Operation Agatha II – Brazilian Air Force Inspects Aircraft and Pilots on the Southern Border
By Dialogo September 21, 2011
Brazilian Air Force teams have disembarked at 12 airports, air clubs, and private airstrips on the southern border during Operation Agatha II to inspect the documents of civil aviation pilots and aircraft operating in the region of Brazil’s border with Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay. The goal of this action is to prevent flights that are not complying with the established rules. The inspection has no fixed end date and will also reach other cities in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, and Mato Grosso do Sul.
“The country has a lot to gain by looking for those aircraft that are operating really near the border, away from the capitals and the monitoring agencies,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Nilson de Oliveira, a civil aviation inspector. According to him, having a presence in these border locations is fundamental in order to demonstrate the presence of the Brazilian Air Force and discourage everything from air traffic infractions to illicit flights. “We’re also finding that the pilots are very receptive. They want a presence by the authorities and want to show what they’re doing to operate under the rules and guidelines,” he added.
For Fernando Guerra, president of the Air Club of Alegrete (Rio Grande do Sul), it is important that civilian pilots realize that flying demands responsibility. “This contact with Air Force personnel, with the authorities conducting an inspection and at the same time providing support, is something positive,” he affirmed. He showed the documentation for all the air club’s aircraft and the registries of take-offs and landings at the location.
The Air Force inspection has already passed through the cities of Alegrete (Rio Grande do Sul), Bage (Rio Grande do Sul), Chapeco (Santa Catarina), Guaira (Parana), Jaguarao (Rio Grande do Sul), Pelotas (Rio Grande do Sul), Santana do Livramento (Rio Grande do Sul), Santo Angelo (Rio Grande do Sul), Sao Borja (Rio Grande do Sul), Sao Miguel do Oeste (Santa Catarina), Toledo (Parana), and Umuarama (Parana). The teams, which rely on the support of an infantry unit to guarantee the inspectors’ safety, arrive unannounced on C-98 Caravan or H-60 Blackhawk planes.
The National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) is the agency responsible for inspecting commercial aircraft in Brazil. The Brazilian Air Force, under Supplementary Law 136 of 2010, is authorized to inspect civil aviation in border areas, as part of its mission to defend the sovereignty of Brazilian airspace.