Birth, first steps and pre-war planes of the Spanish Military Aviation

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Master Sergeant
Jan 1, 2010
On September 5, 1909, Joan Oliver, dubbed "the volaoret" an airplane took off with 200 kilos in the military land in Paterna (Valencia), managed to go 50 meters in the air and land. The unit had a cost of 20,000 pesetas. On April 2, 1910 military aviation was born in Spain by a Royal Order which decreed "the study, for the services of ballooning, aeronautics and aviation airplane type most suitable for the army and the establishment of laboratory aerodynamics." Of these aircraft will service the Corps and the blimp Spain. In March 1911 started the course for the first class of military aviation in Cuatro Vientos, near Madrid. The students belonged entirely to the Weapon Engineers and professors, other than Colonel Vives Vich, was civil. Until the third class in 1912, did not join the Navy officers, two Navy ensigns. Later, on February 28, 1913, when military aircraft already has some riders and media, was created by Royal Decree on Military Service Air Force divided the branch of ballooning and aviation. This service, which is under the command of Colonel Pedro Vives Vich, rests solely with the Minister of Defense, while still connected to the Army Corps of Engineers Section. Two months later, on April 16, 1913 approving the current emblem of the Air Force.

On November 5, 1913, (the 24th of that month according to some sources) the Spanish expeditionary squadron involved in the War of Morocco, acting for the first time in the world as a military aviation unit organized in actual conflict and carrying out the first organized bombing war in history. On this first occasion was used in this mission a unit B-1 Lohner Pfeil. On December 15, 1915 made ​​their first seaplane flight, the military in Spain by Captain Robert Withe Santiago with a Curtiss JN-2 modified. On June 15, 1919 is a milestone for the global aviation because of the first nonstop transatlantic flight by John Alcock British and Arthur Brown flew from Newfoundland to Ireland in a Vickers Vimy biplane.

On July 21, 1921 took place the Annual Disaster and three days after loss Zeluán airfield at the hands of the Kabyle of Abd al-Krim. Spanish Aviation lost twelve aircraft (ten were burned, one down and another was an accident). The government appropriations for the purchase of aircraft and in some provinces popular subscriptions start this purpose. On November 3, 1922 Spanish Military Aviation received the Military Medal collective "work very efficient and the enemy action and cooperation with other forces in few operations were carried out from June 29, 1921." On September 8, 1925 air operations were conducted in collaboration with the French army to support the landing of Alhucemas. They involved 136 aircraft, 18 flying boats of Aeronautics Navy, of which twelve belong to the carrier Daedalus (which also has a tethered balloon and a blimp) and six seaplanes French as well as the 37 th Regiment of bombing the French supported the landing of 18,000 troops in the Bay of Alhucemas.

At the end of the decade of the 20s were completed several construction projects of new devices like the Spanish bill HACR "Pirate" Captain of Engineers Antonio Cañete Heredia, the first seaplane Spanish, which made ​​its first flight on 17 August 1927 and the first gyro, model C-8L Juan de la Cierva, which launched on December 18, 1928. In 1933 he created the General Directorate of Aeronautics, an agency that is responsible for all technical, administrative and training both military aircraft and the civil.Durante the early years of the Republic the organizational structure remains intact. The aviation body was divided into two branches: Military Aviation, under the Army, and Naval Aviation, which provided support work for the Navy. In any case, the Spanish Aviation weapon needed in the mid-30's an urgent upgrading. There were plans to replace the Nieuport-Delage Ni D-52 on the Hawker Fury and XIX Breguet bombers by Martin 199 (B-10), but were suspended with the outbreak of the Civil War. Military Aviation was divided into three teams based in Madrid, Seville and Barcelona, a group under the name African Air Force bases scattered with several Spanish protectorate of Morocco and some squadrons of instruction based primarily on Four Winds and Los Alcazares. Naval Aviation (since 1933, Naval Aviation) was divided into four specialized torpedo squadrons, combat and training, reconnaissance and bombing.
In 1919 the Avro Company gave an Avro 504K to King Alfonso XIII, who donated it to the Army. The Spanish Air Force purchased about 50 copies of the RAF surplus, which were mainly used in the pilot schools Getafe, Four Winds, and Albacete Alcalá, where he trained as pilots some greats like Franco, Gonzalez Gallarza, Estévez, Lóriga, Llorente , Gomez Spencer, Hidalgo de Cisneros, Lacalle, etc. .. They kept flying until 1938 at the Republican schools of Levante. The 504 was the model chosen by Juan de la Cierva autogyro to be transformed to C-6.


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Fokker built the house in 1922, a reconnaissance aircraft version of the Fokker CI 1918, which was based on the D. VII fighter of World War I under the name C-III. The wings were of unequal size and composite construction. It had the fuel tank and fairing mounted on the shaft of the landing gear, contributing to lift. In Spain it was used as aircraft in the airfield School in Los Alcazares (Murcia). It was equipped with a Hispano-Suiza engine of 200 hp. From his experience, in 1923 developed the C-IV of the Loring House 20 copies produced that were used by the 3rd Squadron of Melilla, taking part in the landing of Alhucemas.


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The Fokker C-IV was a 1923 Dutch reconnaissance plane. 20 were built under license in Spain in the Loring factory at Carabanchel. These aircraft operated with the Army of Africa as part of the 3rd Squadron of Melilla. They were used as trainers until the early 30's. Specifications: Engine 12-cylinder Napier Lion W-450 Hp. Maximum speed: 214 km / h. Roof 5500 m. Range: 1200 km. Empty weight: 1450 kg. 2270 kg maximum. Span 12.9 m. Length 9.2 m. Height 3.4 m. Armament: One or two 7.7 mm Vickers machine guns and two Lewis still 7.7 on a mounting ring back.


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Repeated requests by the International Committee of the Red Cross branches to Spanish and French to allow the humanitarian missions to the Rif, caused in part by requests from Abd-El-Krim and the influx of refugees to the International Award Tangier, collided with a stubborn refusal. The argument wielded by the president of the Spanish Red Cross, Marquis de Hoyos, was that the Rif War was not such, or indeed a civil war, a colonial war or a war between states, the three main assumptions that contemplated the intervention of the Red Cross, but was simply a police operation by the Government of Morocco, "necessary to restore order after the rebels, non-belligerent, ignorant of the authority of Makhzen". So there was no Red Cross relief for the civilian population Rif, despite some attempts by the Egyptian and Turkish Red Cross. The Spanish Red Cross, on the contrary, under the energetic leadership of the Duquesa de la Victoria, soon organized a complete system of health care for the Spanish troops wounded, with hospitals in the Protectorate, considerably better than the military, and many others Peninsula, which flowed continuously ships and trains full of wounded due to Malaga, Cartagena, Valencia and Madrid. And a few planes, like the F.13.

The F.13´s Red Cross worked to facilitate communication between the Protectorate of Morocco and the hospitals where the cure, transferring medical personnel, medical supplies and possibly injured. The war in Morocco for years absorbed nearly a quarter of the country's budget and caused tens of thousands dead and wounded in the Spanish troops. Not much is known about low rifeñas, but at least doubled to Spanish, as the proportion of casualties in a colonial war is usually from 1 to 5 to 1 to 20 between colonizers and colonized. This is mainly because the settlers tend to have more number of modern weapons or weapons that have not colonized. As one anonymous military about the main reason for using a terrible weapon as the gun against the Indians: "Because we've got and they do not. "


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The Ansaldo SVA (named for Savoia-Verduzio-Ansaldo) was a family of Italian reconnaissance biplane aircraft of World War I and the decade after. Originally conceived as a fighter, the SVA was found inadequate for that role. Nevertheless, its impressive speed, range and operational ceiling, with its top speed making it one of the fastest (if not the fastest) of all Allied combat aircraft in World War I, gave it the right properties to be an excellent reconnaissance aircraft and even light bomber. Production of the aircraft continued well after the war, with the final examples delivered in 1928. Two minor variants were produced, one with reconnaissance cameras, the other without cameras but extra fuel tanks.

The SVA was a conventionally-laid out unequal-span biplane, featuring Warren Truss-style struts, and therefore having no transverse (spanwise) bracing wires. The plywood-skinned fuselage had the typical Ansaldo triangular rear cross-section behind the cockpit, transitioning to a rectangular cross section going forwards through the rear cockpit area, with a full rectangular cross section forward of the cockpit.


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The first F2B arrived in Spain in 1922, as part of the wave of new aircraft equipped African aviation after the disaster of Annual. They were sent to Melilla, where they are used in countless operations of strafing and bombing of the Rif, in actions to support troop movements in Africa and in bombing "punishment" on souks, hamlets and crops. The F2B were the first planes used by the Spanish Army to release poison gas on the villagers of northern Morocco.

This is the official description of a gas attack on a village in the party of April 19, 1925: "This morning, in pursuance of the Order of VE has been bombarded with C-5 Beni Souk El Had -Bu-Yahi, which was crowded, with the explosion managed to cover the scene of the bazaar and its surroundings, the audience to him and those of nearby houses have fled toward the plain, then the devices loaded with TNT and machine guns , had a mission to beat the inhabitants of that town, have pursued those who fled to the plains. "


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Research on Vickers' first amphibious aircraft type began in December 1918 with tests of alternative fuselage/hull designs occurring in an experimental tank at St Albans in Hertfordshire, England. A prototype, registered G-EAOV, was a five-seat cabin biplane with a pusher propeller driven by a Rolls-Royce Falcon water-cooled V 12 engine. Sir John Alcock died taking this aircraft to the Paris exhibition on 18 December 1919, whilst trying to land at Côte d'Evrard, near Rouen, Normandy in foggy weather. The next example, G-EASC, known as the Viking II, had a greater wing span and a 360 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII motor. The Viking III machine, piloted by Captain Cockerell, won first prize in the amphibian class in Air Ministry competitions held in September and October, 1920.

The Type 54 Viking IV incorporated further refinements and had a wider cabin above a hull one foot wider, an example being G-EBBZ in which Ross Smith and J.M. Bennett (partners in the 1919 England to Australia flight) died on 13 April 1922 just outside the Brooklands racetrack near Weybridge in Surrey. Most of these Mark IV Vikings had a Napier Lion engine. The next version was the Viking V, two were built for the RAF for service in Iraq. The last Viking amphibians were built during 1923, but the name was re-used for the twin-engine VC.1 Viking airliner some 22 years later, which saw service as the Valetta with the RAF and other air arms. Some Viking amphibians were built by Canadian Vickers Limited, a subsidiary company in Montreal with no previous plane making experience. A further development with a redesigned wing structure using the 450 hp (340 kW) Napier Lion would have been the Viking VI (Vickers designation Type 78) but known as the Vulture I. A second with a Rolls-Royce Eagle IX (360 hp, 270 kW) was the Type 95 Vulture II. Both Vultures were used for an unsuccessful around the world attempt in 1924 after the Eagle engine of the Vulture II was replaced with a Lion. With registration G-EBHO, the first set off from Calshot Seaplane Base on 25 March 1924, the other was shipped as a spare machine to Tokyo. After mechanical difficulties in earlier staged G-EBHO crashed at Akyab where it was replaced by G-EBGO on 25 June. Encountering heavy fog on the Siberian side of the Bering Sea G-ENGO crashed. Vickers salvaged a large proportion.

The Viking Mark VII ("Type 83" in Vickers numbering) was a development of the Vulture, a three-seat open-cockpit fleet spotter to Air Ministry specification 46/22 given the service name Vanellus when taken on for evaluation by the RAF against the Supermarine Seagull design.


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Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) was founded by Jose Ortiz Echagüe in 1923 and began work on a factory in Getafe in May 1924, building Breguet aircraft under license. The first order covered 26 19 A.2s; total production of this type eventually reached 400 units. CASA built a second factory in Cadiz in 1926 to construct a licensed copy of the German Dornier Do. J Wal seaplane. They built 17 aircraft for the Spanish Air Force, 12 for the Naval Aviation branch of the Spanish Navy and two for commercial use. CASA also operated several branch facilities in Spain for the repair and overhaul of aircraft. In 1929 the CASA-1 flew - the first CASA designed aircraft. King Alfonso XIII visited the main factory in 1930. CASA also built the French Breguet XIX, two of which would be made especially famous. One, was the Breguet XIX GR (Grand Raid) named the Jesus del Gran Poder, currently preserved in the Museo del Aire de Cuatro Vientos (Madrid), which flew between Seville and Bahia, (in Brazil), in 1929. This aircraft was piloted by Captains Ignacio Jiménez and Francisco Iglesias and covered 6746 km in 43 hours 50 minutes. The other was the Breguet XIX Super Bidon, named the Four Winds; it was flown by Mariano Barberan and Collar Joaquin Serra to Havana in Cuba in 1933. In 1932 CASA obtained a license from the UK aircraft company, Vickers, to build 25 Vickers Vildebeest land-based torpedo bombers, which were powered by French Hispano 600 hp engines

The CASA III was one of its first designs; it was a light bomber biplane built for the Navy. However its performance was very poor and finally it was used as advanced trainer at the Pollensa´s Naval Air School.


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Jorge Loring Martinez (Málaga, October 12, 1889 - Madrid, September 22, 1936) was a Spanish engineer and business man, pioneer of civil aviation in Spain, and considered by the Spanish Patent Office one of the great inventors it recorded its patents. Grandson of the businessman and politician Jorge Loring and Oyarzábal, was born into a wealthy family from the beginning of a century devoted to banking, mining, steel and rail. In 1912 he graduated in Madrid as a civil engineer. In 1916 he joined the administration and was assigned to the Headquarters of Royal City Public Works, but soon asked for leave to pursue his true vocation: aviation. That same year he received the certification of airplane pilot in the National School of Aeronautics, established in Getafe (Madrid), and purchased a plane (type Blériot) made ​​in Spain that tore a bit after landing.

In 1917 he became a technical director at Casa Pujol, Comabella y Cia. Barcelona, who owns a flying school aircraft at El Prat de Llobregat and some workshops on building cars and planes. In 1920 obtained the concession line aéreopostales service between Seville and Larache (Morocco), and after leaving the House Pujol created in 1921 the Spanish company Air Traffic Services (CETA), which was the first Spanish airline passenger civil transport, that was exploiting the concession of the line until it was integrated with other airlines to form a monopoly firm called CLASSA.1

In 1922 he established a private school for pilots in Carabanchel (Madrid) and was appointed manager of a blimp to travel between Seville and Buenos Aires. The following year began in the workshops Loring, based in Carabanchel (Madrid), manufacture of aircraft for military aviation, especially Dutch Fokker biplanes and different models of the gyros of Juan de la Cierva (in particular the Cierva C.7 and Cierva C.12). Overwhelmed by large financial obligations of its projects in 1931 rejoined the Corps in the state, but three years later founded the Aerospace Industrial Company SA (AISA) to manufacture airplanes and aircraft for military use.


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The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 was a British biplane fighter aircraft of the First World War. Although the first examples reached the Western Front before the Sopwith Camel and it had a much better overall performance, problems with its Hispano-Suiza engine, particularly the geared-output H-S 8B-powered versions, meant that there was a chronic shortage of S.E.5s until well into 1918 and fewer squadrons were equipped with the type than with the Sopwith fighter. Together with the Camel, the S.E.5 was instrumental in regaining allied air superiority in mid-1917 and maintaining this for the rest of the war, ensuring there was no repetition of "Bloody April" 1917 when losses in the Royal Flying Corps were much heavier than in the Luftstreitkräfte. A single unit was sent to Spain to be evaluated. The goverment of Madrid finally decided not to acquired them, but this unit stood in Spain and was used as advanced trainer.


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The DH.6 was specifically designed as a military trainer, at a time when it was usual for obsolete service types to be used in this role. Geoffrey de Havilland seems to have had two design criteria in mind. The first was that it should be cheap and easy to build, and above all, simple to repair after the mishaps common in ab-initio training. The top and bottom wings were "brutally" square cut, and were interchangeable. (Hence the roundels in unconventional positions on many wartime photographs of the type.) They were heavily cambered, and braced with cables rather than streamlined wires. On the original version of the type there was no stagger. Even the rudder, on the prototype of the usual curved de Havilland outline, was on production machines cut square. The fuselage structure was a straight box with no attempt at refinement of outline – instructor and pupil sat in tandem on basketwork seats in a single cockpit that was Spartan even by the standards of the time. The standard engine was the ubiquitous and readily available 90 hp (67 kW) RAF 1a. Because of its use in the B.E.2 the engine had the advantage of being very familiar indeed to RFC mechanics. It was stuck onto the front of the DH.6 in the most straightforward way possible, without any type of cowling, and the usual crudely upswept exhaust pipes of this type of engine were fitted. Eventually even stocks of the RAF 1a ran short, and various other engines were fitted to DH.6s, including the 90 hp (67 kW) Curtiss OX-5 and the 80 hp (60 kW) Renault.

This was an era when instructors in the RFC referred to their pupils as "Huns" (the term used for enemy airmen) and casualties at training schools were high. The second design criterion was that the new trainer should be "safe" to fly, both for a new pupil and his instructor. One way to obtain this safety was a "decouple" on the dual controls so that the instructor could take control at any time without having to wrestle with a panicking pupil. Another route to the desired safety was through the new trainer's flying characteristics. De Havilland's work at the Royal Aircraft Factory, where much basic research had been carried out into the nature of stability and control in aircraft, left him well qualified to design a "safe" aircraft. In the event, the DH.6 had very gentle flying characteristics; it was probably the most "forgiving" aircraft of its time, allowing itself to be flown "crab wise" in improperly banked turns, and being almost impossible to stall or spin, as it was able to maintain sustained flight at speeds as low as 30 miles per hour (48 km/h)
In fact, the DH.6 has been frequently described as "too safe" to make a good trainer; this referred to its gentle reaction to inexpert piloting rather than to excessive stability however, as it was designed with a degree of inherent instability about all three axes. With the "Skyhook's" low power, strong but rather heavy construction and lack of streamlining, its maximum speed was naturally very low, even by the standards of the time.

Some 60 aircraft were licence-built in Spain from 1921 onward with Hispano-Suiza 8 engines, refined fuselages that included separate cockpits, and rounded "de Havilland style" rudder/fin assemblies. At least some of these found their way into the inventory of two Spanish Air Force training establishments.


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The RI Loring was a reconnaissance aircraft produced in Spain in late 1920. This aircraft was the first design that was produced in series of workshops for Eduardo Barrón Carabanchel Loring. It was a conventional design sesquiplane the time, like the Fokker C-IV with a little front spoiler, quite common in many planes of those years dedicated to similar missions. The model was built with welded steel pipe for structure and fabric and wood for the wings. The pilot and observer sat in open cockpits together. Loring built 30 copies to the Military Aeronautics, which served mostly in Spanish Morocco since mid-1926, in observation, liaison and attack.

Between 13 and August 14, 1926 a squadron under Captain Arranz, made ​​the trip to Four Winds to Tetouan, where their fate in Group 5, later moving to the airfield Larache.1. In 1927, febredo Loring became the RI to Spain, becoming the first squadron equipped with 34 of Recognition Group, School of Education of Four Winds. In September 1928 the squadron was disbanded and the remaining aircraft were transferred to the Training Group deployed Getafe airfield, where they were discharged at the end of 1931.


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