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Montevideo, December 8th 2022 - 19:26 UTC



Argentine pilot & his two daughters “delighted” to be in the Falklands.

Wednesday, January 10th 2001 - 20:00 UTC
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Exclusive interview for Mercopress.

49 year old Argentinean Martin Rappallini who landed his Piper Aerostar aircraft at Stanley Airport early on Wednesday afternoon, said that he had fulfilled an ambition which he had dreamed off since first obtaining his pilot's licence in 1980. He was not deterred by a 60 degree cross wind, being ?mentally prepared' after a 3 hours flight from Punta Arenas in Chile. ?The lack of a positive or negative response from Argentine officials to my request to fly directly to the Islands required me to make a 600 kms deviation over cold and icy waters enroute to the Islands. I flew over Chilean air space and the Beagle Channel and then south for many miles before approaching Argentine class ?G' air space for which no permission is required. I tried calling Ushuaia air control on 3 occasions but they never replied ? The Chileans heard me and confirmed my calls' said Mr Rappallini who works with an oil processing company which is in joint venture with Spectrum, a United Kingdom company. He paid tribute to a colleague Peter Williams who had undertaken much of the ground work in order to make the flight and who had hoped to accompany him, but who had to return to Britain following his father's illness'.

The arrival of the aircraft signaled the first time that an Argentine registered aircraft had landed at Port Stanley airport since hostilities ended in 1982. An Aerolineas Argentinas 747 landed at the International airport at Mt. Pleasant in 1990.

Mr Rappallini insisted that he had had ?no denial or permission from the Argentine Government to make the flight ? no-one told me not to fly and I did not break Argentine law as I crossed in class ?G' air space'.

He was accompanied by his two daughters, 22 year old Maria Eliana who has temporarily left her plans to become a pilot, in order to study bio engineering, and 20 year old Maria Paula who is studying chemical engineering. The family live in the Caballito district of Buenos Aires, but Mr Rappallini describes himself as a ?Patagonian' as he was born and brought up in Comodro Rivadavia in Chubut Province.

He insisted that he and his two daughters were ?on a private non-political holiday trip' and ?were disappointed that so much media attention had distracted fr

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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