The Pan-Ame­ri­can Con­fra­ter­nity Flight

NAVY EN­SIGN OSCAR RIVERY OR­TIZ STARRED IN THIS INITIATIVE, IN WHICH ALL COUN­TRIES IN THE AMERICAS WE­RE VI­SI­TED IN NEARLY FOUR MONTHS

Excelencias Turísticas del caribe y las Américas - - Vuelo Indirecto / Indirect Flight -

Af­ter the feat per­for­med by Antonio Me­nen­dez Pe­laez on his Ca­ma­güey-Se­vi­lle flight, the fo­llo­wing year he was sum­mo­ned to ta­ke part in the Pro-Fa­ro de Co­lón flight, which was the re­sult of co­lla­bo­ra­tion bet­ween Cu­ba and the Do­mi­ni­can Re­pu­blic. Its ob­jec­ti­ve was to gat­her con­ti­nen­tal sup­port for the cons­truc­tion of a mo­nu­ment to Ch­ris­top­her Co­lum­bus, even­tually built in San­to Domingo.

The initiative would count on a Do­mi­ni­can air­pla­ne bap­ti­zed with the na­me of Co­lum­bus and th­ree Cu­ban pla­nes ca­lled La Ni­ña, La Pin­ta and San­ta María, un­der the com­mand of Menéndez Pe­láez.

Af­ter tra­ve­ling most of South Ame­ri­ca, the Cu­ban squad found it­self in­vol­ved in a ca­tas­trop­he near Ca­li, Co­lom­bia, whe­re the th­ree air­crafts cras­hed and the en­ti­re crew pe­ris­hed.

A NEW FLIGHT

Back in the day, navy en­sign Oscar Rivery Or­tiz, who was a pres­ti­gious pro­fes­sor at the School of Mi­li­tary Avia­tion of Cu­ba, who had aut­ho­red books on air na­vi­ga­tion and was de­puty di­rec­tor of the Na­tio­nal Ob­ser­va­tory, was in the pro­cess of pre­pa­ring a flight th­roug­hout the Ame­ri­can na­tions with a view to meet a num­ber of scien­ti­fic ob­jec­ti­ves. This pro­ject pic­ked up steam only to be­co­me a fo­llow-up to the ill-fa­ted Pro-Fa­ro de Co­lon flight, in tri­bu­te to his fe­llow Cu­ban Na­val air­men and ser­vi­ce­men ki­lled in the di­sas­ter.

Be­fo­re starting the flight, for­mer pre­si­dent of the Re­pu­blic of Cu­ba, Ful­gen­cio Ba­tis­ta, brie­fed Rivery Or­tiz to carry a per­so­nal mes­sa­ge to all the pre­si­dents of the Americas with a call to the Pan-Ame­ri­can con­fra­ter­nity. It was 1940 and the world had en­ga­ged in a war of glo­bal ou­treach and in which the Ame­ri­can na­tions could not feel alien to.

The flight took off on Oc­to­ber 12, 1940, aboard a Ho­ward DGA-8 air­craft na­med Lieu­te­nant Menéndez and tag­ged with num­ber 54 of the Na­val Avia­tion of Cu­ba. Oscar Rivery Or­tiz, the flight com­man­der, flew with na­vi­ga­tor Juan de Dios Rios Mon­te­ne­gro as pi­lot, and Fran­cis­co Medina Pe­rez –his brot­her Ro­ber­to Medina had died in the Pro-Fa­ro de Co­lón tra­gedy- as a me­cha­nic.

The rou­te stret­ched out for roughly four months and 60 legs. All coun­tries in the Americas we­re vi­si­ted and the crew was gree­ted by the pre­si­dents of 22 na­tions and the go­ver­nors of Gu­ya­na and Puer­to Rico. All in all, the air­craft co­ve­red a grand to­tal of al­most 19,000 mi­les.

The ob­jec­ti­ves of the flight we­re met. Rivery Or­tiz ca­rried out im­por­tant scien­ti­fic stu­dies on air na­vi­ga­tion and the re­gion's weat­her con­di­tions whe­re­ver he flew over. They we­re re­cei­ved and ho­no­red by scien­ti­fic ins­ti­tu­tions. In ad­di­tion, they put Cu­ban Avia­tion on a pe­des­tal as the flight was con­si­de­red a genuine feat.

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