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Brazilian Air Force

Força Aérea Brasileira

Last modified: 2011-07-01 by ian macdonald
Keywords: brazil | south america | sword (winged) | sword (gold) | southern cross | cruzeiro do sul | air force | commander | chief of staff | roundel | star | aircraft | fin flash |
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Commander of the Air Force - new flag

Comandante da Aeronáutica

Commander image by Rudnei Dias da Cunha, 16 April 2009

I have been to a military ceremony today, headed by the Commander of the Brazilian Air Force and noticed that the flag hoisted on his behalf was different from the previous one, which had the Arms of the Republic; this has been replaced now by the Arms of the Aeronautics Command. See further details at http://www.rudnei.cunha.nom.br/FAB/en/index.html including drawings of the flags and arms, under the "Insignia" menu.
Rudnei Dias da Cunha, 16 April 2009

Commander of the Air Force - old flag

Comandante da Aeronáutica

Commander 
of the Brazilian Air Force image by Joseph McMillan

Before unification of the armed forces ministries into a single Ministry of Defense in 2000, the Minister of Aeronautics used a flag divided vertically, the hoist green with a golden yellow lozenge throughout and the Brazilian coat of arms on it, the fly blue with the Cruzeiro do Sul (Southern Cross) constellation in white stars.  A booklet published by the Ministry of Aeronautics in 1944 showed the coat of arms without the rays and scroll, but an apparently reliable unofficial Brazilian Air Force website shows it with both.
Sources:  Ministério da Aeronáutica, Dimensões e Modelos de Bandeiras, Insígnias e Sinais em Uso na Aeronáutica do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro:  Imprensa Nacional, 1944
Unofficial Força Aérea Brasileira website.
Note:  Although the images on the website as well as the plates in the booklet appear to show 2:3 proportions, the text of the booklet is clear that they should be (or should have been?) 3:4.
Joe McMillan, 29 April 2001

A recent visit to the unofficial Força Aérea Brasileira website indicates that the Commander of the Brazilian Air Force (the successor position to the former Minister of Aeronautics) is now using the same flag formerly used by the Minister.
Joseph McMillan, 2 June 2001


 Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force

Chefe do Estado Maior da Aeronáutica

Chief of General Staff of Brazilian Air Force image by Joseph McMillan

Sources:  Ministério da Aeronáutica, Dimensões e Modelos de Bandeiras, Insígnias e Sinais em Uso na Aeronáutica do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro:  Imprensa Nacional, 1944;
Unofficial Força Aérea Brasileira website
Joe McMillan, 29 April 2001


Aircraft Markings

Fuselage/Wing Marking

Brazilian Air Force Aircraft Marking image by Željko Heimer

Five-pointed star in the shape of a simplified star from the national coat of arms. The arms are each divided into green and yellow and the star is surmounted by two concentric disks of white and blue.
Source:
Album des Pavillons, 2000.
Željko Heimer, 25 March 2001

The Brazilian naval air arm "Aviação Naval" was the first to be established. According to Cochrane & Elliott (1998) it was in 1914 while http://www.scramble.nl/br.htm gives it as 1916. In any case they use the same roundel since the beginning - now as Comando da Força Aeronaval. It was accompanied by rudder stripes in blue-yellow-green as seen at http://www.skytamer.com/roundels/brazil/01.htm and http://www.skytamer.com/roundels/brazil/02.htm, which then became a fin flash as seen at the photos at http://www.scramble.nl/br.htm. A navy anchor is also in use either on the fin and wings or on the fuselage.

The military air arm (later to become FAB) was formed in 1918 or 1919 (depending on the source) and adopted a star made of blue center and yellow-green rays and green-yellow fin flash, as shown here.  Somehow Cochrane & Elliott (1998) reported it as 1918-1940 and 1945-today marking (http://www.skytamer.com/roundels/brazil/03.htm and http://www.skytamer.com/roundels/brazil/05.htm (giving another marking to 1943-1945 and no explanation to 1940-1943), but what make it even more puzzling is the appearance of the southern cross on the central circle of the roundel. I checked everywhere for the southern cross....but nothing. No stars at http://www.scramble.nl/br.htm, no stars at dozen of photos at http://www.airliners.net (for example - http://www.airliners.net/open.file/583061/L/), none in Wheeler (1986) and none in the official site http://www.fab.mil.br/.

One thing I did find. Following what looks like a South America custom, non-camouflaged planes have rudder stripes and not fin flashes (see http://www.airliners.net/open.file/588416/L/).  Cochrane & Elliott (1998) also reported another roundel from 1943-1945. It is the basic roundel (with the Southern Cross....) on a blue circle with a-la-American white bars bordered blue - see http://www.skytamer.com/roundels/brazil/04.htm. Cochrane & Elliott (1998) reported this roundel as one used by the Brazil Expeditionary Force which used USAAF planes and just changed the stars. I looked and found a photo of P-40 of the Expeditionary Force, alas....no bars, and no southern cross....see http://paginas.terra.com.br/lazer/cobras/imagens/feb11-new.jpg and almost concluded the issue as a Cochrane & Elliott (1998) fantasy. But no....I also found a P-47D at http://www.iis.com.br/~mdau/textoi.htm and there they are - bars and southern cross, and a note that the BEF trained on P-40 in Panama.....but went to war on P-47's.

So the conclusion is that the Brazil Expeditionary Force did use a roundel with stars, and those by mistake (or carelessness of the artist), found themselves also to his presentation of the regular roundel.
Dov Gutterman, 12 June 2004

Fin Flash

Brazilian Air Force Fin Flash image by Dov Gutterman

The Força Aérea Brasileira uses a square vertical bicolor (green-yellow) as a fin flash.
Dov Gutterman, 7 October 1999


Standards of Squadrons and Groups

For standards used by squadrons and groups of the FAB: until the mid-'80s, they had a standard pattern, all squadron standards were in AF blue, charged with the winged sword of the FAB, with a sprig of coffee and tobacco leaves underneath; on the canton, there was the shield of the squadron, in small proportions. That said, some old squadrons (dating from 1943-1950s) had their own type of standard - which they keep until today.

Afterwards, that pattern was dropped, and different patterns have been in use. Everyone of them is regulated by an internal executive order.

See http://picasaweb.google.com.br/rudnei.cunha/EstandartesDaForcaAereaBrasileiraStandardsOfTheBrazilianAirForce# for many examples.
Rudnei Dias da Cunha, 16 April 2009