The last Latin-America Stoof Drivers

Only one navy is still flying the Grumman Tracker from an aircraft carrier these days. Although the rumbling sound will never be heard again, in the South-Atlantic the 'Stoof' still rules the waves. Argentinean Tracker pilots are still carrier qualified despite the only aircraft carrier ’25 de Mayo is out of service. The Brazilian Navy gives the CANA (Comando de la Aviacion Naval Argentina) the opportunity to train pilots for carrier operations. First the NAeL Minas Gerais was involved and nowadays the ‘new’ NAe Sao Paulo will have Trackers sometimes onboard. For the first time the Trackers operating from the NAe Sao Paulo during ARAex VI (April/May 2002). A total of three S-2Ts and three Dassault Super Etendards were involved in maritime operations from the ship.

We had the luck to be onboard the NAe Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Navy exercise Temperex last September. For a period of two weeks, two S-2T Trackers and forty man personnel stayed on the ship. We get the opportunity to photograph some great moments. During catapult launches and recoveries we survived the dangerous flight deck and met some fine Tracker pilots ofcourse.

Brazilian deck crew is preparing a A-4 Skyhawk for the bow-cat launch while the Trackers are waiting for their turn.
Lt Carlos Falcone and his crew on their way to one of the s-2T Trackers for another flight.
The crew is doing a pre-flight check.
A unique sight. Where in the world can you see active Grumman Trackers at an aircraft carrier.
Brazilian deckcrew is waiting for the signal to remove the wheelclog. This is the task of the "blue shirts".
The Trackers is taxiing to the bow catapult and the pilot gets directions for the right position.
There she goes! As usually the nosewheel is lifted off during the short ride over the deck.
Photo: Carlos Falcone.
Nice shot of a Tracker after the bridle was released form the plane.
After a successful mission over the South Atlantic, this Tracker is about to crab one of the three arresting cables.
To make taxiing on the flight deck more easier, the crew is folding the wings immediately after landing.
The two elevators of the NAe São Paulo are large enough the bring the Tracker to the lower hangar deck. Photo: Lt Carlos Falcone
Nice sunset. This S-2T was the last aircraft coming back that day. Lt Carlos Falcone, not flying this time, took this very nice shot.


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