Día de la Hispanidad
Día de la Hispanidad commemorates the discovery of America by Cristobal Colón (Columbus) on 12 October 1492. On this day 27 countries on 5 continents celebrate the bond with Spain. In Spain this day is mainly dominated by the Spanish Empire that arose after the discovery of America by Columbus. The Spanish empire kept getting bigger and more powerful and was at that moment the most influential country in the world! This national holiday is celebrated throughout the country with special activities such as parades and bullfights. In Zaragoza 12 October is also the day of the Virgen de Pilar and is accompanied by many festivities and processions in the city. 12 October is also a special day for the Guardia Civil as the Virgen de Pilar is their patron saint. In the Spanish capital Madrid a large military parade takes place which starts in Plaza de Cuzco and goes along Paseo de Castellana (next to Madrid’s football stadium) towards Plaza San Juan de la Cruz. After this parade a large Spanish flag is hosted. Under the hundreds of thousands people that are watching this parade are King Felipe VI with his wife Queen Letizia and their children Leonor and Sofie and also the Prime minister Pedro Sánchez. Next to the parade on the ground there is also large flyby which contains formation of helicopters, aircraft and fighter jets. For this flyby Lowpass Aviation was welcome at the air bases Getafe, Cuatro Vientos and Torrejon.
Getafe Air Base
Getafe air base is located 14 kilometers south of Madrid and was founded in 1911. In the summer of 1957 the air base was also in military use. At this moment the air base is the home of Ala 35 (Casa 295), Centro Cartográfico y Fotográfico (Cn-235, Ce-560 and Beech C-90) and a detachment of Ala 48 (Cn-235MPA). At Getafe there is also a large factory that is part of the European Group EADS which carries out maintenance of various aircraft of the Spanish Air Force as well as programs for the improvement and modernization of these aircraft.
From the based units one Ce-560, one Cn-235MPA and two Casa 295’s participated in the flyby. Visiting units at Getafe air base that participated in the flyby were Patrulla Aguila with eight Casa 101s, 792 Esc with nine PC-21s and 721 Esc with two Casa 212s.
Cuatro Vientos Air Base
Cuatro Vientos air base is located 8 kilometer south west of the city center. The translation of Cuatro Vientos into English is Four Winds. The air base was established in 1911, 20 years before Barajas was established and because of that is considered the “cradle” of Spanish Aviation. Originally the air base was constructed as a base for the Spanish Air Force but became a joint military / civilian airport in the 1970s. Since then the civilian side of the airport has almost exclusively been used by flying clubs, privately owned small planes and the Spanish Policia Nacional. On the military side of the airport is the Museum of Aeronautics and Astronautics, an air museum dedicated to the historical heritage of the Spanish Air Force. At this moment the air base is the home of 402 Esc (AS-332) and 803 Esc (NH-90).
From the based units one AS-332 and two NH-90s participated in the flyby. Visiting units at Cuatro Vientos air base that participated in the flyby were Patrulla Aspa with six EC-120s, the Spanish Armada, Eslla 003 with one AB-212, Eslla 010 with one SH-60B and one SH-60F, the Spanish FAMET, Cefamet with two EC-135s, Bhela I with three Tigers, Bhelma III with three NH-90s and Bheltra V with four CH-47s and the Salvamento Maritimo with one AW-139.
Torrejón Air Base
Torrejon air base is located in the north east of the city center and was originally the home of the Spanish National Institute of Aeronautics. On 26 September 1953 the Pact of Madrid was signed and construction began at Torrejón, the grass airstrip was replaced by a concrete runway and other necessary maintenance and shelter facilities to accommodate the largest United States Air Force (USAF) bomber aircraft. The new runway was 4.100 meters long and was on that moment the longest runway in Europe. On 1 July 1957 the first USAF unit was activated at Torrejón air base. Until 1982 various USAF units were based here. Since the creation of Torrejón air base it was also an air base for the Spanish Air Force itself. At this moment the air base is the home of Ala 12 (EF-18), Grupo 43 (CL-215 and CL-415), Grupo 45 (Falcon 900, A-310 and A-330) Grupo Mixto 47 (Falcon 20), CLAEX (C-101 and Casa 295) and the Guardia Civile (BK-117, EC-135, AS-365, Beech 350 and Cn-235 Vigma).
From the based units five EF-18s, one Falcon 900, one A-310, one A-330, one CL-215, two CL-415s, one EC-135, two AS-365s and one Cn-235 Vigma participated in the flyby. Visiting units at Torrejón air base that participated in the flyby were Ala 15 with one EF-18BM, Ala 14 with four EF-2000s, Ala 23 with three SF-5Ms, Salvamento Maritimo with one Cn-235 and the Spanish Armada, Eslla 009 with five EAV-8Bs.
It began with a Casa 212 that dropped paratroopers of which one had a very large Spanish flag. That flag was hosted and on that moment the Patrulla Aguila overflew the city with smoke in the colors of the Spanish flag. After this the large flyby started and contained the following formations:
Formation 1: 2x SF-5M Ala 23, 1x EF-18BM Ala 12 and 1x EF-18BM Ala 15
Formation 2: 4x EF-2000 Ala11 and 4x EF-2000 Ala 14
Formation 3: 4x EF-18M Ala 12 and 4x EF-18M Ala 15
Formation 4: 4x EAV-8B+ Eslla 009
Formation 5: 8x PC-21 792 Esc
Formation 6: 1x A-400M Ala 31, 1x EF-18M Ala 15 and 1x EF-2000 Ala 11
Formation 7: 1x A-330 452 Esc and 2x A-400M Ala 31
Formation 8: 1x A-310 451 Esc, 1x Falcon 900 Esc 451 and 1x Ce-560 403 Esc
Formation 9: 1x CN-235 803 Esc, 1x CN-235 Guardia Civil and 1x CN-235 Salvamento Maritimo
Formation 10: 1x CL-215 and 2x CL-415 Gr 43
Formation 11: 1x CN-235 744 Esc, 2x Casa 295 Ala 35 and 1x Casa 212 721 Esc
Formation 12: 1x AS-332 402 Esc and 2x NH-90 803 Esc
Formation 13: 6x EC-120 Patrulla Aspa
Formation 14: 1x EC-135 Cefamet, 2x Tiger Bhela I, 2x NH-90 Bhelma III and 3x CH-47F Bheltra V
Formation 15: 1x SH-60B Eslla 010, 1x SH-60F Eslla 010 and 1x AB-212 Eslla 003
Formation 16: 1x EC-135 Guardia Civil and 2x SA-365 Guardia Civil
Formation 17: 1x EC-135 Policia Nacional, 1x AS-365 Customs and 1x AW-139 Salvamento Maritimo
Formation 18: 6x C-101 Patrulla Aguila
The following participants did not participate from Getafe, Cuatro Vientos or Torrejón but from its home base: 5x EF-2000 Ala 11, 5x EF-18M Ala 15 and 3x A-400 Ala 31.
The authors of Lowpass Aviation.com would like to thank all the involved personnel of the Spanish Air Force for their hospitality, time and help during our visits at Getafe, Cuatro Vientos and Torrejón.