Light show with drones and flight baptisms on the Air Force's anniversary in Portimão

Nine days of celebrations in the municipality of Portimão

Vice President of the Chamber Álvaro Bila and General Cartaxo Alves, CEMFA – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

A nighttime light show with drones, flight baptisms, demonstration of rescue resources and operations, concerts, exhibitions, sporting activities in Praia da Rocha and the Portimão Race Track, inauguration of a monument and, of course, military ceremonies with an official parade . These will be just some of the moments of the celebrations of the Air Force's 72nd anniversary, which take place in Portimão, from the 29th of June to the 7th of July.

Forty years after taking place in Faro, this is the first time that the Air Force's anniversary has been celebrated again in the Algarve. Major General Luís Serôdio, chief of staff of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CEMFA), explained yesterday, in the main hall of the Chamber of Portimão, during the presentation of the program, that in recent years this military branch has been «perform in parts of the country where the FA is not as visible». Last year, it was in Bragança, this year they fly to the opposite end of mainland Portugal, towards the city of Arade.

Álvaro Bila, vice-president of the Chamber of Portimão, recalled that, 40 years ago, the anniversary of the Air Force did not just take place in Faro, but also in your city. He was then a student at Escola D. Martinho Castelo Branco and remembers there being an exhibition there.


Vice President of the Chamber Álvaro Bila and General Cartaxo Alves, CEMFA – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


For his part, General João Cartaxo Alves (CEMFA) highlighted that «we are the wings that protect the population» and «we save two to three lives a day».

This is because, highlighted by CEMFA, the Air Force, in addition to its mission of “guaranteeing sovereignty, territorial integrity and surveillance of our airspace, is present in people's daily lives in a wide range of missions”. For now, in «international commitments to search and rescue, which is a national responsibility», but also «in maritime surveillance, fisheries inspection and drug trafficking control». Missions of great importance are also emergency medical transport, particularly in Madeira and the Azores, but also on the Mainland, or even support for fighting fires.

The Chief of Staff added that «these are activities that, sometimes, are not visible, but the Air Force is there».

In this regard, the mayor of Portimão highlighted the recent removal, by FAP means, of the “Portuguese stranded in Morocco”, due to the earthquake last January.



As would be remembered later, during the launch of the book “Fly to Save”, during the year 2023, the Air Force supported 799 people, in 1457 missions and 5032 flight hours, «in population support missions related to civil emergencies ».

The book, which is published by the FA itself and has a circulation of 200 copies, was presented by lieutenant colonel Rui Veloso Rocha, head of Public Relations and Communication, who considered the work as «demonstrative of the constant effort of all those who serve as selfless way in the Air Force».

Explaining the content of the book, General Cartaxo Alves highlighted that, last year, there were «799 lives we saved», people who, «if it weren't for the Air Force, would not be among us or would be in a delicate situation».

The Air Force Chief of Staff added that the service is «from Flores to Porto, Elvas, Faro and Portimão». This is because, he highlighted, «the distance [Azorean island] from Flores to the eastern border of Portugal is the same as that from Lisbon to Ukraine, it is the size of the whole of Europe». Therefore, the “great responsibility that the Air Force has” is even greater.

«Everyone who is at sea knows that, if something happens to them, the saving angel, the Armed Forces, is there to save them». The book, he concluded, “translates this spirit of mission”.

As for the 72nd anniversary, which is marked on July 1st, but motivates nine days of celebrations in the municipality of Portimão, visitors will be able to learn about the missions, watch demonstrations and experience the art of flying.

There will also be a run and walk in an unprecedented location, in the middle of the Algarve Autodrome, for which more than 500 people have already signed up, as well as a military ceremony that marks 72 years of the Air Force and which will have as its highlight an aerial parade of planes and helicopters.

The program also includes an orientation test in a system navitabi, sporting activities in Praia da Rocha and a demonstration of skills, with water rescue simulations, rescue actions, troop infiltration display, aerial acrobatics, also taking place in Praia da Rocha (see program above).



Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação (except where indicated)



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