Narrative History

of the Honduran Air Force

 

Military aviation started in Honduras on 19 April 1921, when the first flight of a just procured Bristol F.2b took place. The Escuela Nacional de Aviación was formed in 1924 with 3 Italian aircraft which were later supplemented by 5 other aircraft. On 14 April 1931 the aviation school became part of the Ministry of War, Marine and Aviation. Miliatry aviation became known on 25 February 1936 as Fuerza Aérea y Escuela de Aviación Militar under the command of a U.S. mercenary, Colonel Brooks. During the next years the Honduran Air Force received small quantities of aircraft and had about 22 aircraft in 1942. It was not until December 1944, when Honduras declared war on the Axis powers, that the Air Force received additional training and transport aircraft. After signing the Rio Treaty of 1947 Honduras was given more modern fighter aircraft to form there first combat unit. In 1954 the Air Force became an independent service and the name was changed to Fuerza Aérea Hondureña (FAH). In 1957, after a brief frontier conflict with Nicaragua new combat aircraft were procured as the current equipment was nearing the end of its useful life.

On July 14, 1969 the so called "El Guerra de 100 Horas" between El Salvador and Honduras started. After two soccer matches for the 1970 World Soccer Cup, tensions rose high between the two countries. During and after these matches in Tegucigalpa and San Salvador, supporters of the visiting countries were mistreated, which led to looting and arson against inhabitants of Tegucigalpa, who came from El Salvador. On the 3rd of July 1969 the FAH forced a Piper PA-28 of the Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña (FAS) to land a was accused of flying a reconnaissance mission for the Salvadoran Army.  On July 12, 1969 the FAH deployed many of its aircraft to San Pedro Sula, headquarters of the FAH Northern Command (El Comando Norte). Four F4U-4, one C-54, one T-28 and one C-185B were based there during the war. Hostilities started on July 14, when units of the Salvadorean Army invaded Honduras and aircraft of the FAS made attacks agaist Honduran troops concentrations and some bombing runs against Tegucigalpa. The next day the FAH organised some retaliatory strikes against Ilopango Airport in San Salvador and the oil refinery in Acajutla. On the same day a FAS Mustang and Corsair attack Toncontin Airport inflicting some demage on hangars at the airbase. On July 17, Major Soto of the FAH manged to down a FAS Mustang, becoming the last Mustang to be shot down in an air-to-air action in history. On July 18, the Organization of American States (OAS) intervened, ordered a cease-fire and the withdrawal of Salvadoran troops, but the Salvadoran government refuses to comply. It was not until August 5, after pressure from the OAS, that El Salvador withdraw its troops from Honduras.

During the next years the FAH tried to receive additional, more modern, equipment and procured some F-86 from Venezuela and Yugoslavia, A-37 from the USA and some Super Mystére from Israel. During the 1980s U.S. backed Contra-forces, who fought against the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, operated from bases within Honduras. On May 21, 1985, President Suazo Córdova and U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan signed a joint communiqué that amended a 1982 annex to the 1954 Military Assistance Agreement between the two countries. The new accord allowed the United States to expand and improve its temporary facilities at Palmerola Air Base near Comayagua and to operate the 1.Batallion/228.Aviation Regiment of the U.S. Army from this base. Today the FAH is organised in four operational squadrons and one flying
school.
 

 

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