Flying down to Columbia California
Crossing the US border is not a simple thing to do. Preparation and having everything in order is very important if you want to avoid trouble and fines.
Thursday afternoon I phone US Customs and Border Services
as I had an entry in my passport stamped in Boston and
valid until 4th July. This meant that I would be unable
to get the I-94W card stapled into my passport and
required when bringing a private vessel into the USA.
assured, I went onto the eAPIS website and found that my
passwords would no longer work... This was perhaps
because these expire after a time...
Thankfully the crew details for me and for Ted were still on the system and so I could easily fill in the required information and submit the "Notice of Arrival".
Friday morning Ted
picked me up and we drove to Langley to prepare the
Decathlon for its trip.
CBSA at Bellingham usually has your eAPIS Notice of Arrival when you call and are already aware of your plan.
Everything done I
phoned Kamloops FIC and filed my flight plan.
The weather was
perfect, and it would stay perfect for the whole weekend.
I called Abbotsford
to let them know that we were crossing under their
airspace at 1,400 feet and they gave us traffic
information about a Cherokee passing our path.
The wheels touched
the runway at Bellingham at 09:06 and we taxied over to
the customs box. The controller warned us to move the
aeroplane as soon as possible as he expected a busy day
of arrivals from Canada.
I was finger
printed, photographed, and the formalities were soon
We moved the
aeroplane, and then after a quick visit to the FBO
building we taxied to the self serve fuel pumps and added
once again airborne at 10:13 climbing out enroute for
When departing a US airfield you can find the Departure frequency published with the airport information, and this is used for Flight Following. Often the initial call will be such that you are told to call another frequency and so it may not be what you expect.
I felt a
break in the fork that holds one of the earphones on my
Bose X headset. This is the second time this headset has
ready for such an incident I did have another set of
Peltors in my bag; these with ANR that doesn't seem to
work! They're still better than no headset at all.
It was an easy
flight past Bremerton all the way to Salem.
My loo break was shortly after arrival at Salem at 12:19.
We fueled the
aeroplane, and went for lunch at the airport restaurant.
Onwards to Redding
Departure from Salem was at 13:44 and we climbed to 4,500 feet once again for flight following from Seattle Center on 125.8, the Cascades Aprroach 119.6, Seattle Centre 121.4, Cascades Approach 124.3, Seattle Center 124.85, and finally Oakland Center 132.2. As you can see the sequence is not logical.
As we crossed the
mountains from Cottage Grove onwards we climbed to 6,500
feet for a bit more comfort.
The Shasta Lakes
were very low and it looks like California is in for a
serious drought this year.
I spied a 146 on the ground at the Redding Air Attack Base but this did not have the external water tanks like the ones being fitted at Abbotsford.
On the ground at
Redding Jet Center, Ted called Lindy and discoverd that
she had a problem hiring a car at San Francisco.
There were a lot of
Chinese and Japanese students at the Redding Jet Center.
We left the baking
hot Redding runway at 17:13 and headed southwards.
This route takes
you over a multitude of rice fields soaked in valuable
I fueled the
Decathlon, had a pe, and checked that Ted had departed in
his rental car, and then got going.
The route took me over the San Andreas Fault and so I throttled back a little to reduce the noise a bit and reduce the chance of setting it off.
I was aware of a
lesson learned in 1978:
I wouldn't have liked to have been much later arriving at Columbia though landing in the dark would have been easy enough with the runway lights.
On to part two
Back to MPAviation