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Galeão Air Force Base

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Title: Galeão Air Force Base  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Brazilian Air Force, Rio de Janeiro, Avenida Brasil (Rio de Janeiro), TransCarioca, Arco Metropolitano do Rio de Janeiro
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Galeão Air Force Base

Galeão Air Force Base
Base Aérea do Galeão
Airport type Military: Air Force Base
Operator Brazilian Air Force
Serves Rio de Janeiro
Built 1923
In use 1941 – present
Commander Ten. Cel. Av. Saulo Valadares do Amaral
Elevation AMSL 9 m / 28 ft
SBGL is located in Brazil
Location in Brazil
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10/28 4,000 13,123 Concrete
15/33 3,180 10,433 Asphalt
Sources: Air Force Base Website,[1] Brazilian Air Force[2]

Galeão Air Force Base – BAGL (ICAO: SBGL) is a base of the Brazilian Air Force located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is named after Praia do Galeão (Galleon Beach), located in front of the original passenger terminal of the airport and presently the passenger terminal of the Brazilian Air Force. It was at this beach that in 1663 the galleon Padre Eterno was built.

It shares some facilities with Rio de Janeiro/Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport.


The history of the Base begins on 10 May 1923 when a School of Naval Aviation was established near the Galeão beach. On 22 May 1941 with the creation of the Air Force Ministry in Brazil, the school became the Galeão Air Force Base and a terminal and hangars were built at the location and the runway extended. Those buildings still exist.[3] When Brazil declared war against the Axis on 22 August 1942, the aerodrome began to be intensively used by the Allies for military operations related to the World War II.[4]

With the end of the war, the increase of tonnage of aircraft flying on international routes and number of passengers, and being Santos Dumont Airport unable to handle all the traffic international flights gradually shifted to the site of the Air Force Base. Although it informally handled long-haul international traffic, services were however precarious and a decision was made to build a brand new passenger terminal, opposite the Air Force Base, across the runway. On 1 February 1952 the passenger terminal was opened and public and military services were separated.

After the completion of a new passenger terminal in 1977, the original public facility became the passenger terminal for passenger flights operated by the Brazilian Air Force. Since then it is informally known as Terminal do Correio Aéreo Nacional (Terminal of the Brazilian Air Force Passenger Services).

On 3 May 1982 a Royal Air Force Avro Vulcan bomber was intercepted by the aircraft of the 1° Grupo de Aviação de Caça (1ºGAvCa) based at Santa Cruz Air Force Base. The Vulcan had finished the Operation Black Buck 6 during the Falklands War and was returning to Ascension Island when it suffered technical problems: while attempting to refuel from a tanker aircraft, the tip of the probe broke. With insufficient fuel to return to its base at Ascension Island, the Vulcan declared mayday, it was intercepted upon entering Brazilian airspace and made to land at Galeão Air Force Base. The Brazilian aircraft flew back to Santa Cruz Air Force Base having successfully accomplished their mission. The Vulcan and its crew were interned at Galeão Air Force Base for nine days, before they were returned on 11 June, when diplomacy of the countries involved clarified the incident.[5][6][7]


The following units are based at Galeão Air Force Base:

Subordinated to the command of the 5th Air Force (V FAe), which is dedicated to Transport Aviation:

  • 1st Squadron of the 1st Transportation Group (1°/1°GT), the Gordo Squadron, using C-130H and KC-130H (Lockheed C-130 Hercules) aircraft for transport and aerial refueling missions.[8]
  • 1st Squadron of the 2nd Transportation Group (1°/2°GT), the Condor Squadron, using C-99A (Embraer ERJ 145) aircraft for transport, including for the missions of the Brazilian Air Force Passenger Services.[9]
  • 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Transportation Group (2°/2°GT), the Corsário Squadron, using KC-137 (Boeing 707) aircraft for aerial refueling and transport missions.[10]

Subordinated to the command of the 3rd Regional Air Force Command (III COMAR):

Additionally, the Batalhão de Infantaria de Aeronáutica Especial do Galeão (BINFAE-GL), an Infantry Battalion of the Brazilian Air Force that guards the Base, is also based at Galeão Air Force Base.

Accidents and incidents


The base is located 20 km from Rio de Janeiro downtown in the district of Governador Island.

See also


  1. ^ Air Force Base Official Website
  2. ^ Brazilian Air Force Official Website
  3. ^
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External links

  • Airport information for SBGL at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  • Airport information for SBGL at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
  • Current weather for SBGL at NOAA/NWS
  • Accident history for GIG at Aviation Safety Network
  • Photos of the C-130 used by Gordo Squadron at
  • Photos of the C-99A used by Condor Squadron at
  • Photos of the KC-137 used by Corsário Squadron at
  • Photos of the C-95 and C-97 used by Pioneiro Squadron at
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