In 2010 we were welcome to visit the Força Aérea Portuguesa (Portuguese Air Force) and its air bases with a group of photographers. What awaited us was a warm welcome and beautiful September weather.
A visit to the Portuguese Air Force / Força Aerea Portuguesa had been on our wish-list from the very beginning. We were therefore quite happy to have found the right contact within the air force. As soon as this contact was established, a detailed plan was prepared to visit several air force bases on mainland Portugal. Ten Dutch guys met at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport and were joined by two 4Aviation tour guides in the very early morning of Sunday 29 August 2010. After an uneventful flight the group arrived at Lisbon airport and teamed up with one more ‘cloggy’ and three chaps from the UK. Two roomy rental vans were picked up at the local rental company, the navigation device was switched on and within minutes we logged our first catch of the day; the preserved T-38 at the gate of the military part of Lisbon-Portela de Sacavem International Airport. Our main goal for the first day was to visit the brand new Museu do Ar at Sintra and then head North for our first visit on Monday at Monte Real air base. The museum used to be located at Alverca, but the majority of the collection has moved to Base Aérea No.1 Sintra. The brand new main building and hangars are filled with aircraft in excellent condition. Outside is another part of the collection and there are plans to make another huge hangar for these, and more, aircraft. Clear photographs could be made of the majority of the aircraft and entry is only Euro 3. For the first night we had booked a hotel in Fatima. We all had an early start and we Northerners are not used to the heat of Southern Europe, it was way over 35°C outside. So the men were separated from the boys when one van departed for a three hour drive to do some wrecks & relics, while the others were resting in the hotel or sightseeing in this pilgrimage city with an impressive cathedral and square. In the early evening we all had a great meal in one of the few restaurants open on this Sunday evening.