Flying International: Adventures for New Pilots

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V1 Rotate advises new pilots to approach an aviation career as a marathon, not a sprint, to avoid burnout. Injecting adventure and enjoyment into flying is important for maintaining a positive state of mind at the early stages of a career. An excellent adventure for newcomers is cross-border flying to Canada, Mexico, or the Bahamas. The article provides detailed requirements for aircraft, pilots, and passengers, as well as procedures for entering and leaving each country. It emphasizes the importance of proper planning, including obtaining necessary permits and documents, ensuring aircraft readiness, and making advanced notifications to relevant authorities.

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Are you a new or aspiring professional pilot? Then remember, a career in aviation is a marathon, not a sprint. While the grind of flight training and hour-building can lead to burnout, it’s essential to find adventure and enjoyment in your flying. A great adventure for a newer pilot is flying across the border to countries like Canada, Mexico, or the Bahamas. As David Ogilvy would say, “Invest in broadening your experience.”

As a pilot myself, I could have flown internationally years earlier if I had known how easy it is. With proper planning and legwork, even fairly new private pilots can safely make cross-country flights to international destinations. You just need an airplane that can be taken internationally, and there are some important requirements that you need to consider. For instance, the U.S. requires pilots exiting the country to file an eAPIS manifest at least 60 minutes before departure, and you’ll need to file an IFR or VFR flight plan in ICAO format, among other steps.

If you’re flying to Mexico, you’ll also need to file a Mexican APIS manifest 24 hours before departure and again one hour before departure. And, when entering Mexico, you’ll need to complete various procedures and obtain entry permits. For flights to the Bahamas, you’ll need to close your flight plan before landing and complete immigration procedures, as well as apply for a cruising permit once you have arrived.

When entering Canada, you must make your first landing at a Canadian airport of entry and make an advance notification of arrival between two and 48 hours before entry.

When returning to the U.S., you’ll need to file various manifests and flight plans, and notify CBP at your intended airport of entry at least one hour before arrival, among other steps.

While this might seem like a daunting process, flying internationally can be an enriching experience for any new pilot. Did you know that there are only 24 pilots in the world who flew the Concorde? Do you dream of becoming one of them? Try crossing an international border and set yourself apart from the rest!

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