Pop Up IFR in Mexico..?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by dans2992, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Does anyone know if pop-up IFR in Mexico is do-able (specifically with La Paz approach, but any info is good)? If there are some clouds at my destination, I don't want to be on an IFR flight plan all the way down Baja, stuck on the airways and climbing to some oxygen altitude my passengers would not like.

    Thanks,
    --Dan
     
  2. B350ATP

    B350ATP Pre-takeoff checklist

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    what is your departure point and destination point, that info would help
     
  3. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    FFZ (Phoenix area) to La Paz MMLP
     
  4. B350ATP

    B350ATP Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I recommend you file IFR the whole way. I assume you are doing OLS HMO LMM then LAP (or similar route)
     
  5. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Are pop ups not done there?
     
  6. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    My VFR route was going to be CHD HMO GYM LAP
     
  7. B350ATP

    B350ATP Pre-takeoff checklist

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    in my experience pop ups within Mexico are allowed but your situation involves international ADIZ crossing and other stuff. Mexican ATC may or may not grant it. If you depart IFR from USA you will be fine, as you are already IFR leaving USA.

    With that said, LAP in summer is similar to HMO and I would not expect clouds/etc requiring IFR handling.

    Now, with that said, you can come the whole way VFR and 98% chance the local Approach will clear you for the approach if the field is IFR. Just request it, but firmly. YES: "1 Bravo Charlie requests to execute the ILS". NO: "Can you allow me to shoot the ILS, I am on a VFR flight plan"

    However, "pop up" IFR flight plan, as I think I understand you, is USA into Mexico, may or may not be granted.
     
  8. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    I wasn't expecting IMC either, but MMLP is reporting broken 3000 right now. Looks like there is a tropical storm to the south sending some clouds up.

    I would just file from the US and be done with it, however the altitudes between OLS and HMO are not "passenger friendly".
     
  9. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Well, I've never planned to do a pop-up IFR, but I had one happen like this.

    Departed KGAO in the Aztec heading out over the Gulf. Houston Center said I can't go IFR because I'm too low (they can't cite why, but they wouldn't budge). They cancel my IFR.

    Get down to Merida Center's airspace, obvious there will be clouds. "Merida Center, can I have my IFR back?" "Aztec, you are now IFR."

    Don't know if you'd call it a pop-up, but it worked, and it was an international flight, ADIZ, etc.
     
  10. B350ATP

    B350ATP Pre-takeoff checklist

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  11. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Anyhow, here's a brief summary of the trip. Going down there - no big deal. The usual open a flightplan with FSS, who just tells you to squak 1200 crossing the border southbound. Was able to raise Hermosillo approach about 70 miles out - they gave me a squak code. Radar contact lost north of Guymas - they had me contact Guymas and Loreto for advisories via position reporting. Even though I explained it a couple times, the controller in Loreto kept thinking I was going to fly over the LTO VOR, I think. Oh well.

    On arrival - a guy in a van drove out to the plane and gave everyone (and our luggage) a ride into the terminal. At the terminal I gave him a tip, but it turns out he worked for the flight plan office! Anyhow, he spoke decent English and showed us where to go, paperwork to fill out, etc. I forgot the original airworthiness certificate in the plane and forgot to make a copy, so I had to hike back out there and get it (we had to park far away because parking was nearly full). Tiedown spots are hard to find. After going from office to office, filling out lots of forms, etc. I asked about fuel. (Figured I would get it out of the way now). The same guy drove me out to the commercial side where the fuel guys were fueling the Volaris 737s. They told me it would be 20 mins before they could get to it. I figured I would just do it on departure. In retrospect, this was a mistake.

    Had a great time in La Paz. Stayed at Paraiso del Mar - a development only accessible by boat shuttle from the harbor or a very long, bad road (never used the road). Sort of a cross between "Lost" and "Fantasy Island". Lots of 1/2 finished condo buildings, and a nearly abandoned (but playable) golf course. Very quiet, very few people. Rented a golf cart to cruise around in the evenings. Was handy!

    Anyhow, on departure we arrived at the airport just as a massive thunderstorm was approaching. I figured we'd just get the paperwork started and then possibly wait for the storm to blow through before leaving. Unfortunately, the nice guy who spoke good english was not there, and it was a bit more difficult. Well, I started to fill out the customs forms and pay (customs fees were $1500 pesos on arrival, and $1500 pesos on departure for our group of 5 - I thought that was high, but nobody spoke enough English to really debate it). This was in addition to the multi-entry permit for the aircraft.

    At this point, my wife realizes that she left our 3 iPads in the rental car (which we have already returned up the street at Fox Rental Cars). Ironically, she took them from me earlier in the day, because she thought I would "lose them"... ha ha. Given the fact that we're in Mexico, I assume we'll never see them again. However, after a call to the rental car place, one of their shuttle drivers finds and delivers them to us at the airport. I was impressed! I gave the guy $100 pesos.

    So, back to the paperwork, the Mexican flight plan form was a bit cryptic being that I don't speak/read Spanish. After it was completed, I took all the paperwork over to the "Comandante's" office, and waited, and waited, and waited some more. Everytime I tried to enquire (very politely) about the status, they just said "a few more minutes." At one point, they asked me if my plane had one engine, or two. Perhaps the raging rainstorm outside was slowing down the process of approving my flight plan, not sure.

    So, by the time the flightplan had been "approved", I was then set to try and get fuel. Well, it was quite difficult to track down who I needed to talk to. As was the case on arrival, everyone was busy with the airliners, and they told me "15 minutes." Ok, so I figured I would go out to the plane (in the rain) and start getting things ready while my passengers continued to wait inside. (heck, they'd already been waiting for an hour... ;)

    So, I trudged out to the plane (handy guy with van was nowhere to be found), stopping by the fuel office on the way (nobody there). I loaded some bags removed the cover, etc. taking my time. Still no fuel. Walked back to the fuel office (still nobody there), and back to the terminal. Inquired about fuel again, "oh, it will be 15 minutes"... OK, sure. I exited the terminal and saw someone driving the Jet A truck, and finally got his attention. I followed him (on foot) back to the fuel office where he picked up the 100LL truck. I needed to point out the location of all 4 tanks to be sure they were filled, but hey, I got fuel! And they even took credit cards!

    So, I get my passengers loaded up (rain was just stopping at this point). Got the engine started, called for taxi, and... you guessed it, ATC says "we don't have your flight plan, standby." I waited for about 5 mins while idling, and asked again. They said they were "still coordinating". OK, so a couple mins later, they found the flightplan and we were out of there! I called customs from my cell just before departure to tell them we'd be an hour later than scheduled.

    Since there is no radar coverage, I was just asked to report 15 miles north, at which point they switched me to departure. 50 miles north, they just told us to contact Loreto "when able". We dodged thunderstorms all the way back to Nogales using the Stormscope and (closer to the border) XM weather.


    All in all, it was a good visit, you just need to be PATIENT on departure, and just get fuel as soon as you can find the fuel guy. The beaches were great (we liked Balandra, especially when you walk around the point to the right, it's like your own private beach). The water was warmer than any other beach I've been to (and I've been to a lot).

    --Dan
     
  12. Minshall

    Minshall Pre-Flight

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    Back in Feb '17, departing Loreto (MMLT) I was told IFR wasn't available below 18k (Tiger only goes up to 13.8k). Despite clouds enroute, I departed VFR, hoping I could pick my way through them. About 100 miles south of the border, it became apparent that I wasn't getting through VFR, so I called Mazatlan on the radio and requested IFR at 10 or 12k. The handoff to the US side was flawless ... no complaints at all. My only regret was not calling Mazatlan sooner (I'd hunted for openings, burning more of my reserves than I wanted to).
     
  13. rene86mx

    rene86mx Pre-Flight

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    PPL student from MX here...
    IFR is supposed to only be available if your flight plan is at the MEA of the airways.
    It´s customary here to file at MEA and then request to controller a "lower altitude"
    Government bureaucracy at its best.