The U.S. Customs have no sympathy for a lost aircraft border crossing U.S. Customs Decal and little understanding of the forces of nature on the exterior of an airplane in flight. My carefully installed decal came off sometime during a recent flight.
I am sending this information to save someone else the cost of a second decal, a necessary extra 27.50 that I must spend to cross the U.S. border with my aircraft. I suspect this year's decal supply has inferior glue because I never experienced this problem before.
The following is the response I received from the U.S. agency:
"You will need to purchase a new decal. The only thing I can suggest is to place the new decal inside a clear plastic bag and attach it to the interior window of the door. The problem I see if the decal is on the interior of the slipstream is that a Customs Agent would not be able to locate the decal if you were not present when they were doing their inspection of the aircraft. This would not only be frustrating for you but the Customs Agent as well."
This is a good example of how little the USA appreciates air tourism. Decals are tracked; U.S. authorities have my original number and my $27.50. This is an exceptional circumstance and it would be very little cost or effort for U.S. Customs to simply cancel the first decal and issue a replacement, particularly in cases where the decal is at fault.
I also question the need for a Decal. It should be common knowledge in every government department dealing with aviators, that pilots are already screened and tested just to get a license. If the authorities are not satisfied with the personal identification of a pilot license and all the other ownership documentation carried aboard an aircraft, then how can they possibly allow cars to cross the border without also having the prior approval of some sort of sticker or a decal?
We should be treated exactly the same as a motorist, after all, the same officers work both cars and planes at some border crossings.