I am looking for some information on whether we can go down to the states to fix one of our own aircraft. I have heard that we are not really supposed to go down there to fix our aircraft as you would be taking a job away from an American and this has something to do with the bi-lateral agreement.
We will try to make some calls to see if we can find someone locally that can help. This is usually a dead end as they will most likely not have a MIP (TCCA Supplement), on type training etc. Unless you are lucky to break down in a major hub where there is a Duncan or other large facility. I know that they will send a team or mobile service unit, but usually in my experience it is much cheaper to go myself.
You're not taking work away from an American, you're working on your own aircraft, not somebody elses.
I been involved in certifying Canadian designed & built components in the states ..
You require letters detailing exactly what is intended; Custom documents detailing every item & tool being sent down.
.. sometime a bond may be required to ensure the parts return.
At the border - the simplest solution is to state you are only going down as an observer !
Send the tools down first via freight - do not accompany the tools (ie: in trunk of car) when u cross the border.
- the less u have the better.
Once I made the mistake stating I had a flashlite & a mirror in my briefcase .. Wow !!! 1 hour of interrogation !
.. In Summary / do not have any tools or parts with you ; have these items shipped ahead of time ..
state that you are only going down as an observer (or aircraft release) as well as the customary letter from the aircraft owner / AMO that you are employed by them - ensuring you are not going down in search of work. .. And be prepared to state when you are returning home & how.
"According to 9FAM 41.31 N7.2 (copy attached), employees of foreign airlines coming to the United States to pick up an aircraft may be documented as “B-1” visitors in that they are not transiting the United States and are not admissible as crewmen".
Been doing this for many years so I'm guessing you're not talking about an airline
It's interesting that you guys on the airline side of things bring a letter with you. Have you had issues with or without that? Do you try to use other airlines down there for maintenance support and do they have a MIP (TCCA supplement)?
We have heard of people getting turned away at the border, I have been lucky so far. This is the reason for the post as I want to see what everyone else does and encounters.
Also, I have gone through customs with my Pelican case full of tools before without issues.
Having the documentation definitely helps going through customs. It's doable without it but It eliminates a lot of questioning and the customs agents. This is the relevant US law that covers this that we title our letters with -
"Entry to the United States to perform Emergency Mechanical Services B-1 Non-Immigrant Status"
Yes It's preferred to have other local airlines or maintenance support companies do the repairs but then we are at their mercy and timetable which normally doesn't carry the same "urgency" that we need to get back into service. At times we do the same for American carriers, but there are TC / FAA approved agreements between the parties involved, which usually include same basic training on each others procedures for releasing the aircraft back to service, eg log book entries and documenting the work performed. We sometimes will provide parts for each other but rotables must be removed when the aircraft returns to base and sent back