“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?