By Peter Campbell (Photo: Aerial view of Oshkosh Wittman Field Airport Wisconsin, Adobestock)
With the recent easing of COVID-19 restrictions for returning Canadians with both vaccines, we have had a very significant uptick in requests for more information about going to and coming home from the biggest aerial and ground displays of aircraft in North America, if not in the World. We are talking about the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture 2021.
First let’s talk about your flight to Oshkosh in Wisconsin. We need to remember that the border between Canada and the USA is still closed for non-essential travel. While there have been thousands of Canadians who have been turned back at the land-crossing sites between our two countries, the number of instances involving light aircraft clearing customs at an American airport near the Border has been remarkably low. To ensure safe passage into the USA, you should arrive at your chosen airport of entry (AOE) with the same sort of COVID-19 test (PCR) that you will need when you return to Canada. You are strongly encouraged to also speak to the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents that work at the proposed AOE and get a one-on-one confirmation that your plan will be acceptable to the CBP team at that location.
Once you are clear of the AOE, remember that you are required to have ADS-B out equipment to enter Class C airspace in the USA, so pick a route that avoids these airports. Also, be aware that the EAA has confirmed that at EAA AirVenture, there will be signs regarding social distancing and sanitation protocols but no enforcement of these protocols. Bring your own sanitation materials for using touch screen displays in booths and common touch areas in the vendor exhibits.
Getting home will require compliance steps very similar to how you got to Oshkosh. You will require a valid (for 72 hours) PCR test with a negative result. You must also use the ARRIVECAN app for the inputting of all pertinent data regarding the occupants in your aircraft and yourself. The app will also identify your aircraft as a Flight Number and the intended AOE. You must contact Canadian Border Service Agents (CBSA) through their Telephone Reporting Centre to repeat much of the same reporting as was provided in the ARRIVECAN app. CBSA will need your estimated time of arrival and the planned AOE must be manned by CBSA agents!
Completing all of these steps should ensure a hassle-free return to Canada that will not require a quarantine period for double-vaccinated travellers. Children under 12 who are travelling with you will be required to isolate for two weeks under supervision at home.
Enjoy the trip to and from EAA AirVentre and your time at this amazing event. COPA will be there in 2022!