Flight Planning/Weather


A Helpful Video on Your First Flight Into Mexico

as of 2022, thanks to Piloto Wayne McClelland

Complete Weather Overview

Winds Aloft 

Projected Overview of Winds for the Week.

Alamos Weather (Plus 10 Day Forecast)

Hurricane & Tropical Storm (Baja & Western Mexico)
USA Weather Map

Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Don’t forget to order your sticker for the current calendar year at: https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov/main/#%20

MEXICO’S FLIGHT PLAN FORMS are no longer provided at the flight plan offices so you should copy a supply and keep in your airplane with a carbon sheet for multiples. Here is a link to the form: https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/524966/FPL_FORM_AFAC.PDF

(AOPA Article as of September 2019)


NOAA’S METARS (by 4 letter identifier)

USA Airport Fuel Prices 

ICAO & IATA Airport Codes

General Information for a sample VFR Flight from Tucson to Ciudad Obregon International (MMCN) & Alamos (XALA) & more commonly used XALA), Sonora, Mexico

Suggestions by Jim Swickard may not be the most current information, so please check with Jim at jnswick@aol.com if you have any questions regarding current information for Mexico and International flights.  All information provided is subject to change and should be confirmed by the pilot for accuracy by referring to current charts for Mexico.
COVID-19 Requirements? As of January 16, 2021, the CDC adopted a regulation requiring all passengers entering the US by airline to have a current negative Covid test that was taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in the US. As of February 11th, 2021 we know of no US AOE’s requiring same for General Aviation pilots or their passengers. Should you learn of any airport enforcing this regulation for the CDC please send Jim Swickard an email regarding the location and date.


Important note to aviators, the IFR Low and High Altitude charts on this site maybe out of date and are provided for trip planning purposes only and ‘Club Pilotos’ assumes no responsibility for currency or accuracy.  We suggest contacting CST Flight Services (Owned & Operated by Rick Gardner) ‘https://www.cstflightservices.com/’ for a complete selection of VFR and IFR charts, as well as WAC charts for all areas.  For a comparative analysis of the US vs Mexican produced VFR charts


For Approach Plates use this link, however you must sign-in to the Mexican site which requires that you click on the line below the sign-in requesting by email your registering your name, email address and your choice of passwords.  You will receive an approval by email from Seneam, then you can sign-on:


(To see the IFR plates, click on PIA -then click Parte 3 AD and click AD 2 and you will see the airport ID’s.)




Although this section is primarily for the General Aviation group, we want you to know that there are other ways to travel to Alamos from the State of Arizona.  A comprehensive article appeared in the ‘Tucson Business’ paper in June of 2013 with ways to get to Sonora, and Alamos, via car, bus and commercial flights.  Here’s the link:







Take at least $600.00 dollars, more or less, depending upon your fuel needs, length of trip, etc.,  (Pesos and a credit card are suggested since most airports do not accept dollars). Dollars still are accepted by many businesses, including hotels, however you will get the maximum value by using Pesos, second choice would be credit cards and lastly dollars.   Take enough cash to cover fuel purchases, unless you are certain that the airports you will be visiting do accept a given credit card.  Using Pesos will always save you money, possibly a bank in your area of the US offers their availability as a service to customers.


If you need more Pesos, your hosts in Alamos will convert dollars to Pesos and give you the full bank rate exchange, providing you are using dollars without any torn or missing pieces of the bills.  Also, there is an ATM in Alamos at our local bank.   Many Mexican banks have high fees for processing checks drawn on U.S. banks, so that form of payment should be avoided in Mexico.



Remember your passport, as well as those of your passengers.  Carry your passport on your person, be sure, before departing, that each passenger has their passport on their person and not in a suitcase or you will likely trigger a lengthy inspection of all suitcases at your Mexican AOE. Make three copies of your Mexican Insurance policy (coverage page only, however have the entire policy in your aircraft….OR…HERE’S AN IMPORTANT CHANGE REGARDING INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS IN MEXICO….as of 2012 you now have two options, a separate policy issued by a Mexican Insuror OR a policy written by a US Insuror which states both that the liability coverage is for a minimum of $300,000 AND that the coverage is valid in Mexico), Air Worthiness CertificateAircraft RegistrationPilot License & Medical. With these copies you can request a Multi-Entry Permit for the entire calendar year, instead of your current visit (cost is the same). Observing ‘International’ pilots through the years, those with a dedicated binder/notebook with copies of their required documents  have fewer delays at the Mexican airports when requesting the Multi-Entry Permit and flight plans.  Keep your original documents in the aircraft and separate from the copies so they are not inadvertently left in at a Mexican Airport of Entry (AOE).  Technically you must provide a copy of your radio license, however we have never known of any AOE requesting this information.  You may wish to have a copy in the aircraft for peace of mind.

From time to time the debate on carrying a radio license appears to surface in Mexico. It is a requirement and has been for decades, however not enforced. In May of 2019 a few ramp checks by the Mexican counterpart of the US FAA (the DGAC) asked to see pilots radio license. No apparent consequence came from not having the license. If you fee you must have one then this is the US FAA agency to contact for an application: https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do.


(Thanks to Dr. Wallace Pond, Club Piloto member):

Documents in Binder:
– Printed blank Mexican Flightplan forms

– Copy of Insurance (must have mínimum $300,000 liability and show Mexico coverage)

– Copy of Aircraft Registration

– Copy of Airworthiness Certificate

– Copy of Pilots license and Medical

– General Declaration form for the current flight (not required, but just in case)

– Email confirmation of accepted eAPIS (both directions) from U.S. CBP.  By law it must be done also in Mexico, however as far as we know to date it has not been enforced.


If you intend to request a multiple entry permit in Mexico, have three copies of each of the documents above except the Gen Dec form. The MEP does not cost more than a single entry permit, so it’s a good idea to request one if you think you will enter Mexico again during the calendar year.

Documents on your person (pilot and passengers)

– Passport

– Drivers license (not required, but good idea)

Documents in Airplane:

– Original ARROW documents

– Customs Decal (on window as per CBP requirements Required for return to U.S.)

– Full insurance policy

– A second set of copies of all documents from the binder

– Photo copy of each pilot and passenger passport (page with photo)
(Also, if the aircraft is not in your name you should bring an authorization from the owner, corporation or company which is notarized and authorizing you to have use of the aircraft).



Make arrangements several weeks to your flight to purchase the U.S. Customs International permit. The permits are good for the calendar year.   The US Customs Border Protection International permit may be obtained in one of the following ways:

1) Visit the Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site to order a decal for your aircraft.  The decal is valid for the calendar year and can be ordered a month or two before the end of the following year.  Their web site is: https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov/

2) A procedure which became mandatory  May 17, 2009 is the eAPIS requirement which involves completing an electronic form prior to exiting the U.S. and also prior to re-entry into the U.S. Various information, including names, citizenship, passport  numbers, etc.,  must be on the manifest. To become registered as an eAPIS user go to the Homeland Security tutorial web site: U.S. customs border protection


After using the tutorial above, then go to the log-in page at eAPIS login.


Here are a few tips which might make the process for this flight, and subsequent flights a little easier:  Some of our Club Piloto members have forgotten their passwords (self included).  Since there are specific requirements for the password with numbers, characters and letters, I have found that it’s easy for me to start my password with a single number, such as ‘1’.  The password must be changed every 90 days, so I increase the number by one, to ‘2’.   The next change I take it back to ‘1’.  That way my password is nearly always the same and if I input the incorrect number then the second try will always be correct.  You don’t want to error three times or access is denied.


Another tip, my wife nearly always flies with me so she is listed as “Crew”, and I don’t have to input her data for every flight since it is logged in the memory.  We can now save previous flight information, and that’s especially helpful when you have several of the same people on subsequent flights into Mexico.  Pull-up an old flight plan and utilize that information again.


Filing must be more than one hour prior to the flight.  After crossing the US/Mexico border you must land at a Mexican AOE before proceeding to any non-controlled airports.


Planning an overflight of the first AOE on your return to the U.S.?

As of June 17, 2013 there are now some specific changes regarding methods for making overflights to other U.S. airports with CBP services providing you comply with certain requirements.  Also, it is possible to delete or add passengers differing from your eAPIS filing.  All details on ‘Overflight’ may be found on the ‘Blog’ which is dated June 18, 2013.



The best tip  if you need help filing your first eAPIS form, contact the people at eAPIS they are quite friendly and realize that the process can be confusing for the unexperienced.   Questions and answers regarding the eAPIS process click here:



Final tip, don’t wait until the last minute to file your eAPIS.  When I know I am going to be crossing the border on a given date I file my plan up to three or four days ahead of time.  If it needs to be changed prior to the flight, then you do nothing about the previously filed information.   Go to the eAPIS site, sign-in and complete a new form with the correct details.


Mexico’s Requirements?


Previously listed is the various paperwork which you must carry with you in the aircraft.    As of  June 30, 2018, Mexico’s Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) requires that all foreign airplanes entering the country have a 406MHz installed in the aircraft.  Other locating devices such as Spot, PLB’s, Garmin Inreach will not be accepted in lieu of the ELT.   This requirement was on the books in Mexico for several years and not enforced, however  now it is in force.  We recommend the use of a 406 ELT for safety regardless of where one is flying. Prices begin at about $400.00 for a portable and just over $1,000 for a hardwired unit with an exterior antenna.


Here is the Mexican government web site which includes a list of approximately 70 controlled airports.  After clicking on the site, then click on ‘Directorio de Aeropuertos’.   Here you will find the hours of operation, name of the Commandante, contact information by email and telephone. http://www.sct.gob.mx/en/transportation/aeronautica-civil/directorio/
TEMPORARY NOTE…If you are filing a flight plan from a Mexican airport to Alamos (XALA) and there is some question about it being open due to the AFAC (former DGAC) having not renewed the permit, that information is false. The XALA permit is valid to 2032 and if the Commandante who questions the validity of the date have them contact Sub-Commandante Lauro Gamboa at the Cd. Obregon Airport. XALA is under the control of Cd. Obregon and they have all valid DGAC permits on file. We hope that soon this false information will be corrected on AFAC’s list of Mexican Airports. You will be permitted to file for Alamos more than likely without any issue, since no such problem has occurred in 2019, but the error persists in some AFAC mailings.



Night VFR is not allowed in Mexico.  You must enter and exit the country at an AOE.   Written flight plans are not required when departing non-controlled airports or a legitimate strip.  You are not required to report in the air when departing a non-controlled runway, however when possible, it is suggested from a safety standpoint.  Stay in contact with “Approach” or ‘Tower’ when within 50 miles of the airport, or as stated by Control when being released to another controller.  They all speak English and will assist you if you have a question.  Don’t try to speak Spanish unless fluent, or Spanglish (using an accent), plain English is best for all concerned.


In general, Mexico’s requirements for the aviator are similar to the U.S..  The staff at the various airports are friendly and usually more than willing to help the foreign pilot.  In Mexico, more so than in the U.S., friendliness and a smile will work wonders.  Above all…do not transport drugs, any ammunition or firearms.  If you would like to venture into the AFAC (Mexico’s FAA) web site here is an ‘English’ version.  This is not recommended for most pilots since you may find contradictory or poorly translated information and it is best to rely upon the advice of pilot’s who have recently visited Mexico.                                                                                AFAC Web Site http://www.sct.gob.mx/index.php?L=1


The Night Before Your Flight?   Assuming you filed your eAPIS two or three days prior to the flight, all you need to do is file your flight plan with Prescott Radio (1-866-226-3763) your flight is to Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, advise that the destination is MMCM,(Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico), under remarks “advise Mexican Customs”, 2 hours enroute at 7,500 (150 knots) or higher. Identify the number of “US”  citizens on board.



Note, if you are filing IFR you  must cross the MMHO VOR which lengthens the trip and minimum altitude south is 11,000’ and return to US is 12,000’.   You may request a ‘Direct To’ flight, however it might not be granted.  For most aircraft it will take longer to fly from Tucson to Cd. Obregon by IFR, thus our recommendation for southbound flights is either 7,500’ or 9,500’ and northbound if there is minimal wind near the border at 8,500’ or with windy conditions 10,500’.   If you know your return flight information it’s a time saver to file both directions with Prescott.   Very early morning flights are recommended between May and October to avoid possible turbulance and build-up.  The most rapid build-ups and changes seen to occur from about the US border at Nogales to about 50 miles south.  Usually, if there are clouds running along the route using the 156 radial from Tucson, then fly slightly to the right (west) of the line which will put you over more of the desert terrain and less of the mountainous.  Important, with weather do not fly to the east of the 156.  In the event you find yourself in IMC, and you have not yet made contact with HMO, do so on 121.4.  They will gladly give you vectors and advise of any aircraft in the area.  The HMO radar is covering a very large area, as much as 200 miles and the HMO controllers are very helpful.


The Day of Your Flight  If you are at your hangar or on a US ramp, don’t be alarmed if the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) car pulls up for a visit.  There are random, computer generated checks of outgoing aircraft from the U.S..  If you are checked they will ask questions about cash, weapons, etc., and you will be required to sign a prepared affidavit regarding your statement.  If there’s no inspection of the aircraft it will take about four minutes.


Often you are greeted by Mexican military who always response in kind when you give them a smile. It’s the biggest ice breaker in the world. Few speak and English and if you don’t understand Spanish, here are a few basic words in Spanish for the questions which you might be asked after landing and which are typically on their standard form:

Mexican Army Form
1. Matricula: (Registration #)
2. Tipo De Aeronave: (Aircraft Make And Model)
3. Numero De Tarjeta De Aeronavegabilidad: (Airworthiness Certificate Number FSDO number)
4. Numero De Serie de la Aeronav: (Serial Number)
5. Propietario: (Proprietor)
6. Nombre del Piloto: (Pilot’s Name)
7. Numero de Licencia del Piloto: (Pilot’s license number)
8. Base: (Home Base)
9. Motivo del Viaje: Turismo (Reason for trip)
10.Procedencia:……………………………………………………………………..(Point of Departure)
11.Tripulante:…………………………………………………………………………. (crew members if any)
13.Destino:……………………………………………………………………………. (Destination)
14. Hora Y Fecha De Salida:……………………………………………………. (Date and time of departure)






25-AGO-2011 09/11 (387)  Airways for the Baja, Mainland NW US/Mexico Border and South to Puerta Vallarta (+-).  See H2 for Airways for all other areas of Mainland Mexico.



HIGH ALTITUDE CHART Central/South Mexico 25-AGO-2011 09/11 (387), Airways from Mainland Mexico at about the Durango region North to the US border, east to the Gulf and South to Guatemala




25-AGO-2011 09/11 (387)  Cuernavaca, Toluca and Mexico City areas




25-AGO-2011 09/11 (387) Baja, (+-) Western 1/2 of Mainland Mexico Low Altitude



LOW ALTITUDE CHART, CENTRAL/EAST (Yucatan)/SOUTH (Guatemala border) Mexico

The Flight to Cd. Obregon……..

If you are not familiar with procedures at some of the larger U.S. airports this might help when you are ready to depart from Tucson International Airport.  You will first check ‘ATIS’, then contact

Clearance Delivery’ and (a) give location on the airport (b) confirm you have ATIS information (c)  advise you are flying to MMCN-Cd. Obregon, Mexico (d)state initial heading e. state desired altitude (f) record both the departure frequency and Squawk Code which they will provide.  Then contact ‘Tucson Ground’ for permission to taxi, then prior to entering the runway obtain permission from ‘Tucson Tower’ and finally in the first few minutes after take-off, ‘Tucson Tower’ will pass you off to ‘Tucson Departure’.  At some point prior to the border you should contact Prescott Radio  and open the flight plan to Cd. Obregon, Mexico (MMCN).  Once they advise that it has been opened then that will be your last contact with Prescott.  Here are the frequencies to use for these procedures:


ATIS   123.80



TUCSON TOWER 118.30, 119.00 (Tucson Ground will advise which one is in use)

TUCSON DEPARTURE 125.90, 125.10, 118.50 (Clearance Delivery will indicate one in use)

PRESCOTT RADIO 122.4, 122.2





U.S. Flightwatch  122.0


HERMOSILLO APPROACH (MMHO)  121.4, 627′ elevation


GUAYMAS TOWER 118.6, 59′ elevation


CIUDAD OBREGON TOWER (MMCN) 118.3 (tower & gnd), 205′ elevation VOR 115.1


ALAMOS UNICOM (MM45 or XALA) 122.8, 1,260′ elevation (no nav aids)


(If flying the Copper Canyon area advise HMO or CEN prior to leaving the Alamos area for your own safety.    If you go beyond the Divisidero area to the east then monitor MMCU (Chihuahua International) on 121.0, ATIS is 127.90, Runway 18/36..  SPECIAL SAFETY NOTE… a new tramway exists at Divisidero just east of the hotel on the rim which has a terracotta tile roof.  Do not fly below the rim in this area unless you know the location of the cables for the tramway and zip lines)


Okay…here’s where we start the sample flight to Alamos from Tucson International





Note….shortly after becoming airborne the Tucson Tower will pass you to Tucson Departure.    Tucson Departure will release you prior to the U.S. border and you will Squawk 1200.  A ‘Direct To’ heading from Tucson International is 156 degrees, however unless you are able to climb at about 1,200’ per minute to clear the large mountain to the south of Tucson,  take an initial heading of 170 degrees and after passing Mt. Wrightson (9,435’)  and the observatory to your left then adjust your course.  Wind?  If it is coming from the west then fly over Nogales which will keep you on the west side of the mountain ridge which runs for about fifty miles to the south.  If the wind is from the east then fly on the east side of the ridge (your left side of the mountain ridge), or the 156 heading which takes you over the Nogales, AZ airport.  Typically winds are minimal in the mornings and an altitude of 7,500’ is fine as long as you don’t get to close to the ridge, 9,500’ is nearly a guarantee that you won’t have any bumps with a morning flight.



Again, as a reminder, contact Prescott Radio on 122.4 and open your flight plan for MMCN. Some pilots prefer to fly over the Hermosillo (MMHO) VOR (112.8) and follow the four-lane highway to Ciudad Obregon (CEN).    I usually fly direct which for the most part takes one down a long valley with several villages and dirt strips.   In Mexico there are quarter horse tracks which appear to be strips.  Some of these they leave the starting gate at one end, so be aware in an emergency that they may or may not be usable for landing.  If taking the HMO route add 20 minutes to flight time at 145 knots. Either route you must notify HMO when within 50 miles on 121.4.  Don’t be reluctant to do this…it could save your life should you have an inflight emergency, or prevent a mid-air with another aircraft.


 IMPORTANT UPDATE AS OF JANUARY 2013:  There is a pie shaped MOA fanning out east of HMO that is restricted from 1,000′ to 19,000′.  This one was nearly never in use in the past ten or fifteen years until recently.  We suggest that you contact HMO Approach at about 70-80 miles out to find out if this area is ‘hot’.  If so, just a slight correction in course toward HMO will put you clear of the area and above another which top is only 4,000′.  The area to avoid if ‘hot’ is #411.  The other MOA’s (east, etc.) have been in use off and on for sometime, so the same holds true, check with HMO Approach regarding passing through that airspace.

On your initial call to Hermosillo Approach, after being acknowledged,   give: (a)your call sign preceded by “November” (b) the DME (c) Radial, (d) Altitude (e)Point of Departure (f) Destination as Ciudad Obregon (g) Make and Model of aircraft.  They will probably assign a Squawk of 1200 and have you notify them when reaching radial 090.


HMO will release you usually at 40-80 miles North of Cd. Obregon. They will have you  contact MMCN on frequency 118.3 (Approach, Tower & Ground) . The VOR is 115.1. When released by HMO, contact MMCN and give your “N” number and other information as in the preceding paragraph, ending with Ciudad Obregon as the destination.  Runway is ‘13/31’ and is in excellent condition.   Usually there will be a line person to direct you to a parking space.  If there is no one to assist, park at the closest end to one of the three rows of parked GA aircraft…do not park near the main terminal.  Advise the line person if you need fuel and how much, they will bring the truck to your aircraft.  The staff at this airport is excellent.  Should you have any mechanical issues with your aircraft you won’t do any better than enlisting the help of the AeroMexico mechanic (Miguel).  Ask the FlightPlan people to contact him for you for assistance.

Cd. Obregon Procedures on the ground….

You will be greeted by a soldier and he will have a note pad where you will write your name, “N” number, type of aircraft, where you departed and number of passengers.  Occasionally they will also ask for the names of the passengers.  You will also be greeted by a representative from their Aduana (Customs office),Migracion (Immigration) and an Agriculture Inspector.  Extend your hand, smile and greet them….don’t let the uniforms cause any alarm, they are just doing their job and are very nice people.  They may ask if you have anything to declare (you are allowed one liter of liquor per person), it’s ok to say that you don’t have any firearms or items to declare.  If you are carrying any new merchandise that needs to be declared (usually only applies to those with homes or condos in Mexico) each member of the family is allowed a $300.00 duty free credit, however at present the pilot is not included in the deduction process.  If you plan on importing anything for yourself or friends contact Jim for more information.   The Agriculture person  wants to make sure you are not bringing in produce with insects, since you are in the breadbasket of Mexico at Cd. Obregon.  They will indicate that they will see you in the main terminal, however walk there only after completing your paper work in the small building to the left of the main terminal which is close to the GA parking area.

1. Order fuel before leaving your airplane on the ramp. The men wearing coveralls are the fuel guys and wave to them if they
are at the edge of the ramp. If purchasing fuel, tell the attendant how many liters in each tank, or if
you want all of the tanks filled to the top the word for full in Spanish is “LLENO” pronounced YEAH-NO.
2. Walk toward the small building, just north of the main terminal, and in back of this building is the new (as of 8/12) DGAC
office. Here you will complete a form which closes your flight plan. Also, you will complete a new flight plan for Alamos.
As the employee for assistance if this is your first time with the forms.
Alamos Airport (XALA or MM-45) we have been advised that the weight limit for the runway is 26,000 lbs gross weight, and limited to and including Lear 45’s and Falcon 20’s (or comparable aircraft) as maximum size.



(Note, if this is your first flight into Mexico during the calendar year then go to the small building on the ramp in front of the DGAC office and complete your Multi-Entry papers with the Commandante’s office. The staff there are excellent and will make this an easy process. You need to present copies of your Mexican Insurance (NOTE; in 2012 the requirement for PRIVATE flights is that you must have at least $300,000 liability coverage, it does not have to be written as a separate policy by a Mexican Company any longer providing that your US Insurance company specifically states that the coverage is valid in Mexico), Pilot’s license, Air Worthiness Certificate, Medical and the Aircraft Registration.)
3. Take the papers, and your passengers and crew to the furthest door on the ramp side of the main terminal, walk nearly to the end of the building. If locked, tap on the glass with a key and they will open the door. Clean restrooms are to the left just inside the door. Walk to the counter and present your Passports to the Immigration officer (Migracion). The Aduana person will have a short form for you to complete and sign which is in English. They may ask you to push the button on the RED/GREEN stoplight. If you get a RED, then they may inspect your airplane. More than likely they looked in your airplane when they greeted you on the ramp. Sometimes this will suffice if there is a RED. Guns and ammunition must never be carried, unless you are a hunter and have registered everything prior to leaving the U.S..
4. Walk back to the small building (in front of the AFAC building) to the north door and sign a ticket for your fuel. Take the signed receipt and your new flight plan to the middle door in this building to pay the cashier for fuel and landing fees.
5. Go outside, then back into the third door in the same building and this is the Commandante’s office. They will stamp your paperwork and give you your copies.
6. Final stop…return to the AFAC office where you prepared your flight plan and they will retain a copy.



NOTE….. The Cashier will total the fees and give you the amount.  (Note, ball park numbers in dollars are about $25.00 per person for a Mexican Visa, $65.00 for the Multi-Entry permit, plus fuel costs and 16% tax, a wing tax based upon length of wing (this is really part of the total fuel cost) and your landing fee, most small aircraft would pay about $10.00.  If you have used a credit card there will be a 3-4% additional fee for the service.  If you want to calculate your costs per gallon it’s 3.785 Liters per gallon, not 4.0)



Calling Hacienda de los Santos® with your ETA…….

Offer the inspector a dollar or two to call the hotel “Hacienda de Los Santos®”, or use your cell if you have one with Mexico capability.   (Direct dial is 647-428-0222, if busy, 0217).    Advise us of the time you expect to leave Ciudad Obregon. We then can advise local taxis not to meet your aircraft and we can send the complimentary hotel van to meet your aircraft and open the hangar, if space is available.  If you have a cell phone that works in Mexico then you may call the same number to reach the hotel. If unable to reach the hotel by phone, call Jim Swickard on his US cell at 520-548-0560 and he will relay your ETA.


Now, leave the office and board your airplane.  After starting your aircraft, call the tower and advise that you are ready to taxi.  With a no wind condition you will probably taxi via “Bravo” to “13”, a slight left turn-out puts you right on course on the 106 radial.


Cd. Obregon flight to Alamos (XALA)…..


Alamos Coordinates are:

Runway 13 – N27 02 62, W 108 57 25, elevation 1,318

Runway 31 – N27 02 06, W 108 56 63, elevation 1,298

ICAO Identifier is XALA 


With clear weather, I fly 106 degrees @ 3,500’ and no higher than 5,500’. It is only 52 nm to Alamos. This is a very scenic flight and you will cross the Mayo River.  If you look closely and a little upstream you will see some 17th century stone aqueducts (4 in all), plus the small Mayo indian village of Santa Barbara on the north side of the river.  The large reservoir, upstream at your 9:00, is ‘Mocuzarit’.  To the south there is an excellent wide highway which meanders to the east to Alamos.  There is also a wide, smooth gravel road running from the highway to ‘Mocuzarit’.  Caution, near the intersection of these two roads are high tension lines.  As you cross the north/south gravel road you will be flying over a private hunting preserve with approximately 1,000 African, Indian and North American deer, antelope, elk and other exotics.


There is a very large mountain about 60 miles from Ciudad Obregon on the 105 radial. That is Mt. Alamos, the largest mountain in Sonora, and is 6,500’ and just to the right of the village. Going through the saddle over the highway, to the left of the flat-topped  mountain, at 3,500’ is quite safe and you will see the village at this point. Ciudad Obregon usually wants you to contact them when the village is in sight, so acknowledge per their instructions.  The 5,000’ new runway is very visible at about 11 o’clock to the village. The Unicom 122.8 should be used to advise other aircraft and is monitored some of the time. Do not attempt to come in after dark, there are no lights. If you are arriving close to dark, adjust your ETA accordingly, since the mountain shadows the village and sunset is earlier. The Unicom operator has limited English but will either advise of “one three” or “three one” runway.


As you go through the saddle you will see the small mining village of ‘Aduana’ to your right.  First operating in the mid-1600’s, this village produced silver for nearly 250 years, with a few years showing the highest production of any mines in the world.  This is the site of an annual pilgrimage for the faithful during the third week of November.   Looking due east to the furthest alpine ridge in the Sierra Madre that is the dividing line between Sonora and the state of Chihuahua.  Just over the ridge is the awesome 40,000 square mile La Barranca de Cobre, or the Copper Canyon.

Landing Alamos………….

To view a Citation Excel landing on runway “31″,  click on the following You Tube video



A 12’ windsock is on top of the hangar and one is across the runway from the hangar.  Also, if you fly over the village there is a flat hilltop with a large flag which will indicate direction. A right base entry is best for “13” and left base entry for “31”.    Field Elevation is 1,350’ and 2,400’ is fine for your pattern altitude.  The hotel hangar is available to the Hacienda guests at no charge, however there is a one time charge of $10.00 by the airport for aircraft in the hangar, or $10.00 nightly charge if on the ramp.  Identify your location on 122.8 at five miles, entering downwind and turning final for either runway ’31’ or ’13’, jets use ’31’.


Pilots staying at other hotels in Alamos are welcome to use the Hacienda hangar, if space is available, at a nightly rate of $50.00 USD, with an additional $10.00 being paid to the airport for the first night.


Hacienda staff will meet your staff and assist with parking or entering the hangar.  We cannot be responsible for hangar rash, fire/theft or any other damage, so please oversee the moving of your aircraft both into the hangar and upon departure.

(Please don’t blast the hangar doors. Most Importantly….no run-ups on either ramp, standard procedure is to do your run-up at the end of either runway. ……thanks)


If you have made arrangements for complimentary hotel pick-up we will assist you putting your aircraft in the hangar, singles and light twins. The attendants name is Daniel, pronounced Dan-Yell,  and he is  honest & helpful, also his son Joshua is often there to help you as needed.  You will be asked to give him your flight plan and he will make a copy for the airport file.  Please be sure that he returns your paperwork to you before going to the hotel.


If you did not notify Hacienda de los Santos® of your ETA from your AOE,  then a taxi may have driven out when you passed over the village. Their charge is $7-$10  US……you must ask first or it may be considerably higher when you arrive at your destination.  Tell the driver “Hotel Hacienda de Los Santos®,  Calle Molina”. When arriving at the Hacienda you will be shown to your room and offered a brief tour of the facility. Please do not tip any hotel employees during your stay (except Spa personnel).  A tip for the employees upon leaving may be handled in Reception and 100% goes to the staff.


We have Wi-Fi in most areas of the hotel, however due to extremely thick stone and adobe walls there are areas without a good signal.  In our ‘Internet’ room there are two computers with complimentary internet service for registered guests, as well as Wi-Fi in the Cafe Agave.  The computer to the left has a Mexican keyboard and the one to the right is the U.S. format.



send an email to Jim Swickard with specific questions and print this AOPA created check list below:

Flight Preparation Check List (never have we known of a request for a radio permit


The pilot in command must have a current:


  • Each passenger must have a current passport.
  • Tourist visas are required and may be obtained at the first airport of entry.
  • Children traveling with only one parent must have a notarized statement of approval from the absent parent stating the dates of the trip.


All U.S. registered aircraft must have:

  • A standard airworthiness certificate
  • A permanent registration certificate (no temporary certificates/pink slips)
  • radio station license
  • Operating limitations information
  • Weight and balance information
  • Transponder with Mode C
  • Two-way radio equipment
  • If the aircraft is registered in another person’s or corporation’s name, AOPA recommends that you have a notarized letter authorizing use of the aircraft for flights in Mexico.
  • An ID data plate
  • 12-inch registration marks are required for crossing the ADIZ into Mexico.
  • Aircraft with fuel tanks installed in the baggage or passenger compartments must have Form 337 on board.
  • Regarding experimental aircraft: Unless the aircraft has been prohibited from making an international flight to Mexico by the FAA, the aircraft is welcome to Mexico provided that the pilot abides by the limitations applied by the FAA in its operating limitations.
  • The Mexican government has recently postponed the requirement for 406 MHz ELTs. Pilots with aircraft used exclusively for private flights now have until January 1, 2015, to replace their 121.5-MHz ELT with a 406-MHz model or until their existing 121.5-MHz ELT needs to be replaced, whichever comes first.   There is also a possibility that it will be extended beyond the 2015 date, however that remains to be seen.


  • Verify that Mexico is included in your policy’s territory.
  • Check that your policy has liability limits of at least $300,000.
  • Carry your aircraft insurance policy in the aircraft.
  • Present your insurance policy for validation upon arrival in Mexico.

Customs and Border Protection

(File your eAPIS for both the US and Mexico.  Join Baja Bush Pilots International and have access to an easy computerized form to handle both filings in one easy step at www.bajabushpilots.com.)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires

  • An annual user fee decal ($27.50) – allow a few weeks for delivery. CPB encourages all applicants to use the online renewal process, which is fast, secure, and accurate. Pre-printed paper applications will be mailed only by request – not automatically sent as in previous years. To request a pre-printed paper renewal application, call the User Fee Help Desk at 317/298-1245, option 3; or email decals@dhs.gov.
  • eAPIS CBP’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System. For your return trip back to the U.S., plan to land at the first airport approved by the U.S. for an AOE, there are exceptions to the old rule that you must clear at the first airport when entering the U.S..




                                           CLUB PILOTOS DE MEXICO