In the next installment of his Colombian Adventure Paul Filmer discovers some wrecks and relics as well as some of the country’s aviation maintenance industry.
To the north-west of Bogota is Madrid Airbase, where a lot of deep maintenance and even full aircraft production takes place. We started the tour on the disused side to the north, where the standout items were a pair of DC-4s.
Also present were a couple of DC-3s, one almost complete, but the other was missing the cockpit and nose section.
A PBY6-A (designated OA10A in Colombia) was also present and has been here for many years.
Other airframes included withdrawn military helicopter cabs, no longer required by the military plus various light aircraft intercepted and impounded on drug runs.
Over at the main part of the airfield we were greeted by the sign of lots of maintenance taking place. First we saw a BT67 and an AT-27 being worked on outside, which was completely stripped to bare metal.
Next we visited the UH-1 facility. Here they are transforming old UH-1H into UH-1H-II models, called Huey Twos. The airframes are stripped right down to bare components and built up again under the watchful eye of Bell Helicopters.
They are so changed from the original that they are even re-serialed in the process, basically becoming brand new helicopters.
This airfield is also the home to the T-90 production line, and here we saw airframes in various stages of production, including composite construction processes.
It was fascinating seeing different parts of the aircraft being constructed.
Other aircraft being worked on was a CASA 212, a CIAC Iris (UAV) and a C-130H, again down to bare metal.
There are various aircraft dotted around on display which we were also able to shoot.
Just across the road were another group of preserved aircraft, all in very good condition, which we were given free rein to.
A very interesting airfield indeed, which although has very little movements, is a real insight into how the Colombians are self sufficient when to comes to aircraft maintenance.