METAR MMTM 221540Z 00000KT 75M SCT010 25/20 A2991 RMK 8/500 HZY= TAF MMTM 221300Z 2213/2318 00000KT 3SM BR HZ BKN007 OVC020 BECMG 2215/2216 5SM HZ SCT007 BKN020 FM221800 13008KT 6SM HZ SCT020 BECMG 2221/2222 09010KT P6SM FM230200 10006KT 5SM BR HZ SCT010 BECMG 2307/2308 3SM BR HZ SCT005 BKN010 TEMPO 2310/2314 2SM BR HZ BKN005 OVC010 FM231700 09006KT 5SM HZ SCT010= NNNN ZCZC PLT044 221546 FF MMOXXMXO 221545 MMMXYNYW ...NOTAM VIGENTES, REF A SU SVC_NOF 221546 MMTM ---- A1156/11 B) 1102211650 C) 1102252300 D) 1600/2300 DIARIO PISTA 09/27 CERRADA
So it looks like there could be some low clouds at Tampico. I am planning to fly VFR because the altitude requirements of IFR flight in the mountains would be difficult for the normally aspirated Arrow. If Tampico is overcast, I may ask for an instrument approach when I get there.
I file a VFR flight plan at SENEAM and pay the airport fee of $54 pesos (US$4.53) at Operaciones. The airport fee is charged at the beginning of each flight. It seems that the fee is much less the second time it is assessed at the same airport. Then it is to the office of Despacho and then the Comandante for more stamping and back to SENEAM to turn in the stamped copies of the flight plan. We must all pass through security although the luggage goes straight through to the airplane, bypassing security. I have planned ahead and am not wearing a belt today. After loading the luggage and a preflight inspection, we decided to visit the restrooms again before the flight. Afterward, it is back through security again. The security check are not normal for general aviation in Mexico but we go with the flow. It is a good exercise for the employees. They have nothing else to do.
We are cleared to take off on Runway 01. We take off and turn to our course of 353° and begin the climb to cruise altitude of 10,500'. Our return flight is through the valley rather than the route over the mountains that we took on the way down. I use the user waypoints I created to take us up the valley, over the mountains to a point east of Pico de Orizaba, through the narrow region between restricted areas west of Veracruz, and then across Posa Rica to Tampico. OaxacaWACCharts.pdf (2.7MB) shows the route.
We have a tailwind and make good progress. On reaching MXTEO we climb a bit to cross mountains to the next waypoint. On the Gulf side of the mountains we encounter scattered clouds as is typical. We pass MXORZ and continue to MXLEN. From this point north to Tampico, the route crosses a saddle between two mountain peaks and at least 11,500' is required. Today the saddle is obscured by clouds and I elect to fly on the opposite side of the antenna farm on the northeastern peak since there are fewer clouds there.
We continue toward Posa Rica where our route takes us 3NM east of the airport. I contact Poza Rica on 118.9MHz. They ask me to report abeam the airport. I begin the descent because we are over the coastal plain and 10,500' is much more altitude than is necessary. After leaving Poza Rica, I contact Tampico. There is a cloud layer below us that is becoming almost solid overcast. When we are within 50 miles of Tampico, I find an opening and we descend below the cloud layer and continue at 1500'. As we near Tampico, the clouds become scattered so it turns out that it was unnecessary to descend below the clouds. Tampico Tower gives us clearance to land.
On the Ground at Tampico
We snacked on the last of our fruit and prepared for the flight across the border to Brownsville, Texas.
Next is Tampico to Brownsville