03 May 1988

International incident

Every year the Kiwanis Club in Middletown goes to an international meeting in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit. I piled in five Kiwanis members and took off. There were three other airplanes in the caravan. I was bigger and faster than the other airplanes, so I reached Canada first.

The Canadian controller asked, "Are you one of four airplanes from Middletown, Ohio landing at Windsor?"
 I said, "That's affirmative."
 He then added, "Did you know that the other three airplanes did not file flight plans?"
"No sir. I'm not aware of that."
"Did you know that it's illegal to cross a foreign border without filing a flight
plan? Canada is a foreign country."
"Yes sir. I'm aware of that."

As each airplane came on the Canadian frequency, the controller asked all of them the same question. He could have made them all turn back, land in the United States, and file a flight plan, but he let them land at Windsor.

The Canadian authorities could have literally made this an international incident. I am sure there were several prominent Windsor businessmen that were going to be at this Kiwanis meeting. When the Canadian authorities found out who was on board the four planes and why, I am sure they decided to just reprimand the pilots.

I am not sure why the other three pilots did not file flight plans. They should have known better. In fact two of the three pilots had flown this trip before.

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