From the (Vice) President – August 2023

Mike is very busy getting ready with work and getting ready for the trip to Newfoundland. He asked me to write August’s newsletter.


Certainly not a NEBG event but John Zazworsky (Zaz) and I attended Airventure this year flying in with the B2OSH group on Saturday prior to the start of the show. As a matter of fact, we went to La Crosse, Wisconsin on Wednesday to help prepare for the arrival of about 120 Beechcraft airplanes and more than 200 guests.

If you haven’t ever flown into Airventure, with the B2OSH formation, it’s highly recommended. After having flown the Ripon -> Fisk arrival in my Debonair a number of times, I can attest that it’s far less stressful flying with the group and camping together with them is certainly more fun.

Starts with Training

To be sure, flying with the B2OSH formation is a commitment. Our LOA with the FAA requires that all formation participants have recent formation experience a maximum of six months prior to the event. This means you will have to attend one of the formation clinics held around the country. Look on the B2OSH website for details of a clinic near you:

So, the majority of the formation participants arrive Friday at La Crosse, WI. They pick up their swag bags, shirts, raffle ticks, and briefing materials, before heading off to town on the provided busses.

La Crosse, Wisconsin is a lovely town, the downtown is undergoing a revival of sorts, there is plenty to do and many places to hang out and get a bite to eat.

shits and cap

Every Formation Flight Starts with a Briefing

Saturday is the morning brief. This is true of every formation flight, it’s briefed first. This is done by the formation lead, Jay Burroughs. After lead briefs the flight, we break up into our individual flights. There is an A, B, and C Bonanza Flight, and Baron Flight. This flight-wise organization, honed over many years, helps control spacing in the flight. After a flight leader brief, the element leads brief their elements on the flight line.

Formation to OSH

Flying to Oshkosh takes about an hour from La Crosse. Typically the element is in loose formation, kicked out for cross country travel:

Courtesy Eric Johnson

When all the counting was done, I think we had 117 aircraft in the formation. Being Airventure, nothing goes unnoticed. There are some great videos of the formation arriving in mass. Some of the shots give you an idea of the scale of the event. We landed all 117 aircraft in about 13 minutes safely with no drama at the busiest airport in the world. Something to be proud of!

I want to acknowledge all the effort that goes into a successful B2OSH event. There are many volunteers. Larry Gaines comes to mind. He’s been doing lion’s share of organizing the event for more than 17 years. Our own John Zazworsky has been organizing the required formation clinics at Martinsburg for several years now. There are others, the flight leads, the safety committee. Special thanks to Colgan Air, the FBO at La Crosse, for hosting us. They do a great job and they are proud to have us. Townspeople come out to watch every year.

I want to mention too, that Zaz will be organizing an advanced formation clinic this fall for those wanting to explore more formation work like advanced 2-ship and 4-ship maneuvers. I’ve added the event to the NEBG’s website, but the complete information at the B2OSH site.

With all that said, Mike McNamara is getting ready for a really nice trip to Newfoundland.

August 13-19, St. John’s Newfoundland. I am already getting inquiries about this trip; people are excited.

If you are new to flying internationally, I have a writeup about how to fly to Canada. You can request it from me, and I will publish it in the newsletter as we get closer.

Schedule – WE HAVE MOVED the Dates around for hotel availability!

— August 12 – Ginny & I will fly to Bangor & stay downtown, probably in a Marriott property. If you are joining us there, let me know.
— August 13 – Fly to St. Pierre. Stay in the Terrasses du Port. Mike Madigan booked some rooms for the people signed up already. Contact him to transfer the reservation over to you. There may be other accommodations, but logistics is difficult to arrange. It is France, not Canada.
— August 15 – Fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland. PAL Aviation seems to be the place for the piston crowd. Comments talk about $125 (C) Handling charge but that includes 3 nights parking, so I guess OK (I think that is $90 US). Fuel is very expensive so if you have tip tanks you will tanker fuel in.
— Last time we stayed at the Sheraton hotel downtown, which is a 4-star hotel, in a great location, and cheap. 4 nights.
— Enterprise will deliver cars to the FBO. I recommend a bigger car (SUV) for 2 couples to share.
— August 16 – day trip to Terra Nova National Park.
— August 17 – day trip down the west side of Avalon peninsula. Also, the Conception Bay museum in Harbour Grace has a new aviation museum about Amelia Earhardt who flew from Harbour Grace to Ireland in a Lockheed Vega 5 years after the Lindbergh flight.
— August 18 – historic walking tour of St. John’s
— August 19 – Fly to Bangor, ME to clear customs. Ginny & I will stay overnight Saturday night & fly home early Sunday.August 12 – Ginny & I will fly to Bangor & stay downtown, probably in a Marriott property. If you are joining us there, let me know.
— August 19 – Fly to Bangor, ME to clear customs. Ginny & I will stay overnight Saturday night & fly home early Sunday. If your airplane is in St. Pierre France, you can overfly Canada and fly direct to the U.S. (550 NM).

Someone asked me about fuel. Without tip tanks, you can do this trip. Do not just look at the ForeFlight fuel map; it is often not right for Canada. The ForeFlight Canadian subscription has access to the CFS (Canadian Flight Supplement) which I have found to be reliable. When in doubt, call. I have historically found fuel at Fredericton, New Brunswick (CYFC), Sydney, Nova Scotia (CYQY), Deer Lake on Newfoundland (CYDF), and our destination of St. John’s (CYYT). The CFS currently shows fuel at all those places.

Please sign up on the web site.

How to Fly to Canada

Foreflight on the Ipad works well and includes everything you need. Make sure you download all the Foreflight data in the areas you will travel to.

Make sure your GPS database(s) include Canada and if not, figure out a solution for dealing with it.

Buy a US Customs & Border Control decal. About $35 annually. Stick it on the outside of your airplane somewhere in the general vicinity of the boarding location. Their web site is terrible, if you get stuck, call them; they are nice on the phone. But do the web site first:

Sign up for Eapis. . Create an account. Take a tutorial on AOPA. Not that hard. Tell Eapis your departure and arrival information. Dates are important; times are not. Guess at times, if they change, forget it. Yes, you need passports. Call your wife crew; it makes it easier later. Eapis will require you to
change your password every 6 months and there are password rules; write it down.

IFR with ForeFlight – US to Canada and Canada to US – file & fly normally in ForeFlight. Alternatively (without ForeFlight) Canada to US – call Canadian FSS (866) 992-7433, give them your N number (make sure you say NXXXX) & he will walk you through the international flight plan sequence. He knows N-number airplanes might not know it.

By the way, ForeFlight works leaving St. Pierre, France also, you just need a WiFi signal.
You can do it VFR on a VFR flight plan, but you need to be in radar contact squawking if radar services are available and talking if ATC radio is available. File a VFR flight plan and activate it. In remote areas, every situation is different. Do everything you can to convince them that you are not trying to sneak across the border.

If you file a flight plan in Canada, they will assume you took off even if you did not activate it, in some situations. Once you file a Canadian flight plan, you must keep updating the departure times or cancel it. Otherwise, they will be out looking for you.

Customs – Flying to Canada – Call Canpass (888) 226-7277 couple hours before (or more) you will arrive in Canada. The Canadian Flight Supplement tells you what airports international (required) and what hours customs are available (some are closed on Sunday’s). Ask where to go on the airport. Sometimes it’s at an FBO, sometimes a terminal building, sometimes a special customs building. When you land, call Canpass again & tell them you have arrived. They will either give you a reference number or tell you to wait for the agent. The agents are friendly. Write the reference number in your logbook or somewhere safe in case it comes up later (never happened to me in 100 trips).

Customs – Flying to the US – Call the individual US Customs guy you will meet. Phone numbers are elusive but the FBO at the airport you will land at, has it. He wants a couple hours of notice; give him your new arrival time and check that he has your Eapis info.

Pay attention to time zones. When you call the U.S. CBP (Customs & Border Patrol guy), you are talking to the guy you will meet. You can say things like “What time is it now? I will meet you 2 hours from now.” When you call Canpass, you are calling a clearinghouse central number in, I think, Ottawa. Then they call the local guy. You must tell them the local time of the person you will meet. Don’t expect them to do the time zone conversion, they will get it wrong.

Common entry points in the U.S. I have used successfully:

  • From New Brunswick & the Canadian Maritimes – Bangor, ME. Ground tells you where to park, they come out, then you taxi away to FBO or departure. Good FBO, food, fuel & mechanic.
  • From Montreal, Burlington KBTV. Customs building is next to FBO building. Walk to offsite
    restaurant or crew car.
  • From Toronto, Buffalo. Customs meets you at the FBO. Small landing fee, crew car for food.
  • From Western Canada, International Falls is good, park in the yellow circle or something, ground tells you. They come out. Good FBO.
  • For Alaska, Northway. No services, but it is near the highway crossing with big customs
    presence, so they drive over. Flight Service Station might still be there (seasonal). For any of the above – call the customs guy to check nothing has changed.

    Good idea – keep a copy of your passport in your luggage and/or brief case in case you lose it; a copy will get you through, but they will whine. Happened to me.

    There are differences in ATC regulations but frankly, things that are recommended here are mandatory there (making CTAF announcements) and a few words the controllers use (radar identified instead of radar contact) are different but you can figure it out. When you depart a controlled airport in Canada, you are expected to change to departure frequency airborne. In the U.S., we wait for the tower to tell us. There are no gotchas.

    VFR flights of more than 50 miles in Canada require a flight plan. Makes sense; lots of trees up there. The flight plan can be telling a friend to check on you and call the authorities if you don’t show. The friend should know your route and times.

    Use your N number up there and don’t skip the “N”. They will immediately know what you don’t know and will help. If you don’t understand something ATC says, ask. Especially, for example, out of radar contact or in uncontrolled airspace, both of which are common away from big cities.

    Many airways up there are identified by NDB beacons instead of VORs, just enter the beacons into your GPS.

    In Canada, if you are at, say, 9000’, and you are cleared for an approach, that is your authorization to descend to the MSA altitude on the chart, when within the miles it says on the chart. That is starting to be true in the U.S. but more often true in Canada.

    XM and ADSB weather work only in southern portions of Canada. They cut off at different places. Storm scopes still rule!
  • In 100 trips I have never been asked for a radio license or if I have a 406MHZ ELT. I did get a radio license from the FCC website. I typed everything in & printed out a license. It was free!

    Don’t take guns to Canada; they don’t like them. They especially don’t like handguns. If you want to take a long gun up there, it’s complicated and will require fees. Get advice.

    We are staying at the Cape Arundel Inn & Resort. I have already booked my room; they have a variety of accommodations.

    Kennebunkport Maine is widely known as one of New England’s most popular tourist destinations. This charming coastal town isn’t just a great place to vacation. It’s also full of history. From gorgeous beaches and scenic lighthouses to boat tours and unique shopping boutiques and restaurants, there’s plenty to do.

    The Kennebunk River runs through Dock Square, separating the towns of Kennebunkport and Kennebunk. It’s just one mile from Dock Square to the breakwater where the Kennebunk River meets the ocean. Both the river and the ocean have played an important role in the development of the region as a shipping and fishing area. The river is still a main feature in downtown Kennebunkport, with some buildings built right on the water.

    Kennebunkport has also become well known as a hub for arts and culture. With inspirational scenery everywhere, it’s no surprise that it has an artist community.
    In fact, artists have flocked to the town for years for its scenic beauty, and now Kennebunkport is home to many art galleries and museums. Some of these are dedicated to the works of local artists, while others showcase the history of the region.

    The town is loaded with shops, galleries, and studios featuring paintings, photography, wind sculptures, and more. You can even find jewelry and kaleidoscopes created right here. All of these are great ways to take a Maine memory home with you.


August 13-19 – St. Johns, Newfoundland. Side trips to St. Pierre, France, Bonavista Coast (great history), Terra Nova National Park, Avalon Peninsula.

October 5 – 8 – Advanced formation clinic, Martinsburg, VA. See the site for details.

October 6 – 8 – Kennebunkport, Maine
November 4 – Reading, PA annual planning meeting.

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