“Lake Chapala – Ajijic International Airport”

October 1, 2008

Did you know that Chapala has an “International Airport” ?

Yes, it’s true. Now by International I don’t mean that flights from the airport ever leave Mexico. No, by International, I mean that there’s a group of International Pilots that fly their small planes in and out of the uncontrolled field just a few miles out of Chapala on the highway toward the Lake Chapala Country Club.

The field has an excellent grass strip, a windsock to tell the direction and approximate velocity of the local wind currents, and an observation platform.

It’s an uncontrolled field.  None of the airplanes hangered at the airport use aviation fuel. I know you’re thinking, “That’s strange”. “I wonder why not?”

Well a little over a year ago I met the then Aero Club president who explained it this way. He said that if they kept aviation fuel at the airport that they would have to have a military presence at the airport and that the pilots’ club would have to pay the government to keep at least one soldier there all the time.

Why, would the government require a military presence at the small field if they had aviation fuel there?

The idea would be to prevent the small field from being a refueling stop for specially designed small planes capable of landing on small short runways with big payloads which could be carrying contra ban like guns or drugs.

These small planes apparently hop from small airport to small airport refueling along the way in an effort to stay below the radar so to speak.

As a former pilot it was a real treat to get to meet the pilots (most of whom were bilingual) and to let them show off their homebuilt experimental aircraft to me.

If I ever decide to fly again I have the perfect place just a few miles from my house. Any other pilots out there?

  • ron kelley

    I am happy to come across your websight! I am an aviation buff. and also am building a homebuilt experimental. I have been studying about retiring in mexico but wasn’t figuring to find out about a place there where experimental aircraft are popular. I have been studying spanish and am serious about living there. If someone there who is involved in the experimental- airplane association would contact me I would be so thrilled about getting to meet them. And your taking the time to have this web-sight is what the likes of me can’t thank you enough for!

    Sincerely yours,
    Ron Kelley, Orlando Florida

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Ron, Thanks for the nice comments. I sincerely appreciate them. A million years ago I was a pilot back when I could rent a J3Cub for $4 USD per hour wet. Yes, that was long time ago.

    When I give area tours and find myself on the road that goes by our local airport I say, “Watch on the right side of the car as we’re coming up on the Chapala International Airport.”

    Of course I get responses like “Chapala has an International Airport?”

    Then, I say “Well I call it an international airport because a group of trilingual international pilots fly out of there!”

    I don’t currently know any of the pilots at the airport, but a couple of years ago met the then AreoClub president when a client ( a pilot of course) wanted to take a closer look.

    Perhaps early next year I’ll try to go out and see what’s new at the airport and write an article for you and all the pilots or would be pilots lurking out there in ChapalaClub land.

    Thanks again, Siempre tu amigo, Sid

  • John Mersereau

    Wondering if someone could help me out. I’m soon to be and AME (aircraft maintenance engineer) here in Canada. I have almost 25 yrs experience. My wife and I are planning on taking the “Focus on Mexico” leap. If anyone out there is involved in the aviation industry, could you get back to me? I’m not ready to retire yet and probably never will lol I love airplanes too much! My goal is to be living in the Chapala region in no more than two years. Any aircraft related advise would be greatly appreciated and I would also like to know if there are any aircraft mechanics already there that I can chat with. Cheers.
    John Mersereau

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi John, All my clients have enjoyed the Focus program. Please e mail me at Sid@CHapalaCLub.com and I can tell you more about the Focus program you should know.

    Thanks for the comments. Not sure about other aviation types. Back in the late 1960s I got my private ticket learning to fly in a J3 Cub tail dragger.

    Back then you could rent a J3 wet for $4 USD per hour. We can swap flying war stories when you come down. Hope you’ll let me show you the area. All for now, Sid

  • majcgilk

    Hello! I’m a little late this trip but very happy to find this site. Yes i have a boat (not pictured) but fly right seat for the U.S.Coast Guard from the Richmond VA Area. Most of my experience is in Cessna’s 172- 182 -337, occasionally a Beech Baron. drove by the International just yesterday but didn’t know to look. I am looking forward to looking yall up next trip. (I’ll bring my log book just in case.)
    Craig Gilkison, Major USA Retired.

  • majcgilk

    Semper Paratus (forgot to include)

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