Video highlights of flying around Canada (detailed Canadian Rockies article coming soon):

As you read about in Part 1, flying low and slow across the midwest was a pretty cool experience, but what came next was even better. Waking up early in Casper, Wyoming (KCPR), we planned a flight to Great Falls, Montana (KGTF), near the Canadian border, where we finalized EAPIS paperwork and called CANPASS to get the right authorization to fly across the border to Calgary (CYYC).

We only stopped once along the way to Great Falls, in Cody, Wyoming at the Yellowstone Regional Airport for lunch. The Cody airport was Class E to the surface, pilot-controlled, yet still had regular airline service on Delta and United. It was interesting to fly into an airport with that kind of service and no control tower. Eating next to the ramp at the awesome FBO café, Rod and I enjoyed a nice break from the flying.

Flying directly to Great Falls, Montana went smoothly. I don’t think there was anything especially notable about the route, other than the terrain changing from desert mountains to farming plains.

On the ground at KGTF, Rod got on the computer to finish up EAPIS paperwork, crew member registration, and called CANPASS to let them know we were inbound.

A little over 30 minutes later, we crossed the Canadian border without issue and began speaking with Edmonton Center. As we approached Calgary, we were handed off to “Calgary Terminal” – the approach control for CYYC. Until I got on the tower frequency, I didn’t realize how busy Calgary was as an airport. From what I saw and heard, there were commercial aircraft landing every few seconds in a similar fashion to many Class B airports back in the USA.

On the ground, we parked at Landmark Aviation where Rod got on the phone to call CANPASS for our verification number. Interestingly, no customs officials met us at the plane, and upon getting the number which we wrote on a small piece of paper, we were clear to enter Canada. Unlike arriving in the United States, Canadian border agents don’t have to personally meet every private aircraft and passenger entering the country. The border agency reserves the right to visit you and your aircraft upon arrival, but it’s uncommon at best. In fact, in the dozens of times Rod has flown into Canada, he said only 2 or 3 times did he ever have someone meet him at the plane to check passports, paperwork, bags, and cargo.

Two hours later, after a quick dinner, we pulled up to the commercial terminal in Calgary to pick up Haley Howard, another one of our good pilot friends who took a few days off from flying in Alaska to hop into the Widgeon for our flight through the Canadian Rockies.

The best part of the ferry trip is up next in part 3 – VFR Canadian Rockies Mountain Passes all the way from Calgary to Victoria.

Ferry flight highlight video:


About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

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