Weather and Flight Plan
We paid the airport use fee and got our flight plan stamped.
North of Tampico More Photos
We visited Imigración to turn in our visas where we discovered that we had not paid the fees in Matamoros. More forms were filled out and we returned to Operaciones to pay the fees.
We visited the Aduana office to fill out a customs declaration.
I was sent to yet another office that I hadn't visited before for some stamping. Operaciones stopped by to do their stamping as well and gave me a small printed weather briefing, so I didn't have to return to that office again.
Then we went to the Comandant's office for final approval and to turn in their copies of the flight plan. Now we were free to go. Fortunately at Tampico, all of these offices are located right together and everyone is friendly and helpful. We like Tampico.
We returned to the airplane where we were greated again by the soldiers and gave them their information. Then I preflighted the plane and made the important call to U.S. Customs in Brownsville to announce our arrival. I used my AT&T cellphone, which has no special plan for international calling. I dialed 001 before dialing the Customs number (956) 542-8296. I gave the airplane tail number, the estimated time of arrival, my name and citizenship, passengers and their citizenship, and answered a couple of questions and that was it.
I called Tampico Tower and was cleared to taxi to runway 13 where I did my runup. I called tower again and announced that I was ready for takeoff and was cleared for takeoff and a left turnout. After takeoff I was instructed to report 15 miles north. At 15 miles north I was cleared to leave the frequency.
Arriving at Brownsville Airport
This is my first experience with a visit to Customs in a private plane. I had been warned that Customs officials have no sense of humor, so I was prepared to be all business. I was relieved to find that our Customs agent DID have a sense of humor and was very pleasant. Nonetheless, we let him make ALL the jokes.
We filled out forms and I had to purchase a sticker for the plane, which had to be done with a credit card. The sticker will be mailed to me and is good for a year, in case we cross the border again. In the meantime, one of the agents visited the plane with a sniffer device to detect radiation. We did not have to remove our bags for searching.
The Customs visit took 10 or 15 minutes and then we taxied to the FBO for fuel. Fuel is considerably cheaper in Brownsville than in nearby Harlingen.
The next flight will be Brownsville to Georgetown.