Im thinking of heading up to Canada for my long XC. Most likely Halifax, or if the weather is descent, St. Johns Bay. Does anybody here have any experience with the area? Or with getting a CanPass? Thanks!
I have not flown out east, but I am familiar with flying between the U.S. and Canada. As far as customs go it is a no brainer to get into Canada. Call 1-888-CANPASS before you leave and just let them know where and when you are landing. Of course make sure that the airport you are going to has Canpass available. No fees or anything, they just show up, ask some questions, and then file a customs arrival report for you. If you go IFR (I would recommend that, or at least get VFR flight following crossing the border) you will get a bill for ATC services in Canada as they are privatized. It is $14.50 CDN (about .30 U.S.
)for each quarter of the year.
If you go VFR, monitor 126.7 which is the VFR enroute frequency where people make position reports, contact FSS for weather, flight plans, etc.
Canadian FSS is 1-800-INFOFSS, do not automatically press "1" like you would for a briefing from the U.S. FSS, because you will be declaring an emergency or reporting an aircraft overdue
Canadian flight plans use the ICAO format so make yourself familiar with them if filing in Canada. An alternate is always required for IFR in Canada, regardless of weather at the destination.
Coming back to the U.S. can be more of a pain customs wise. It helps if you print off the arrival form from the customs webpage and have it mostly filled out when you land. The sticker costs $25 if you don't have it, and I think now has to be ordered. Last time they didn't care that I didn't have it. Make sure you give them an hours notice and make sure you talk to an actual customs person, don't leave a message.
Anyways, these are a few of the things I have picked up from 5 or 6 trips across the border. If you have any other questions let me know.