The Border

On  maps in general, the border is a pretty obvious line, and on the road, it would take a first-class idiot for not seeing the large signs, if not cement blocks or fallen trees blocking the way, and cross over without noticing.

However, from the air, everything looks the same, and in our training area, just a moment of inattention cold find you greeted by the RCMP when returning to the airport and ask “What have I done to generate all this attention? “.

So you’ve crossed that imaginary line that separates two nations who have long enjoyed good friendly relations.

Canada-US border near Frelighsburg, Quebec, looking East
Canada-US border near Frelighsburg, Quebec, looking East

The border, seen from the air, looks like a clearing about 10 meters wide, and markers, invisible from 3500 feet, are concrete obelisks that were erected in the early 19th century.

Geocache near the border in Hemmingford, Quebec
Geocache near the border in Hemmingford, Quebec

Here is a checklist produced by Stéphane Malouin of Devenir Pilote, which lists the steps required to successfully complete a one day flight to Burlington, Vermont.

– Fill by Internet the eAPIS form and send.

– Make sure that everyone has his passport
– Wait for the confirmation email from eAPIS
– Call CBP at least 2 hours before arriving in the U.S. – 802-864-5181 Burlington (Give and get ETA ± 15 minutes per hour) (Take the name and badge number of the officer)
http://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports
– Submit the flight plan with 1-888-WXBRIEF
– Hop on the plane with ipads and paperwork
– Land at KBTV and stop at customs without opening the door. Stay inside the airplane.

Preparing the return to Canada
– Fill by Internet the form for eAPIS
– Wait for the confirmation email from eAPIS
– Call the Canadian Customs at 1-888-CAN-PASS at least 2 hours before arriving in Canada
http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/services/aoe-fra.html
– Dinner + tourism!!
– Submit a flight plan with 1-800-WXBRIEF (Not the same number as in Canada)
– Hop on the plane with ipads and paperwork
– Land at Bromont and if customs is not there, call 1888-CAN-PASS (note the number given by  the officer in the logbook of the aircraft)
– Fly back and celebrate

Following the experience  two weeks ago, where Nav Canada was not aware of our flight plan duly submitted in the United States, we could add “At takeoff ask the American controller to open flight plan“.

Alain Pepin, July 25, 2014

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