Seaplane Spotted Entering Havana Bay in Rare Sight

Tuesday, May 14, 2024 by Alex Smith

An extraordinary image captured the attention of onlookers on Monday morning as they watched from the Malecón a seaplane making a low-altitude entry into Havana Bay. “Rarely seen: Seaplane, apparently coming from the north, landing in Havana Bay,” noted a user who shared a video of the aircraft's maneuver on social media.

According to the reporter, the event occurred around 9:30 am. His camera caught the seaplane’s flight over an unusually calm sea from a balcony on Havana’s Malecón avenue. One user doubted the aircraft was coming from the “north” and commented that its trajectory originated from the eastern part of the island. “No, it wasn’t coming from the north, but from the east. I saw it flying from the Hotel Nacional, and I’ve read it's from the Turks who have the electricity-generating barges.”

The post sparked an interesting exchange among other users, who argued that while this is an unusual sight today, it was commonplace before 1959, providing various graphical documents to support their claims. “True, it’s rarely seen in the last 64 years, but before that, it was very common. Whether for tourism or mail delivery,” indicated a Facebook user who shared a series of photographs of these aircraft in Havana, including one of the Aeromarine Airways dock in Havana Bay. This airline connected the Cuban capital with Key West.

In addition, Cuban writer Enrique del Risco recalled the arrival of Cuban boxing champion Kid Chocolate to the capital from the United States aboard one of these aircraft. “Like when Kid Chocolate arrived after his world championship,” he said.

“Apparently, in the early '30s, there were regular seaplane flights between Havana and Florida, so it's not surprising that Kid used one. By then, the Rancho Boyeros Airport (along with Columbia, which was the first) already existed, but it seems some preferred to arrive this way,” commented another user, sharing a 1932 photograph of a seaplane bound for Florida in Havana Bay.

Before 1959, Cuba was one of the leading countries in industrial and technological modernization in Latin America. The first flights of German Junkers seaplanes in the region departed from Havana, where they arrived in pieces in the early 1920s aboard a steamship from Germany.

A 1927 postage stamp depicting a seaplane flying over the Cuban capital further highlights this historical connection.

Frequently Asked Questions about Seaplane Sightings in Havana Bay

The sighting of a seaplane in Havana Bay has led to many questions and sparked curiosity. Here we address some of the most common inquiries.

Why is a seaplane landing in Havana Bay considered rare today?

Seaplane landings in Havana Bay are rare today due to the decline in such flights since the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Previously, they were a common sight for both tourism and mail delivery.

Where did the seaplane come from?

There is some debate about the seaplane's origin. While some believe it came from the north, others suggest it was flying from the east, possibly linked to the Turks who operate electricity-generating barges.

What historical significance do seaplanes have in Cuba?

Seaplanes have historical significance in Cuba, dating back to the early 20th century when they were used for regular flights between Havana and Florida. They played a role in both tourism and mail delivery, and were part of Cuba's industrial and technological modernization.

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