In Chronological Order, All The Historic Aircraft Which Flew At Pratica di Mare Airshow

In Chronological Order, All The Historic Aircraft Which Flew At Pratica di Mare Airshow


The F-86 was one of the stunning warbirds participating within the Pratica di Mare airshow (Picture credit score: David Cenciotti). Within the bins, a number of the different plane that flew in the course of the Centennial airshow.

Many plane, each from Italy and overseas, had been invited to participate within the airshow to characterize every type which served with the Aeronautica Militare.

As we reported few days in the past, final week the Italian Air Force celebrated its 100th anniversary with a memorable airshow which paid homage to the service’s historical past. Each the flight and static shows included nearly the entire plane that served in Italy because the early days of aviation, with lots of them being a vital a part of the historical past of the Aeronautica Militare, just like the F-104 that was its principal asset for over 40 years.

Whereas some plane previously belonging to the Italian Air Power have been purchased by personal collections, restored and introduced again to airworthy situations, others are solely obtainable as museum static shows. Due to this, plenty of airworthy plane varieties had been invited from overseas to participate within the flight shows.

On this second a part of our report from the airshow, we are going to see in chronological order every of the historic plane that flew at Pratica di Mare air base and focus on their function within the Italian navy aviation.

Caproni Ca.3 (1917)

The Caproni Ca.3 replica, registration I-ZANA and belonging to the Jonathan Assortment, is the one WWI bomber in flight situations and the most important Italian amateur-built plane. Conceived in 1913 by Gianni Caproni (1886-1957) in response to the operational ideas of Giulio Douhet (1869-1930), the Ca.3 was one of many largest plane of his time. It was a tail beam biplane with central nacelle for the crew, propelled by three engines with a complete energy starting from 260 HP (on the prototype) to 450 HP (on the newest manufacturing sequence).

The Caproni Ca.3 duplicate. (All photographs: Creator, except in any other case acknowledged)

SPAD S.XIII (1917)

Along with the Caproni Ca.3 bomber, guests had been capable of see in flight one other well-known plane of the Jonathan Assortment, the duplicate of the SPAD S.XIII piloted by WW1 ace Francesco Baracca. The French-made biplane fighter plane was one of many first ones for use after the muse of the Regia Aeronautica in 1923, which took over the plane delivered since 1917 to the Corpo Militare Aeronautico.

The SPAD S.XIII duplicate with the colours of the WW1 ace Francesco Baracca.

P-38 Lightning (1946)

The P-38 Lightning twin-engine air superiority fighter was one of many many plane donated by america to the brand new Aeronautica Militare after WW2. The plane served in Italy in lots of roles, together with reconnaissance, till it was retired in 1956. Right now there aren’t any surviving Italian P-38s, as they had been both destroyed in accidents or demolished, so the P-38 of The Flying Bulls was invited and flew in the course of the morning shows at Pratica di Mare.

The P-38 Lightning. (Picture credit score: Giovanni Maduli)

Spitfire (1947)

The Spitfire Mk. V was one of many plane varieties donated by the UK and US to complement Italian fighters after the armistice in 1943. These 53 plane had been tropicalized RAF veterans from the operations in North Africa and had been adopted after the warfare by 143 Spitfire Mk. IXs, which served till 1952. The one surviving Italian Spitfire is exhibited on the Italian Air Power Museum in Vigna di Valle, and a Battle of Britain veteran flew as an alternative in the course of the airshow, the Spitfire Mk. V EE602/G-IBSY.

The Spitfire taxies in entrance of the Frecce Tricolori. (Picture credit score: David Cenciotti)

P-51 Mustang (1947)

The P-51D Mustang served in Italy after WW2, with 170 delivered by the US since 1947 as a part of the Mutual Protection Help Program. In comparison with different donated plane, the Mustangs had been delivered as new, fully overhauled and with lower than 500 flight hours. The plane had been retired in 1953 and the one one surviving is within the ItAF Museum. The airshow featured the world’s solely P-51 Mustang formation aerobatic workforce, the Horsemen Flight Workforce, which flew three P-51s, “The Hun Hunter / Texa””, “Berlin Specific” and “Miss Stress”.

The three P-51 Mustangs of the Horsemen flying workforce. (Picture credit score: Giovanni Maduli)

G.46 (1948)

The G.46 has a particular place within the Italian aviation historical past, being the primary plane constructed by FIAT instantly after WW2 and the primary solely metallic plane to enter service within the ItAF. The plane was dismissed within the late ‘50s, with many obtained by aeroclubs however later scrapped as a result of they had been too costly to keep up on the finish of their helpful life. Three of them, nevertheless, had been purchased earlier than they may very well be scrapped and, after restoration, are nonetheless flying at present. In the course of the airshow, the G.46s flew a powerful formation show and one in all them took part also in the Legend Formation.

The three G.46s throughout their formation show.

T-6 Texan (1949)

The enduring T-6G Texan has been the cornerstone of the Italian coaching after WW2, with 238 plane serving from 1949 to 1980. The Texan seen at Pratica di Mare was purchased as scrap from a theme half within the late ‘90s and underwent a prolonged restoration that resulted within the “Pilot Maker” (because the T-6 is commonly dubbed within the aviation world) returning to fly after 25 years on the bottom. Remarkably, the pilot of the T-6G was the previous Chief of Workers of the Aeronautica Militare, General (Retired) Alberto Rosso.

The T-6

P-47 Thunderbolt (1950)

After WW2 the Italian Air Power operated 75 P-47D Thundebolts, which had been acquired from US shares in Germany to exchange the Spitfire. After a shot and troubled service, the Thunderbolts got again to the US and changed by the F-84. Just one P-47 remained in Italy, proven for years on the ItAF Museum and now saved ready for restoration. The P-47D “Nellie”, based mostly at Duxford, flew in the course of the airshow at Pratica di Mare.

The P-47 Thunderbolt.

T-33 (1952)

The T-33 Taking pictures Star is a twin-seater variant of the P-80, the primary US jet fighter. The Italian Air Power operated from 1952 to 1982 a fleet of 60 T-33A and 14 RT-33A used for photographic reconnaissance. After being changed within the coaching function by the G-91T, the T-33 was additionally used as goal towing plane and as aggressor in opposition to the F-86K and F-104. The High Gun Voltige workforce, based mostly in France, took half within the flight shows in the course of the airshow with a Canadian-built CT-133 in a refined French livery.

The T-33 Taking pictures Star.

F-86 (1955)

The Italian Air Power operated 179 CL-13s, the Canadian variant of the F-86E Sabre, from 1955 to 1973. The jet, which quickly turned a logo of the brand new navy jet period, was one of many first jet to develop into operational internationally. Italy additionally operated in the identical timeframe a fleet of 63 F-86K, a simplified F-86D for the European market. The Sabre that flew on the airshow, each solo and in a heritage formation, can also be a CL-13, constructed for Germany and now based mostly in France, which has been repainted in a USAF livery.

The F-86 about to land (Picture credit score: Giovanni Maduli)

G.91 (1959)

One other piece of the Italian Air Power’s historical past, final week the Fiat G.91R flew again for the first time because it was retired in 1992. The plane, kind solely airworthy airframe, is the previous G.91R/1A MM (Matricola Militare/ Navy Serial) 6305 (c/n 169), which now sports activities the civilian registration I-AMIC. The airframe was acquired in 2009 by Catellani, with the restoration began in 2021 at Piacenza Air Base. The G.91 is a crucial a part of the historical past of the Aeronautica Militare, with a 35-year service life and 756 plane constructed.

Curiously, the plane was escorted by three Eurofighters, two Tornados and by the Frecce Tricolori show workforce, on its manner again to Piacenza after the airshow.

The bizarre formation made by the Frecce Tricolori, the G.91R , two Twister and three Eurofighter plane (Picture credit score: Italian Air Power)

MB-326 (1961)

The MB-326 was for a few years the fundamental jet coach of the Aeronautica Militare, with the one seen within the airshow serving from 1962 to 1989. This particular plane, which all through the years was upgraded to the armed MB-326E variant, was assigned to the flight faculty till 1985, earlier than getting used as liaison plane by the 9° and 6° Stormo. Bought to a personal airfield as static exhibit, the plane spent 20 years uncovered to the weather earlier than its present proprietor and pilot, Renzo Catellani, purchased it and commenced the restoration that took the MB-326E again to the skies in 2012.

The MB-326E. (Picture credit score: David Cenciotti)

One other plane purchased and restored by Catellani’s workforce is the MB-326K, the armed single seater variant of the MB-326 coach which was designed with a deal with air-to-ground assault. This particular plane isn’t solely the results of a restoration, as it may be thought of nearly a brand new plane, because it was obtained from an airframe whose meeting was by no means accomplished. The MB-326K flew again for the first time in 2019, painted as one other plane of the identical kind that was assigned to the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV) and piloted by retired ItAF Gen. Maurizio Lodovisi, who is definitely a former RSV check pilot concerned within the MB-326K testing within the ‘80s. Lodovisi additionally flew the G-91during the airshow.

The MB-326K (Picture credit score: David Cenciotti)

DC-6B (1962)

The Douglas DC-6B was the primary plane of the Italian Air Power devoted to VIP transport and long-range flights. The plane, among the many first airliners after WW2, was first operated by civilian airways after which transferred to the Aeronautica Miitare. The DC-6, often known as C-118 Liftmaster in navy service, was retired in 1981. The one seen flying on the airshow is the DC-6 of The Flying Bulls.

The Douglas DC-6.

F-104 Starfighter (1963)

The F-104 Starfighter was the cornerstone of the Italian Air Power from 1962 to 2004 (with last flight in 2005) and, for this necessary event, it flew again in Italy after almost 20 years since its retirement. The plane, which now belongs to Starfighters Aerospace and sports activities the FAA serial N991SF, is the previous Italian Air Power TF-104G-M that operated for greater than 30 years as MM54258 with the 20° Gruppo (Squadron), the Italian F-104 OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) based mostly at Grosseto.

The TF-104 (Picture credit score: David Cenciotti)

The plane, piloted by Piercarlo “Capone” Ciacchi, Director of Flight Operations at Starfighters Aerospace, and Rick Svetkoff, President and CEO of Starfighters Aerospace, was one of many highlights of the present and awaited by many aviation fans.

Heritage formations

The historic plane additionally flew with plane at the moment in service in two heritage formations. The primary formation was composed of fighters from the second to the fifth era: the F-86 Sabre, the F-104 Starfighter, the F-2000 Hurricane and the F-35A Lightning II. On Saturday, nevertheless, the formation needed to fly with out the F-104, as some issues prevented it to participate within the day by day flight program.

The second heritage formation was targeted on the air-to-ground mission set, that includes the G-91R, the AMX (A-11B within the MoD designation) particular colour to have fun the 80 years of the 103rd Gruppo, and the Twister ECR (EA-200C within the MoD designation). Each formations carried out a number of passes in several positions, earlier than finishing their efficiency with a formation break and solo high-speed passes.

The second heritage formation with the G-91, AMX and Twister.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally learning to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, overlaying aviation, protection, warfare, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Power, a personal pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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