Pilots to Pilots



Randy Klaassen, member of Civil Air Search And Rescue Association (CASARA), is researching a book on CASARA Ontario’s history and current operations. If you’ve had experience with CASARA Ontario, Randy would like to hear from you. For more information visit www.casaraontario.ca/, “News,” or you can email stories or photos to casarabook@gmail.com


I was saddened to here of the sudden passing of Al Smith of Deep River. In 2001 I read about a place to fly to in the COPA Flight newpaper. I called the number and Al said it would be fine if my two boys and I flew up from our home base in Williamstown, Ont. and pitched our tent at his airport.

Joey (10),Grant (9) and I packed up the Stinson and headed off on our great adventure. After we set up camp for the night Al took us on a tour of the airport. He had recently cut down some trees at the west end of the runway and showed the boys were a bear had marked some stumps with his claws.

This changed the sleeping arrangements in the tent that night. One boy on each side of me and hanging on to one arm each.

Al gave us his airport car for the weekend, took us to the Swisha to see Bradley Air’s Beaver, toured the dam, showed us around Deep River and accepted our invitation for dinner.

He was a great host and a true promoter of aviation. I had often thought of going back to visit but the usual excuse of work and family got in the way. Sorry I never made it. Thanks again, Al.



Tom Schroeder’s article “Blending old ways with hi-tech world” in the COPA Flight March issue starting on page B-12 there is a mistake regarding U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) User Fee decal requirements, where Tom wrote “you do not need a CBP decal if your plane’s fuselage is less than 30 feet long.’’

This is not correct, however an understandable misinterpretation. All private aircraft that cross the U.S. border require a User Fee Decal. The CBP website: www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/pleasure_boats/user_fee/user_fee_decal.xml does mention the following under Decal Information: “Decals are stickers that are placed on all private aircraft and private vessels (30 feet or more in length) as proof that the User Fee for entry into the U.S.”

This can be interpreted to mean that all private aircraft less than 30 feet in length do not require a decal but the following listing from the CBP site is more specific regarding private aircraft:

User Fee Payment Required

Payment of the User Fee is required if:

  • You operate a vehicle for commercial purposes that enters the United States.
  • You operate a private vessel that is 30 feet or more in length that enters the United States.
  • In order to qualify as a private vessel requiring a decal, the vessel cannot carry passengers who pay a fare.
  • You operate an aircraft, which is non-commercial and enters the United States.

Also, the DTOPS User Guide www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/travel/pleasure_boats/user_fee/dtops_guide.ctt/dtops_guide.pdf explains how to fill out the online application form, which provides three distinct choices: commercial vehicle, private aircraft and private vessel (thirty feet and over).