Grey Learjet, Reaganite C-17 topping June 2010 traffic
|Friday 23 July 2010||Text by Carlos Ay under Spotting & research|
The single most exotic visit in the month was that of USAF C-17 Globemaster III 05-5145 “Spirit of Ronald Reagan”, which staged through Bariloche/Luis Candelaria(R.N.) between Friday 26 and Monday 28 to pick-up and fly Argentine Earth observation satellite SAC-D “Aquarius”, jointly developed by Argentine and US space agencies CONEA and NASA, for final thermo vacuum tests in Brazil. If tests are successfully passed (as expected), the satellite will proceed to Vandenberg AFB (California, USA) for launch by a Delta II vector in April 2011.
The Casa Rosada helipad in downtown Buenos Aires (C.F.) was visited on Tuesday 8 by an slightly odd-looking S-76B Spirit H-02 fitted with a replacement (overall white) nose cone disrupting the rest of its presidential livery. The now fully international Jorge Newbery only logged Saab 340 T-32 (IX Br Aé) on Tuesday 15; while residing Boeing 757 T-01 (AAP) and Learjet 60 T-10(un-marked) were noted on Sunday 20 and Thursday 24, respectively.
Córdoba City’s military aviation school was visited by Army C-212 Aviocar AE-264 on Thursday 3 to provide an air platform for service paratroopers performing jumps over La Mezquita training ground. On Sunday 6, in turn, C-130 Hercules TC-61 (I Br Aé, 40 anniversary marks) was reported off-loading UH-1H Huey H-10  (formerly with VII Br Aé) for delivery as a ground instruction airframe to the Air Force NCO School. Flight Test Centre’s IA-58 Pucará A-568 (identified by some sources as the improved avionics configuration prototype currently under development, see “FAdeA gets ‘on line’ with customers, partners”) and IA-63-II Pampa EX-03 were noted operating from there on Monday 7. Ambrosio Taravella international airport in turn was visited by Chilean Air Force EMB-314 Super Tucano PT-ZQL on Wednesday 16 transiting from the factory in São José dos Campos (Brazil) to its new home base in Iquique (Chile). This was reported as the third ferry staging through Córdoba, the two earlier taking place on 14 (PT-ZQH and PT-ZQI) and 30 May (PT-ZQJ y al PT-ZQK), respectively.
El Calafate (S.C.) hosted a gathering of Patagonian governors 4 through 7 June. A large presidential contingent caused several military VIP aircraft to show up at the scenic South Argentina airport, including Boeing 757 T-01 (4 and 6), F.28 Fellowship T-03 (4 and 5) and Learjet 60 T-10(6).
Staging through El Palomar (B.A.) on Friday 4 was DHC-6 Twin Otter T-81 (IX Br Aé), which sported full unit marks as well as assorted Exercise “Valkyria III” and maintenance unit ARMAQUIL patches and was on its way to Uruguay for combined air traffic control exercise “Río III”. On Wednesday 9, we noticed Learjet 35A T-22 (II Br Aé, re-entering the country after being overhauled in the US wearing low-viz grey colour scheme) and Brazilian Air Force ERJ-135BJ VC-99B 2581 (GTE) also transiting through the base. F.27 TC-74(II Br Aé) was noted on final approach on Wednesday 23.
Mendoza/Gobernador Gabrielli international airport witnessed two unidentified EMB-312A Tucano (EAM) operating from the local air brigade since the end of May through Thursday 3. A further eight unidentified aircraft, plus a C-130H Hercules, were noted night stopping Saturday 12 through Monday 14 while on a navigation tour through 13 different Argentine provinces. All wore the regular EAM jungle cammo with red wing tips and rudders. Uruguayan Air Force Cessna U206H 715 was noted on final approach on Sunday 6, while F.28 TC-54 (I Br Aé) did so on Saturday 26. F.28 T-02 (AAP) brought in Mendoza governor Celso Jaque on Sunday 27 and Learjet 35A T-25(II Br Aé) flew-in on radio-aid calibration duties on Monday 28.
Salta/Martín Miguel de Güemes international airport was visited by Air Force IA-58D Pucará A-534 and A-582(both III Br Aé) on 16 and 17 June. Both aircraft were scheduled to participate in ceremonies honouring the province’s caudillo and Northern border defender during Independence War, General Güemes.
A further two Pucaráes, including A-595, and an unidentified Cessna A182, were noted transiting through Posadas/General San Martín international airport on Tuesday 15.
Marcelo Allende, D. Bustos, Claudio Caputti, G. Girola, D. Kopac, Martín Kubo, Guillermo Lepez, J. Muñoz, Germán Rozada, José Soria, Jorge Souto and others whose names were withheld upon request contributed to this report. Additional sightings and information came from Aviación Argentina, CONAE, INVAP, Simplemente Volar and Zona Militar. The story was originally published in Aeromilitaria Argentina.