The good spirit of the islands onboard SATA

Flying on SATA Azores Airlines is flying with the Azores on board. Not only because most of the crew is resident or native of the Azores, but also because passengers are also Azorean and carry with them the atmosphere of the islands. The story we are going to tell reflects that. The good spirit of the islands!

Illustration by Magguy Lopes in Diário de Navegação – edition commemorating 50 years of SATA Air Açores.

Carpinteiro and Lopes were pilots at SATA Air Açores. They flew together for years, and with these trips came a special friendship and many stories to tell. One of them was experienced in the AVRO 748, which connected São Miguel and Santa Maria and took everyone who wanted to cross the Atlantic at a time when connections between the Azores and the United States were not yet made by Azores Airlines.

Onboard this half an hour flight, a philharmonic band came from New Bedford to play in the famous procession of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres, on the island of São Miguel.

Private photographic archive: Eduardo Carpinteiro on the left and Rogério Lopes on the right.

On the return flight, and before the stopover in Santa Maria, they decided to play one last time as a farewell to their homeland. Although the cockpit door was closed, it was impossible for Captain Eduardo Carpinteiro and Copilot Rogério Lopes to not be aware of the “symphony” that was played on the back.

Anyone who has witnessed the procession of Senhor Santo Cristo dos Milagres can easily sing the chords of the hymn by heart. For those who have never had this privilege, it’s time to take a moment to discover this hymn that is so familiar to those who live São Miguel Island’s traditions.

Back to the story and inside the AVRO cabin, when the improvised performance of the philharmonic band ended, Carpenter and Lopes, live from the cockpit, took the microphone that usually serves to talk to passengers about the flight status and decided to put all their talent in the imitation of some instruments, as if trying not to go unnoticed. Now, anyone who met Carpenter and Lopes knows well that they would never go unnoticed, even in the middle of a loud crowd. But this time the effort was such that the band, back there and for a moment, did not realize that the sound of the drumbeat, the horns, strings, and other musical instruments came out, after all, from the vocal cords of the two SATA pilots!

Of course, the joke ended when the “artists” loudly laughed… But, even so, and for a moment, it is a fact that the band’s musicians who were on board did not suspect that the sounds came from the cockpit.

It is true that bands on board, music in the air, and the joy of returning home have been experienced and felt many times over the years onboard SATA. And that’s why this airline is as special as the Azores destination, where it has been flying for over seventy years.

But thinking about this story carefully, we could admit the possibility that Carpinteiro and Lopes were, after all, well ahead of their time, having perhaps been at the origin of the art of Beat Box, something that only came to the bustling arteries of New York years later. Unlikely but not impossible…

More than forty years later, Rogério Lopes tells this story with all his enthusiasm. Adding to the details his voice, the cackling, the drumming on the improvised drum that is the top of his dinner table, and of course, the silent and stubborn tear coming from the corner of his eye.

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