Notes from Volando a Mexico

(Flying to Mexico)
February 1, 2007

Direcion General de Aviacion Civil (Mexican F.A.A.)

SENEAM - Mexican Air Traffic Control

P.I.A. - Mexican Aeronautical Publication (Mexican A. I. M.)

GHC40 - Single Entry General Declaration, GCH001 Single or Multiple Entry Authorization

All these rules are for noncommercial, private flights (people and cargo).

Single or Multiple Entry Authorization costs $567 Pesos or $52US. The multiple entry authorization requires the original and two copies of all the required documents. Copy machines are hard to find at the border, so bring all copies.

The required documents are aircraft registration, airworthiness certificate, pilotís certificate, pilotís current medical and proof of insurance.

Mexico requires 12" registration numbers and letters (N numbers). They wonít let you fly with 4" registration numbers.

You can now fly in Mexico with U.S. insurance but the policy must clearly state that aircraft has liability coverage in Mexico. They don't care about hull coverage.

Liability limits must be at least the equivalent of 56,900 days at $42.15 pesos (Minimum daily wage in Mexico City in 2002). 56,900 X 42.15 / 11.05 (Pesos/dollar)= US$217,044. This amount will vary with the exchange rate.

Other sources state that a fifteen minute notice must be give to Mexican Customs (normally, this is done automatically by the Tower at the MAOE when crossing the border). This book says and I quote as soon as possible.

You are required to communicate with all towers when you over fly an airport.

Upper air space (Jet Airways - UJ) is airspace above 20,000 feet (FL200).

Lower air space (Victor and Color Airways) is airspace at or below 18,000 feet.

The Transition Layer (from QNH to QNE) is between 18,000 and 20,000 feet. This is Reserved for Air Ambulances.

Aircraft use 3 different altimeter pressure settings: QFE, QNE, and QNH. QFE sets the altimeter to actual field elevation. QNE sets the altimeter to standard atmosphere pressure. QNH sets the altimeter to local atmosphere pressure.

There are four Control Centers in Mexico (Merida, Mexico D.F., Monterrey and Mazatlan). Flying in Baja, the closest Center is Mazatlan. You won't use it.

There are 34 Approach Controls, 55 Control Towers, four A.D.A., four F.I.S. and one A.F.I.S. ATC is bilingual in Mexico.

The air to air radio frequency in Mexico is 122.75. The air to ground radio frequency used at uncontrolled airports is 122.80. Our buddy system frequency will be 123.45 (the fingers frequency) and while in Mexico it should be guarded at all times. Check in from time to time but don't block the channel. Its purpose is for an emergency.

In Mexico, no VFR flight at night or flight above 18,000 feet is permitted.

VFR is defined in Mexico as 1500 foot ceiling and 3 miles visibility.

You must maintain communications and give position reports to APP when in or crossing a TMA.

Generally, flying in Mexico is the same as in the U.S. except for VFR (1500 ft and 3, not 1000 ft and 3) and the transition layer (QNE to QNH, 18,500 to 19,500).

You should call the tower when 10 miles out and when over flying the airport.

A 4096 code transponder with mode C is required at all times.

A position report shall contain radio call sign, type of aircraft, departure point, destination and ETA.

Flight plans are required to be filed 30 minutes before contacting the Tower.

Flight plans filed at a controlled airport will be considered closed at the time indicated on the flight plan.

Flights flown, from an uncontrolled airport to a controlled airport, require a flight plan to be filed at the controlled airport as soon as you arrive. That's right you file the flight plan after the flight is over.

Close all flight plans with the aeronautical authority at the destination airport. Yes, that means in the last example you have to close it right after you file it.

General Aviation aircraft may not operate in to or out of Mexico City, D.F without special permission.

Customs will not allow you to enter Mexico with any fruits, plants, vegetables, meat, soil, birds or live animals. However, a pet may be brought into Mexico if all its documents are in order.

Transporting firearms or ammunition without a permit is strictly forbidden.

Note: In the United States the legal system is divided into two parts, civil and criminal. In Mexico there is no civil legal system only the criminal legal system (attorneys don't have to know as much and therefore cost correspondingly less).