Teniente Bello

Idiom: “Mas perdido que el Teniente Bello”
Translation: “More lost than Lieutenant Bello”
Meaning: When someone strays off course

First Lieutenant Alejandro Bello was a Chilean aviator who disappeared during his qualifying flight for military pilot certification. In the morning of March 9, 1914: 1st Lieutenant Bello took off from Lo Espejo Aerodrome and had to complete a route from Lo Espejo to Culitrín, to Cartagena, and back to Lo Espejo. He was accompanied in flight by his instructor and companion in another plane. His first attempt was fruitless because of heavy fog and they had to return to base where Bello slightly damaged his plane during landing. He then switched planes, and reattempted his flight. His instructor’s plane had to take an emergency landing to refuel while Bello did not also land but continued on route. He was never seen again.

A search was set out to find Teniente Bello on the very day that he went missing. Various theories suggested that he must have crashed into the mountains or the sea. Numerous attempts to find the missing pilot or the plane, as recently as 1988, have not been able to locate neither and this famous flight now belongs to legend.

Marcelo Escobar again provided the image for this post. Please visit Marcelo’s blog ” Tinta Chilena” for more of his art.

Here are some historical pictures of 1st Lieutenant Bello:

  • Patrick Mears

    I recently came across this vivid phrase and story while reading to prepare for a trip to Chile. The phrase is so evocative that I have used it in conversation and will keep doing so. It sparkles, especially when you know the background story.

    • tapia

      Hopefully we shine more light into some more of these Chilenismos.

%d bloggers like this: