Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
2000: The VF-1 Falcões patch courtesy of Lieutenant Commander Claudio Mello, Brazilian Navy.
Valter Sousa Andrade.
Rafael Pelizzon Ferreira
Captain Wynn Foster, United States Navy retired.
Commander Curt Francis, United States Navy retired.
Harry S. Gann.
Lieutenant Commander Claudio Mello, Brazilian Navy.
Felipe Canto Miranda.
Brian K. Shaune.
Stephan de Bruijn
LT Igor Bastos
CDR Fornseca Jr.
LCDR Eduardo de Moura
2000: Falcões (Hawks in Portuguese)
23 AUG 1916: Brazilian Naval Aviation established.
02 OCT 1998: VF-1 Falcões established. (Brazilian Navy 1st Intercept and Attack Fighter Squadron – VF-1)
October 2, 1998: The Brazilian Navy VF-1 Squadron was created in October 2nd 1998 and its facilities and infra-structure, comprising the 2 hangars, maintenance shops, administrative offices and the taxiways, were inaugurated a year and a half later on April 20th 2000 at Naval Air Station São Pedro da Aldeia located 80 miles east of Rio de Janeiro.
The squadron´s main mission is “To intercept and attack air threats and to find, follow and attack surface threats, in order to contribute to Airspace Defense and protection of the Naval Forces.” In order to accomplish this mission, the VF-1 pilots are constantly flying Intercept and Surface Attack training missions off of CV São Paulo and NAS São Pedro da Aldeia.
April 20, 2000: Inaugurated of its facilities and infra-structure, comprising the 2 hangars, maintenance shops, administrative offices and the taxiways at Naval Air Station São Pedro da Aldeia located 80 miles east of Rio de Janeiro.
April 26, 2000: The first AF-1 (Brazilian Navy denomination for the A-4KU) flight in Brazil. The aircraft N-1007 was manned by Lt.Col. (USMC) James Edwin Rogers. A month later the same aircraft was being flown for the first time by a Brazilian Navy pilot who was also the first to do a touch-and-go on the Brazilian Navy carrier Minas Gerais.
January 2001: The first trap and catshot on CV Minas Gerais were executed by CDR Daniel G. Canin, followed two days later by the first Bazilian Navy pilot to land on a brazilian carrier.
May 2001: The sound barrier was broken on a dive for the first time reaching 1.02 Mach.
August 2001: The first trap on CV São Paulo (ex-French Navy Foch) by a Brazilian Navy pilot was done after CDR Curtis Francis did so a month earlier.
Since then the Squadron has been going on detachments to several Brazilian Air Force bases to perform all sorts of training missions like:
April 2009: The Brazilian Navy signed a contract with EMBRAER to modernize its AF-1/1A. Upgraded avionics, one of the most important requirements of modern warfare, are the main focus of this project.
August 2009: The Squadron reached 5,000 flight hours and in the same month, for the first time, a brazilian fighter air refueled another brazilian fighter using the Buddy Store. Two AF-1A (TA-4KU) were flown in this event.
October 2009: :The Squadron celebrated its 11th anniversary. It’s eleven years flying a mature and very efficient jet and one of the most flown military aircraft in the world, 11,000,000 flight hours, 500,000 of that flown in combat." Igor
1999: Established at São Pedro d'Aldeia Naval Air Base, Brazil.
02 OCT 1998: Brazilian Navy Ship Minas Gerais A 11.
28 APR 2001: Navio-Aerodrome Sao Paulo (A12).
Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:
02 OCT 1998: Douglas A-4KU/A-4M Skyhawk.
02 OCT 1998: Douglas TA-4KU Skyhawk.
05 JAN 2000: Douglas AF-1 Skyhawk.
05 JAN 2000: Douglas AF-1A Skyhawk.
Y 2014: Douglas AF-1B Skyhawk.
Y 2014: Douglas AF-1C Skyhawk.
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Commander Carlos Augusto Andrade Marcondes (hello pilot)
Commander Victor Cardoso Gomes (hello pilot)
Commander Julio Cesar Campo Lobo (hello pilot)
Commander Kleber Ferreira Rangel (hello pilot)
Commander Denilson de Medeiros Noga (hello pilot)
Commander Alexandre Cursino de Oliveira (hello pilot)
Commander Augusto José da Silva Fonseca Junior (first fixed wing
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1822: The Brazilian Navy established with Brazil's independence.
29 APR 1911: The first Brazilian navy pilot was Lieutenant Jorge Henrique Moller, receiving his wings in France.>
23 AUG 1916: Brazilian Naval Aviation was officially established by Presidente Wenceslau Braz.
1956: Brazil purchased the aircraft carrier HMS Vengeance from Great Britain and renamed the boat Minas Gerais (A-11). The boat was used with Brazilian Navy helicopters as a anti-submarine platform. Fixed wing aircraft were prevented from being flown by the Navy due to a Brazilian law passed in 1965. This was reversed in April 1998.
1997: With United States cooperation Brazil negotiated a $70 million contract with Kuwait for the purchase of twenty A-4KU Skyhawks and three TA-4KU Skyhawks for operation from the 20,000 ton aircraft carrier Minas Gerais (A-11). The A-4KUs, modified A-4Ms and TA-4Js delivered to Kuwait in 1977, were among the final Skyhawks built by Douglas. They were selected by Brazil because of low flight time, excellent physical condition, and a favorable price tag.
The single-seat Kuwait A-4KUs, re-designated AF1, and the two-seat trainers TA-4KU re-designated AF1A were shipped by sea from Kuwait arriving in Brazil in early September 1998. The Skyhawks were placed in overhaul maintenance where they were significantly upgraded.
Photograph by Bill Walker
02 OCT 1998: Brazilian Naval Aviation Squadron VF-1 Falcões was established on the 82nd Anniversary of Brazilian Naval Aviation, at São Pedro d'Aldeia. Naval Air Base São Pedro da Aldeia is 185 km. north of Rio de Janeiro. It is the principal Brazilian Navy Air Base.
05 JAN 2000: The Falcoes AF1A (two seat) Skyhawk in permanent markings and colors is operational. Official Brazilian Navy photograph from Lieutenant Commander Claudio Mello, Brazilian Navy. BuNo 160212
26 MAY 2000: Brazilian Navy VF-1, Falcoes AF1 Skyhawk BuNo. N 1007 piloted by Lieutenant Jose Vicente de Alvarenga Filho, Brazilian Navy took off from São Pedro d'Aldeia Naval Air Base, Brazil. This was the first solo flight of a VF-1, Falcoes AF1 Skyhawk and the first fixed-wing flight by a Brazilian Naval Aviator since 1965.
11, 12, 1 SEP 2000:
In the first sea period aboard Brazilian Navy Ship Minas Gerais, Brazilian Navy AF-1 Skyhawks N-1004, N-1006, N-1007, N-1008 and N-1012 conducted flight operations in the South Atlantic. Brazilian Navy Skyhawks were flown by:
Lieutenant Jose Alvarenga Brazilian Navy;
Lieutenant Marcos Araujo Brazilian Navy;
Lieutenant Fernando Villela, Brazilian Navy;
Lieutenant Commander Gustavo Vignale, Argentine Navy;
Lieutenant Craig Ziemba, United States Navy Reserves.
The LSO for the evolution was Commander Curt "Potsie" Francis, United States Navy retired.
Official Brazilian Navy photos.
18 JAN 2001: BuNo 160189
Bill Sowers - Brazilian Catapult Officer
I (Bill Sowers) want to thank the guy that recommended me for the Brazilian Catapult Officer job. As you know, working on the flight deck was never work for me, only fun. I was surprised when they called and asked if I would like to go on a one-time mission and teach them how to launch airplanes off an old catapult. I asked if they knew that I was 60 years old and the response was " I didn't ask how old you are, I asked if you could do it". I didn't hesitate-I said "Hell yes" and left 3 days later.
Our American crew consisted of: Catapult Officer (shooter) - Bill Sowers
The BS-4 catapult had not shot an airplane in 40 years. The interlock circuit was non existent and there was no ratchet and pawl protection. After about a 40-50 no loads I was sure that I could get one shot off and if need be pull the spears back with a tractor for the second one. To my joy the old jigger system worked well and it was not needed.
The all American boy bridle arrester was not used, Kay and Associates had earlier decided to use throw-away bridles. The linear launch valves were controlled by the old adjustable carrot instead of metering rods and the dry steam receivers had excellent drains. ( I was concerned about water collection reducing steam volume). There were rumors that the cylinders may collapse and jam the spears but the precautionary no loads and study of the dead load program convinced me again, that I could get at least one shot off.
There was no Catapult Officer station and the deck edge lights were inoperative. There were also no wind direction or speed gages. I decided to establish a close rapport with the non-English speaking catapult captain and have him be my eyes for all the sensors. I used the ship's flags for wind direction and trusted the Captain and air boss to give me the wind-over-the-deck (WOD). Launch bulletins were a little different than ours and they were in Portuguese but they were sufficient after a couple modifications.
Dan Cannini the Lockheed furnished A-4 test pilot was great. He was concerned about the shot as it was only a 150 cat with a less than that power stroke. We discussed his anticipated first shot at length and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and loaded the bulletin for a 20 knot excess end speed.
We practiced hook-ups and suspends till it was second nature. We also took our time in determining the hold back location. I could not read the brass elongation indicators so the crew removed the access plate and shined them every morning - try that with our Navy.
On January 18 we shot the first catapult shot in the history of the Navy of Brazil. It was near 100 degrees F. and I made wind corrections for temperature and elongation.
The time for truth had come. We went to first ready and hooked Dan up followed quickly by stand by and fire. What a great sight it was to see him soar gracefully into the air.
The catapult shot 10 knots faster than I had anticipated and the opportunity to back off in our excess was available. After discussion with the test pilot we decided to leave everything as it was because under these circumstances the pilot was just along for the ride until he got out from the ship a considerable distance. We thought this would be to our advantage when the Brazilian and Argentine pilots took their turn.
We shot American test pilot Dan Cannini ten times to prove that air operations could be done on this old ship and then followed with 5 more shots for the three Brazilian and one Argentine pilot. One Brazilian pilot got an extra shot.
It was a great feeling of accomplishment for the Brazilian Navy and they were intensely proud to join the world attack carrier club. I was a celebrated hero and their Admiral stated that "on this day Brazilian Navy Aviation history was born". It was a great day for them and their country. They were not nearly as proud as I was. For a 60 year old man to have this opportunity once again was one of the greatest feelings of my life. To have safely and successfully pulled them into the carrier club was a satisfying plum.
28 APR 2001: The former French Aircraft Carrier, "Foch", is offically transferred to Brazil and is renamed the Navio-Aerodrome Sao Paulo (A12).
20 JUL 2001: Lieutenant Augusto J.S. Fonseca Jr., Brazilian Navy is a 1990 graduate of the Brazilian Naval Academy where Fonseca received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Prior to commencing jet transition training, Lieutenant Fonseca was a helicopter pilot, qualified in the Super Lynx. Fonseca flew the T-34C in the Uruguayan Navy and the T-34C and EMB-326 in the Argentinean Navy before reporting to VT-7 in September 2000. During Advanced Strike Training Lieutenant Fonseca earned three Navy "E's" for bombing accuracy and carrier qualified July 20, 2001 in the Boeing T-45C Goshawk on United States Ship HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN-75).
16 OCT 2001: Brazilian Navy Ship Minas Gerais A 11 was decommissioned, possibly for a future museum.
MAR 2002: VF-1 Briefing aboard the Sao Paulo.
16 APR 2009: Upgrade for nine AF-1 and three AF-1A Skyhawks.
JUN 2014: Brazil is modernizing a mix of 12 AF-1 and AF-1A Skyhawks. Current count for the new AF-1B single seater is 2, and 3 of the two seat AF-1C aircraft. Projection for Y2015 is a total of 9 AF-1B and 3 AF-1C on active duty.
Sad news... An A 4KU from Brazilian Navy crashed this afternoon in the sea. Two Skyhawks were training bombing against vessels and they collided. One crashed and another could come back to the base. The pilot is missed and a SAR mission is on the way.
1991 Kuwaiti A-4KU 807 BuNo 160186.
1991: Kuwaiti A-4KU 827 BuNo 160206. After the 1991 war the remaining Kuwaiti A-4KU and TA-4KU Skyhawks were kept in storage until sold to Brazil in 1997. Note the canopy shield - to protect the canopy from desert sand etching and the crew access ladder. Photograph from Max Tollens.
2 Oct 1998: Brazilian Navy AF-1 Falcão N-1001 (BuNo 160180) painted in temporary (projected) colors and markings on display at the VF-1 Squadron establishment ceremony. Photo from Ronnie Whamond.
The São Pedro d'Aldeia VF-1 Falcões establishment ceremony parading the single seat Brazilian Navy AF-1 Falcão N-1001 (BuNo 160180) painted in a temporary color scheme.
Proposed Markings and Colors - October 1998.
MAR 1999: Brazilian Navy Skyhawk N-1001 (BuNo 160180) armed with Sidewinder missiles.
AUG 1999: Kuwaiti A-4KU 826 BuNo 160205.
AUG 1999 Kuwaiti A-4KU 807 BuNo 160186. A head on view of a newly arrived Skyhawk in original Kuwait Air Force colors. Photograph by Valter Sousa Andrade.
DEC 1999: Brazilian Navy Bird Farm.
27 APR 2000: VF-1 Hangar at Naval Air Base São Pedro da Aldeia.
Date Unknown: BuNo 160186, former A-4KU, N-1004 parked on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.
09 JUN 2000: AF-1 Skyhawk BuNo. N 1022 BuNo 160213.
12 SEP 2000: AF-1 Skyhawk and Brazilian Navy Ship Minas Gerais A-11.
Fall 2000: AF-1 Skyhawk Four Plane Formation.
Fall 2000: AF-1 Skyhawk Four Plane Feet Wet.
18 JAN 2001: The Brazilian Navy exercise to make the AF-1 Falcão Skyhawk carrier operational on the Brazilian Navy Light Aircraft Carrier Minas Gerais ( A-11) was executed January 18, 2001. This would be the first time a Brazilian Navy pilot in a jet aircraft would trap aboard a Brazilian Navy aircraft carrier. The exercise was based at Cabo Frio - RJ, Brazil and involved three AF-1 Falcão Skyhawk fighter-bombers.
MAY 2001: the Brazilian Navy exercised its second carrier the Brazilian Ship São Paulo - the reworked French Ship Marshal Foch. Landing Signal Officer this period was Commander Curt Francis, United States Navy retired. The AF-1 Falcão Skyhawks again worked the deck. LSO Commander Francis took the following digital pictures - the graphics are a bit big but worth the download time.
From time to time United States carriers cruise the South Atlantic near Argentina and Brazil. Since Naval Aviators from these countries are trained by the United States Navy - they fly out to the United States carriers to bum a few CV landings. In October 2001, the Brazilian Falcãos, including BuNo.160180, made a few touch 'n go passes on United States Ship Nimitz CVN 68 somewhere in the South Atlantic. In return Nimitz aircraft visit the Falcão's field to get rid of corroding sea salt with a quick fresh water wash job.
MAR 2002: "Checking the oil", on a AF-1 of VF-1.
MAR 2002: VF-1 AF-1 N1011, BuNo 160196, is taxied on the Sae Paulo.
Waist cat launch of BuNo 160196
VF-1 aboard the Sao Paulo A-12: A VF-1 Skyhawk about to trap aboard the Sao Paulo.
08 JUN 2004: A Brazilian Navy A-4 Skyhawk from the Brazilian Clemenceau Class Aircraft Carrier BNS SAO PAULO (A 12) performs a touch and go on the deck of the US Navy (USN) Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76). The RONALD REAGAN and its crew are participating in exercises supporting SUMMER PULSE 2004 while underway circumnavigating South America as they make their way to their new homeport at San Diego, California (CA).
Aug 2004 Brazilian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 160203, 1017.
Aug 2004 Brazilian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 160192, 1008.
Brazilian Navy Skyhawk N-1021 (BuNo 160212).
Y2009: BuNo 160183 photo is from Captain Carlos A. Matias, a Brazilian Navy pilot and the former Commanding Officer of the São Pedro da Aldeia Naval Air Base. Captain Matias created, in 2009, a new display square inside the base for one of VF-1's Skyhawks. Placed on display is BuNo 160183, a former A-4KU, designated by the Brazilian Navy as AF-1 N-1003 after buying it from the Kuwait Air Force in 1998. The Skyhawk was used by the VF-1 Naval Air Squadron and retired in Y2009.
2010: One of the editors of "PODER NAVAL" flew in a VF-1 Skyhawk, and they shared their photos with the association.
Special 15th anniversary paint scheme.
Sunset shot of unknown Skyhawk.
BuNo 160212 N-1021, two-seat Skyhawk following landing.
BuNo 160213, N-1022, parked with canopy open. Gary Verver Collection.
BuNo 160198/ N-1013, and BuNo 160186 N-1004 in-flight. Photo courtesy LCDR Eduardo de Moura.
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