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ELP Departures - Occasional Mexico Overflight  
User currently offlineN9801F From Samoa, joined Apr 2004, 333 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5005 times:

One of the main runways at ELP puts aircraft on a course to overfly Mexico soon after departure.

In FlightAware, I've noticed that most of the time, domestic flights will turn and remain over the US. However it seems like maybe 10% of the time, they fly over Mexico for a little while instead. I've noticed passenger-, cargo-, and bizjet flights doing this.

Is this a mistake? If it's OK to overfly Mexico, then why not do it more often? It would be convenient. And if it's not OK, they why does this happen sometimes?

Can someone (maybe from ELP) explain more?

Here's an example - ELP-TUS. If you zoom in you'll see they were over Mexico for 20 miles or so. Although this was a bizjet, I've seen commercial passenger flights do the same thing.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/E...1/history/20091105/1906Z/KELP/KTUS

Thanks in advance for any insights you might have.

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePrinair From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 744 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4931 times:

Many of the flights on final into Ciudad Juarez (CJS) overfly eastern El Paso, They fly directly over I-10 and Yarbrough Street. Because of the proximity of both airports to the border oveflying into Mexico or the U.S. in their part is unavoidable. ATC for both countries works very well together to make this happen safely.


PRINAIR : Puerto Rico International Airlines
User currently offlineN9801F From Samoa, joined Apr 2004, 333 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4895 times:

Thank you - I see. So there's smooth coordination in place, and when needed, overflights occur both ways.

Since both airports are close to the border, this seems sensible.

Oh, and I remember Prinair.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4893 times:

Quoting N9801F (Thread starter):
One of the main runways at ELP puts aircraft on a course to overfly Mexico soon after departure.

That would be Runway 22. Usually one of the least favored departures unless the winds absolutely demand it, due to the rather long taxi from the terminal building to runway 22 (it is a couple of miles...).

Quoting N9801F (Thread starter):

Is this a mistake? If it's OK to overfly Mexico, then why not do it more often? It would be convenient. And if it's not OK, they why does this happen sometimes?

Can someone (maybe from ELP) explain more?

There is local agreement in place between the FAA's ELP TRACON and Mexico's CJS TCA, which allows either agency to control flights in each other's airspace (to a degree...). Generally, a US domestic flight which is vectored over Mexico for ATC purposes will never talk to Mexican controllers, and vice-versa. I would imagine that there is a "hotline" landline circuit between the two facilities for this purpose...but since I'm not a controller, I cannot answer that  

I was always told that overflight of a foreign country, even without landing, constitutes an international flight, and that you must clear customs, etc. etc. However, in practice, I learned that that is not always the case. Apparently, the local control agreement between ELP and CJS supsersedes this...

I have flown quite a few international flights to/from Mexico in GA planes (N-registered, flight originating or terminating at ELP), and the handoff from US controllers to Mexican controllers usually happens as soon as you are clear from any US traffic that you have to be vectored away from. Sometimes, you are still in US airspace when this happens. I have been handed off to US controllers coming back from Mexico while we were still about 25 miles behind the US/Mexico border (even earlier once where I wasn't PIC, but the guy flying PIC had filed IFR, and we were given the VOR RWY 26L approach due to a spring sandstorm that had dropped field visibility to about a mile...).

EDIT: just thought I would add that, while finishing up my private pilot's license and flying out of 5T6 (Santa Teresa, New Mexico) I used to give the border, just about 2-3 miles south of the field, a healthy respect.

[Edited 2009-11-06 09:56:43]


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3298 posts, RR: 44
Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4857 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
I was always told that overflight of a foreign country, even without landing, constitutes an international flight, and that you must clear customs, etc. etc.

Are you sure about this? This is really interesting, but that doesn't seem right. Maybe it's as you said, that it doesn't always happen in practice, but lots of transcon flights cross into Canadian airspace, but obviously don't clear customs.

I trust you, KELP, but I guess it's just the shear amount of flights that do that throws me off. Surely not ALL of them circumvent the process.

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25374 posts, RR: 49
Reply 5, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4833 times:

You need to also important to remember ATC boundaries are not always based on political boundaries.

Minneapolis Center covers parts of Manitoba and Ontario, Cleveland center parts of Ontario, Montreal control has parts into New York, Vermont and Maine.
Along the Mexico border its similar with both Houston and Albuquerque Centers with bits into Mexico, and Mexico controlling bits of airspace in Southwest Texas.

Then off course how Miami and San Juan Center covers large areas into Caribbean including entire upper airspace of several sovereign nations.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
I was always told that overflight of a foreign country, even without landing, constitutes an international flight, and that you must clear customs, etc. etc.

No not at all.

There are hundreds(if not thousands) of domestic US and Canadian flights especially in the Great Lakes and Northeast that traverse across each others borders daily.
Along the Mexico border it also happens for instance on CO's HNL-IAH flight which flies via Mexico at times based on winds, or in place like San Diego where sometime departures pass over Mexico as they make their big turn to head east.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4778 times:



Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 4):
Are you sure about this?

No. That's why I qualified it as "I was always told..."  Smile

Like I said, getting my PPL down in that part of the world, we always gave the border a healthy respect. Of course, in the '90s, there was a lot of drug trafficking happening by air, and the Border Patrol and DEA had put up the aerostat balloons...If I had crossed the border and come back without a DVFR flight plan, I suspect I would have been met by not-so-happy US customs agents upon my arrival back at 5T6  Wink

I don't think anyone likes an uninvited guest, and the Mexican air traffic controllers might have done something, too...like call up their military to investigate.

A bit of a grey area here, if you ask me.

Of course, when you are following controller's vectors, you are obeying federal law as a pilot...but what happens if, say, (and I realize this is a remote possibility) your engine in a single conks out in Mexican airspace? How will the Mexican authorities treat you if you make a street landing or soccer stadium landing in Juarez?  eyebrow  I know the first priority is the safety of your passengers, yourself, and the general public...



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineMtnWest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2458 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4741 times:

A few years ago flying from ELP to LAS, iirc, we turned over Cd Juarez and it was interesting to see bullfighting ring from directly overhead. My only time 'in Mexico' lol.


"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlineN9801F From Samoa, joined Apr 2004, 333 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4664 times:

KELPkid - thank you - that really sheds a lot of light.

Your point about handoffs happening so far in advance of the border really gives a picture of hand-in-glove, very practical coordination.

And as you said, I think an overflight is technically "international" and usually requires that the country of registry for you/your aircraft have some sort of Bilateral Aviation Services Agreement with the country you're flying over. (Clearly, there is one between the US and Mexico.)

Come to think of it, another example of domestic US flights which overfly foreign countries is Chicago-Buffalo/Rochester/Syracuse, where you invariably fly over a chunk of southern Ontario.

However the ELP situation seems more interesting to me because within only a minute or so of takeoff you're 'international'.

Thanks for your insight.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4606 times:



Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 7):

A few years ago flying from ELP to LAS, iirc, we turned over Cd Juarez and it was interesting to see bullfighting ring from directly overhead. My only time 'in Mexico' lol.

Too bad. If you're ever in that part of the world again, I would encourage you to visit Mexico. It is a beautiful place with warm, friendly people. Of course, I might wait until the present violence going on down in CJS blows over  Sad



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4545 times:



Quoting N9801F (Reply 8):
KELPkid - thank you - that really sheds a lot of light.

No prob. Always glad to help fellow a.nutters  Wink



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineChrisair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 2116 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4520 times:

I've landed on rwy 4 before. It's strange to see that gigantic Mexican flag and the rest of Cd. Juarez from the air. I didn't realize aircraft weren't in contact with Mexican control when crossing over the border.

Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 7):
My only time 'in Mexico' lol.

Ah, you need to experience it. I've been to Nogales Son. many times. Love it down there. The food is very tasty and the people are very nice. I covered the elections down there in 2006 for the paper I was working for at the time and I had a blast. If deadlines and a huge lightning storm didn't send us back stateside, I probably would have stayed there longer.

Of course, I wouldn't go near the border towns now.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 6):
How will the Mexican authorities treat you if you make a street landing or soccer stadium landing in Juarez?

If I were the pilot and I were that close to the border, you damn well better bet that I'd be landing on the US side of the fence. Me thinks the cartels would "take care" of you before the "authorities" get you.


User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1779 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4494 times:

Interesting. What about flights departing from TIJ? I'm told they perform a steep turn to avoid entering US airspace, but I'd think that is unavoidable at times.

User currently offlineGhost77 From Mexico, joined Mar 2000, 5222 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4373 times:



Quoting AM744 (Reply 12):
Interesting. What about flights departing from TIJ? I'm told they perform a steep turn to avoid entering US airspace, but I'd think that is unavoidable at times.

When runway 27 is on use, Mexican traffic do a hard steep turn to the left., but when runway 09 is in use all planes go on SoCal airspace for a moment (and BTW, it's mostly sea).

g77



Ricardo Morales - flyAPM - ¡No es que maneje rapido, solo estoy volando lento!
User currently offlineBlueFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4001 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4335 times:
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Are overflight charges equally based on which controller oversees a plane without regard to political boundaries ?


I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4330 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
I would imagine that there is a "hotline" landline circuit between the two facilities for this purpose...but since I'm not a controller, I cannot answer that

Correct. Mexican centers and TRACONs with US airspace borders have a sort of direct line with US ATC. Just like a controller from ABQ center can talk to one in LA center or elsewhere, Mexican ATC has this capability. (The beauty of fiberoptics)

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 6):
and the Mexican air traffic controllers might have done something, too...like call up their military to investigate.

When I did the tour of HMO tracon they had a target skirting a few miles into the mexican border and then head back up to the US. Almost immediately the PGR (Mexican FBI) called the facility asking for info. Don't know what happened next, but they told me it happens more often than you'd think and usually its a careless pilot that's at fault and a non-issue.

It's not like you're gonna get a SAM up your butt if you cross into the border southbound unannounced, just don't expect to be greeted with a red carpet if you land.

Quoting Chrisair (Reply 11):
I've been to Nogales Son. many times. Love it down there

Really? I think it's fugly. None of the Mexican border cities are worth visiting, IMO. But If a crummy town like Nogales impressed you, then you really have to travel farther down south to see what Mexico really is about. you won't be disappointed.

[Edited 2009-11-06 19:50:13]

User currently offlineLexy From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 2515 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4241 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
That would be Runway 22. Usually one of the least favored departures unless the winds absolutely demand it, due to the rather long taxi from the terminal building to runway 22 (it is a couple of miles...).

Yes, that is a dreadfully long taxi!!!!!!!



Nashville, Tennessee KBNA
User currently offlineDUALRATED From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1001 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4204 times:



Quoting Prinair (Reply 1):
Many of the flights on final into Ciudad Juarez (CJS) overfly eastern El Paso, They fly directly over I-10 and Yarbrough Street. Because of the proximity of both airports to the border oveflying into Mexico or the U.S. in their part is unavoidable. ATC for both countries works very well together to make this happen safely.

I see the above take place all the time....Nice to see a post on ELP and the area. A very interesting place for aviation for sure between the N.A.S.A. jets SW, AA, and everything in between. Its a cool city for aviation.

And helicopters from Mexico venture across the border all the time.



AIRLINERS.NET MODERATORS SUCK MOOSE DICK!!!!
User currently offlineMPDPilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 993 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4173 times:

I just wanted to add my two cents.

Crossing the boarder really isn't that big a deal if both sides know your doing it, as in vector you over it or clear you over it. It becomes a problem when you cross it without permission or without their knowledge that things get dicey.

As for ELP I would say the biggest reason that they have procedures to avoid Mexican Airspace is that it would require coordination which takes time and isn't always feasible. Obviously if they were in the same country one agency would control it but they aren't so they operate as separate agencies.

I fly out of IWA in the Phoenix area and all IFR departure to the north are almost always immediate turns to avoid the arrivals and departures out of PHX. It isn't that they couldn't fly straight out it is that it would require coordination with PHX to do it. Therefore it is simply easier for the controllers at IWA to turn you on departure to remain in their airspace. In the case with ELP the other airspace happens to be Mexican airspace. Everything I have read is that most countries are pretty sensible about aviation when it comes to airspace. They are protective sure but like someone else said, "it isn't like they are going to shoot at you right away."

Just my insight.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlineNetjetsINTL From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 593 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4112 times:

I wonder if Continental flew straight from Houston to Honolulu instead of overflying Southern Cal, would they save anytime??? I assume they do this to avoid paying an international fee??

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/C...1/history/20091106/1552Z/KIAH/PHNL


User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4037 times:



Quoting NetjetsINTL (Reply 19):
I wonder if Continental flew straight from Houston to Honolulu instead of overflying Southern Cal, would they save anytime??? I assume they do this to avoid paying an international fee??

Hardly figures in at all - its done that way to take advantage of a lower fuel burn...



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineCF6PPE From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3926 times:



Quoting NetjetsINTL (Reply 19):
I wonder if Continental flew straight from Houston to Honolulu instead of overflying Southern Cal, would they save anytime??? I assume they do this to avoid paying an international fee??

From the Great Circle Mapper - http://gc.kls2.com/ - the following distances show that slight deviations from the great circle add only a few miles to the routing, for instance:

KIAH -PHNL = 3904 mi (great circle routing)

KIAH - KLAX (1379 mi) plus KLAX - PHNL (2556 mi) total 3935 mi

KIAH - KSAN (1303 mi) plus KSAN - PHNL (2614 mi) total 3917 mi

Plug the above destinations into the Great Circle Mapper to see where they cross the west coast line.


User currently offlineAffirmative From France, joined Jul 2009, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3805 times:

I ferried a C-152 through ELP on my way to Florida this past January and on the leg KDMN-KT27 I was told by ATC right before ELP that they wouldn't be able to see me on radar at my altitude (5500feet) until I was past the mountains. Once I came in towards the valley I got radar vectors towards T27 and they actually took me over the border, I never realized this until I looked at the pictures I took. Not that I was more than maybe half a mile, or maybe not even that, over the border but in Mexico nontheless.. The flying from Tucson to El Paso must have been one of the nicest one I've done though, the scenery down there is amazing.

Cheers



I love the smell of Jet-A1 in the morning...
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3712 times:



Quoting Affirmative (Reply 22):
ferried a C-152 through ELP on my way to Florida this past January and on the leg KDMN-KT27 I was told by ATC right before ELP that they wouldn't be able to see me on radar at my altitude (5500feet) until I was past the mountains.

Holy crap, that's a low cruising altitude in that part of the world. You are just barely 1000 feet above the terrain....If you ever wondered why the ELP class C airspace has such a funny shape, you discovered why  Wink

Did you see the wrecked Vickers Varsity out at West Texas airport (well, that's what "Horizon Airport" used to be called....).

10 years ago, West Texas airport was still pretty isolated, now the city of El Paso has development almost all the way out there.

One minor bone to pick here-the FAA LID (Location Identifier) for Horizon Airport is T27. Generally, fields with an alphanumeric LID (both numbers and letters) do not have an ICAO identifier. Fields with an all-alphabetic LID usually have an ICAO identifier, and in the US, it usually has to do with weather reporting capabilities  Smile



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineDUALRATED From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1001 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 10 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3653 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 23):
Did you see the wrecked Vickers Varsity out at West Texas airport

I now live a few blocks from there .....never knew that was there!



AIRLINERS.NET MODERATORS SUCK MOOSE DICK!!!!
25 STT757 : I would imagine if departures from ELP are overflying Mexico territory then there most be some overflights on departures from Fort Bliss.
26 Post contains links KELPkid : http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001214X45300&key=1 El Paso has always been kind of a haven for rare types...
27 Prinair : Let's get an ELP meeting going.....
28 Affirmative : To be honest I had a hard time finding the airport. Had the ATC give me vectors and I pretty much stumbled over something that was more an abandoned
29 Lexy : When I flew into ELP, I was on WN. We landed relatively close to the terminal and was able to just roll out into our gate basically which is very nice
30 JBirdAV8r : That one is a pretty popular rumor. I don't have any experience overflying Mexico without landing, but I've been into DET several times from the sout
31 Tootallsd : I've flown Aeromexico from Tijuana to Shanghai and I was surprised that we made a steep right hand turn after take off and flew up the center of San
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