This was the last flight of the “Chino” Cimbaro, hero of Malvinas

Cimbaro with his son Federico, his daughter Victoria (on-board commissioner of his last flight), his wife Silvia and his daughter Valeria, also a cabin crew member, at Aeroparque after the last flight

It was his last hour and a half in command of the Embraer 190 of Aerolineas Argentinas. Flight AR 1871 touched down at the Metropolitan Airport at 3:37 p.m. He flew from Resistencia, Chaco, where He was born exactly on November 24, 65 years ago. Roberto “El Chino” Cimbaro he fulfilled risky missions aboard a Pucara in the Malvinas war. But this time her heart beat in a special way. “I had been preparing myself with a therapy during the last three or four landings so that in the last one my vision would not be blurred with a tear -He tells Infobae-. But inside me, a lot of images of everything I experienced passed through. I had the pressure that this flight was as good as the previous ones. And it was nice. Once I touched the ground, the token fell and I realized that I was never going to do it again. But with the joy and immense pleasure of having done this for the last 11 years, they overcame the sadness of parting … “

Cimbaro greets from the cockpit window of the Aerolineas Argentinas plane
Cimbaro greets from the cockpit window of the Aerolineas Argentinas plane

I expected it, as happens every time a pilot stops flying or a plane opens a new route, the “arc of water”, the wet salute of the fire engines that are on the track. Upstairs in the cabin was his wife Silvia Vega, their daughters Valeria (Airline commissioner) and Victoria (also crew member) and his son Federico, who was born at the Tandil air base when Cimbaro was flying Mirage and follows in his footsteps: He is a lieutenant in the Air Force, fighter pilot bound for the Morón base.

In the morning, very early, Cimbaro flew to Mar del Plata and I come back. In the afternoon, he made the 936 kilometers of the route to Resistencia there and back from Aeroparque. At every step he received greetings, applause and presents. Each of the 96 passengers who got off the Federal Capital greeted him. He had to leave his low profile for a few days and accept the tributes. Everyone already knows who Chino Cimbaro is.

The young lieutenant Cimbaro with a Pucará, with whom he fought in Malvinas
The young lieutenant Cimbaro with a Pucará, with whom he fought in Malvinas

He was born in Resistencia, Chaco, on November 24, 1956. He is son of Roberto, an older master builder and Ofelia, a nurse. He studied aviation in Córdoba and since then the sky was – as he told Infobae– “the best office”. Since then he has flown four thousand hours in 36 years of service in the Air Force. And five thousand in the 11 that happened in Airlines: 47 years in the air.

At age 25, Cimbaro faced his great challenge. On April 3 he landed at the Malvinas Military Air Base (BAM), the track of Puerto Argentino. Destined to the BAM Condor of Darwin with the Pucará Squad, andOn May 1 came the painful baptism of fire. The base was attacked at 8.31 in the morning by a squadron of Harrier aircraft. that took off from the Hermes aircraft carrier. In that action a pilot died, the first lieutenant Daniel Jukic and those who assisted him: the main corporal Juan Rodríguez and Juan Duarte; and the first corporals José Maldonado, Agustín Montaño, Andrés Brasich, Miguel Carrizo and José Luis Peralta. Cimbaro was able to take out his Pucara just before the projectiles fell and took refuge on Borbón Island.

In the pilot room of the Pucará Squadron in Malvinas during April 1982. Above: Lieutenants Daniel Jukic and Miguel Giménez (both died in the war), the then Lieutenants Roberto Cimbaro and Hernán Calderón.  Bottom: Captain Roberto Vila and Lieutenant Héctor Furios
In the pilot room of the Pucará Squadron in Malvinas during April 1982. Above: Lieutenants Daniel Jukic and Miguel Giménez (both died in the war), the then Lieutenants Roberto Cimbaro and Hernán Calderón. Bottom: Captain Roberto Vila and Lieutenant Héctor Furios

From that moment, with the Pucará, they had the order to face the land advance of the English. In those incursions he suffered several impacts on the fuselage of the plane, but was always able to return. His last two missions were on May 28. “The first, at 9 in the morning, I went out to try to identify the English advance and stop them with rockets, because they were very close to the BAM Cóndor in Darwin. And the second, the most shocking, was when we attacked with my partner (Lieutenant Miguel Ángel) ‘El Sombra’ Giménez, two Scout helicopters. We went into combat at a very low altitude, I remember it was drizzling. He took one down. I could tell from the screams I heard on the radio. The one who fought me I damaged and forced him to land. He was left on his side, fallen into the mob, “he said. Giménez did not return: four years after the war his body was found on the slope of Mount Azul. It had crashed.

On May 30, after almost two months of uninterrupted stay on the islands, Cimbaro was relieved, embarked on a Hercules and destined for Río Gallegos as a reserve pilot. He never returned to the Malvinas. “It would hurt me, I wouldn’t feel like asking permission to enter my house,” he told Infobae.

The arc of water made by the fire engines in the last flights
The arc of water made by the fire engines in the last flights

Life took him to various destinations (Israel is the one he remembers the most: there he almost lost his life due to an attack from the border with Lebanon with Katiusha missiles). In 2010, retired from the Air Force with the rank of Commodore, he began flying with Aerolineas Argentinas. Today he took his last contingent home, to his work, to his vacations … “I had a lot of feelings for everything I experienced, for the people I met, for what I learned. The world of transport aviation is different from that of combat aviation. It is another environment, there are other characters, other procedures. It is much safer, it has more technology. Thank God I adapted quickly and it helped make my life very pleasant. For me I would like to fly two or three more years, because I feel full. But you can’t … It was the last one. Today is my birthday and I can no longer step on a plane as a pilot ”.

Yesterday, Aerolineas scheduled the reception at Aeroparque. They set up a sector in the offices, they gave it an agape. Family and friends were there. “These years I did what I loved since I was little, to fly”, he said happily. He will return, as he defined, to his calm “provincial, Chaco”, to his low profile. But if your child invites you to get on a plane, you will not hesitate. The “Chino” Cimbaro will return to his place in the world, which is heaven.

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