The Se­vi­lle-Ca­ma­güey Flight

IN 1932, TWO SPA­NISH PILOTS NA­MED BARBERÁN AND CO­LLAR PLANNED TO FLY ACROSS THE POND OVER THE WIDEST ZO­NE, ABOARD THE CUA­TRO VIEN­TOS (FOUR WINDS), FROM SPAIN TO CU­BA

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

In the la­te 1920s, Spa­nish avia­tion stood out for the deeds per­for­med by their long-haul pilots: the flight ma­de by Ra­món Fran­co on the Plus Ul­tra; the one on La Rá­bi­da to Bue­nos Ai­res, fo­llo­wed in 1929 by the Je­sús del Gran Po­der, pi­lo­ted by Ji­mé­nez and Igle­sias, who cros­sed the Atlan­tic Ocean from Ta­bla­da a Re­ci­fe, Bra­zil, and then flew on to Ha­va­na, af­ter tou­ching down in se­ve­ral La­tin Ame­ri­can coun­tries.

That same de­ca­de wit­nes­sed the feat con­duc­ted by Ame­ri­can pi­lot Lind­berg who tra­ve­led from New York to Pa­ris, and the one do­ne by Fran­ce's Cos­tes, who ma­de the same flight on the way back.

In 1932, two Spa­niards planned on flying across the pond again, this ti­me around from their country to Cu­ba in a bid to per­form the lon­gest flight ever over the widest zo­ne of the ocean. Ma­riano Bar­be­ran y Tros de Ilar­du­ya, who was the prin­ci­pal of the Es­cue­la de Ob­ser­va­do­res de Cua­tro Vien­tos in Ma­drid; and Joa­quín Co­llar Serra, a pi­lot and a pro­fes­sor with the Es­cue­la de Ca­zas de Al­ca­lá de He­na­res, star­ted the preps to ma­ke their dream come true, a dream that al­so took them to Mexico City. Only Bar­be­ran had had a few flying hours un­der his belt du­ring the Plus Ul­tra ad­ven­tu­re.

The air­craft of choi­ce for this trip was a Bre­guet XIX Su­per Gran Raid Nº 71, which was out­fit­ted with an en­clo­sed cock­pit following countless test flights. That was a ne­ces­sary chan­ge to be able to carry more fuel. At the same ti­me, they ma­de a tho­rough as­sess­ment of the rou­te they had to fo­llow and loo­ked in­to the pos­si­ble weat­her va­ria­tions they could hit upon. On the Cuban part, Barberán and Co­llar re­lied on the coope­ra­tion pro­vi­ded by Je­suit priest Gu­tié­rrez Lan­za, chief of the Observatorio del Co­le­gio de Be­lén; and en­sign Os­car Ri­very Or­tiz, head of the Observatorio del Cuer­po de Avia­ción del Ejér­ci­to, who kept on for­war­ding weat­her re­ports on the Ca­rib­bean re­gion on a re­gu­lar ba­sis.

Fi­nally, Barberán and Co­llar hea­ded out of the Ge­ta­fe Air­port in Ma­drid to Se­vi­lle, whe­re they would ma­ke the great leap. At 4:35 pm on Ju­ne 10, they took off north­bound and stee­red on the right di­rec­tion a few mi­nu­tes la­ter.

Nearly fi­ve hours la­ter, they we­re flying over Ma­dei­ra Is­lands. The la­yer of clouds only let them ma­ke out the sum­mit of the Fun­chal Peak. From that point on­ward, they star­ted flying over the ocean. Bar­be­ran was tas­ked with sys­te­ma­ti­cally chec­king all flight cal­cu­la­tions, the geo­grap­hi­cal po­si­tion and the use of the sex­tant with the help of the sun, the moon and the stars. As Co­llar fell sud­denly air­sick, Bar­be­ran al­so took the helm of the Cua­tro Vien­tos for a long whi­le. 33 hours la­ter, they be­gan to ma­ke out the Bay of Sa­ma­na. Af­ter flying past the Do­mi­ni­can Re­pu­blic and Hai­ti, all they had to do was cross the Wind­ward Pas­sa­ge and land on the lar­gest Ca­rib­bean is­land.

JOA­QUÍN CO­LLAR

SERRA

MA­RIANO BARBERÁN Y

TROS DE ILAR­DU­YA

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