c/n 1508

P-06 as seen from P-05
Photo: de Havilland Canada - Bombardier © (print  no: 17250)

c/n 1508



P-06 Argentine Aero Military Mission. Delivered 21-Nov-1962.

P-06 Argentine Air Force/Fuerza Aerea Argentina – Grupo Aereo Antartico.

Accident: Matienza base, Antarctica .middle of 1968 (Antarctic winter). It was recovered from Matienza base and taken to Esperanza base.

Argentine Air Force History: - With no other evidence it is assumed that an Argentinian crew was assigned to ferry P-06 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 further assumed that P-06 was transhipped to Antarctica by icebreaker ARA General San Martin from Ushuaia to arrive at Esperanza base on the Trinity peninsula of Graham Land. It’s actual date of arrival is currently un recorded but it is known that it later become operational in 1962 based at Matienzo on the Nunutak Larsen on the Larsen Iceshelf off the coast of Graham Land.

To avoid the aircraft suffering the gale damage received by some of the other Argentinian Beavers in Antarctica, the aircraft was dismantled in Jun-1962 and stored under shelter until Sep-1962, through the worst of the Antarctic winter.

Once more operational, during 1963 and 1964 the aircraft was utilized to transport supplies off loaded from the ARA General San Martin at Esperanza Base for onward trasmission to Matienza Base.

In 1965 the aircraft was fitted with additional 200 litre fuel tanks & on the 25-Feb it flew from Matienza base to Hearst Island and then to Deacon which was situated on the Bridgeman Islands to the north of the main Antarctic Peninsula, and then back to Matienza base. Subsequently that summer further flights were made to Hearst Island. In early Oct-1965 it undertook a flight to overfly the Chilean O’Higgins base which was situated on an island at the very tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and then on to Deacon, mentioned above. On the 29-Oct 1965 P-06 (together with P-05) flew 1800km in ten hours from Matienza base to Belgrano base on Coates Land, situated to the south East of the lower Antarctic Peninsula.. These long distance flights were presumably in preparation for a greater task which was to support the Argentine Army’s overland expedition to the South Pole, with Belgrano base being a staging post on the route south. As on 03-Nov-1965 P-06 (together with Beaver P-05 and DHC-3 TA-05) flew to the South Pole enduring a temperature of -58˚C en route. The aircraft returned to Belgrano base later in the month. It is then recorded on 22-Dec as transporting personnel to Sobral base, a summer base built in 1965 and Argentina’s southernmost location in Antarctica. It returned to Belgrano base again carrying personnel on the 29-Dec.

In early Jan-1966 it participated in exercises out of Belgrano base before returning to Esperanza base to be loaded on to the icebreaker, ARA General San Martin. It is assumed it returned to the mainland for general maintenance.

During 1967 the Air Force began a with a maintenance code system which had a limited life and P-06 became “321-03” within the system.

It is not shown as back in Antarctica until it is reported as having had an accident in the middle of 1968 (winter) and being recovered from Matienza base to Esperanza. The tasks of the Beavers were terminated in late 1969 when a DHC-6 Twin Otter took over. It is assumed that the aircraft was returned to the Argentine Mainland during 1970 but the fate of the aircraft is unknown at this time.

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

Fate unknown