Our Piper Arrow
Liability Insurance: I must have Mexican liability insurance for the aircraft, similar to the requirement for automobiles. Our insurance agent does not provide this insurance and referred me to MacAfee and Edwards.
Aeronautical Charts: I am using WAC charts obtained from Caribbean Sky Tours. There are two WAC charts, Acapulco - México and Monterrey - Nuevo Laredo, that cover the entire Mexico portion of the route. I prefer to scan the maps, edit on the computer, and print them out on letter-sized paper. OaxacaWACCharts.pdf (2.7MB)
Approach Plates and Enroute Low Altitude Charts: Approach plates and enroute low altitude charts (2 charts cover all of Mexico) are available in an IFR package by Jeppesen. This is a one-time trip kit that has all the terminal charts, approaches, departures, Low Enroutes and High Enroutes for Mexico. It covers all airports in Mexico. The set is on a 2-week update schedule so it is only fully current for 2 weeks. It may no longer be purchased online from Jeppesen but can be purchased from mypilotstore.com for about $100.
A scanned portion of the Nuevo Laredo WAC chart showing route. On previous trips we have seen numerous whales along this portion of the route. The complete route is in a .pdf file OaxacaWACCharts.pdf (2.7MB).
Weather: Weather information is a big problem. Mexico lacks the aviation weather service that the pilots in the United States are accustomed to. You may get a printout with a line or two of the cryptic coded format that we learning in flying school but haven't seen since. Other than that you are on your own in obtaining weather information. Some possible sources are CNN, online radar and satellite sources, the NWS, the links at the top of this page, the links below, and calling up someone at your destination and asking them to have a look outside.
Current weather information is available from the National Weather Service in the U.S.
Fuel: Fuel is sold only at towered airports and is priced similar to the fuel at large U.S. airports. The cost of airport use is incorporated in the cost of fuel. Some airports will accept some credit cards; Tampico does. Cash in pesos is always accepted.
We will stay overnight in Tampico and leave early in the morning for the final leg to Oaxaca. As a general rule, a morning flight through mountains is pleasant; an afternoon flight is unpleasant. That flight will take 3 hours 35 minutes. For this flight I have to thread my way between two restricted flight areas and I have created a user waypoint for that, MXLEN 19°24'N 97°05'W. Then on past Mt. Orizaba, a very prominent snow-capped peak that marks the halfway point. Another user waypoint, MXORZ 19°00'N 97°09'W, takes me around the east side of the mountain. From this point I have the option to fly down the valley into Oaxaca or fly along the mountain tops.
As usual, I will be taking a lot of photos. And just in case we decide to visit the coast, I'll take along WAC charts for Huatulco and Puerto Escondido.
Next is Georgetown to Corpus Christi Flight