After a 1-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Frecce Tricolori display team celebrated its 60th anniversary with an airshow in their home base in Rivolto on 18th and 19th September (with a spotter day on 17th September).
The pandemic situation prevented a restriction-free airshow, so access was limited to only few thousands people, all seated according to social distancing guidelines.
Traditionally, the airshow is opened by the flag pass, carried by a 15° Stormo AgustaWestland HH-139A
The first displays were performed by foreign display teams. Unfortunately, the Red Arrows, the Belgian Red Devils and the Croatian Krila Oluge – Wings of Storm cancelled their participation.
Polish display team Orlik Team, flying turboprop trainers PZL-130TC-2 Turbo Orlik (“Eaglet”). The Orlik Team so far was the “secondary” Polish display team, and will become the “main” one from the next year, when the Team Iskry will be disbanded due to the retirement of their aged PZL TS-11 Iskra jet trainer.
Finnish display team Midnight Hawks flying British Aerospace Hawk 51 jet trainers. Their name comes from their main airshow, the Midnight Sun Airshow organized by the Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) Academy. Traditionally, Midnight Hawks perform the last display of the show under the midnight sun.
Spanish display team Patrulla Aguila flying the aged CASA C-101EB Aviojet, on its way to retirement and due to be replaced by the Pilatus PC-21.
Patrouille Suisse flying Northrop F-5E Tiger II, the only supersonic plane flown by an European display team, on its way towards retirement too.
The “Italian” part of the show begins with Legend Formation, a dissimilar formation with most of the trainers flown by the Italian Air Force after World War 2.
Leading the formation, a 60° Stormo SIAI-Marchetti S.208M wearing a special tail to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Arturo Ferrarin’s Rome-Tokyo raid.
Follwing it, a privately owned North American T-6G Texan (photo taken at Historical Aircraft Group FlyParty 2015)…
…a privately-owned Fiat G.46 (photo taken at Historical Aircraft Group FlyParty 2016)…
…a privately-owned SIAI-Marchetti SF.260AM (photo taken at Historical Aircraft Group FlyParty 2012)…
…Aermacchi MB.326E and MB.326K flown by private museum Volafenice…
The recently restored MB.326K is a rare single-seat attack version of the MB.326 trainer.
…a 61° Stormo Aermacchi T-346A…
…a 61° Stormo Aermacchi MB.339CD, the “current version” with digital cockpit and in-flight refueling capability…
…and finally a 61° Stormo Aermacchi MB.339A, the “old version” with analog cockpit and no in-flight refueling capability (version similar to the one flown by Frecce Tricolori, the only difference is the smoke system).
Missing from the Legend Formation flown in 2015 was this beautiful Fiat G.59, whose pilot unfortunately flew west in 2020 (photo taken at AeroParma Airshow 2013).
Scramble for 2 51° Stormo Eurofighter Typhoon, which simulated a Slow Mover Interception against a HH-139A helicopter.
A 31° Stormo Airbus VC-319A lands in Rivolto carrying Italian President Sergio Mattarella on board.
The Reparto Sperimentale Volo carries on the show, starting with the Alenia C-27J Spartan.
The tactical demo begins, unfortunately mainly backlit. The Fucilieri dell’Aria special forces simulated a Combat SAR mission with the support of many assets.
14° Stormo Boeing KC-767A tanker
A 32° Stormo Lockheed F-35B Lightning II neutralizes a SAM position.
9° Stormo AgustaWestland HH-101A CAESAR helicopters
After the demonstration, the Lockheed F-35B Lightning II hovered in front of the crowd.
Final formation with all the fixed-wing assets that took part in the tactical demonstration:
- Boeing KC-767A
- Eurofighter Typhoon (simulated refueling)
- Aermacchi AMX (simulated refueling)
- Panavia Tornado IDS
- Lockheed F-35B Lightning II
- Gulfstream G550 CAEW (Conformal Airborne Early Warning)
- Lockheed C-130J Hercules
- Alenia C-27J Spartan
And finally the Frecce Tricolori display!
Lieutenant Colonel Gaetano Farina, Pony 0 (Commander of the display team) watches the team taking off. In the background, his own plane, which has the tail repainted with the event logo.
All the aircraft of the team received a special tail painted with the liveries of the Italian Air Force display team which flew before them. The liveries were created by livery designer Mirco Pecorari of Aircraft Studio Design.
The display teams are:
- 4° Stormo’s Cavallino Rampante (“Prancing Horse”), flying from 1950 to 1952 with the de Havilland DH.100 Vampire and from 1956 to 1957 with the North American F-86E Sabre
- 5° Stormo’s Getti Tonanti (literal translation of Thunderjets), flying from 1953 to 1955 with the Republic F-84G Thunderjet and from 1959 to 1960 with the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
- 51° Stormo’s Tigri Bianche (“White Tigers”), flying from 1953 to 1956 with the Republic F-84G Thunderjet
- 6° Stormo’s Diavoli Rossi (“Red Devils”), flying from 1957 to 1959 with the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
- 2° Stormo’s Lanceri Neri (“Black Lancers”), flying from 1957 to 1959 with the Canadair Sabre Mk.4
The return to the parking closes the airshow.
Just a quick off-topic: for the anniversary, Horacio Pagani made a special version of the Huayra, named Pagani Huayra Tricolore. Just 3 units were built, dedicated to Pony 0 (the team commander), Pony 1 (the formation lead plane) and Pony 10 (the solo).
It can be yours for just 6’000’000 €.
I bought one to go to work.
I bought another one to go to the bar.
I wanted to buy the third one to go to the supermarket, but I cannot fit shopping bags in it.
It made a run along the taxiway, and then a full speed run along the runway. I have to say I though its engine was much louder, while it actually was very quiet.
Let me end the post with the static display.
Gulfstream G550 CAEW (unfortunately it was cloudy in the morning, and backlit in the evening)
General Atomics MQ-1C Predator mock-up
Panavia Tornado ECR
AgustaWestland HH-101A CAESAR
Lockheed F-35A Lightning II