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102nd Squadron (Portugal)
File:Cessna T-37C Tweety Bird (318C), Portugal - Air Force AN1051305.jpg
T-37C aircraft of the Asas De Portugal display team, part of 102 Squadron
Country Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal
Branch Portuguese Air Force
Service history
Active 1963
Role Flight training
Part of Operational Group 11 (1977—1992)
Nickname Panchos
Commanders
Insignia

102 Squadron "Panchos" (Esquadra 102) was an elementary flight training squadron of the Portuguese Air Force disbanded in 1992.

HistoryEdit

The squadron's heritage began in early 1960s when Basic Flight Instruction Squadron No. 2 (Portuguese language:Esquadra de Instrução Básica de Pilotagem Nº 2 , E.I.B.P. 2), "Os Panchos", was constituted at Air Base No. 1 (Portuguese language:Base Aérea Nº 1 , BA1), flying the Cessna T-37 Tweet entering service with the Portuguese Air Force (PoAF). Together with Basic Flight Instruction Squadron No. 1 (Portuguese language:Esquadra de Instrução Básica de Pilotagem Nº 1 , E.I.B.P. 1), which flew the North American T-6, formed the Basic Flight Training Group (Portuguese language:Grupo de Instrução Básica de Pilotagem , G.I.B.P.).[1][2]

The first twelve T-37C aircraft arrived in December 1962 as kits and were assembled at the OGMA workshops in February 1963. The remaining 18 aircraft arrived in batches of six, with the deliveries taking place in March 1964, June 1964, and the last six in January 1965.[1]

The squadron (E.I.B.P. 2) was assigned the flight instruction of the aeronautic flight course's students of the Military Academy and was divided into two flights (Portuguese language:esquadrilhas ): Esquadrilha n° 1, "Feras" (Beasts), and Esquadrilha n° 2, "Águias" (Eagles). Later it was also assigned the role of instructing the basic flight courses, at first alongside E.I.B.P. 1, which was later transferred to Air Base No. 7 (Portuguese language:Base Aérea Nº 7 , BA7.[1]

On February 3, 1964, the first crash of a PoAF T-37C occurred, killing both pilots. Between November 10, 1964, and December 9, 1990, six more crashes took place and caused the loss of seven more pilots.[3]

In 1964 the squadron formed and started to train a new air force flight demonstration team named "Panchos" with the objective of performing a demonstration at a festival taking place in Alverca in July of the same year. However, the demonstration was canceled and the team was inactivated after an accident during a training exercise resulted in the loss of an aircraft and the death of the pilot.[4]

Cessna T-37C Tweety Bird (318C), Portugal - Air Force AN0351427

Portuguese Air Force T-37C in formation

The following year the demonstration team was reactivated and continued its training and started to perform at air shows. In 1969, the team's name was changed to "Diabos Vermelhos" (Red Devils) and the number of demonstrations was increased. In 1970 the team was inactivated due to the Colonial War.[4]

The flight demonstration team was temporarily reactivated in 1973, as "Os Panchos", to perform at the commemoration of the centennial birth of Alberto Santos-Dumont. In 1976 the team was reactivated and in 1977 the Portuguese Air Force officially established the flight demonstration team Asas de Portugal as the national aerobatic flying team.[4]

In 1977 the squadron was re-designated as 102 Squadron and transferred to Air Base No. 11 (Portuguese language:Base Aérea Nº 11 , BA11) as part of the reorganization of the Air Force's operational structure of 1978 and became the only squadron to minister basic flight training.[5]

The squadron was disbanded on August 8, 1992, as the T-37C was officially retired from service.[5]

LineageEdit

  • Constituted as Esquadra de Instrução Básica de Pilotagem Nº 2 in 1963
    Re-designated as Esquadra 102 in 1977
  • Disbanded on August 8, 1992

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mais Alto 401, p. 13
  2. "Sobre a Esquadra 101 - Roncos" (in Portuguese). About 101 Squadron - Roncos. Portuguese Air Force. http://www.emfa.pt/www/po/esquadra/sobre-101. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  3. Mais Alto 401, p. 13–17
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Mais Alto 401, p. 15
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mais Alto 401, p. 17

BibliographyEdit

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