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Corpus Christi to Tampico
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Tampico to Oaxaca
Mexican Gulf Coast
The sky was still overcast so the flight had to be IFR, although I would have flown an IFR flight plan anyway to simplify the border crossing. Temperature was a pleasant 75°F. Tampico was forecasting scattered clouds.
Takeoff: 11:39am Landing: 2:19pm Duration: 2:40
I filed V163 to Matamoros and V25 to Tampico at 7000'. My clearance was V70 to Brownsville, direct to Matamoros then V25 to Tampico. After takeoff I was cleared direct to Matamoros and V25 (direct) to Tampico. I was instructed to climb to 9000' before crossing the border and the remainder of the flight was at that altitude. The Arrow, with a new engine and prop, climbed at 1200 FPM out of the sea-level airport and managed 500 FPM at 9000'.
The controller at Matamoros had me report crossing the Matamoros airport and 25 DME south of the airport. At this point I was handed off to Monterrey Center on 124.5. Monterrey Center asked me to report crossing NUGUS waypoint. Our Garmin GPS does not have Mexican airspace data in it except for the VOR radios which are fortunately colocated at airports, making the airports easy to find. So I entered NUGUS as a user waypoint and it appeared on the display. After crossing NUGUS, I was asked to report DUSPI, so I entered that one as well. After crossing DUSPI I was handed off the Tampico Approach 120.3 and given the ILS DME2 13 approach. The weather was VFR with scattered clouds but I flew the approach for practice.
- NUGUS 25°4.2'N 97°36.0'W
- DUSPI 23°12.2'N 97°46.7'W
The offices associated with entering the country in a general aviation aircraft are all conveniently located in this hallway.
On the ground at Tampico we taxied to the Customs area which is to the right of the control tower just before you get to the general aviation fueling and parking areas. They had us bring our luggage into the customs building but we didn't have to empty the plane completely.
We were 2 hours at the airport dealing with customs, immigration, closing the flight plan, and getting the airplane permit. As I have mentioned before, Tampico is a good place to do this because the offices are all located together which is extra convenient because you have to visit each one twice--once to get a form and a second time for the offices to stamp each other's forms. Unlike the previous visit, the pilot had to get a visa as well. Visa's were $20 each and the airplane permit was $70, although it would have been $52 if I had paid in pesos. The American bills were examined very carefully and were not accepted if there was a slight tear or a mark, which resulted in about a 50% acceptance ratio. They said they had been having some trouble with the currency. Back in the day, American currency used to be favored but I guess we've slipped a few notches since then. The airport offices that we visit are:
- Sagarpa Senasica - Monitors the importation of agricultural products.
- Seneam SCT - Handles the filing of flight plans.
- Comandancia DGAC - Handles the airplane entry permit.
- Operaciones - Collects the airport use fee, $153 pesos.
- Inmigración - Issues the visas
- Sanidad - Stamps my papers
I pulled the plane to the combustibles area and refueled. They accept Visa here. Fuel price was same as in the US, about $4/gallon. The bill was $1288 pesos. I pulled the Arrow over to a parking space. The private jet that had arrived at the same time we did still had its APU running with air-conditioned air pouring out of the open door. The cool breezes were a welcome relief as I tied down the plane.
The airport fee (paid on our departure the following day) was $152 pesos, US$12.67.
Next is Tampico to Oaxaca
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