Flying to Oshawa

Man, I’ve got to sign up for a CANPASS pass.

I flew up here to Oshawa Ontario yesterday evening. In spite of the fact that 90% of the time clearing Canada Customs consists of phoning 1-888-CANPASS before you leave and then 1-888-CANPASS after you arrive (the other 10% of the time, they’ll say “wait there, a customs officer will be with you shortly”), they don’t have customs at Oshawa after 16:30. If I signed up for a CANPASS pass, I could clear customs without the second phone call, which also means you can arrive even when customs is closed. But I haven’t done that yet, so I had to fly to St. Catherines airport to clear customs, and then fly on to Oshawa.

It was a beautiful day, so I filed VFR for a change – mostly because around Toronto it gives me flexibility to avoid them playing games vectoring me all over the place. When I file IFR around there, I file for a nice high safe altitude for over the lake, and then they try to keep me down low and still send me over the middle of the lake, or vector me all over southern Ontario. The straight line between St. Catherines and Oshawa misses the Toronto Class C airspace by about a nautical mile or less, but it does miss it, so I didn’t even talk to Toronto controllers, just climbed until my GPS said it was time to descend, and then kept up there until I was much closer. Altitude is life, and while I trust the club planes a lot more than some random rental, even the best maintained plane can turn into a glider with little warning.

It’s a bit weird to be flying a cross country VFR. I haven’t done it in a while, and the silent radio is deafening. I may do it again on the way home.