Departure Day: Heading South Leads to Toronto!


Three good watchwords of X-C planning: delay, divert or drive!
Bad news Surface Analysis SCARY RADAR!
You have to just know when you wake up and look at this chart that Florida is not in the cards for this day (unless you really do want to drive) . You can pretend it is not there but you still can't fly through it. Icing up to 20K with pireps and surface freezing precip; not happening!


Trip to Toronto Headed back to US Back to ITH
So if going south leads you to ice and snow, what does going north get you? It was actually sunny and warm in Toronto! This was a trip to shake down the border-crossing techniques like CANPASS, eAPIS, and customs notification. We caught the ferry and a bus and had lunch at "The Loose Moose." What seems to be different once you figure out the eAPIS program is that US Customs (at least this time) seems much easier since they already received an e-mail with all your information. The CBP 178 form is no loger required.


Toronto Airport At Toronto with 768CD
It is always amazing how close you come to the CN Tower coming in to land from the east. This is an easy flight,just notify CANPASS two hours prior, eAPIS 60 minutes prior, file a flight plan and obtain a discrete squawk.. Call CANPASS on arrival.


Finally Heading South to the Bahamas!
Low moves off NE coast Radar shows not much WeatherTap METAR and TAF
The coastal low had moved further north making this trip possible though challenging. It was still low IFR and snowing in Ithaca on departure. We had a recent tops report of 20K but with the reassurance of the Cirrus de-ice system we were able to safely proceed. We did not collect any ice but the clouds persisted all the way into Florida. We finally broke out on top (12K) somewhere in PA.. We barely got a visual at 88J for fuel in South Carolina. Six flight hours later we were in Florida at Fort Pierce. Here the requirement for an hour eAPIS notification and a flight plan required some time on the ground. Getting through Bahamas Customs in North Eleuthra and on to Cat Island was a race with darkness.
Still snowing in Ithaca The trip from ITH down to South Carolina Fuel stop in South Carolina
Ithaca on Wednesday morning in the snow
Four hours at 160K gets you to "cheap fuel" (but not sun)
You have to love this price; full service too!
Into Florida Finally FLorida, TIKI FBO To the Bahamas-MYEH
The missing piece that makes this flight intimidating for new pilots is the border-crossing process  you need to avoid the F-16s. In summary, U.S. Customs must be notified of your departure (and return) by e-mail an hour before take off (and currently still by phone.) This is called the e-APIS system and AOPA has a great flash tutorial that makes this easy. You must file a flight plan (either IFR or DVFR) and make sure you have a squawk and radar service as you cross the border. Your first stop inbound has to be an "airport of entry." On the Bahama side you need your passport and three C7A forms. They also might ask for your aircraft and pilot documents (as well as insurance). You fill out an inbound declaration form and you get a "cruising permit" to visit anywhere in the country of the Bahamas. Brent got a half hour of actual weather flying on the leg out to North Eleuthera where we cleared customs.
New Bight airport from the air (hard to find?) Airport at New Bight The boys arrive at Cat Island
The New Bight Airport is easy to find and not threatened by encroaching development!
This is a well-maintained airport with good services and transportation. Not exactly a busy hub!
The happy aviators photographed at New Bight on the departure day; sunny and the 30K winds finally abated.