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Flying In The US For A Canuck  
User currently offlineRadarbeam From Canada, joined Mar 2002, 1311 posts, RR: 4
Posted (14 years 1 month 5 hours ago) and read 3627 times:

Hey folks

I'm just starting training for my commercial license and I need a good 30 hours of PIC cross-country time. So I decided to spend a few of those hours down there in the USA mostly in NY and VT.

Having done all my training in Canada I understand flying in the US is a bit different. For example you guys have the "45 to the downwind" circuit entry, here we don't, either we join on long downwind or we overfly the field at 500' above circuit altitude then once on the inactive side of the airport we execute a desceding 180 turn that takes us upwind down to circuit altitude then a 90 degree turn to join mid-downwind. It does sounds complicated but it isn't once in the air. My question is how do you do it to join the 45 degree entry to downwind when you are arriving from the opposite side of the airport?

I also heard that you need current charts when flying in the US. And that FAA guys can peek inside your cockpit to check if they are indeed current. Does the AF/D has to be current also?

Also, here in Canada our callsigns are slightly different from the US ones. Here it's Golf Zulu Wiskhy Juliet. I heard that on when transmiting I should say "Canadian Golf Zulu Wiskhy Juliet", is that true?

And finally is there anything I need to know about US custom? Are they friendly or not? Every time I drive to the states i go through the Champlain crossing and the US customs folks are very friendly.

Thanks for your help

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineB747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (14 years 1 month ago) and read 3580 times:

Radarbeam Hello...
You should not worry about all these details that much, flying US or Canada is not that different... suggest you use your VHF comm radio and... communicate for positions and intentions... the traffic pattern (circuit) entries "by the book" are not always observed.
US controllers are accustomed to handle planes from Canada, for a "Cessna" C-FABC I would suggest your initial call to be full call sign, thereafter abbreviate to Cessna Canadian Bravo Charlie... should work...
Current maps - yes - required for IFR, not VFR, flying VFR you can use... road maps if you wish, but honest acquire some charts they are not that expensive, and one from last year may still work for VFR purposes...
US Customs are great people, not much of a problem for flying people, just be sure you land with advance notice and proper documents at an airport of entry...
Happy landings,

User currently offlineRadarbeam From Canada, joined Mar 2002, 1311 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (14 years 1 month ago) and read 3567 times:

Thanks Skipper, the help is appreciated!


User currently offlinePPGMD From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 2453 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (14 years 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3555 times:

I have always interpeted FAR 91.103
"Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight..." I have always intrepeted that as to have 'updated' charts (ie changes noted on the chart). The easiest way to have updated charts is to have a current chart with the nessary updates from the currect AFD and NOTAMs from flight service.

Now for the downwind entry the most common and accepted is the 45, but there is one that isn't accepted (as per the AIM) but is used to to fly accross the field at mid-field and enter the downwind there.

So keep your heads up.

As far as radio ops, but here in Florida ( we don't get much canadians except for my friends that lives down here) so it might be diffrent near the border where there is more canadian traffic. But here we just call out "Charlie Golf Zulu Wiskhy Juliet is type Piper...", ATC will often shorten it to "Piper Zulu Wiskey Juliet..."

Word of warning it might be diffrent near the border not many make the 8 hr trip down the florida in prop planes.

At worst, you screw up and die.
User currently offlineTintin From Canada, joined Apr 2002, 17 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (14 years 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3517 times:

Just ask for flight following from the controllers,they`ll be very helpful.

User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (14 years 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3506 times:

with regards to pattern entry...the 45 thing is really just a suggestion...its not mandatory, if theres little traffic in the pattern at the airport your arriving at then you can go in whichever way is most convenient...


Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineRadarbeam From Canada, joined Mar 2002, 1311 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (14 years 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3495 times:

Thank you guys.


User currently offlineSkyguy11 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (14 years 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3492 times:

Just for the record, the FARs do not require you to have current charts for VFR flight (not sure about IFR). Also, if you are ramp checked, the inspector may not cite you for having outdated charts. However, if you are in an incident or accident, you will most certainly get into some kind of trouble for not having current charts onboard. With regards to the A/FD, I use a Pilot's Guide. It's much more user friendly but a lot more expensive. Oh one more thing about the ramp check: It's very unlikely you will get one, but if you do, all they can do is look inside to see if anything obvious is wrong. They can ask you to let them in but legally you don't have to.

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