In the USA !

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
Trip End Sep 11, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Maine
Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday 27 June 2011. We said our goodbyes again to Ann, Mitch and Jack as they went off to work and school. We followed in the truck, stopping for gas and a breakfast biscuit take-out at a Tim Horton's near the Gateway FBO and had checked in with Sarah at the hangar by 0900 hrs.

The first thing to be done was to check if we could amend the Air Space Waiver details to allow Bangor, Maine to be our point of entry. Patrick made a phone call to check on the procedures: the request needed to be made on line and then to call back in four hours to check on progress. There was going to be lots of hanging around! Sarah was quite happy for us to take up residence at one of the tables in the Reception/lounge (and to have our breakfast!), and Steve, Doug and Rick popped in every now and again to enquire about progress. CTV sent a cameraman to film our take off at 1100 hrs – we had called the station to let them know of the delay but this hadn’t been relayed in time. JW was fine with his wasted journey – he said it happened frequently and was part of the job!

Our time was spent productively: drafting the blog and labelling the photos, revising the flight plan, resubmitting EAPIS, sorting out fuel in destinations in Northern Canada and checking with Bangor that we could stay the night if we did manage to get away. As it turned out, the Halifax weather hadn’t cleared as quickly as forecast, so we wouldn’t have been able to leave during the morning. The TSA office was 'phoned at the allotted time – the response was to call back again in another four hours!! The Officer did explain that our previous authorisation had had to be cancelled and a completely new request needed to be agreed by the TSA and then signed off by the FAA – not merely granting an amendment. Frustrations were running high! A change of scenery was called for: borrowing the truck we headed back to TH’s for a snack lunch.

Returning to the hangar, Patrick decided to prep the EZ anyway, pack away our bags and generally be prepared to get away as soon as the approval was granted: we had a deadline departure of 1915 hrs if we were to reach our destination before the light faded. I managed to find a TV channel showing Wimbledon, so settled in a comfy chair to catch up on the day’s events – Messrs Federer, Tsonga and Nadal were all in action. At 1700 hrs Patrick called TSA – "call back in ten minutes"…. Checking the website just prior to this next time slot, the approval was showing as having been granted – all systems go! A last check on the weather to Bangor (all fine), the cloud had at last broken around Halifax, a text to Ann and Mitch to say that we were finally on our way, a quick call to CTV and to Bangor so say we were coming after all. The EZ was pushed out of the hangar and just after we climbed aboard, Sophie and her camera arrived to film our departure; Steve and Rick were going to take her to a spot above the runway for a good view of the take-off. Steve and the team at Gateway have been excellent – we cannot thank them enough for their help and advice – we wish them well with their business.

A little glitch with the radio on our taxi out meant a quick stop – eventually, after a short 'phone call to Steve’s avionics friend, a ‘turn off and turn on’ did the trick and we were on our way. The flight to Bangor was scheduled to take just short of two hours, heading north-west to St John, back across the Bay of Fundy and then south-west. Fog was collecting in the Bay, well below our 4,500 ft , with fingers straying across the land – quite a sight; visibility was really good, the sun shining in a blue sky. We would gain an hour on this trip – we reckoned we would have an hour in hand before twilight. At Eastport we crossed the border into Maine, USA and heading west we landed at Bangor at 1930hrs. It had been a perfect evening for flying.

Two Customs Officers were awaiting our arrival as we parked on the inspection apron. A quick look around the EZ and then we were taken into the Customs Hall for passport formalities. A short time later they kindly took us to the Avitat FBO, where we were expecting to park for the night. It was a balmy 23 deg and the forecast was for a dry evening. The ladies on Reception were extremely friendly, welcoming and helpful – a phone call to a local motel secured a room – and the EZ was soon parked and tied down for the night, just as the sun was dipping down to a lovely sunset.

A short courtesy ride to the motel, checked-in and a stroll to a nearby restaurant for a well-earned beer and a plate of nachos! We’ve made it into the USA!
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