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Thread: Only Nerds May Cross the Border

  1. #1
    Orbiting Earth Orbiting Earth corcoran's Avatar
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    Only Nerds May Cross the Border

    Pilots who loved the OLD America,

    There is political talk about the general state of things in a recent forum. In that vein I would like to get specific about a flying issue.

    The Department of Homeland Security and their Customs and Border Protection Division have invented ePIS. It is the operational part of the rule that says you must notify them on the internet before crossing borders.

    It is NOT easy and is NOT user friendly and the penalties for messing up begin at $5,000.

    However, everyone should open an ePIS account for potential future use as it takes a l-o-n-g time and the frustration level is high for those of us over the age of (?). I'm 65. Also, the ID and passwords will not be familiar and the gov says you wait 5-7 days for a reply.

    What I ask my Beech Bretheren here are these two questions:

    1) When a flight manifest is properly entered is there a chance that the pilot could miss an arrival "window", say by 15 minutes, 30, 45... and trigger a violation. (Maybe miss the exact date due to weather or remoteness.) I have not found that anywhere.

    2) In an email from the cbp sent to me regarding a flight from Boston to Canada I have the BIG OK... the golden words from dhs/cbp of "cleared for departure". Exactly what government employee "clears" me and is there a possible "not cleared for departure" lurking somewhere.

    Tom Corcoran
    Boston/Prince Edward Island, Canada

  2. #2
    As and ex-near border resident, I wonder if the people who cross the border by car or foot are required to notify the Customs and Border Protection department of Home Land Security on the internet before crossing borders? If not, why not? If they miss their "arrival window" are they fined $5000 or more?

    Are we in aviation such suspicious types we must be so closely monitored lest we bring havoc upon the "der Vaters Land" to vent our frustrations after our fishing trips to Canada? Don't the Customs and Border Protection agents work their full 8 hours a day at the airport anyway? Ok, I understand airports with "part time" Customs hours and the "on call" type airports of yesterday. But, why can a custom agent meet you at the airplane and "check you and your passengers out" during the posted times of Custom operations? To hard?

    We'll the problem here is probably with the people running the show. Now there is a person in charge of border security that couldn't secure the borders in the state she was governor of! Now America has what they wanted. Change..... but for the better? What they have just done was blow me out of my flying trip through Canada to Alaska. Same for the Mexico trips. I wonder if the governor of Alaska and the governments of Canada and Mexico understand how much revenue they are loosing because of the adoption of regulations and the imposition of penalties that are, in all probability, outside the authority of the enforcement agency.

    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, AZ.

  3. #3
    I am jumping into this discussion reluctantly but as a Canadain pilot I can only comment on my view from up here.
    The eAPIS is intended to provide US homeland security with a list of pilot's and passengers along with passport numbers, including US citizen's passport #'s before they cross the border into the US and requires internet access. It started with commercial airlines and logically? got moved down to Musketeers.
    The Canadian Owner's and Pilot's assoc (Copa) has a web link to border crossing http://archive.copanational.org/non-members/index.htm then Flying in Canada and then Transborder Operation.
    I pasted a small amount below.
    Let me be very clear on this. The new procedures do not replace the current requirements for cross-border flying. It is in addition to what we must do now. You will still have to comply with the US security NOTAM (currently FDC 8/3576 http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraff...art1,sec_3.cfm) which includes filing a flight plan, obtaining a discrete transponder code before crossing .... and being in radio contact with a controlling agency while crossing the border, in both directions, and when flying south you still have to call the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office at your intended airport of entry to book an arrival time
    (2 hours advance notice?)

    I do not know if you blow the 15 min ETA if you are fined $5000 for the customs ETA call and another $5000 for the eAPIS ETA. Of course, a reasonable Homeland Security agent might just smile and say "that's OK" but I usually only bet with pennies and nickels.
    I don't mind the hoops - the US is fully intitled to protect itself and I will comply with the steps but darn it - I have never been on time for anything in my life.
    Note: I understand that Canada does not require US passports or eAPIS or the ETA fine for Americans coming up. The problem for US pilots is getting home.
    I believe that the best information shows up on the AOPA site along with the COPA site. Both groups cooperated to produce a shared manual.
    Hope this helps clear instead of creating more fog.
    Steve Thomas

  4. #4
    Marty,

    I like your comment regarding whether the Governor of Alaska understands...? Very Funny, you betcha guys 'n gals!!

  5. #5
    This was recently posted on Avweb.

    June 7, 2009

    Pilot Protests Customs 'Check' Email this article |Print this article

    By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief






    Baja Bush Pilots, a group representing pilots who frequently fly to Mexico, is polling members to see if any have had an encounter with Customs and Border Protection agents similar to the experience of Long Beach, Calif. pilot David Perry and his three passengers a couple of weeks ago. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Perry says he was going through his pre-start checklist for a flight to Loreto, Mexico on May 22 when his Cessna 210 was suddenly surrounded by yelling CBP agents and local airport police, weapons drawn (the Customs agents had M-16s) who ordered them out of the airplane. "They were yelling at us to put our hands on our heads," said Perry, a retired military officer who said he makes frequent flights to his second home in Loreto. What followed was almost an hour of interrogation and searches for what was apparently a "random check" according to the senior agent in charge of the operation Perry said. "I couldn't believe I was in the United States," Perry said. AVweb contacted the Los Angeles field office of Customs and Border Protection and a spokeswoman said a statement is being prepared but would not be available before our publication deadline. AVweb will carry a follow-up story on the CBP's take on the incident as soon as the statement is transmitted.



    Perry said he's since heard from another pilot who told him armed CBP agents in cars and a helicopter surrounded his aircraft on arrival at Long Beach on a flight from Texas. Perry said he's not opposed to security checks but he considered the agents unnecessarily threatening and aggressive for a random check. He also said the drawn weapons, besides terrifying him and his passengers, needlessly put them at risk. After the incident, he was cleared to resume the flight. It seems likely the agents knew when to intercept the flight based on the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) which, under recently adopted regulations, requires pilots of all cross-border flights to provide detailed information on the flight and the identities of passengers.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mvanover
    As and ex-near border resident, I wonder if the people who cross the border by car or foot are required to notify the Customs and Border Protection department of Home Land Security on the internet before crossing borders? If not, why not? If they miss their "arrival window" are they fined $5000 or more?

    Are we in aviation such suspicious types we must be so closely monitored lest we bring havoc upon the "der Vaters Land" to vent our frustrations after our fishing trips to Canada? Don't the Customs and Border Protection agents work their full 8 hours a day at the airport anyway? Ok, I understand airports with "part time" Customs hours and the "on call" type airports of yesterday. But, why can a custom agent meet you at the airplane and "check you and your passengers out" during the posted times of Custom operations? To hard?

    We'll the problem here is probably with the people running the show. Now there is a person in charge of border security that couldn't secure the borders in the state she was governor of! Now America has what they wanted. Change..... but for the better? What they have just done was blow me out of my flying trip through Canada to Alaska. Same for the Mexico trips. I wonder if the governor of Alaska and the governments of Canada and Mexico understand how much revenue they are loosing because of the adoption of regulations and the imposition of penalties that are, in all probability, outside the authority of the enforcement agency.

    Marty Vanover
    Phoenix, AZ.
    Yes...

    This is security theater, nothing more then a nice show for the general public. We (GA) look awefully pretty standing up on the stage in a courset and fishnets while we get sawed in half...

  7. #7
    Amen! This is nothing more than our government saying it will take care of us and then setting up more government bureaucrats to make it look like something is being done. If the terrorists wanted to commit terror in this country, there are plenty of ways they could do it and hurt a lot of people without using airplanes. God help us all!

  8. #8
    Orbiting Earth Orbiting Earth sjcote's Avatar
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    And has all of this, any of this, resulted in the thwarting of a terrorist plot??? Haven't heard anything, have we?

    Oh, well, they have to classify any such information. To protect us from the truth probably.

    (OK, so now I will find myself shipped off to Guantanmo for such a statement.)


    Steve Cote
    BAC Founding Member
    Sundowner N-1958L

  9. #9
    Orbiting Earth Orbiting Earth corcoran's Avatar
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    Nerds

    Thank you for the input on my initial post on this forum.

    Many of us Beech people share the same thoughts.

    My two questions:

    1) Have you got to be on time to avoid $5000 fines?

    2) Who says "Cleared to go"? And is there someone who can say, "Not cleared to go"...?

    Foggy... is it not... my flying friends!"

    Tom Corcoran
    In Boston... ready for another TEA PARTY

  10. #10
    The timing issue is my question also. I have used eAPIS a few times already without problems but...... How the heck can I predict my arrival time that close? Especially when we are encouraged to file our departure and arrival plans together before we leave? I usually don't know which day I will return let alone which hour.
    The sytem has a cumbersome way to "preload" some info, but I think I will try a letter to homeland security. If I am not heard from again...........

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