On this page we will attempt to reveal another facet of Carlos de Haya: his waggish and curious side. A collection of texts and photographs show how he attempted to discover other specialised skills deviating from conventional aviation but without abandoning the key elements of flying: the sky and the air. Take, for example, his interest in parachuting, his keenness to experiment with other inventions, such as the seagull glider, or to fly in a hot-air balloon…
Mandolin belonging to Carlos Haya since his time as a cadet.
Charcoal drawing made by Carlos de Haya in 1922 in Africa.
Ceramic portrait of M. Amann made by Carlos de Haya in 1924 (aged 22).
Oil of her sister Lolita painted by Carlos de Haya in 1927.
Stamp commemorating Carlos de Haya.
First graduation of paratroopers. Back row standing (from left to right): José Gamir Rubert, José Mendez Parada, Valeriano Turne Perez Deseoane, Isidoro Lopez de Haro, Gonzalez Marcos, Luis Rambaud Goma. Front row seated (from left to right): Angel Chamorro Garcia, Carlos de Haya Gonzalez, Angel Pastor Velasco, Rafael Gomez Jordana Souza, Arturo Alvarez Buylla.
Tetuan, 1927. Tauler “the Terrible” and me with my Napier 66.
Carlos de Haya flying under the Bilbao suspension bridge (1926).
Invitation from the German Air Force to a flight to South America in the Graff Zeppelin.
The Tabalada Group 22, escorting the Graff Zeppelin on its flight over Baja Andalucia. On board, the Prime Minister Lerroux and three of his cabinet ministers.
Carlos de Haya with parachute in 1927.
Carlos Haya testing the sea glider “seagull” built by Cañete.
Reunion at the Ritz Hotel in 1928. Seated in front row, from left to right: (X), Carlos Masquelet Lacaci – 2nd in command of the M.A.-, Manuel Nieves Couso – Head of the M.A.-, (X), Manuel Goded Llopis, (X), (X), Second row: Senen Ordiales Gonzalez, Manuel Iglesias Brage, Pio Fernandez Mulero, José Perez Pardo, Angel Fernandez de la Granda; Third row: Cipriano Rodriguez Diaz, Alejandro Gomez Spencer, (X), (X), (X); Back row: (X), (X), Julio Ruiz de Alda Migueleiz, Rafael Llorente Solá, (X), Carlos de Haya Gonzalez, Francisco Leon Trejo, Martin Elviro Berdeguer, Francisco Fernandez-Longoria Gonzalez, (X) Ignacio Jimenez Martin. (The (X) marks those still unidentified).
Free ascent as crew members of the balloon “Comandante Molas”, which lifted in Guadalajara and landed in Benifar (Huesca) in 1929. In the picture we can see it landing on an olive tree and the hand-written note of Carlos de Haya himself, which reads: “’good’ landing with the aid of a protective olive tree”.
The “Douglas” plane flown by Captain Haya, which was affectionately nicknamed “the Baker” (El Panadero).
Dropping provisions and medicines to supply the Santuario.
The moment of the collision between the Fiat CR-32 ‘Chirri’ piloted by Captain Carlos de Haya and the Polikarpov I-15 ‘Chato’ of Lieutenant Viñals, which resulted in the death of the former.
Lieutenant Viñals
Click on photo to see image enlarged.



During the siege of the Sanctuary of the Virgen de la Cabeza the Captain of the Air Corps, Carlos de Haya, a true guardian angel of the besieged troops, carried out nearly 90 supply missions in aid of the defending soldiers, in different aeroplanes and often under the most adverse conditions. For his selfless dedication to the mission and the fearlessness shown during these flights, being hit by enemy fire on numerous occasions, he received the maximum military award, the Laurel Crowned Cross of San Fernando.

The precarious means available at the initial stages of the war made it necessary to think up ingenious ways of getting through supplies (so essential but not as abundant as would have been wished) with safety and precision, owing to the scarcity of aeroplanes that could not be deferred from other war missions, as well as the insufficient number of dropping mechanisms.
Captain Haya, in an effort to get the maximum efficiency out of the supplies being transported to the Sanctuary, devised a system that combined the maximum load of food and supplies with the minimum amounts of elements and medicines required to guarantee the safe dropping off of the aid packages. This idea consisted of storing the lightweight loads in baskets which, tied to the feet of live turkeys, softened the impact of the drop helped by the wing flutter of the birds, thus rendering edible the “braking system” employed.
Captain Haya had come from the service corps and therefore the 1st Graduation Class of the Air Service Corps, proud of the feats of their Corps predecessor and companion and wishing to honour his memory, adopted as their graduation year emblem the one shown below, on account of its peculiar origin and its notoriety.

On 20th February 1938, Captain Carlos de Haya was called to take part in a protection mission on the war Front and in a display of great commitment and courage, he left his base a day after burying his mother; thus, on 21st February 1938, after lunch, Squadron 11, 1-15 (Chatos) including a still emotionally affected Carlos de Haya, departed for the Front on its mission of protection.

Later, the events that took place that day would for some time after be related as follows by his adversaries: “ Scarcely 30 minutes had passed since the squadron had taken off when 2 cars arrived at the field carrying several men accompanied by a Captain of the M.A. who told us they were a supervisory committee. One and a quarter hours after the take off, the squadron spied a single plane flying at a relatively low altitude and which was heading in the direction of the field without a fixed vertical plane and without a rudder. One of the members of the committee shouted out “Tail-less plane! Tail-less plane!” The plane landed with difficulty and the pilot, Manuel Orozco Roviro, explained that a Fiat had crashed into him and he did not know what had happened to it. The following day we found out from a Lieutenant of the Squadron that according to the Nationalist radio station, in the combats between Chatos and Fiats fought in the early afternoon of the previous day, in which more than 50 planes had taken part with fatalities on both sides, as a result of a crash with a fighter pilot, Carlos de Haya Gonzalez had been killed.
One of the Chatos pilots was shocked when he heard of Captain Haya’s death as he had been a pupil of his in the School of Aviation Mechanics and Captain Haya had helped him a lot, giving him books and flying with him in the training sessions of non-visibility flight in the evenings in the countryside around Alcala de Henares.


In 1929 Commander Ramon Franco asked Carlos de Haya to pilot a plane for a long test flight. The merits of the young Carlos de Haya, in spite of his youth, and above all his experience in night flying and expertise were taken into account by the Commander, as can be inferred from the following fragment of the book “Aguilas y Garras” (Eagles and Claws) written by Commander Franco himself.

"…Taking advantage of the May moon I wanted to make a test and resistance flight and filling the ‘Dornier 15’ with 3,600 litres of fuel, Carlos Haya, a highly skilled pilot and expert in night flying, the mechanic Madariaga, and I, at two o’clock in the afternoon and after a smooth take off, began our flight, which lasted until ten o’clock the following morning, at which time we made a sea landing with about twenty litres of petrol remaining in the tank.

Although the Observatory had not foreseen it, from twelve o’clock midnight until ten in the morning, it was pouring with rain and along the whole coastline between Barcelona and Cartagena, under very difficult flying conditions that put to the test our “Hispano” engines, in spite of the vast amount of water around us, there was not a single mechanical failure during the entire flight.

We did this several times along the coast between Los Alcazares and Barcelona and between Los Alcazares and Alicante, flying at an average speed of 150 km/h and, towards the end, we circled Mar Menor, as the poor visibility caused by the downpour made the flight dangerous. We finished the test flying up and down the Mar Menor coastline sixteen times.

After this twenty hour flight, in which I was so ably assisted by the extraordinary expertise of Carlos Haya, I refuelled the plane up to its 4,150 litre capacity, which extended the flight duration to twenty three or twenty four hours and the flying range increased to 3,500 kilometres…"


When Julio Ruiz de Alda, Haya’s co-pilot in the Dornier Plus Ultra for over ten thousand kilometres and triumvirate member of the Falangist movement, invited him a few months before the military uprising of 18th July to devote his life to politics, Haya replied that he would not abandon his profession as aviator for anything in the world.


Before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War on 18th July 1936, Carlos de Haya was the pilot with the most flying time in Spain – a total of 2,425 hours.

From 18th July 1936 to 21st February 1938 (the date of his death) he clocked up 760 hours of flight, bringing the total to 3,127 hours making Carlos de Haya the pilot with the most flying time at that moment.




18/07/1936 to 21/02/1938  

Total until 21/02/1938

Flying time




During the siege of the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza (The Virgin of the Head), the Captain of Aviation Carlos Haya, a genuine guardian angel of the besieged, carried out nearly 90 air missions aiding and supplying the defending forces, in different planes and frequently under the most adverse of conditions, running up a total of 144 hours and 23 minutes, all of which were voluntary and performed when off duty (95% of these missions unescorted and 70% by night).

The precarious means available at the beginning of the war made it necessary to come up with inventive solutions to getting the supplies (so necessary but not as abundant as one might have wished) to their destination safely and with precision, owing to the lack of planes, which could not be diverted from other war missions and to the inadequacy of the air-drop mechanisms.

It was this same Captain Haya who, in his determination to get the maximum amount of transported supply material to the Sanctuary, came up with the idea for a system which brought together the greatest amount of provisions with the minimum number of items and medicines needed to guarantee the safety of the dropped supplies. This idea consisted of packing the light supplies in baskets which, tied to the legs of live turkeys, were absorbed against the impact of the fall by the flapping wings of the fowls, thus making the “breaking system” employed also edible.

Another interesting anecdote about these Sanctuary missions tells of how on occasions he would arrive with more than 40 hits in the fuselage and on one particular day he returned with a hole measuring 57cm.

Another story relates the origin of the nickname given to Captain Haya and his plane by the small children in the Sanctuary who would joyously shout  “Here comes the Baker” every time they saw his plane on the horizon which also brought them comics bought by Jarén, the mechanic.

30th December 1936

2 trips, 3hrs 15mins.

31th December 1936

4 trips, 4hrs 58mins.

1st January 1937

1 trip, 1hrs 45mins.

18th January 1937

4 trips, 3hrs 12mins.

19th January 1937

4 trips, 4hrs 23mins. (all night flights)

9th January 1937

3 trips, 6hrs 10mins.


86 voluntary missions, 144hrs 23mins.

This table shows an extract taken from Captain Haya’s flight log. On some days he made 4 flights, which meant nearly 5 hours flying time. On one particular day, carrying out 3 night missions, he clocked up 6 hours 10 minutes of flying time. Some flights, like those made on 31st December, had to be aborted because of bad weather. In the next link you will find a table containing all the data and events relating to the supply missions and bombing campaigns against the forces besieging the Sanctuary.

Table showing the Sanctuary missions (Click to see table)

When the Spanish Civil War broke out on 18th July 1936, Captain de Haya was in Malaga (a Republican zone), where his wife had just given birth to twin boys. He took a cargo-carrying vessel at the port of Malaga (the “Navemar”), stopping just off the coast in front of the beaches of Chipiona, which he reached by swimming. He presented himself to the authorities and flew from Jerez to Seville in a friend’s light aircraft where he placed himself at the command of Queipo de Llano.

Some days later his wife was to be taken prisoner and was separated from the care of her newly born twins, remaining in Malaga until the Republican Governor abandoned the city and took her in his car to Valencia along the Almeria coastal road and handed her over to Galarza. She remained prisoner until she was exchanged for the Hungarian reporter Arthur Koestler who was taken by Carlos de Haya himself in a plane from Seville to Algeciras, whilst his wife was disembarking in Gibraltar after the sea passage from Valencia. This exchange was made possible by the intervention of the Red Cross.

The table below shows the flying time from the first war missions carried out by Captain Haya following his move to Seville (the area of the insurgents).

22nd July 1936 6hrs 18mins
25th July 1936 5hrs 45mins

26th July 1936

4hrs 55mins

27th July 1936

5hrs 23mins

28th July 1936

7hrs 47mins

29th July 1936

4hrs 32mins

30th July 1936

9hrs 14mins

31st July 1936

6hrs 27mins


50hrs 21mins

1921 Service Corps Second Lieutenant. Second in his promotion.
1925 Pilot
1926 Hydroplane Pilot
1926 Use Radiogoniómetro
1927 Course in Non-visibility navigation
1927 Qualified First Class Radio-telegraph operator
1927 Instructor at the School of Mechanics
1927 Paratrooper course
1928 Aeroplane observer
1929 Free ascent as crew member of aerostatic balloon
1930 Sets three world records
1930 Flight from Seville to Bata
1931 Instructor for non-visibility flight
1934 Technical Aviation Secretary (appointed by General Director of Aeronautics, General Goded)
Emilio Herrera:
"There are few occasions on which an Aviation Service officer can excel himself in the call of duty in the way Captain Haya has done” (A. and A. journal March, issue nº 579, 1989).

" In Tabalad I was assigned to the squadron under the command of Vara de Rey. It was there I met Lieutenant Carlos de Haya Gonzalez, my instructor for non-visibility flight. What I felt for that officer was true affection and admiration”. (Journal Aeroplano, issue Nº 17).

Ramón Franco:
" In Tabalad I was assigned to the squadron under the command of Vara de Rey. It was there I met Lieutenant Carlos de Haya Gonzalez, my instructor for non-visibility flight. What I felt for that officer was true affection and admiration”. (Journal Aeroplano, issue Nº 17).

José Jové:
"….he informed us of the death of Carlos Haya and he realised that I was greatly moved for, according to his account, tears welled up in my eyes and he judged me to be very sentimental. I explained to him that from 1930 to 1933 all of us in the Aviation Corps were a family and Haya was an instructor in School of Aviation Mechanics who had helped me a lot. He gave me some books from that School (which I still have) and I had flown with him on many occasions on training flights, non-visibility flights, over the countryside surrounding Alcalá de Henares at sunset.” (Extract from book by José Jové).

Felix Igunza:
"He recalls some of the pupils who flew with Carlos Haya, who were in general older than him, such as Commander Botana, who was lame. Haya had come to fly to Cuatro Vientos and Igunza was his assigned mechanic and accompanied the pilot on many flights and trips. The pupils were continually taking it in turns, “one would get off and another would get on board”, and consequently he flew a great deal, without rest; according to his fervent comments “he was the greatest aviator in Spain” (journal Aeroplano, 2004, issue nº 22)

"I will confine myself to just one comment, taken from a book written by one of his enemies.” So says Andrés García Lacalle, prominent government pilot and fighter commander of the Republican aviation during the war: “Captain Haya was, in my opinion, the most complete pilot that Franco’s aviation had and for whom I felt respect and admiration. I made a personal visit to see him in Bilbao, at his house in the Gran Via, to ask him for his advice regarding whether or not I ought to become a civil pilot so as to enlist on the military pilot’s course later. And when I say that he was the most complete pilot it is because he mastered all the specialised theoretical and practical areas.”

Queipo del Llano:
"That bravest and most spirited of all brave men; that good and modest man who was the extraordinary aviator Captain Haya” (extract from book by Queipo de Llano).

A. Kindelán:
"For me the heroes of this period are embodied in three symbolic names: Morato, Haya and Vázquez.”

Ruggero Bonomi:
"Spanish pilot captain Haya. A magnificent fighter this Captain Haya….because Captain Haya does everything…he transports troops, brings fresh supplies to the besieged, drops propaganda newsletters, a highly skilled pilot, a fervent patriot.” (Extract from book by Ruggero Bonomi).

Serguiei Abrósov:

The battle of Teruel
Pages 207-208
According to a statement made by the Republican pilots involved in the combat, 6 Messerschmitt and 4 Fiat planes were shot down. In Republican territory several Fiat were found; one with a dead Spanish pilot, Captain Carosaya, known to be the best pilot in Spain; the other – an Italian pilot who, after being arrested, showed resistance and was killed; the Italian pilot of the third plane was taken prisoner. The pilot shot down in this combat “Captain Carosaya” was in fact called Carlos de Haya González and was one of the best known pilots in
Spain, who contributed greatly to the process of development of Franco’s air forces. In fact he did not often fly fighter planes, on occasions his role was to act as personal pilot to Franco. To sum up, González was able to carry out 760 aerial missions for the war, mainly in the Breguet XIX, the S.M. 81 and the DC-2, and he clocked up 2,245 flying hours, a figure that was not surpassed in the civil war. Before he died, he was flying in the Italian squadron Group 23 “Ace of Clubs”. It was precisely this plane that Captain Carlos González was piloting when, during this air combat, he collided with an I-15.

(*) Leningrad citizens in Spain 19(70) File nº 49. Log of war actions of the Republican air force, 1,138 – 31.12.3889
(*) Leningrad citizens in Spain 1989
(92) Leningrad 198
Translated and dispatched personally by José María Bravo on 7/11/2009.

Capitán Cortés’ opinión (They never had the opportunity to meet):
"“Our most enthusiastic congratulations on the bravery of Capitán Haya, who in our most desperate moments, we perceived in the skies, and watched as he came to our aid in the most unselfish manner. We extend our most sincere gratitude, content in the hope that he is now happily reunited with his family, reportedly residing in Málaga” (From the book: La Epopeya del Silencio de J.P. Cortés Camacho).

Extract from the text accompanying the award of Honour:
"…For the carrying out of missions that would have exhausted not just one pilot but several.” He died at the age of 36 on the 21st February 1938 at 11.00 hours, twenty four hours after attending the burial ceremony of his mother, for saving the life of a fellow pilot who was being tailed.

All this information has been obtained from the following writings, books and encyclopaedias:
-Espasa-Calpe Encyclopaedia
- Aeronautical History Review (October 1989 issue nº 7/ November 1990 issue nº 8) R. de Madariaga.
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