Aviation Pioneers

Dagoberto Godoy – The Eagle of Andes Mountains

His Early Life

Chilean aviator Dagoberto Godoy was born in Temuco, Chile, in 1893. He was son of Abraham Godoy and Clotilde Fuentealba. Godoy was orphaned at the age of two. He was later educated by his maternal aunts Petronila and Tránsito Fuentealba. They inclined him to a priestly career. However, at age 21, Dagoberto Godoy was chasing another dream. At his very young age, he decided to enter the Military School. He enlisted to the aviation service in 1915. He received the military aviator and pilot licenses a year after.

Later on, he participated in international competitions organized by the Air Club of Chile. He won the award from President of the Republic in the stationary engine landing test. In that same year, 1916, he won the second prize. He succeeded his honorary degree in the Buenos Aires race, in the month of July.

Such a Bold Attempt

In 1918, just after the First World War, the Chilean army decided to reorganize the Military Aviation Service. From November 1918, they began to arm themselves under the supervision of Major British Officer Victor Huston. Huston was hired by the Chilean Government. He piloted the first Bristol that flew in Chilean skies on November 19, 1918.

At that time, Godoy wanted to cross the Andes Mountains. He asked for permission from the chief of the air service. Godoy ingeniously wanted to take advantage of the great performance of the Bristol M1c. Because he knew that it reached a height of more than 5,000 meters. Furthermore, the performance of this kind of aircraft was much superior to the old Bleriot IX. Because Godoy had been trained Bleriot IX in flights of height above 6,000 meters.

The British officer helped him prepare the necessary infrastructure to carry it out. He assisted him aboard a Bristol that still bore the insignia of the Royal Air Corps and the registration C4988. Godoy took off from the El Bosque airfield. He reached three thousand meters. He flew in the direction of the Andean mountain range.

Sighting the Mendoza River and the Argentine city, Godoy went to the mountains of Tupungato. Godoy hit his forehead on the dashboard. Luckily, he was able to get out of the plane. He succeeded this despite being chilled with cold and short of oxygen. The trip had lasted 90 minutes at a speed between 180 and 190 km / h and had reached an altitude of 6,300 meters. That feat was more incredible when the pilot flew without oxygen or heating. He realized his dream on December 12, 1918. Godoy sent a telegram to Chile giving an account of his heroism. He was welcomed with public demonstrations, congratulations, awarding of honors, financial compensation, and promotion to captain.

After his achievements, Godoy remained incorporated into the air service. Legendary aviator Dagoberto Godoy died in 1960. He lived until his death with the aura of a glorious hero conquered in the first flight over the Andes.


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