We are cleared to take off on Runway 36. I have filed direct to Brownsville. After we taxi to 36, I realize that I have forgotten to call Brownsville Customs. I have filed the eAPIS manifest online--I did that before we left for Mexico--but I must call by telephone also. I call the tower and tell them there will be a delay while I make a telephone call. Afterwards, I apologize to the tower for the delay. They are courteous and once again clear me for takeoff on 36. Runway 36 is 4265' long but it always seems shorter than that to me. Nevertheless it is adequate and we take off without incident and proceed on course. Tampico tower asks me to report 25DME. Our course takes us out over the Gulf where we watch for the whales that we have seen feeding just offshore on 2 previous flights. There are no whales on this flight. Tampico tower has one inbound flight from the north and they ask me for my altitude as we climb to 4500'.
At 25DME I am instructed to call Matamoros when able. I listen as another aircraft talks to Matamoros and is instructed to report flying over the Matamoros VOR (the navigational radio station located on the Matomoros Airport. I realize that this is the procedure for exiting Mexico and entering the U.S. at this crossing point. Even though my flight plan is direct to Brownsville, I will be deviating slightly to fly over the Matamoros VOR.
I believe the Matamoros controller asked me to switch directly to Brownsville Tower (the two airports are not far apart) but I did not understand and contacted Brownsville approach instead. Approach told me to enter a right base to runway 13R and transfered me to the tower frequency. We landed and taxied to the now familiar US Customs station just north of the Tower. We waited at the airplane. Customs was apparently involved with another larger aircraft and soon that aircraft began starting its engines. We were in range of the prop wash so I pushed the Arrow back out of the way. Eventually a customs official motioned to us from the building to come in. We filled out a customs declaration and I had to purchase the annual sticker for the airplane. The sticker will be mailed to me later. I never actually put it on the plane. I may only fly to Mexico once a year anyway, but it is necessary to have it or at least to have purchased it. The fee is $33.50.
On the Ground at Brownsville
Next is Brownsville to Georgetown