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Today in History

May 29, 1936

MANILA, May 29 – On May 29, 1936, the historic "Arnacal Flight" of two Filipino pilots — Antonio Arnaiz and Juan Calvo — left Manila and reached Spain on July 11.

Arnáiz and Calvo took off at dawn aboard a Fairchild 24 plane named "Commonwealth of the Philippines."

They arrived in Hong Kong late in the afternoon, having braved poor weather conditions (and lacking radio equipment) to become the first Filipino pilots to cross the China Sea.

In Hong Kong, they were greeted enthusiastically by prominent members of the Filipino community (including Antonio's brother Don Ricardo Arnáiz) and also by a number of Americans and Britons.

The two Filipino pilots finally arrived in Barcelona, Spain on July 11 of the same year.

The mayor of Barcelona presented Arnáiz and Calvo keys to the city and welcomed them with a banquet at the mayoral palace.

From Barcelona, they took off for Madrid and arrived at 5 p.m., completing their historic journey and first-ever goodwill flight by Philippine aviators, dubbed the "Arnacal Flight."

Earlier, Calvo, a salesman for the Manila Trading and Supply Co., enrolled in flight training at the Valeriano School of Aviation. He approached Arnaiz, his instructor, with an idea for a Manila-Madrid flight which he had conceived several years back.

Such an idea was inspired by the historic Madrid-Manila flight in December 1924 of Captains Joaquín Lóriga y Taboada and Eduardo Gallarza y González of the Spanish Royal Flying Corps.

Arnáiz, a young but capable pilot who had trained at the Dallas Aviation School in the United States, belonged to a prominent clan from Bais, Negros Oriental. He was able to obtain from his family and friends the fund needed to purchase a Fairchild 24 plane which he christened "Commonwealth of the Philippines" and used in the so-called Arnacal Flight. (PNA) scs/SDT/jsd

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Juan Ignacio C. Arnaiz March 13, 2014, 10:04 PM

    A True a Filipino Hero

  • Carlos Mendez August 14, 2014, 12:48 PM

    A lot of Balikbayans got lost when they can’t find Calle Libertad in Pasay, me included. A smaller street could have been named after him, we have deserving hero pilots who fought in the war and gave their lives for the country.

  • j February 17, 2015, 4:25 PM

    My father donated the plane propeller they used at nicholes museum , I wonder where is it now….

  • Oscar Q. Barrios June 15, 2015, 5:56 AM

    I was a first grader at the Pio del Pilar Elementary School in 1946 in search of a replacement school class picture (lost in a fire at Pasay) to check off an item on my bucket list and in looking at an on-line road map of Pasay, I was lost when I couldn’t find Libertad Street and discovered the “name-switch” to Antonio S. Arnaiz. In my book, the Arnacal Flight was indeed a historical flight and a monumental accomplishment for the two pilots, A. Arnaiz & Calvo & J. Calvo. I salute them as authentic heroes and Arnaiz deserved the honor to have a Street named after him. I hope that J. Calvo will have his share of the honor, if it hasn’t been done yet.