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c/n 1480

P-03 serving in Argentina.
Photo: Unknown photographer © Date unknown - Aird Archives

c/n 1480



• Delivered 11-Sep-1961

P-03 Argentine Aero Military Mission

Argentine Air Force, Grupo Aereo Antartico 1.


Disposition unknown •·


Argentine Air Force History: - An official order was signed on 31-Oct-1961 assigning an Argentinian crew to ferry P-03 from the DHC factory at Downsview to Argentina presumably to the Aeroparque at Buenos Aires to clear customs and then to El Palomar in a similar manner to P-01 & P-02. It is assumed that P-03 was transhipped to Antarctica by icebreaker ARA General San Martin to arrive at Esperanza base on the Trinity peninsula of Graham Land later becoming operational in the late Antarctic summer in early 1962, based at Matienzo on the Nunutak Larsen on the Larsen Iceshelf off the coast of Graham Land. However its flying time at Matienzo was short lived as like P-01 & P-02 it was damaged on 06-Apr-1962 by 250 Km/hr (145mph) winds and covered by the ensuing snow storm.

There is no mention of the aircraft again until Jan-1966 when it is reported back in Antarctica, replacing Beavers P-05 & P-06. It is assumed that during the intervening period it was recovered from its snowy tomb at Matienzo, returned to Argentina, repaired and then transported back to Esperanza in Jan-1966.

During Feb 1967 the aircraft operated between Esperanza and Matienzo ferrying supplies. Further flights to supply the Hearst base were accomplished using additional fuel tanks to enable the aircraft to cover the distance involved. On 17-Dec-1967 P-03 was involved in an accident at Matienzo suffering 45% damage.

During 1969 P-03 flew various missions to Maraimbo Station Seymour Island, Weddell Sea, a new construction where a runway was being built during Aug and Sep. It was the first aircraft to land on wheels at the location on the 25-Sep-1969 using a 300m portion of the runway that had been completed. Later in 1969 the three remaining Beavers operating in Antarctica were replaced with a single DHC-6 Twin Otter.

Thanks to Michael Magnusson for the basic information and various websites for additional Geographical information.