Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Geofa

Canada Ga flight-is it really this difficult?

Recommended Posts

I just got back from a 2.5 week flying trip in which I expected to fly into Canada to Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and P.E.I.I went to a Faa seminar about flying into Canada, and also went to the Aopa site, did what I thought was all the prelim work and homework and thought I was covered.Before going I:1)procured the enroute ifr sectional charts2) got a customs sticker for about $353) got a notarized letter stating I was able to fly my aircraft4) sent my license back to the Faa so they could stamp on the back -"English proficient" (even thought that is a requirement in the US for a license)5) Checked with my insurance agent about liability which was very ambigious-need 500,000 above what we have if takeoff weight is above 5000 lbs. (Ours is 4700-5100 depending on loading). Insurance agent not sure how to interpret-we decided we'd keep the weight at 4999 and he agreed that that would probably be correct ...Got all this stuff out of the way-and assumed since not told otherwise that we could get approach plates from a nearby fbo on the way up since we could not locate them anywhere and in the US the fbo always has approach plates for the nearby geographic area.This is not the case-no one in the US had them except select "dealers" (after much internet investigation) that were many miles away and days for getting the charts. Finally called the fbo at St. John, Nb from Bar Harbor, Maine (our next destination) and asked if they could fax us approach plates so we could get there-they did not have them either! Ended up scrubbing the flying Canada part of the trip after all this prelim work because we could not get the necessary instrument approach charts. We then proceeded to stop at all the Canadian airports on our route by rental car to talk in person. We were shocked to find that none of them had current approach plates ( a few airport managers didn't even know what iap charts were), and saw almost no Ga aircraft flying or based at these airports.Finally talked to the owner of Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton and was cautioned that one must also go on the Copa (like Aopa of Canada) and find if the airport is "GA friendly" -otherwise the cost is prohibitive landing at an airport. We had planned to land in Sydney, NS but he told us it was $14.50 every pattern you made, hefty landing/tie down fees in addition to fees for atc. He proudly told us he had 6 planes based at his airport+2 from Sydney whose owners drove the 2.5 there so they could save the fees (Port Hawkesbury is a "Ga friendly airport"). Quite a contrast to the airports in the Us that have hundreds of Ga aircraft based. As for charts-have to be ordered by subcription in advance.Kinda soured me on flying in Canada-but am still going to attempt it maybe in August with the knowledge of the website one has to go to procure a subcription to Canada approach charts well in advance.Then I was sent this tonight:Private plane seized, pilot fined for crossing borderBy Alyssa J. MillerWith reports of large hail, 60-mph gusts, and possible tornadoes crossing Robert Alexander

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Geofa- As a Canadian, I am appalled. Not quite believing what I was reading in your posting, I searched Nav Canada (who produce the charts), for sources. They list 9 only outlets in Canada- none of which are in the Maritimes!!!!!!! That sounds like prima facie evidence of incompetence to me.My guess however, is that charts ARE available at a lot of flying clubs & FBOs. If you ask for Canada Air Pilot pubs you may get some response.Please try again soon- the welcome sign really IS ON.Alex Reid

Share this post


Link to post

Alex-thanks for the welcome!I will try again-planning Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Ottowa, perhaps Gaspe and P.E.I. for a week long trip to catch what we missed on this one.I will visit Nav Canada this time before hand now that I know-but feel like may be flying into a booby trap.In any case-if near any of my destinations-be glad to buy you a beer!Even though we drove instead of flying-found New Brunswick (fundy natl park) and cabot trail-- some really spectacular and moving stuff...GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

Share this post


Link to post

"---be glad to buy you a beer!"--------Thanks but it will have to be a LONG cool one- I'm near CYYJ ! Spectacular? Ya gotta see the BC coast and the mountains!!!!Alex Reid

Share this post


Link to post

I was there when I was 16 and made it out to Victoria last year. I agree-nothing more spectacular-spent my pre honeymoon in Banff/Jasper.We do have to do the east coast this year but talk of going to Alaska next year-maybe some stops out there.In any case appreciate the welcome and a virtual beer! :-)GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

Share this post


Link to post

Try asking for help on the AvCanada site (www.avcanada.ca). Plenty of Canadian pilots there that could provide help and tips.

Share this post


Link to post

I did get my answer by stopping at local fbo's on the way up thru New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton.The charts have to be ordered in advance from the internet site.The local fbo's/clubs did have a few-but all out of date which did no good.Sadly, with all the pre Canada research no one had pointed the difficulty of getting approach plates . ...and what is the deal mid Nova Scotia-the ifr charts run out at Port Hawkesbury-like you ran off the earth?Talking to the local fbo's at least in the maritime provinces however, I found besides this detail that it appears to be very GA unfriendly-fees galore.A very different experience from in the Us.I do plan to make a trip to Toronto, Quebec, Montreal, Ottowa, perhaps Gaspe bay and P.E.I. better prepared.However, the considerable paper work, fees ahead of time, and fees in real time afterwords are certainly a downer if not very different from what I have been used to.GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

Share this post


Link to post

Give the site I linked a go as many pilots there are only too happy to help people avoid things like government paperwork and fees. They could quite likely also help you avoid the worst airports (in terms of high fees etc.).With a country the size of Canada and population of only 30 million, however, user fess are often the only way for airports to generate enough money to stay open. And generally speaking, the Maritime provinces are not as wealthy as some of the other provinces, so funding for GA airports would be a little harder to come by.Hope you do make it up this way and keep the blue side up!

Share this post


Link to post

Sporty's pilot shop (in Ohio) is an US based authorized NavCanada chart dealer - they sell approach plates for $20 per book. (Much more expensive than the NACO ones)http://www.sportys.com/acb/showdetl.cfm?DI...D=4126&CATID=92I think AOPA is using Canada and Europe as their case against user fees in the US. If you use ATC services in Canada you get charged, from what I understand.

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry that you are finding it so difficult to get the information but in some cases (amplified by the search engines ability to provided enormous amounts of questionable information) it may not be who you ask, but what you ask, and vice versa.For example you noted you had problems finding where to get charts from and that you went to the AOPA site. In the case of AOPA they have a specific section hidden away devoted to the AOPA/COPA Guide to Cross-Border Operations (United States/Canada). In the first item on its checklist under "Pre-flight" it lists two places where you can purchase appropriate charts and flight supplements required. They also provide an extended 'Sources' section which lists multiple locations with addresses and phone numbers for chart dealers throughout Canada.Which reminds me, in your list above of all the things you did beforehand and planned to do, you did not list the need to have a current copy of the Canadian Flight Supplement (CFS). This is 'the' airport directory for Canada.You'll find in Canada that most FBOs will just be able to supply fuel and parking, but you'll need to find a pilot shop to get charts and supplements (and you may not find these at many airports except those with very active flight schools).Personally, some of the requirements for flying into the US (or back in your case) are just as much of concern and make me think twice about it. For example, you are required to notify US Customs and Border Protection a minimum of 2 hours before you arrive at the airport of entry and give them your ETA. OK, this isn't necessarily problematic and is similar to the requirement for arriving in Canada, but as explained to me when entering the US you then have to report to them within 15 mins of that ETA or you will be subjected to a minimum fine of $5000 up to $15000! So if you have to do a go around, or faced with ATC routings and delays, you could end up with a hefty bill for being late.The COPA 'Places to Fly' web-site you indicated is a great resource (note though that its information is provided by users of the site and is not official like the Canadian CFS). Using this along with the CFS will allow you to make a good choice in picking the airport of entry which provides the necessary customs requirements, without excessive user fees.Jeff

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah-my problem was the charts changed cycle in the middle of my trip and since I was moving from day to day on a schedule dictated by weather and it was impossible to order them and have them delivered somewhere.I was very surprised that the airports/fbo's I was going to did not even have any-one did have 6 month old ones but of course that is useless.As far as entering customs-I did an across the border quick flight last year vfr . I did not run into the eta problem and as we landed in moderate snow and low ceilings ifr back in the Us we were probably off our eta.Of course, I am sure a lot of this his to do with the customs agent on either side and what kind of a mood they are in.GeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

Share this post


Link to post

>I was very surprised that the airports/fbo's I was going to>did not even have any-one did have 6 month old ones but of>course that is useless.I'm less surprised :-)At our local flying school a lot of the 'poor starving' instructors (which I do respect it isn't a well paid job) are very keen on making sure that all their students have the latest charts and CFS's on them, even forcing them to buy copies just prior to a flight lesson if they have none or out of date ones. This way they don't have to buy them for themselves!Jeff

Share this post


Link to post

I have nothing but the utmost respect for those 'poor starving' instructors.They are the most unappreciated, underpaid, and life risking people in the world imho, and they do it all for the greatest calling-love for what they do.Sounds like I should call up a few students before I go though and bum a few charts :-lolGeofaMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

Share this post


Link to post