is closer to why the agents were surly. First, they didn't really know what to do with airplanes, despite being a port of entry for aircraft. They were uncomfortable and afraid of making a mistake.

    Second, like many people working for large organizations, they've allowed compliance with bureaucratic rules to overrule their basic decency. I seriously doubt they signed up to the border patrol so they could troll through private vacation photos, seized from near professional equipment, on the waaaay outside chance they might find child porn.

    Sorry for the long response, which is intended for all of us, but I often read or hear about this or that CBP agent who ruined someone's day. The issue can often be tracked back to someone not knowing the rules. Guess which party typically falls into that category. Hint: it isn't the CBP employee!
    Frankly, I am getting tired of the nearly universal response that if you have trouble with government employees, then the problem must be with you.
    Democracy dies in conformity
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  36. #36

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    I put together information on crossing the border at Crane Lake MN and Sand Point Lake in ON. I mention how to get your transponder waiver, VFR Round Robin, Customs Sticker and eAPIS. If anybody is interested, PM me with your email and I'll send it to you.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyC View Post
    I put together information on crossing the border at Crane Lake MN and Sand Point Lake in ON. I mention how to get your transponder waiver, VFR Round Robin, Customs Sticker and eAPIS. If anybody is interested, PM me with your email and I'll send it to you.
    Marty,

    Thank you so much!
    You put together an document with step by step instructions telling me basically everything I needed to know. I also appreciate everybody else who chimed in to help clarify the procedures for float flying across the boarder.
    I think I have a decent idea for now and look forward to flying this summer up into Canada on floats.
    Fast or slow, always low, freedom of flight soothes the soul.

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