Crossing the US border (with motors) or how to ask a CBP agent the question?

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dr wogz

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So, a few of us Canadians fly in the US. For the most part, a number of us are under the impression that crossing into the US with motors is verboten. But to try & find info / documentation either for or against seems next to impossible.

We were at our local event last week-end, and some Canadian guests came to fly at our club. They brought motors. "What?!" we asked (with big surprised eyes).. "You brought motors across? And they didn't say anything?!"

"Sure, we do it all the time. The (the CBP agent) asks if we have motors, and we say sure, right there.."

And with that, we are now thinking.. I have a healthy stash of motors that are just sitting here. I'd love to bring mine over, prepped them the night before, and be ready! I'd also love to bring over the odd pack of C6-7 or D12-3.. (We make a sizable order with the club's annual 'black Friday order' and have them stored in the US. Pickings are getting slim!)

And with that, my friend recently called our local 'point of entry' to see if he can get a concrete answer: "Sorry, I have no idea" was the reply.

I then posted the question to the CBP info center. I got two replies:

1) Please be advised that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has jurisdiction over the airspace of the U.S. and whatever flies in it.
For assistance with your questions, we would recommend you to contact the FAA, visiting https://www.faa.gov/. (duh, we know that, we want to 'cross the border')

and (to further prod the question):

2) "We are a general information center and are unable to provide you with this specific information.* Please contact an Import Specialist at the Port of Entry for this information."

So, it seems it is a grey area, and open to the agent's whim of the day. Or, to try & find a knowledgeable CBP agent who can cite regulations. That is all we want. A definite yes or no, and if yes, any limits..

Anyone have an idea?
 

chrisudy

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I asked two DHS guys at the Niagara Falls border - one during my Nexus/Trusted Traveler interview, and the other who lives down the street from me (and happens to be my brother-in-law). They both said bringing motors into the US for personal use is fine as long as you declare them.

Chris
 

boatgeek

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They told you to contact an import specialist at your point of entry. I would ask them to give you contact information for an appropriate specialist at the border crossing you use. If they can't give you a name, call/write the local port of entry and ask for an import specialist. If they say they don't know, ask them if there's anyone in the office who can and keep going up the chain. I'd probably start the conversation with "our rocketry club has gotten some conflicting info and we want to make sure we're all good on the rules." That way you don't sound like someone trying to find a loophole.
 

Cabernut

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I know what it is going from the US to Canada(up to 6 Es), but going back, I've wondered about that as well. On my way to NYPower last time, I wasn't planning on risking bringing anything over and just buy what I needed on-site. However, I brought my entire motor stash by accident. I loaded the ammo cans along with everything else just like I do with every other local launch. Once I was there, unpacked my stuff and much to my surprise(and delight), I had about 4 Gs, 3Fs, and about three dozen Estes from Es to 1/2A. Nothing to declare on the way back since they were back where they came from.
 

RIB

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It's is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission
 

TheTellurian

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Having crossed on my way to a FAI Space Modeling comp in Michigan last year the US inspection booth guy said definitely a no to any motors or igniters.


Richard
 

dr wogz

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On a slight tangent,
I'd love to hear the car behind me when the border agent asks to see my rockets, and pulls one or two out.. Notably the scale AMRAAM or the Phoenix or the 4" AGM Pike!

"Jeez, Martha, would you look at that, that guy has missiles in his trunk, and they just let him go! I though they were gonna strengthen these here borders!!"
 

JJSR

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I would say take some time and drive over to the crossing you use and ask for the shift commander, see if he has time to talk with you. School him on what you would like to bring across and if its possible could go right to him when you are going to a launch in the U.S. Bring some videos and/or pictures with you, if he doesn't know anything about rocketry teach him. At the end of the day he is the one that it all falls on if **** happens.
From my own experiences with local 5-0, I keep rockets & motors in the truck all the time, when they see them its "WHATS THAT in the back seat!! STEP OUT of the truck" once I explain they usually say "OH COOL" I do rockets with my kids or I used to do that when I was younger.
 

dr wogz

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I think that's ultimately what we're gonna do. Maybe also have a "Will be crossing with rocket motors. They're OK, Sgt. Stickle - 2017-05-26" note on our file..

Problem is, is that the 'major border' can have up to an hour wait sometimes. We (I) typically use one of the smaller 2nd or 3rd class crossings; the ones with one booth & one guy (who usually has his feet up & is snoozing!)
 

Cabernut

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On a slight tangent,
I'd love to hear the car behind me when the border agent asks to see my rockets, and pulls one or two out.. Notably the scale AMRAAM or the Phoenix or the 4" AGM Pike!

"Jeez, Martha, would you look at that, that guy has missiles in his trunk, and they just let him go! I though they were gonna strengthen these here borders!!"
I can see that happening.

That reminds me, every time I load up for a lunch, I end up at some point in the elevator with an armfull of MPRs, someone else comes in and looks at me with the :eyepop: "you have missiles?" look.
 

dr wogz

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I wear a fish hook on the bill of my cap (a Mustad tie clip, from Bass pro) I remember one woman on the airplane "What they let you on with that?!!!" Uh, yeah, like I'm gonna unbend it so I have a 3" pointy piece of wire, and take the plane hostage..
 
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