Luis Candelaria

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Luis Candelaria

Luis Cenobio Candelaria (born October 29, 1892 in Buenos Aires , † December 23, 1963 in San Miguel de Tucumán ) was an Argentine military officer and aviation pioneer. In 1918 he succeeded in crossing the Andes for the first time by plane.


Candelaria grew up in Buenos Aires. In 1908, shortly before his 16th birthday, he began to attend the Colegio Militar de la Nación in El Palomar . There he was initially trained as an engineer, but was also enthusiastic about aviation. In 1917 he received his diploma as a military aviator. At the time, Candelaria was very impressed by the Argentine aviation pioneers of the time, such as Pedro Zanni and Jorge Newbery . After its crash in 1914, shortly before a planned crossing of the Andes, Candelaria resolved to cross the Andes herself. Initially he planned the Andes between Mendoza and Santiago de Chileto cross, but because he lacked experience, he was denied permission to take off. So he decided to try further south.

On April 2, 1918, he left El Palomar and reached the Argentine town of Zapala a few days later. On the way he had to transport his plane by rail, among other things. He was accompanied by the mechanic Miguel Soriano, who regularly maintained the aircraft. There he first made a few test flights and observed the weather. At this point the Andes are not as high as between Santiago and Mendoza, but Candelaria had to struggle with strong winds and the lower temperatures of the south. On April 13, 1918, he finally took off at 3:30 p.m. local time in his Morane-Saulnier L with an 80 hp engine and landed 2.5 hours later on the Chilean side near the town of Cunco . This was the first time he had crossed the Andes in an airplane. He covered about 230 kilometers by plane and meanwhile reached more than 4,000 meters in altitude. Although parts of the population and the regional press initially considered him to be an Argentine spy, his performance soon came to the fore. He also contacted Dagoberto Godoy , who was preparing for an Andean crossing between Santiago de Chile and Mendoza, which Godoy managed in December of the same year.

After crossing the Andes, he wanted to do this again later, but he was injured in a riding accident in 1922, so that he could no longer fly. His story was more and more forgotten. He died impoverished in San Miguel de Tucumán in 1963. He is buried in Zapala.

Recognition today

Candelaria is still little known, but Dagoberto Godoy, who only managed to cross the Andes several months later, is all the more. However, Bariloche Airport is named after Candelaria, as is a school in Zapala, the Escuela Primaria N ° 3 Teniente Aviador Luis Candelaria .


  • Candelaria, Luis C .: Memoria de la travesía de los Andes en aeroplano. Companía Argentina de Tabacos, Buenos Aires 1918. ( online )

Individual evidence

  1. a b “Luis Cenobio Candelaria: 99º aniversario del Cruce de los Andes”. April 22, 2017, accessed May 7, 2021 (es-AR).
  2. Prensa EAM: Centenario del Primer Cruce de los Andes en Avión. In: Escuela de Aviación Militar. April 16, 2018, accessed May 7, 2021 (European Spanish).
  3. a b Travesías Aéreas de los Andes . (Spanish, [PDF]).
  4. Candelaria cumplió el sueño de cruzar nuestra cordillera. In: Diario La Mañana Neuquen. Retrieved May 28, 2021 .
  5. a b Héctor Alarcón Carrasco: Primeras Travesías Aéreas sobre los Andes . S. 8 (Spanish, [PDF]).
  6. A 80 años del primer cruce aéreo de los Andes . In: La Nación . April 13, 1998, ISSN  0325-0946 ( [accessed May 7, 2021]).
  7. El otro cruce de los Andes. In: Welcome to Neuquén. April 15, 2020, accessed May 7, 2021 (American English).
  8. a b 13 avril 1918 - Luis Cenobio Candelaria, premier aviateur à traverser les Andes. In: Pilote de montagne. Retrieved May 7, 2021 (Fri-FR).
  9. Chile y Argentina conmemoraron los 100 años de la hazaña del teniente Dagoberto Godoy. In: Ministerio de Defensa Nacional (Chile). December 13, 2018, accessed May 7, 2021 .
  10. Héctor Alarcón Carrasco: Primera Travesías Aéreas sobre los Andes . S. 9 (Spanish, [PDF]).
  11. Cuando cruzó Candelaria. In: Identidad y Futuro. Retrieved May 7, 2021 (European Spanish).