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Old 11-26-2019, 08:27 PM
DustyLogbook DustyLogbook is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: St Catharines, ON
Posts: 4
Default Advice on getting started in Canada

This is my first post on VAF, but I've been here lurking and (I hope) learning for a little more than 6 months.

Initially, I wanted to build an RV-14A, but in the ongoing conversations with my better half, the mission has moved somewhat to favour the RV-10 (potential for grandchildren and friends travelling with us vs. the ability to do limited aerobatics from time to time - I'm 65, after all).

I am fortunate to have a large 2-car garage and am in the process of prepping it as my workshop. I have joined the local EAA chapter. I've run the numbers for both AC as carefully as I can based on the experiences that have been shared here at VAF and the plan is realistic. I know it's a daunting prospect, but I'm also looking forward to the whole thing!

So I've got some questions for those who are well beyond my stage. First, tools. I live in the Niagara area (Southern Ontario) quite near the US border, so I wanted to ask the community whether it made sense to buy tools from a Canadian supplier, or order from one of the popular US suppliers. I could easily ship to a US address nearby and import it myself, but I'd like to hear about other experiences before pulling the trigger. Also, did you buy the full RV kits or get a starter kit and then get additional tools more or less as you needed them.

Second, shipping. I'd love to hear experiences about having Van's ship directly to your shop vs. bringing the kits across the border yourself vs. acting as your own broker to clear the kits from the bonded warehouses.

Third, before I pull the trigger on the tail kit, I'd love to have the opportunity to see an RV-10 up close. YouTube is a great resource, but nothing beats sitting in the aircraft and talking to the person who squeezed all the rivets. I know there are a few RV-10s in Southern Ontario and my wife and I love to take long drives together. I'd be happy to come to your hanger if anyone is interested in showing us your pride and joy.

Anyway, thanks for reading my rambling and thanks in advance for your comments. I have learned that people who build airplanes are some of the most helpful and engaging people I have met.

Brian McGrath
Anticipating RV-10/RV-14A build (so hard to choose! )

Last edited by DustyLogbook : 11-26-2019 at 10:17 PM. Reason: proofreading after posting - oh well ...
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:41 PM
terrye terrye is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Posts: 962
Default Advice on getting started in Canada

I bought most of my expensive air tools locally from Atlas Copco. 2x rivet gun (wasn't powerful enough), 3x rivet gun (should have bought this first, pretty much the only one I needed), high speed 3/8" drill (could have lived without this with the prepunched kit), 90 degree drill (mainly used on fuselage, almost never on the wings, empennage). My Bosch 18V cordless is one of my most used drills. Also have a Chinese 3/8" 90 degree air drill with chuck, useful in certain cases. Also bought a Chicago Pneumatic rivet squeezer, although the clones would have probably worked just as well. One of my favorite tools.

Bought lots of other stuff from most of the tool suppliers. Can recommend Cleaveland, Brown. Bought my dimple dies and lots of clecos from Cleaveland

I already had a lot of sheet metal tools, shears, snips etc. and mechanics tools

Already had a drill press (mandatory) and lathe (not mandatory but really nice to have).

I shipped direct to my house, but went to customs personally to clear the big boxes. A somewhat intimidating process. You'll need a "business number". No not a business phone, no not a business registration number, a customs business number. Agents were not very friendly (we're not here to do your work for you!). Huh? Don't my tax dollars pay your wages? Anyway it can be done, but frustrating.
Terry Edwards
RV-9A (Fuselage)
2021/2022 VAF Contribution Sent
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:06 PM
Nedimbek's Avatar
Nedimbek Nedimbek is offline
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 99
Default Great experience

Ivan Kristensen lives in Guelph. He owns an RV-10 that he?d built like 10-15 years ago. Great gentleman and great pilot. He is at the forum. He goes to Florida in his RV-10 on winter months. Try to reach him, I?m sure he will be great help for you.
Nedim Bek
Almost time.
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:49 AM
Jetmart's Avatar
Jetmart Jetmart is offline
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Posts: 434

I live 35 miles away from the US Detroit border.
I purchased my RV-14 specific tool kit from plane tools. Very happy with it. Had it shipped to a US address. Just brought it across and paid taxes. I find anything in Canada is harder to find, more expensive, and takes longer to get.

I would highly recommend getting an all inclusive tool kit that is model specific from one of the big tool suppliers. It will save a lot of time running around and back & forth across the border and shipping costs.

Look at plane tools, cleveland tools, etc.

Also sent kits to a US truck depot, not bonded, and brought kit over myself. It is very easy, again just pay Canadian HST, no duties. No broker needed. Trucking to the US and bringing it over myself was about half the price as having shipped directly to me. van's likely can tell you where there is a trucking depot near you in the US.

I have done all this in the last 6 weeks so the info is current and accurate.
Several others in my area have done the same thing.
Glenn Martin
Windsor, Ontario
1942 Tiger Moth
2017 Waco YMF-5
RV-14 Kit # 140694
First Flight - June 22, 2021
2021 Dues Paid

Last edited by Jetmart : 11-27-2019 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 11-27-2019, 06:20 AM
Dayz Dayz is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Toronto, ON.
Posts: 36

What was said. Buy Everything, Ship it to Brian at Kuhn Storage across the river from you in Niagara Falls and go pick up everything.
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:27 AM
sjhurlbut sjhurlbut is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 894
Default Border

If you can ship to border and get it go for it. Did that for most of my kits back in day when I lived closer.

Call Pacific Custom Brokers. I?ve used them for everything and they are great to deal with. They are located in BC but it doesn?t matter.

Good luck and see you back here few thousand times during the build.
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Moose Jaw, SK
7A #70015 - C-FZQX - built - sold
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:55 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sidney, BC, Canada
Posts: 4,278

When I researched tools I found that any pre-set kit from any of the larger vendors would be cheaper than buying everything locally.

With a little more research and legwork up front, you can assemble your own kit by getting the best recommended tools from multiple vendors, some of which were in Canada (mostly the generic, not aviation-specific, stuff). Plan ahead to minimize shipping. I also had all of mine shipped to a mail drop just across the border, and drove down to bring them back myself. Half of the time CBP just waved me through, even when carrying $500 worth of aircraft tools. The other half of the time I had to come in and pay PST/GST. Overall, it was much cheaper (and I made sure to get a tank of gas while I was down there).

As for aircraft choice, i'll point out that the -10 isn't aerobatic, so if that interested you, you're cutting off one aspect of your flying. Also, every grandparent I know with an airplane typically flies one grandchild at a time... Even those with 4-place airplanes. The kids take turns, because the ones that want to go flying also want to sit up front. Be sure you really need more than two seats when it's likely that 60-90% of your flying will be solo.
Rob Prior
1996 RV-6 "Tweety" C-FRBP (formerly N196RV)

Last edited by Snowflake : 11-27-2019 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:02 PM
DustyLogbook DustyLogbook is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: St Catharines, ON
Posts: 4

Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
As for aircraft choice, i'll point out that the -10 isn't aerobatic, so if that interested you, you're cutting off one aspect of your flying. Also, every grandparent I know with an airplane typically flies one grandchild at a time... Even those with 4-place airplanes. The kids take turns, because the ones that want to go flying also want to sit up front. Be sure you really need more than two seats when it's likely that 60-90% of your flying will be solo.
You make an excellent point. I wonder how often 10s go flying with 3 or more on board or where the useful load available in a 10 becomes a factor.
Brian McGrath
Anticipating RV-10/RV-14A build (so hard to choose! )
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:34 PM
Ralph Inkster Ralph Inkster is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 1,584

The 10 is a great people carrier (sedan), but would also be a great luggage hauler (SUV). The 14 could be compared to a sport car (Mustang), not as versatile in the luggage carrying capacity (in my wife's view). But the 2 place models are more fun to fly (in my view!).
built a few RVs, rebuilt a few more, hot rodded more, & maintained/updated a big bunch more
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:25 PM
Canadian_JOY Canadian_JOY is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,474

Brian - much of the advise given so far here is pretty much golden.

There clearly is absolutely NO NEED for a broker. There likewise is no need for any fancy business number. Or at least that's the case for the border crossing closest to Ottawa.

In building our aircraft I had everything shipped to and held by either the UPS store or Fedex store or a third party shipping warehouse just across the border. I would then drive down, pick up the goods, drive back to the Canadian border and declare every penny of the goods being brought in.

Just be double-darned sure that you have paperwork to prove the value of every shipment you are bringing across the border. Do NOT count on vendors to include the invoice in the package. Some do, some don't, sometimes they get torn off in shipping. Get the vendor to email you a copy of the invoice. Print it in duplicate, one for customs, one for you. Take both copies with you. Add up the total value of everything you are bringing across the border. When asked at the border if you have anything to declare, hold up your tally sheet and give the total down to the last penny, in USD and tell them it's in USD. They will make you go inside with your paperwork and pay the 13% HST.

Refrain from the temptation of having the invoice on a mobile device - the moment you hand that device to Customs so they can see the invoice, they have the right to search through every little piece of data on that phone. I leave my phone at home when crossing the border because I also use it for work and a Customs inspection of my phone could be construed as breaking my confidentiality agreement.

Refrain from the temptation to pick up duty free, alcohol, tobacco, anything else. Make the trip solely and exclusively about the aircraft parts. Clean your car out before you go so there is nothing that could be construed as something you were trying to import without declaring.

In short, make the job of the Customs Officer as easy as you possibly can. Be open, honest and cheerful. Yeah, you're going to be paying a whack of tax but you've just saved a TON on shipping and brokerage fees, so smile and be happy.

Also, make sure you have a financial instrument that's ready to pay the tax bill. You can call the border crossing and, for larger amounts, ask if they would prefer one method of payment over another. Again, make it easy for them. For one trip I had to bump up the limit on my credit card to cover the tax bill. No problems with the bank or the border, thanks to a little advance planning.

I've had my vehicle searched exactly once in all the times I came across the border with airplane parts. The Customs Officers were quite amazed by the tools I had opened up for inspection prior to arriving at the border - I wanted to ensure the tools were OK before bringing them across. I stood back and watched them conduct the search, and when the one officer saw my Knipex PlierWrench I offered to demonstrate it for him. A good conversation ensued. I discovered that buying those tools from an Alaska-based company ended up much cheaper (like $60 on one shipment alone!) if I shipped to northern NY state and self-importing than having them shipped directly to me.

Treat Customs Officers like professionals, like you would like to be treated, and things will generally go well for you.
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