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Flying to Canada After a DWI or DUI Conviction

by Greg Reigel 1. September 2007 00:00
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Living here in Minnesota next to the "Great White North," flights to and from Canada are a daily occurrence. Many of my clients have cabins in Canada. My charter clients fly passengers to the various lodges during the prime Canadian fishing season. One issue that has been discussed with greater frequency lately is the effect a driving-while-intoxicated ("DWI") or driving-under-the-influence ("DUI") conviction has on a person's ability to fly to and from Canada.

DWI/DUI Equals Inadmissible

According to the Canadian Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, if you have committed or been convicted of a criminal offense, you are considered "inadmissible" and may not be allowed to enter Canada. If you have a criminal conviction and you fly to Canada without rehabilitation, as discussed below, the immigration officer who meets you at the airport of entry may advise that you will not be allowed to enter Canada and ask you to return immediately to the U.S. or the officer may arrest, detain and/or remove you from Canada. (Not a good situation in either event).

Criminal offenses include both minor (shoplifting, theft, assault, dangerous driving, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of illegal substances, etc.) and serious (theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol) offenses. Canada regards DWI/DUI convictions as extremely serious offenses. (A list of criminal offenses in Canada is available here).

If you have a DWI/DUI conviction, you are, upon initial review, considered to be "inadmissible". However, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the conviction, the time elapsed and your behavior since the conviction, you may no longer be considered inadmissible to Canada. You may be permitted to fly to Canada if: you are able to satisfy an immigration officer that you meet the legal requirement to be deemed rehabilitated or you have applied for individual rehabilitation and your application has been approved.

Deemed Rehabilitation

Even if you have a DWI/DUI conviction, through the mere passage of time following the conviction, you may be "deemed" rehabilitated and allowed to fly to Canada. (You are rehabilitated if you lead a stable life and you are unlikely to be involved in any further criminal activity.) In order to be "deemed" rehabilitated, at least 5 years and as many as 10 years must have passed since you completed the sentence imposed for your conviction. The clock only starts ticking after the sentence has ended. As an example, if you were sentenced to 12 months in jail but only served one month, the rehabilitation period would not start until after the 12 months had elapsed, rather than after the one month you actually served.

Deemed rehabilitation also depends upon whether you have committed one or more offenses. In all cases, you may only be deemed rehabilitated if the offense(s) committed would be punishable in Canada by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years (which is quite likely with a DWI/DUI). You do not need to apply to be deemed rehabilitated. However, you may want to contact a Canadian embassy or consulate before you depart to avoid any confusion or problems with a Canadian immigration officer upon arrival at your airport of entry.

Individual Rehabilitation

If you are inadmissible and are not eligible for "deemed rehabilitation," you may still be able to overcome the inadmissibility fly to Canada. However, you will need to apply for "individual rehabilitation". To apply, at least five years must have passed since you completed all your criminal sentences. You must submit a completed Immigration Form 1444-Application for Criminal Rehabilitation to the Canadian visa office in your area and pay a processing fee. The application requests personal information including your name, family members, addresses and employers for the last 10 years, purpose of your visit to Canada, the criminal offense for which you were convicted and a detailed description of the events and circumstances leading to the conviction, reasons why you consider yourself to be rehabilitated and why you do not present a risk to public safety.

In addition to the information you disclose on the application, you may also need to supply court records relating to your conviction(s), reports of probation or parole officers, a copy of the statute under which you were convicted and three letters from persons of standing in the community who know you and can attest to your rehabilitation. Also, a fee of either $200 or $1,000, depending upon the severity of the criminal conviction and whether authority from the Minister will be required for approval, must be submitted with the application for individual rehabilitation.

Upon receipt of your application, an immigration officer will review it and any supporting documents. When reviewing your application, the immigration officer will consider (1) the number of offences and the circumstances and seriousness of each offence; (2) your behavior since committing the offence(s); (3) your explanation of the offences and why you are not likely to re-offend; (4) any support you receive from your community; (5) why you think you are rehabilitated; and (6) your present circumstances.

If you are eligible to apply, the officer will make a positive or negative recommendation and forward the application to the authority who can approve or refuse applications for rehabilitation. For less serious offenses, the authority is usually the manager of the local office. For more serious offenses, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will make the decision. In either instance, the authority is not bound by the immigration officer's recommendation.

Applications for rehabilitation can take over a year to process. The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration will notify you in writing of the decision it makes on your application. If you receive Approval of Rehabilitation, this will permanently remove the inadmissibility caused by your conviction.


Canada has some spectacular fly-in opportunities to enjoy truly beautiful scenario, whether you are hunting, fishing or camping. If you are planning to fly to our northern neighbor and you have a DWI/DUI conviction, plan ahead to ensure you will be able to reach your destination and enjoy the opportunities Canada has to offer. Do not forget that GlobalAir.com can host your event on their Events Calendar.

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Greg Reigel

Lease Pros and Cons

by David Wyndham 1. September 2007 00:00
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A lease may be an attractive way to acquire an aircraft. Before you go down that path, there are a few things to know.

In a basic definition of an aircraft lease, the owner (lessor) allows another the use of an aircraft for a fixed period of time or at will. The lease most of us are familiar with is called an operating lease.

An operating lease is a lease whose term is short compared to the useful life of the asset. For example, an aircraft which has an economic life of 30 years or more may be leased to you for 5 years on an operating lease. This can be a simple leasing transaction where at the end of the lease, the aircraft is returned to the lessor. There may also be the option at lease end to buy the aircraft at Fair Market Value (FMV). If the buy-out is significantly less than FMV, then it isn't a true operating lease, but more of an installment sale.

What are the advantages of a lease?

Leasing is less capital intensive than cash purchase. You don't tie up all your cash (if you have it available) and many leases require smaller up front payments than even traditional loans.

Leasing shifts the residual value risk to the lessor. Aircraft values depreciate over time. If you tried selling your used aircraft in 2001 - 2003, you lost a lot of value. If you are selling a popular turbine airplane today, you'll likely come out even or maybe ahead! With a lease, you shift this risk (and reward) to the lessor.

The lessor gets the tax write-off. Aircraft can be written off to zero value for tax purposes in eight or fewer years. If the aircraft is predominantly for business and your company is profitable, you may want the tax advantages of ownership. However, personal use aircraft don't have any tax advantages, so by having the lessor use them, you may get a lower rate than with a traditional loan.

A lease allows you to walk away at lease end without having to be concerned with selling an owned aircraft. If you completed an aircraft lease in 2001-2003, you did not face the loss of residual value that the owner did.

Operating leases also have disadvantages.

A lease can place restrictions on the operations of the aircraft. A lease may restrict where you can base or how you can operate the aircraft or prohibit commercial operations. These items can be negotiable.

Leases have return conditions. When returning an aircraft from a lease, you must return it in some pre-agreed state of condition. Failure to do so will have financial consequences.

Early returns from a lease can be costly. If you break a lease, you may be responsible for the remaining lease payments.

Leases can work for some companies and individuals. You must examine your ownership, tax and risk requirements and review the lease documents with your tax advisor to see whether a lease work for you.

Anyone had either a good or poor experience with a lease? Please email me (leaving out the individual party's name) and let me know.

Dual Markets

by David Wyndham 1. September 2007 00:00
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What is going on in the fixed-wing turbine aircraft sales market? It seems like we have two different markets at once. However, that leads to opportunities.

The turbine aircraft market is split. Most everyone knows that new aircraft sales are strong. So much so that new aircraft sales teams have nothing to sell unless you are willing to wait, and wait. With almost zero new models available for quick delivery direct from the manufacturer, people are looking to the closest thing: late model equivalents. Late model jets and turboprops are hard to come by, are selling quickly, and thus are in a seller's market (for most models). Folks are either interested in these because they can't get new, or with a multi-year wait for their new aircraft, are buying used to have while the await delivery of the new model.

Older turbine aircraft, 10-15 years and older, have a generally ample supply and are selling for very reasonable prices. This is a buyer's market. But folks are still not buying. Not naming names, but some older model types have been on the market for well over a year on average. Newer aircraft have updated avionics, updated or improved systems, have lower operating costs and higher scheduling availability (spend less time in maintenance). So newer aircraft are more desirable and are commanding higher prices.

But as demand increases and supply decreases, prices increase with these newer pre-owned aircraft. At some point the older aircraft with its drawbacks becomes a worthwhile deal - buy it at a low cost, invest in upgrades, and end up with a viable aircraft. Apparently we aren't there yet as buyers are still paying premiums for newer models and staying away from most of the older ones.

So opportunity #1 is with aircraft in the 10-20 year age group. Find one in good condition with and with good maintenance records, get a reasonable deal and budget in for upgrades and possible component overhauls. Within six months you will have an aircraft with no major inspections due for a few years. The problem there may be that the refurbish and after-market shops are busy. So before heading down that path, find out how long a wait for that new interior, or avionics modification. Also, plan on doing this if you will keep the aircraft - not flip it. Even older aircraft in great shape are taking a relatively long time to sell.

I can't stress enough the need for a thorough pre-buy with any pre-owned aircraft. Do your homework, understand the costs beyond the acquisition, and be prepared to spend after the sale.

Turbine opportunity #2 may be in patience. Some of the economic news is mixed. As a rough barometer, if the stock market declines, the aircraft market will follow in about six months. If you are in a position to wait, that may be a good plan. I'm no economist, but sooner or later the market will turn. When it does, and if you are still in a position to acquire an aircraft, there may be some good deals on positions for new aircraft deliveries from companies looking for a quick infusion of cash.

If you are in the market now because you have to acquire an aircraft now, your options are either pay top dollar for top quality pre-owned, or be thrifty and very careful and get an older aircraft that you go into with eyes wide open as to the after-purchase costs and disadvantages of owning the older, but still useful, aircraft.

Are you in the market for a pre-owned aircraft Globlair.com's Aircraft Exchange is a great place to begin your search. They list aircraft from right off the factory floor to turbine aircraft that are in service, you should be able to find the right aircraft for your company.

What is your opinion of the current turbine market? Are you seeing different market trends other than what I have discussed? Let us know, please use "Reply to this Article" link below.


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