In my family, the one who’s really into airplanes and flight history, is my husband. I guess some genes have passed on to my daughter, so I wasn’t so much surprised when, as soon as she knew about it, she asked me if I wanted to go with her to see the Air Show that was going to be held at our local airport. Unfortunately hubby was busy that sunday, so the two of us started to make plans. The show was for free, so we knew there would be thousands of people gathering there, (it turned up there were about 28.000) and we knew as well, from past experiences, that it would have been tiring to stand for long hours in a airfield with our nose up.
The thing we really wanted to see was Frecce Tricolori (literally Tricolour Arrows) the aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Aeronautica Militare, based at Rivolto Air Force Base, in the north-eastern Italy. They were formed in 1961 as an Air Force team, replacing unofficial teams that had been sponsored by various commands by the end of the 1920s. The team flies the Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN, a two-seat fighter-trainer craft capable of 898 km/h at sea level, with nine aircraft and a solo (the most aircraft of any aerobatic team in the world). The team’s official name is: 313. Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN) Frecce Tricolori.
The team was supposed to be the last performance for the day, so we decided to take the long road across the countryside (most roads around the airfield were closed for safety reasons) and to find the perfect spot just in time to look up to them.
We finally found the right place – and I can tell you, it was right for so many other people, even if the weather was not so good – it finished to rain just before the beginning of the show, as you can see….
While we waited for the Frecce to start their performance, we strolled around and obviously something catched our attention….and our cameras……..
My daughter was interested also in the people there, this is one of the phots she took with her new lens
And finally they were there, coloring the sky with the colors of our national flag………..
The Frecce Tricolori were not the first AMI aerobatics team: military aerobatics as a group began in Campoformido, home of the 1st Wing, in the late 1920s under the supervision of Col. Rino Corso Fougier, a pioneer in aerobatic group flying. Subsequently, except in the Second World War period, many fighter wings had demonstration teams such as Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse), Getti Tonanti (Thundering Jets), Diavoli Rossi (Red Devils), Tigri Bianche (White Tigers) and Lanceri Neri (Black Lancers). In 1961 the Air Force General Staff decided to form a single aerobatic team, the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (National Aerobatic Patrol). In 2000 they reached 50,000 flying hours on the MB-339. In 2005 they won the award for best exhibition at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, England. They were the first non-Russian unit to receive the Russian Silver Medal for Aeronautical Merit. On 8 September 2007 the Frecce Tricolori took part at the funeral of Luciano Pavarotti in Modena and honoured him with a fly-past leaving green-white-red smoke trails.
Unfortunately they have also a very tragic page in their history. On 28 August 1988, in the Ramstein airshow disaster, 70 people lost their lives due to the mid-air collision of three Frecce Tricolori jets. The burning jets broke up and crashed; one hit a crowd of spectators. If you want to learn more about them, this is the official site.