Argentine Air Force ON ICE

FAA in Patagonia

Each year, units of the Argentine Air Force head to the Patagonian Andes to practise flying in an environment that closely simulates operations in the Antarctic. Horacio J Clariá joined them.

1: The SA315B Lama performed simulated medevac and slung-load airlifts around the glacier. The helicopter made use of the belly cargo hook, fitted on the leading Lama.
2: The Twin Otter crews received intensive training in landing on snow/ice fields. Depending on wind conditions, the slope of the terrain, temperature and aircraft weight, the DHC-6 can take off in 300m and land in 100m.
3: FAA physicians in action. After completing a primary survey, they immobilise the casualty’s neck and back and then use a folding combat stretcher to place them in the left side of the SA315B’s bubble cockpit.
4: Medevac training was a main objective of Glaciar 2018. Special forces pararescuers and physicians worked in very challenging snow/icy conditions. Here, a Bell 412EP waits to take off.
All photos Horacio J Clariá unless stated

A small airfield in the village of Loncopué, in Argentina’s Neuquén province, close to the Chilean border, has played host to some unusual visitors. Last September it became the headquarters for the latest Glaciar (glacier) exercise, which prepares Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA, Argentine Air Force) units for missions in Antarctica. Training sorties launched from Loncopué included simulating airborne medical evacuation (medevac), carrying external loads, airdropping cargo, conducting tactical navigation as well as taking off and landing from ice runways.

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