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Airplane_Jimmy_AngelJimmy Angels Airplane

Built by the All Metal Aircraft Corporation, the Flamingo was a model G-2-W (c/n 11) and registered NC-94873; sold 08/03/36 to James Crawford Angel and partners; later it was registered by a Joel Eli Meachan, of Phoenix Arizona on 01/06/37.

The Flamingo was an eight place airplane, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine of 450hp. This particular Flamingo, was named "El Rio Caroni." At least 21 examples of this model were built, but the Rio Caroni is the sole survivor. The All Metal Aircraft Company ceased to exist many years ago.

The Flamingo was an eight place airplane, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine of 450hp. This particular Flamingo, was named "El Rio Caroni." At least 21 examples of this model were built, but the Rio Caroni is the sole survivor. The All Metal Aircraft Company ceased to exist many years ago.

As we have already stated, after their eventful landing, the Rio Caroni was abandoned on top of the Auyantepui, to remain there until the early months of 1970. Jimmie's youngest son, Roland, went to Angel Falls in 1965 accompanied by the writer Carl Mydans and found the Flamingo airplane, the "El Rio Caroni" still on the same location where his parents had abandoned 28 years before; many years of exposure to harsh tropical sun and rain bleached airplane, although the structure in general was reported to be in the good conditions it had so many years back.

In 1970, as part of the activities related to their 50th anniversary, the Fuerza Aerea Venezolana (FAV) mounted an operation to rescue the airplane. The FAV personnel under the Command of Coronel Edgar Suarez Mier y Teran and of Gustavo Fernandez, acting as the chief of the base for the "Operacion Auyantepui" disassembled it, and using a Bell UH-1H helicopter to transport the airplane, first to Canaima, on 6 February, 1970 and later on a Fairchild C-123 was used to transport the airplane from Canaima to Caracas, where it was restored.

As a testament to the rugged construction of the airplane, when it was taken apart for transportation to Canaima, structurally the airframe was in very good shape; the battery still had a charge! Controversy has also followed the Rio Caroni; there was a dispute of ownership between the Venezuelan Air Force, who at first had assumed ownership of the airplane and the residents of Ciudad Bolivar until 1971, when the FAV informed the newspaper El Universal that they would return the airplane to Ciudad Bolivar. After its restoration, it was first displayed on a park in Canaima (Parque Ruiz Pineda), not far from the Ciudad Bolivar airport's terminal. Then, it was moved to the Museo Aeronautico de Maracay, until 1980 when it was moved back to Ciudad Bolivar.

It was displayed on a traffic circle in front of the airport, where it was hit by a car. Vandalism has taken its toll, and there are many parts missing from the airplane. There have been many plans formulated to build a metallic structure over this historic airplane, to preserve it from the harsh elements prevalent in this region of South America, but nothing has been done.There is also a movement in Venezuela, to have the Rio Caroni returned to the top of the Auyantepui, where they say, it belongs. The Venezuelan Government has declared the Rio Caroni a National Monument.

Written by :
Henrik Linde
 
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