Tag Archives: Argentine Air Force

Watch this: How insanely low you can fly a civilian jet liner!

It seems like low level flying in Argentina is not limited to military fighter jets, trainers or cargo planes.

The images in this post were taken on Dec. 12, 2007 when, for the 100 años de la aviación civil argentina (100 years of Argentine Civil Aviation), a Boeing 737-500 “LV-BEO” belonging to the Aerolineas Argentinas performed a really low flyby over the Aeroparque at Buenos Aires.

737 2

Photographs were taken by an accompanying IA-63 Pampa jet trainer that escorted the jet liner along with a Learjet.

H/T to Daniel Carelli for sending the images (credit Argentine Air Force)


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Super cool video shows a C-130 Hercules almost hitting the camera on landing in Antarctica

A few days ago we posted the video of an Argentine Air Force C-130 buzzing people’s heads during a daredevil low passage on the runway at Base Antártica Marambio, the main Argentine base in Antarctica.

Even if we said that the stunt was not only unnecessary but also dangerous, several readers from Argentina have tried to explain the mindset of the AAF after Malvinas (Falklands) war.

“For them [AAF pilots] flying ultra-low is a matter of pride” explains “Pampa”, a reader who left an interesting comment on the blog post.

“That is how the Hercules broke repeatedly the British blockade, by day and night, until the last day. Only Hercules lost was during an exploration mission, as the AF lacked other planes suitable for the task, an almost suicide task, as it was done with the onboard radar and MK-1 eyeballs, and they paid with their lives because they have to fly at “normal” altitudes!!!”

Juanma Baiutti, another reader says: “The final flyby is quite common when leaving the base but it’s made only when there are perfect conditions.As we dont have a very large air force, most of our C130 pilots that have antartic certification (not everyone do the Antarctic logistic flight) goes to Antarctica often. They all know about the weather there and their limitations. In fact, they all have flown the Twin Otter from Marambio for 6 months at least 2 times!”

Here’s another cool video taken over there. This time it is not a low level flying but a normal landing with a touchdown extremely close to the camera.

Once again, a must see!

H/T to Emiliano Guerra for the heads-up

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Video: Argentine Air Force Mirage 5 insane low level flyby

Argentinean pilots have a good tradition of low level flying.

Along with images of ultra low altitude attacks on British warships during the Falklands War (Malvinas), we’ve already seen and commented a more recent daredevil flyby of an Argentine Air Force IA-63 Pampa.

The last of a series of almost insane stunts depicts a Mirage 5P flying between the shelters of an unknown airbase in Argentina.

Although combat planes can quietly operate at medium or high altitude with stand off weapons, in the majority of most recent scenarios pilots still train low-level high speed flying to face enemy threats they could face during attack, special operations, reconnaissance, Search And Rescue, troops or humanitarian airdrop missions in troubled spots around the world.

"Operation Mikado": A one way mission to wipe out Argentine Exocet Missiles during the Falklands War

Thirty years ago, during the Falklands conflict (Malvinas for the Argentine people) shipping loses to the Royal Navy were beginning to mount.

Something had to be done to remove the threat of attack from the Argentine Air Force and more specifically its arsenal of Exocet missiles.

Whilst MI-6 mounted a covert clandestine operation to buy all Exocets from the black market, therefore removing the ability to re-supply the used munitions for the Argentine Air Force, the remaining weapons and aircraft that delivered the very effective weapon were still a concern.

The task to solve the issue was given to the British Army’s SAS (Special Air Service) and Royal Navy’s SBS (Special Boat Service).

B squadron of the SAS was ordered to draw up plans to destroy the remaining weapons and aircraft on their airfield on the Argentine mainland. The plan that came out of this order, which became known as “Operation Mikado”, was for B squadron to land at Rio Grande and destroy the weapons along with the aircraft, with a secondary mission to kill the pilots too.

According to the plan 55 men of B Squadron SAS were to fly in two C-130s direct from Ascension Island, land on the main runway at the Rio-Grande airbase at Tierra del Fuego, destroy any aircraft and weapons and then to storm the officers mess and take out any pilots they found. Once this was completed, they were to escape either in the C-130s to Chile (if the aircraft had survived) or make their way to Chile (50 miles away) on foot, a bit like the troops from the book Bravo Two-Zero did when they tried to walk to Syria.

Before any attack could be made, a reconnaissance mission was required to observe the airbase and send back intel on defenses and movements etc. Codenamed “Operation Plumb Duff” the mission was launched on May 16, 1982 from the Task Force (thought to be from HMS Hermes) in a stripped out Sea King  MkIV which flew towards the Argentine mainland.

The plan was to put the SAS ashore from where the troops would walk to the airfield, set up an Observation Post (OP) and then send back the required intel.

The Sea King got to within 20 miles of the drop off point when it became enveloped in fog and navigation became almost impossible. The aircrew and SAS argued as to what to do.

Eventually, the SAS were dropped off and decided to carry on with the mission whereas the aircrew flew to Chile where the helicopter landed before it was set on fire (as planned) and destroyed.

Once the Chilean authorities found the remains of the Sea King the British tried to cover the reason why it was there. The aircrew were eventually picked up by the Chilean authorities 8 days later and returned to the UK, while the Special Forces team encountered a difficulty on the ground that prevented them from completing their task.

Image credit: Richard Clements

Whilst operation Plumb Duff was taking place, back in the UK. B squadron began practicing for the assault. All RAF bases were told to keep an eye out for attack but were not told when or what time the simulated raid would take place.

Using state of the art Night Vision Goggles, the C-130 aircrew flew at tree top height to try and hide their intentions prior to planting the transport plane onto a RAF base’s main runway. The rule book for night flying and any height restrictions was discarded and many people were woken in the dead of night by a high speed very low Herk trying to evade radar detection only a few feet above their house roof.

It was found that many of the radar operators at the various RAF bases detected the Herk a long time before it was anywhere near the airfield, a huge problem when trying to get near a hostile airfield.

Many people within the SAS started to express serious doubts on the whole operation. On the failure of Operation Plumb Duff many SAS senior officers suggested that the element of surprise was lost: one sergeant decided that the only way to get his point across was to resign and to add weight to his argument, the squadron commander also said that the operation was not viable; an opinion that cost him his command.

The SAS soldiers were ordered to fly to Ascension, the staging point for the operation, but once there it became clear that the Argentineans enjoyed far better radar coverage than had been previously thought and the operation was put on hold.

A plan B was then devised.

The SAS troops would be infiltrated on Gemini inflatable boats having been transported by a submarine HMS Onyx to a point just off the Argentine coast from where they would then “sneak” into the base and destroy the aircraft (this was also practiced by SAS in the Falklands using advice from the SBS).

This plan was given the go ahead but before it was carried out the Argentinean forces on the Falklands surrendered and the operation was cancelled.

It must be assumed that an observation post must have been in operation as the main assault was so close to taking place although there are no clues that this was true.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Falklands War video: Argentine A-4 Skyhawks' (insane) low level attack

At its 30th anniversary, the Falklands War (Malvinas for the Argentine people) offers several interesting “case studies”: long range strikes, daring combat missions and insane low altitude attack runs.

For sure, low level attacks conducted by the Argentine A-4s trying to escape the Sea Harrier’s Combat Air Patrols remain one of the distinguishing features of the war in southern Atlantic Ocean.

In this video, you can see some of the repeated air attacks by low-flying Argentine jets during the amphibious landing on beaches around San Carlos.

In the age of stand-off missiles, PGMs and stealth fighters, such scenes are a bit anachronistic. But interesting.