Some of the world’s most beautiful natural landscapes and incredible cities lie just across the Canadian border, and there’s something liberating about flying internationally. You get to see new sights, experience new procedures, gain familiarity with new terrain and airports, and become a more well-rounded pilot.
Canada is one of the easiest international destinations for U.S. pilots to access—it’s near the northern tier of states, there’s no overwater crossing to make (well, perhaps one or two of the Great Lakes), and the procedures aren’t all that difficult. Sure, you’ll have to learn the eAPIS drills for both outbound and inbound legs, but apart from this there’s comparatively little hassle. Nearly everyone speaks English, and the U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere. Aviation weather briefings can be obtained by calling 1-866-WXBRIEF or visiting the Nav Canada website. Expect to pay landing and other fees.
Clearing customs and immigration inbound to Canada is simple. Just call Canpass and file your flight, including destination (this must be an airport of entry, or a Canpass-only airport), time of arrival, and passport information for yourself and any passengers. After you land, simply call 1-888-226-7277 (1-888-CANPASS) and report your arrival to the authorities—who may or may not make a personal visit to your airplane. After that, you’re free to explore Canada.