Chilean air force celebrates 81 years of service in March

Flyovers, rescue demonstrations, and open houses at Santiago’s main air base are among the free events planned for the month.

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The Chilean Air Force (Fach) celebrates 81 years of service this month with a series of demonstrations and expositions in Santiago that began on Sunday, March 6.  The first major event was at 3pm over Parque Padre Hurtado in the eastern suburb of La Reina.

The airborne acrobats squadron, the “Hawks,” performed first, followed by a demonstration from the “Blue Berets,” the air force’s parachuting squad. These events were followed by a flyover of the most recent generation of F-16 fighter jets, and helicopter rescue demonstration.

On the ground, spectators circulated between stands from the air force’s Air Search and Rescue Service (SAR), the Air and Space Museum, and the School of Aviation, amongst others. The next two Sundays in March will see similar demonstrations in two of Santiago’s other largest parks, in Central Santiago’s Parque O’Higgins on March 13, and in Las Condes’ Parque Araucano on March 20.

Another important event will be held on Saturday, March 26, when the air force base at El Bosque in Santiago will be open to the public. Another round of aeronautic demonstrations will be held for public enjoyment while visitors will also have the opportunity to tour the base and its fleet of planes.

Several other events in March are designed to benefit disabled and at-risk children in the Chilean capital. The air force will be offering a guided tour of the Air and Space Museum, providing at-risk youth a flyover of the Metropolitan Region in a Boeing 737, and sending members of the “Hawks” squadron to visit children in hospitals around Santiago.

The month’s activities will conclude the air force’s assistance in organizing a dental and medical operation in the town of Lolol, one of the worst hit by the 2010 tsunami.

The private, official ceremony, presided over by President Sebastián Piñera alongside the Commander in Chief of the Air Force General Jorge Rojas Ávila, will take place at El Bosque Air Base on March 23.