The night flight specialist, formerly of The Legion
The "Condor de la Rioja" or knight
Almandos Almonacid and Mermoz
Details of his biography See also (also Patagonian data)
Argentine Air Force hero, the specialist for night flight, formerly of The Legion.
Born in Facunda Quinroga at the foot of the Andes. He passed his pilot's license in France in 1913. When war broke out 14-18, he enlisted in the Foreign Legion which allows it to go into aviation. He finished as a squadron pilot famous night bombing. He returns to his country, Captain of the French Army with Military Medal, Legion of Honor and War Cross with many fins. He had two in his luggage that France offered him with a fighter jet. It crosses at night in the Andes plane, arises at Valparaiso in Chile. Ten years later, he is manager of the Company Aeroposta Argentina, he created with Bouilloux-Laffont.
In 1925 trade mission Murat Prince Charles sailed for Brazil with the commander Roig, and Hamm Vachet pilots, mechanics Gauthier, Estival, Knight and three Breguet XIV, 3 engines and spare parts. Almandos Almonacid welcomes them and helps them in their mission. On-site mission commits the Lafay pilot, Captain in the French Military Mission. The three planes are ready to recognize the future lines, field Affonsos in Rio, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Montevideo ... total of 20 lots are recognized. This mission is fraught with pitfalls. Several incidents occurred. Vachet arises from Rio on a beach. Hamm's plane gets stuck in Porto Alegre. Upon returning from Buenos Aires on bad weather forces them to arise in nature. Then the network is recognized north to Recife. The line is cleared. Bouilloux-Laffont closely following his progress and noted the enthusiasm and faith that drive its young members. The incidents are numerous, racketeering, dams ... Germany is already there. Once back in France, despite a favorable report of implantation of the line in South America, The Minister of Aviation, Mr. Bokanowski accept the principle but poses unacceptable conditions for PG Latécoère. Bouilloux-Laffont take over.
The "Condor de la Rioja" or the knight.
Among the friends we expect from El Palomar was one of them was particularly dear to me: it was Almandos Almonacid Vicente, Argentina qu'aisé more, I must emphasize the personal affection he had for the France and the French. Its property status he had achieved before 1914, the civilian pilot's license in his country. At the beginning of the war he was on a pleasure trip to France immediately declared war he contracted an engagement in the Foreign Legion (like Italian Olivero) .... it was voluntary, early in 1915, to join the famous captain's Happe squadron that he was putting together. And this is how my private soldier in the squadron and crawling is Vachet speaking, I had known the adjutant Almandos Almonacid, one of eight pilot of the famous Escadrille MF 29, the same one or j ' learned a few months later to drive. Almandos Almonacid would distinguish himself so much that he managed to control it, two years later, with the rank of captain ... He was, in particular, the initiator of flights and night bombing ... After the war, in Argentina it was made famous by a night crossing of the Andes on SPAD, remained memorable ... Upon arrival in El Palomar, Almandos Almonacid had inquired in a tone bright, with an assistant of T. .. Colonel, commanding the base of the reasons why the latter refused to leave our house in an aircraft hangar . The latter replied in a tone very unpleasant, leaving betraying his feelings towards the French and France, the Argentine military was then Germanophile ...
Colonel T. .., warned of the intervention of noisy Almandos Almonacid demanded an apology ... He received the following telegram:
"You wear response tomorrow morning at six o'clock, with two witnesses and weapons of your choice."
As Colonel T. .. was national champion in saber, he resolved to inflict punishment to the aviator.
When the appointed hour, Almandos Almonacid came with a car which rattled arsenal spears, swords and pistols; his opponent, acting offended, naturally chose the weapon of the cavalry, the pilot had never handled in his life.
But luck of the Condor of the famous Rioja marked his daring a favorable sign.
No sooner had they witnessed apart qu'Almandos Almonacid rushed waving his arms. He received a graze to the elbow, but his blade had already split his opponent's forehead above the right eye. A second shot, too fast, opened the left eyebrow. The blood poured, blinding the officer. The fight was stopped. Later, he offered his glove Roig stained purple: "Keep it. It is marked with blood ... The blood I shed for our aircraft."
Sources: "The Line" by Jean-Gérard Fleury and "Before the Jets" by Paul Vachet.
Control the aircraft at night without artificial landmark was a curiosity for some drivers from the beginning of aviation. Before the war, Granseigne (or Grandseigne) had succeeded (February 11, 1911, Robert Granseigne flies over Paris at 3 am). Only a slight clarity allowed to do ... and some nerve. One evening after dinner, Almandos Almonacid brought forth his airplane hangar, put the engine and took off. As he was climbing, his eyes became accustomed to the darkness ... A dim light showed the gray line the roads, both son silver rails railway, the meandering rivers lacquered, dark lines of trenches.
"... I was sure, he triumphed. We see enough to get by!"
The local military commander, hearing the roar, asked the head of Almandos Almonacid who was forced to recognize that this was one of his drivers who was in the air, a stranger, moreover, so a spy!
After his exquisite ride and an uneventful landing, ran up the mess Almandos Almonacid give his impressions. He was welcomed by his boss who gave him four days of strict arrest.
Almandos Almonacid and Mermoz
"The halo of the propeller stirring the light rays forming a crown of St. Space is headed for strong lines and soft ..."
These lines fell under the eyes of Almandos Almonacid. Almonacid? Who is Almonacid? you say.
It is a sonorous name of conqueror of the sky.
Some survivors of the war remember this Argentine quiet, elegant and right, who came to bring his courageous clarity in the haze black North.
Engaged in the French air force from the beginning of the war, he showed a coolness and indomitable courage. He foresaw under the placid mask of a young observer, Heurteaux, fresh from St. Cyr, a fierce impetuosity. He did get up an elite group at night bombers Happe. He could not give the lie to its name with Arabic roots meaning: the Lord of the mountain. He was the great Lord of night flights.
I can still see the field of Furgnes, near the farm of Boagaerde in Flanders, the end of 1914, kicked and had to be smiling as his ancestors probably Spanish, who in 1610, delivered on the same ground of the famous battles dunes in northern hordes. The chances of the front we parted. He quickly distinguished himself and ended the war alive, a rare survivor of the group Happe. Captain, awarded the Military Medal, the Legion of Honor, widely quoted, he hastened to join Argentina to serve his country.
One day there, he sent Mermoz.
"Mermoz, he said in his clear voice, offered so much resemblance to one of my best pilots in my squadron group Happe: Baron, his fearlessness that does surprise me."
Almandos Almonacid Mermoz guided in its first steps and his first efforts.
Anxious also to create Argentine pilots, Almandos Almonacid chooses the best among his countrymen, Ficarelli, and put him in the French school of the line, with Mermoz. The student quickly became worthy of the master ..
He then told the Argentina-Paraguay mail.
During a trip on a cloudy, Ficarelli crashed against a mountain ..
Broken legs, among the flames, he refused all help, shouting fiercely the survivor: "SAVE THE MAIL".
They buried the pilot land in Argentina Paraguay, where he fell.
But one day, asked to see Mermoz Almandos Almonacid, head of the line to Buenos Ayres.
- I have a favor to ask.
- Granted in advance, responds Almandos Almonacid (As he replied to the front to Baron, knowing instinctively that such men never ask anything for them).
With Laté-25, narrow body, the coffin is Mermoz Ficarelli. Unable to place it in the fuselage, it introduced the standing, the docked as he could, and, taking off the plane and unbalanced difficulty, managed to bring the corpse of his friend in Buenos Ayres, in his homeland.
Eternal act of heroism, comparable to that of fellow survivor who jumped through a thousand obstacles, to bring the body of the friend fell in battle.
Imagine how long flight in such conditions?
But why the mention?
The imagination - this is proven is not it? - Is exceeded by the stoic simplicity of the action of reality.
Amaze you, after such acts, as the name of Mermoz, South America, symbolizes the courage and the generosity of a French aviator.
Pierre Constantini, (the Aero's Friday, March 12, 1937)
The day of the celebration of the first year of the extension of the line south of Bahia Blanca in Comodoro Rivadavia, Saint - Exupery inspects the ground of Villa Harding Green in Bahia Blanca, with his plane that he had 25 Laté called "Piloto Ficarelli" in homage to the Argentine airman died in a plane crash.
Vicente Almandos Almonacid (1881-1953) the famous precursor of Aeronautics in Argentina was born in La Rioja. In 1913, after technical studies and some notions of control, he went to France to build an aircraft designed and named by him "aeromóvil". He spends his wings, and when war broke out he enlisted in the Foreign Legion (Army Corps Ysar No. 20), like many foreigners in France, Italian Oilvero, American Kiffin Rockwell of the Lafayette Escadrille ... The following year he received his military wings. (See above, some phases of his behavior during the war)
At the end of the war, and after several bombing missions (he invented a mechanism to drop the bombs mounted under the aircraft, mechanism adopted by the allied armies) he was posted to 26 Squadron MS Roland Garros, where he was appointed Captain with the following decorations: Medal Militaire de France, Cruz War, Badge of the Legion of Honour, Badge of the League and French Aerospace Badge Government of Great Britain.
In 1919 he is part of the French Mission Aircraft (composed of twenty aircraft, four seaplanes and gliders four) and during their stay in Argentina he has organized numerous demonstrations. Shortly after their arrival, the Argentine National Congress given the same rank he had in the French Army and incorporated into the Argentine Army. (Law N º 10,989, but there was no implementing decree)
In early 1920, the Patron of the French Mission appointing him Lieutenant Fernand Prieur, to continue the mission in Chile, but you have to cross the Andes. Spad biplane with his 220 he met a lot of mechanical problems to reach Mendoza (Argentina). Then he made a forced landing at night at two thousand feet and the aircraft was destroyed. The boss of the French Mission then ordered Prior to pay its more powerful machine (a Breguet 300 HP) to his fellow Argentine who refuses to "do not deprive France" the glory of linking Argentina to Chile for the first times, and then Lieutenant Prior resumed consideration to achieve this feat.
Meanwhile, the same year, Lieutenant Jean Guichard and Argentine Jimenez Ballast war buddies, negotiated as part of the Mission and with the French Aerospace Company Franco-Argentina Transport, buying a plane to Almandos Almonacid. The company president, with fame and generosity saying "French planes are not for sale to Almandos Almonacid, but rather to offer as a gift", gives a Spad 220 HP, by rail to join the Mendoza.
March 29, 1920, "Condor Riojano" off the night of Mendoza to land in a vineyard near the beach Vergara (Chile), next to a vineyard near the sea, where it is a perfect landing in the dark.
In 1927, it represents the "Company Generates he Aeropostale", and obtains authorization from the Argentine government to create the line of South American and Europe with headquarters in Buenos Aires where free services will be provided by the local branch of the company Aeroposta CORP. Argentina. In the latter he was appointed technical director from 1928 to 1932.
In mid 1932, when war broke out between Paraguay and Bolivia, he rallied to the cause of Paraguay, and will offer its services in the conflict region. Once in Paraguay, and as Honorary Colonel, he organized local aviation.
Back in Argentina, he entered the consular service where he served six years as curator of the house. He chairs the days of celebrations of General Jose de San Martin in Boulogne in France, a city that had Argentine Consulate.
Bouilloux-Lafont is based on Captain Vicente Almandos Almonacid Argentina to organize the branch, and September 5, 1927, CORP Aeroposta Argentina. is created. The offices of the Aeropostale will settle in Buenos Aires at the headquarters of the latter. The authorized capital of five million was there was a million shareholders. To Paraguay, Santiago de Chile and Patagonia with the French Paul Vachet Argentines Pedro Leonardo Selvetti Ficarelli and set up the first links. Are created with the same period, September 1927, jointly "Aeroposta Uruguay" and the "Companhia Brasileira aviation" as subsidiary companies of national character in collaboration with the Air-which will bring its know-how. To see the branch Patagonian Rufino Luro Cambaceres. , And Joseph Albert GOURINSKI The French (1891-1960) and Don Alberto Gourinski, mechanic, station manager, caterer and other ... in 1928