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Special Action Fund donations off to a great start

 

By February 28, the following COPA Flights had raised significant donations: Flight 10 in Saskatoon, Sask. $1,000; Flight 23 in North Bay, Ont. $500; Flight 50 in Penticton, B.C. $1,000; and Flight 24 in Lethbridge, Alberta $1,000. Thank you very much to the members of these COPA Flights for kicking off 2009 so generously.

I would also like extend a special thank you to quite a few members who have generously donated from $500 to $1,000. It is heart-warming to see individuals coming forward with such significant donations in spite of slower economic times.

In January I wrote about a new corporate sponsorship program which I hoped would get companies that derive their revenue from general aviation to support the Special Action Fund. The program was launched in mid-January and I am please to report that in the first month four companies came forward for a total sponsorship of $3,500.

You will see their names listed on the Special Action Fund appeal page of COPA Flight. Please watch for new listings each month and show your appreciation to these sponsors by purchasing from them when possible.

I am aware of a number of individuals and organizations that are running promotions to raise donations for the SAF as well. I don’t have the details as I write but you will see the details elsewhere in this or the next issue of COPA Flight.

COPA members and others involved in general aviation are seeing the benefits the work COPA is doing to keep you flying and are becoming actively involved in fund raising efforts. My personal thanks to everyone who is helping out.

On another subject I recently flew south of the border for a weekend visit and at my airport of entry I was reminded by the U.S. customs official that their new Advance Passenger Information System regulation for private aircraft will be coming into effect soon. It was strongly suggested that I should start using it prior to the mandatory compliance date of May 18, 2009 for familiarization.

After returning home I got onto their website to see how the new Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) works. I soon discovered that it is not quite as straight forward as we had been lead to believe.

The first big surprise is that you don’t just log on and file your passenger information for your next cross-border flight. You, the pilot in command, must first complete an application to register. This means you supply your information and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will check you out and if they are happy with you will issue an ID number which you will use each time you use the system. I applied. That was 7 days ago and I am still waiting to hear back from them.

If and when I am approved I will use the system for another flight to and from the U.S. and in next month’s column I will report how it went and give you all the details on what to do.

However, I wanted to mention this now because if any of you are planning a trip into or out of the U.S. after May 18, I suggest that you register well in advance. I am writing this on March 1, and if it takes more than a week to get registered now I hate to think what it will be like a few weeks before Oshkosh.

They have a pretty good interactive tutorial on their website. The tutorial has a few little glitches at this time but it will provide a good overview of how the system is supposed to work. The address is http://apps.cbp.gov/eapis-pa/.

Look for a detailed report in my next column. Meanwhile, keep you prop spinning.