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Thread: Flying in and out of Canada... whats new?

  1. #1
    SJ's Avatar
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    Flying in and out of Canada... whats new?

    Well, here I sit in Kansas City contemplating flying up to Canada and hoping to get back out. It's been a couple years so a review of the process would be helpful from somebody who does it a lot.

    I have a mode-c transponder and positive attitude.

    What paperwork is required to get in and out? I have my '06 Canada sticker (or US sticker as it were).

    Do you fiile a US flight plan, a canadian flight plan? What if the destination is a lake and not an airport in Canada? Holy cats, so many questions, so little time.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Check out CAN PASS. I don't have the link right now so use Google. I have not used CAN PASS but it sounds relatively simple. (everything is relative)

    Bill
    Flat Country Pilot
    Farm Field PVT
    54 C170B

  3. #3
    SJ's Avatar
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    Thanks,

    I'm actually reading all the AOPA stuff at this moment, and just got off the NavCanada site. So far, it seems getting into Canada is not that big of a deal, but getting home is!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  4. #4
    SJ's Avatar
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    Suppose your wife wants to take her little dog with her into Canada? Will they let him back in the country upon our return?

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Steve, here is how it works here in Seattle to B.C. Call Canpass and file with them to a designated Canadian customs floatplane facility, and they will give you a transponder code to squack while crossing and continuing across the border. File a US flight plan. When you arrive at your destination float facility, Customs will either meet you, or you phone in to them. Leaving Canada, file a flight plan to a US Customs designated facility, and then also call US Customs and let them know when you are to arrive. Do not depend on your flight plan to notify customs. Your first stop in Canada has to be to a designated Canadian Customs facility. EG Seattle to Nanaimo B.C.

  6. #6
    SJ's Avatar
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    Jim,

    Great summary. Thanks.

    Has anybody been asked to see a medical certificate upon reentry into the US? I carry one (of course) but had heard this was a new requirement.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  7. #7
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    canada

    SJ, I'll have all the necessary forms and info(even for the pooch) when you get here on friday. And yes, you are absolutely correct in that getting into Canada is hassle free, getting back to your own country can be frustrating. Makes ya think that in some small way the terrorists are winning !

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    RedEye's Avatar
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    canada

    You may also want to get a RABC permit (remote area boarder crossing). No need to stop for Canadian customs. Makes things real simple. However, they do a very in depth background check, so if you've got any gremlins in the closet(dwi..etc) probably not a good idea to apply for one.

  9. #9
    SJ's Avatar
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    Re: canada

    Quote Originally Posted by david jaranson
    However, they do a very in depth background check, so if you've got any gremlins in the closet(dwi..etc) probably not a good idea to apply for one.
    David, I have not been hanging around you long enough to mess up my record...

    sj
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    Steve- Don't know about Canada customs but your trip sounds interesting. Care to elaborate? Is this a float plane trip? I really like your new cow.

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    Wadecalvin,

    The cow is thanks to Pat Gallahue, he thought it would clear up the confusion about the New Holstein Fy In location.

    As for the Canada trip, my plan is to keep my cub up in Northern MN this summer and to make several trips up to play on the lakes. It is a LOOOONG ride up in the amphib cub (6+ hours no wind) so I am going to try to base up there and just wanted a refresh on the program.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Sounds like the perfect midwest summer program.

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    Steve,

    Taking dogs into Canada is easy, but they have to have a current vaccination (at least rabies) record, AND a health certificate. This is apparently based on an agreement between US Veterinarians and the Canadian Customs folks.

    Our vet gave our dogs a checkup, verified shot records, and gave us a health cert.

    It is my understanding that the certificate has to have been issued within 2 weeks of your visit, but perhaps there's a caveat for frequent visitors.

    When we crossed, nobody asked for the health certificates.

    Take guns, that'll keep em focused on the guns, and they'll overlook the mutt.

    MTV

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    Canada Trip

    Steve - I making the first trip of the summer float season tommorrow. Here's what you do - first leave the transponder off. Radio coverage up here to get your discreet code is sketchy at best ( I live 18 miles from the border). You will want to get a transponder waiver from TSA. A simple two page form you fax in. It is good for 6 months. Then you come and go across the border with no transponder on, and no discreet code. Everyone up here uses this waiver, even if they have a transponder. Don't have to screw with Minneapolis Center trying to get your code. The second thing you will want is a "Round Robin Authorization Number" from the FAA. Again, a simple 2 page form you complete and fax in and is good for one year. This allows you to file your entire flight plan to and from Canada from home on your telephone before you hop in your plane and leave. Again - no trying to get Princeton Flight Service which is nearly impossible unless your are circling above an RCO antenna (like at Crane Lake). I can't trip the RCO (stands from remote something outlet) unless I am within 5 miles and it's not blanked out by my wing. The beauty of this Round Robin Authorization number is you give them your departure time (have the plane loaded and tell them to activate it in 10 minutes and that you don't have radio coverage). you tell them when you are crossing back into the US, and you can come back up to seven days prior to the actual time you told them you are planning to reenter. So for instance, tomorrow I will call in at 8 am, tell them I am leaving in 10 minutes, and tell them I am coming back on Tuesday at 4pm, even though my plan is to come back Sunday at noon. Gives me a couple days leaway in case of weather. When I get home Sunday, I just call up Princeton FSS on the phone and tell them I'm home and to close the plan. Once I take off, I never talk to anyone on the radio other than making position calls for landing at Sandpoint for Canadian Customs. Same thing returning on Sunday, the only radio call I will make is when I'm about 15 miles out from Crane (US Customs), I will call customs and tell them I'll be at the dock with 3 US citizens on board in 10 minutes. Sometimes you have to call Crane US Customs 2 or 3 times before they answer because they might be busy on the dock clearing boats or other planes. The process is simple. When going into Canada, have your drivers license (or birth certificate for those to young to drive), NO POTATOTES, no live bait, and you are good to go. You don't ever talk to anyone in Canada on the radio, just taxi up to the dock and get out. When returning to the US, have your customs decal, pilots license, medical certificate (I couldn't find mine last year and I had to give the officer a good listening to), and registration AND NO CITRUS FRUIT. Dogs are a piece of cake, just need a rabies certificate or proof of vaccination. The RABC (remote area border crossing permit) will not work if you are going off the border waters or more than 20KM? inland. They only cover the border waters and lakes touching the border waters. Don't screw with CANPASS, just clear through Sandpoint on floats -open 7am to 7pm, closed around lunchtime and suppertime (I will check tommorrow and give you exact closed times). Don't go through Fort Francis on floats - landing in the river and calling CANPASS and waiting for a customs agent to drive over from the bridge is a pain in the ass - same goes for landing on wheels at Fort Francis airport - too much waiting. Sandpoint and Crane Lake is the way to cross the border - much more informal and plane friendly. Also, you can't get gas in the Fort easily, and Scotts in Crane has it right at the dock. PM me with your mailing address and I will send you all the forms you need to fill out along with samples of mine and you will be good to go. I have a little packet of these all ready to go for a couple of other guys that I have sent them to. The forms take about 7-10 days to receive back, so don't wait till the last minute. Russ

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Russ,

    THANKS for the informative reply. This is basically what David Jaranson was doing last time I went up with him. It sounds pretty simple. I will have to implement it for "next time" and will get the paperwork going.

    Sounds like he has all the paperwork I need, but thanks for the offer!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

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    Note the provisions of FAR 91.215:

    (c) Transponder-on operation. While in the airspace as specified in paragraph (b) of this section or in all controlled airspace, each person operating an aircraft equipped with an operable ATC transponder maintained in accordance with §91.413 of this part shall operate the transponder, including Mode C equipment if installed, and shall reply on the appropriate code or as assigned by ATC.

    With the FAA's apparent willingness to go after people on all sorts of stuff (DUI convictions not reported on medicals, disabilities not reported, etc) I'd be REALLY careful about putting in writing to a government agency that I am violating the Federal Regulations.

    Of course, you could always stay below 1200 feet, ie: outside controlled airspace, but.....

    Just a thought.

    MTV

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    PAPERWORK

    Steve - just note that the paperwork and numbers you fax them to have both changed since last year. If you fax the wrong form or to the wrong number it disappears into our government black hole. You will never hear anything from them. I've got the up to date forms , faxes, and contact people. I will post all the numbers here on Monday, but not the forms, I would have to scan them. Acutally, I have the transponder waiver form saved PDF and could email to you. The most useful thing about the packet I have is you can basically duplicate it, put in your N number and SSN, and it will go through no hassle. Also, on the transponder waiver you will need to list coordinates of your Canadian lake destinations AND dates you will be there. I listed all my various routes up there, destination lakes, etc, and then put under the dates column "April 15, 2006 - October 15, 2006" with a little note saying I am coming and going at various times during the six month time frame. You will also need name, DOB, and SSN's for your passengers. I think there is room for about 6-8 passengers to list on the form, and I think you could attach and extra page for more. The round robin form is basically nothing, and you only fax back the second page and third page, the front page just states the rules. Carry the forms they fax back to you with you in the plane. Also, when filing with Princeton, tell the briefer right away that you are filing a Canadian Round Robin flight plan. Don't tell him/her that halfway through the plan because they have to start all over, apparently it is a different menu item on their computer. All the briefers at Princenton are familiar with it. Make sure to give the briefer your transponder waiver # and round robin authorization number even if they don't ask for it. They put this in the comments section of the flight plan.

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    MTV - regarding the transponder waiver, all you are declaring on there is that either you don't have a transponder OR it is inoperative. Says that right on the form. I guess inoperative is at user's discretion - didn't work yesterday when I tried it. Unplug it if you want. Fact of the matter is they put this rule into place not because guys didn't have the transponders, but because when approaching from Canada, you need to have your code going about 10 miles out, and reaching Center and getting the code from 20 miles north of border, low ceilings etc is impossible. Been there, done that. Even half the guys in the fancy Caravans use both waivers, and they can get on top and have big radios to reach center. And good luck trying to get Winnipeg center to relay all this back to the US and get your code. Spent 45 minutes circling north of the border in a caravan once waiting for that to happen. I realize the whole thing is bogus because you can come back up to seven days before you say without a transponder, so how do they know if that's you returning early. But that's the way it is and it works. When they first put the waiver program in place (following 9/11), you had to return within 1 hour of when you said you would. All kinds of problems because guys got weathered in 200 miles north with no phones etc, and the FAA spent more time calling the "responsible party" you list on the flight plan, to see if they should send out SAR. This program is one of the very few instance our government has made a good common sense program that really works. Rumor is that the only reason it got passed is because Jim Oberstar, our US Rep up here is a big nut on the Transportation Committee in Washington, and he listed to local people who depend on crossing this border easily for their business etc, and was able to push it through. I'm no fan of Oberstar, but apparently this time he actually did something in Washington.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    I have no doubt you are correct. My point was that you should be prepared to answer the question appropriately if asked.

    Note that the FAA never correlated databases till recently. I don't have any idea what databases they'll correlate next.

    "No sir, I was never above 1,200 agl that entire trip, but thanks for asking". Or whatever.



    MTV

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    Here is the wiaver and round robin for that I have:

    Ok, they were the old ones... I deleted the links.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    1200 AGL

    MTV - thanks for the good advice - I think a little placard on the transponder saying "inoperative" might be good. Now to really show my ignorance, what is magical about 1200 agl - are you supposed to have a transponder up there in nose bleed land with the astronauts? It's been so long I honestly don't remember that one. I want to have my facts straight if I get quized. Guess I'll always say I flew at a 1000 AGL. But I suppose this needs to jive with my flight plan info. Help me out here. One very fortunate thing up here is thus far the federalies have been non existant. Although I'm sure that could change at any time. I have never even heard of a ramp check up here. And the only place they would get you on floats is at Scotts dock on Crane Lake. Darrel told me they have been there once in five years, basically just doing a safety check. He actually said they were very helpful and courteous to the pilots, and even helped them get their paperwork in order rather than writing tickets. I don't bank on that.

  22. #22
    SJ's Avatar
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    Superchamp, in the US, Class E starts at 1200 AGL (except around airports) and is considered controlled airspace.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Forms

    Steve - the waiver you have is the old one. Went out of style in late 05 They change this every six months or so just to keep a guy guessing. It looks a lot different now - and the fax numbers are definitely different. That is the old round robin also, although that is very similar to the new one and would probably work. The whole outfit you used to fax the round robin to or call (in Kansas City I believe) has vanished. Try the number you will get a repair shop. Send me your address - I'll get you the right stuff. Russ

  24. #24
    SJ's Avatar
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    I am going to delete them then!

    sj
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    I guess all my flight plans will be at 2500 or less, with the average elevation in these parts about 1300. The only time I have turned on my transponder is when I was within about 20 miles of Duluth Int'l - figured someone could see me that way. I made sure to not get closer than 10 miles, Like most tube and rag pilots in these parts, I'm alergic to talking on radios to government types.

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    Enjoy Walleye opener! Let us know when you get back if there have been any entry changes. Hope to head North to the cottage in a couple of weeks if the weather will let up so I can get the rest of the crop planted.

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    RedEye's Avatar
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    boarder

    RABC permits no longer have a distance restriction or boarder waters restriction. As of a couple years ago. Just recently renewed mine and double checked with the folks in Forte Francis.

    SJ, we may need the new #s and forms from Russ. The ones I have are from last year(05).

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    RABC, transponders

    David, I believe we have a friend in common - Stan Skelton. Not surprising since Side Lake is only 30 miles from here - we go eat at CIO often. Anyway - regarding the RABC, one person in the Fort said go for it - go as far into Canada as you want. I asked for that in writing, I was referred to a man in Thunder Bay at the main customs office, who referred me to a woman in Thunder Bay, who referred me back to the person in Fort Francis, who all of sudden go a little hesitant on what he had told me. Since I could never get a straight answer, find it on customs webpage, or get it in writing, I won't go more than 20K in. Also, I was asked if the RABC works in the winter with an aircraft when Sandpoint is closed, or do I need to fly to the Fort to fish LaCroix etc. An agent at Sandpoint told me the RABC is fine for aircraft in the winter, the man in Thunderbay said he didn't know - again nothing in writing. I don't know if the Canadians know what their own rules are. In the winter I just go if within 20K of border and use the RABC. When I go into Attikoken White Otter area I CANPASS and land in the Fort, go through all that BS, and then continue on. Have you ever seen it in writing that RABC lets you go anywhere you want? Man it sure would save a lot of flying out of my way to go straight in in the winter. Not a big deal in the summer with Sandpoint open. I am going to ask the agent at Sandpoint tommorrow. I have also been told that in the summer, with an aircraft, you must stop at Sandpoint if the station is open. I assume this means 7am to 7pm, or does this mean May15-Oct 15 with the station is in service?. So does this mean if I cross before 7am I can just continue on into Canada? Stan was checked for his CANPASS number last year while demoing a Cirrus in Canada. I realize our chances on the remote lakes are almost nill. But I hate to donate a Stinson to the queen. Regarding earlier in this thread where MTV said you can't go above 1200 AGL, I assume he meant you need to have an operating transponder above that? I came home and looked and couldn't find that anywhere. I thought above 18000 feet or within 10 or 20 of a B,C,D airport you need one, but not otherwise. Does anyone else know? Can they refer to to a FAR that says this. Dave, if you want the forms, I have a nice little packet all made with instructions and my form as a sample, it took me several tries to get it to go through this year since TSA must be a little pickier. Looking at my form first might save you the grief I had. Russ

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    Here's the info on RABC. It is only valid in a few places. That's why we have not heard of it in the NW.

    The CANPASS – Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permit, a joint initiative of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, allows the bearer to cross the border into Canada at certain remote areas without reporting to a port of entry, as long as imported goods are declared.

    The permit is valid for the following locations:

    * from Pigeon River through to and including Lake of the Woods
    * the Canadian shore of Lake Superior
    * Cockburn Island

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    RABC

    RABC is completely different program than CANPASS. With the RABC, you never call CANPASS. We know where it is valid - says right on the RABC - but for how far into Canada? Used to be border waters only (int'l border touched that lake), then went to include lakes 1 portage in, then went to 20K in. Can I head right to the north pole using RABC? or am trespassing on her majesty's land once I am in 20K? Interesting enough, Canada has RABC to let Canadians back in to their own country in this remote section of the border. My friends from Attikoken- about 50 miles north of here (about 30 miles from the border) can snowmobile to the US, but must clear US customs. They can then return to Canada - all the way to Attikoken, without dealing with any Canadian customs. This makes me think David is correct that you can go further than 20K, but then again these are Canadians returning to their own country. Lets face it, the MN/Canada border could be crossed by anyone from either side without going through customs. All this stuff is just to impede the honest people. I'll have to say that in 35 years of crossing the border many times a year, I have never had a bad experience with Canada customs, or any Canadians. Have some great friends up there that will do anything to help a guy out, and consider us neighbors. I keep telling them that once we are done with Iraq we are coming up there to invade and get there thermometers and road mileage signs straightened out.

  31. #31
    Matt 7GCBC's Avatar
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    You are required to have an OPERATING transponder (not a broken one or turned off) if you are above 10,000 feeet if above 1200 AGL. If in the Rockies, you could be at 13,000 feet or so but still be at 1000 AGL, however, away from these islands of regulatory safety, you need to have an operating Mode C above 10K. As Mike said, the government in this case wants you to sqwauk em if you got em in ANY controlled airspace (above 1200 AGL in most areas away from an airport)

    I will be heading into CANADA this summer and have greatly apprecieated the info - THANKS. Will look up the various waiver forms, but would appreciate if anyone has the current links.

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    boarder

    Russ,
    A few years back when applying for the RABC you received a map with the imaginary line defining "boarder waters". Which also used to be the limit on the use of your RABC. That map is still available, but is for the purpose of defining fishing regs in reguard to limits. It no longer applies to the RABC. Pretty sure the snomobile people got this changed on account of most of the main trails crossed this line at point far from any services, such is the case where the trail cross at Nora lake heading north to Ignace. We've gone a considerable way into Canada without stopping at customs without any problems(although we've only been checked once, showed the RABC, no prob). I too have had similar experience as you in reguards to the Canadians, very nice, friendly, helpful..etc. Then try to get back to your own counrty, well.... it can be frustrating to say the least !!

    Give me a shout on the phone or email, would like to get the info on the new forms. Also could hookup and do some flying this weekend with SJ. He should be here by mid afternoon today . 218-969-3787

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    SJ's Avatar
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    Folks, thanks for all the tips, tricks, and advice. We did get 4CC stored up in Hibbing, MN this weekend and got to do a little float flying (first time in two years) and Canada flying as well.

    If you ever think you know someone who needs lessons in hospitality, hard work, and having fun, you need to send them up to Jaranson Road in Side Lake, MN. We had a great time and were treated far better than we deserved by the Jarnason clan.

    Many thanks to DCloud who helped with the ferry operation of getting the plane up North, and rode around and landed up in Canada in some of the worst turblulence, biggest waves, and highest winds that I have ever experienced in a float plane. The border crossing stuff was a no-brainer.

    Tom P, the steaks were great, thanks! but I don't ever want to hear about shaving your Morel mushrooms again.

    David, thanks for letting us come up, and it was great to meet your new "friend" as well!

    Thanks!

    sj

    P.S. I note that although I filed a flight plan into Canada as required, and squawked my little code as required, they never "pinged" my transponder even once, so never saw me on radar either way. The Canada folks were real friendly, and a few pointed questions which made sense, and said have a nice time. The US guy was as cordial as they can be (not very), but we filled out a lot of forms and showed a lot of paperwork - but no real questions.
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  34. #34
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    Steve - yeah we were out in the Found in that surf yesterday and skeedaddled for home soon after verifying that the new oversized oil cooler was working (kind of sort of). Today was a completely different day! At least in the BRD area. Lots of perfect water and this evening the wind is nil and the air stable. Gary says come on up when we're all at the cabin some time this summer, Lake trout are biting.

    Brad

  35. #35
    SJ's Avatar
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    Brad,

    We flew by Brainerd today and gazed at it, but the call of $2.95 fuel at a top secret airport not far from you was the bait that made us pass you by.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  36. #36
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    YOU MEAN LITTLE FALLS!! Really, they are at $2.95? Grrrr...

    I don't know what it is about that burg. I just can't get excited about flying down there, maybe it's the idea of getting run over by the C-130's at Miller field next door.... ah, got it...it's the no water around and nothing to do aspect of the place...though for 100LL at that price!

  37. #37
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    100LL

    Good guess Brad, but the secret is still safe !!

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    Dave - when I cleared Canada customs on Sandpoint on Friday I asked them about not stopping with the RABC. The new guy there, Sean, said absolutely positively I needed to stop northbound if they are open. Howard, the regular customs guy there, was busy clearing some boaters, so I didn't get to ask him. But Sean didn't even hesitate, so I'm stopping. I was fishing over on Mabel Lake -about 8 miles SE of Nora. I was looking at the "border waters" map trying to figure what my limit was, and it sure looked to me like the "border waters" went east/west right across the northern tip of White Otter - which would put Nora, Elsie, Mabel, Campus etc all beyond border waters. The map was large scale so can't say for sure, but that was my interepretation, so I kept 2 trout and 4 walleyes instead of 1 and 2. Canada customs will have 2 agents all summer so they will not close for lunch or dinner - open 7 am to 7pm. Coming back through Crane on Sunday I was cleared by a Russian US Customs Agent. She had a very heavy accent, and I could tell she was clueless regarding clearing airplanes. I asked and she said she immigrated here from Russia a few years ago. Imagine, Russians guarding our borders. Also, the US Customs form that they like for you to have completed when you enter at Crane has changed since last year. The agent gave me a couple blanks and I will make copies of those also. I will call you and get your mailing address and send you all the new forms. RE the transponder, I think all pre-72? airplanes (before transponders were mandatory in airplanes) are exempted. Anyway, I flew 3000 both ways and never had it on. The wind on Saturday was unbelievable up there, and snowed on and off all day.

  39. #39
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    David - well it's got to be one of the various and sundry fields around here, sort of a reverse treasure hunt huh?

    In the meantime, is Silver Bay still selling 80 avgas at $1 a gallon till they run out? I knew they were as of 2 weeks ago. Somebody showed up with a 500 gallon tank and took a bunch home. I think they had 700 gallons left last I heard.

  40. #40
    Christina Young's Avatar
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    Re: Flying in and out of Canada... whats new?

    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    What paperwork is required to get in and out? I have my '06 Canada sticker (or US sticker as it were).
    Just a dumb question from someone who is flying to Alaska through Canada from New Jersey next month, where is the preferred place to put the sticker on a Super Cub? I just got mine in the mail today, and it says, "Place decal on outside of the conveyance within 18 inches of the normal boarding area where it is visible when the doors/hatches are open".

    On my Stinson, there is an old customs sticker on the door frame, but no such place to put it on the Cub. Where does everyone else put theirs?

    Thanks!

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