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For the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Brazilian proclamation of the Republic in November 1939, the US Government sent one squadron composed by seven B-17 Flying Fortress long range bombers, the most powerful and advanced four engine aircraft in use by the Army Corps, which obviously aroused great curiosity among aeronautical circles. Aside of diplomatic purposes the “Goodwill flight” was a “Show the Flag” to the South American Nations mainly Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina where their large German and Italian colonies were very active in promoting disquieting demonstrations of Nazi Fascist sympathies. 

The show of the ponderous aircrafts concomitant with the visit of several US Navy Cruisers to the continent was a clear reminder of the power and extent of the armed forces of the United States. The journey took eleven days and the return trip to Langley Field, Va. with 33 ¾ hours. The Squadron Commander was Major General Delos C. Emmons. For the return flight, the U.S Commander invited nine Brazilian Army aviators which experienced a flight in the most powerful bomber ever made.

Detail of the seven crewmembers of leading aircraft in their memorable journey.

Above the detailed map show the long route flown by the B 17's in the memorable world record flight to South America. In the return flight to the USA, a group of 9 Brazilian Army Air Force officers were invited for a training period at US Army Air Force and during the trip in Brazilian terrytory the also served as translators.

HEADING FOR RIO. That's the headline of a Brazilian newspaper highlighting the journey to Brazil.

Above an artistic rendition of the Flying Fortress over Rio de Janeiro. The Squadron of seven aircraft Flying Fortress began its mission in November 1939, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert Olds, accompanied by 27 officers and 20 sergeants, among them the own commander of the USAAC, Major General Delos C. Emmons. This flight made its way through Miami, after Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and finally came into Brazil.

The picture above shows Brazilian President Getulio Vargas upon arrival following a tour over Rio de Janeiro at one B 17.

In the return to the US, the Squadron made a 7 hour flight to Natal where three years later Americans would erect the biggest Airbase outside US Territory. The visit was brief and in the next morning at 6 o'clock the aircrafts took off bound for Ducth Guyana.

The B 17 formation roaring over Rio de Janeiro having the picturesque City's postcard the Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf in the bottom.)



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