On July 2, 2008, the crew of the MI-17 EJC 3375 helicopter of the Army Aviation took 15 people back to freedom after being held captive for several years. This aircraft with an emblematic name, Libertad 1, also bears on one of its sides the acronym SAR (Search and Rescue), because after Operation Jaque, it has been used for over 2,000 flight hours to develop this type of missions.
Libertad 1 continues to cross the skies of Colombia, carrying out all kinds of humanitarian support and disaster relief missions. This aircraft has been appointed by the National Army to serve the Colombians 24/7.
The crews of this MI-17, combative and highly trained to fulfill their mission, have protected the environment by avoiding damage to ecosystems caused by forest fires in Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Tolima and Santander. They recently arrived in Puerto Valdivia with over 24,000 kilos of humanitarian aid for the population affected by the overflow of the Cauca River, taking hope back to the region. After Operation Jaque, this MI-17 of the Army Aviation has spent over 2,000 flight hours in this type of missions.
The MI-17 helicopter fleet, aircraft chosen for Operation Jaque, has become one of the most important due to the type of missions for which it is used. These robust machines are used for aeromedical evacuations, movement of personnel, supply, firefighting with bamby bucket system, cargo transport, among others.
Currently, the Colombian Army Aviation has a fleet of twenty-three MI-17 helicopters, aircraft with a large-capacity that have been used, mostly, in humanitarian support missions. The crew of these helicopters is made up of a pilot in command, a pilot, a flight engineer, a crew chief and a flight technician. In 2018, we commemorate the 10th anniversary of Operation Jaque, an operation that is not only a symbol of freedom and hope, but the evidence of the cunning and professionalism of the Colombian Army Soldiers.