During the days of Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12 2010 respectively, on the Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana) base of Rivolto (UD), have taken place the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the “313° gruppo addestramento acrobatico” (313th acrobatic training group), popularly known as “Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale” or PAN (national acrobatic team) and also known as “Frecce tricolori” (tricolor arrows).

Celebrations consisted of a two days long airshow. Actually, all the displays of saturday have been performed also on sunday. Indeed the Red Arrows was the only team missing on saturday.

Because of the downturn in the economic course that led to cuts in funding for defense, solo displays were quite few and limited only to Italian aircrafts:

  • Alenia Aermacchi MB-339CD, the “Charlie-Delta”, that stands for “Completamente Digitale” (completely digital) in reference to its glass cockpit. The display was performed by an aircraft and a pilot both from the “Reparto Sperimentale Volo” or RSV (experimental flight department) located in Pratica di Mare (Rome);
  • Alenia/Embraer AMX “Ghibli”, also from the RSV. I believe it was an ACOL, “Aggiornamento Capacità Operative e Logistiche” (operational and logistic capabilities upgrade), but I’m not sure;
  • Panavia (PA-200) Tornado IDS, the InterDiction and Strike version, always from the RSV;
  • Alenia Aermacchi M-346 “Master”, preproduction series vehicle, from Alenia Aermacchi;
  • Eurofighter EF-2000 “Typhoon”, always from the RSV.

No helicopter displays were performed, excluding the straight flight with the flag of an Agusta-Bell AB-212.

The static display was also limited to italian aircrafts only. Aircrafts were the same of the solo displays with the addition of a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B+ “Harrier II” Plus of the Marina Militare Italiana (Italian Navy), and a pair of General Dynamics F-16A ADF “Fighting Falcon”s from the 37° Stormo (37th Fighter Wing) located in Birgi (Trapani).
Static display also consisted of a Breda-Nardi NH-500, an Agusta HH-3F “Pelican” and a NHIndustries NH-90 helicopters.
The Selenia Spada SAM system was also shown on the static display as well as the historical jets of the various Italian acrobatic teams that are usually present on the base.

There were 8 acrobatic team (7 on Saturday):

  1. Bialo-Czerwone Iskry (“White-and-Red Sparks”) Polish team flying the PZL TS-11 “Iskra” (Polish for “spark”);
  2. Krila Oluje (“Wings of Storm”) Croatian team flying the Pilatus PC-9;
  3. Royal Jordanian Falcons team flying the Extra 300S;
  4. Patrulla Aguila Spanish team flying the CASA C-101 “Aviojet”;
  5. Patrouille Suisse team flying the Northrop F-5E “Tiger II”;
  6. Patrouille de France team flying the Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet;
  7. (only on Sunday) Red Arrows British team flying the BAe Hawk T1A;
  8. Frecce Tricolori team flying the Aermacchi MB-339A/PAN.

Of course it was a great show, but being a “veteran” (I was there also for the 45th and 40th anniversary), means that I’ve made a comparison between the three airshows and the result are not excellents.
The 40th and 45th anniversary were both better. There were a lot of aircrafts from other countries, both flying and on static display.
The only news, at least for me, this years, were the Bialo-Czerwone Iskry and the Krila Oluje teams, because I’ve already seen everything else. If it’s true that many people haven’t already seen so many (or even any) military aircraft, it’s also true that many people follow this kind of shows by years.
Last year I was in Zeltweg for the AirPower 09 and It was really terrific! Troups deployment and hostages rescue demonstrations, “Blackhawk”s demonstrating their heavy lift capabilities, “Typhoon”s simulating a QRA mission with an “Hercules”, warbirds, historical airliners… the AirPower 09 really redefined my standards (beside, of course, of commercial air shows, like those of Le Bourget or Farnborough).

Another issue of the show was the time the show started. At 11 o’clock am (or 0900z if you prefer, and remember the daylight saving time) it’s too late! It’s awful to take pictures at 6 o’clock pm (1600z), almost at sunset, with a runway heading of about 240 degrees.

Nevertheless, considering the downturn in the economic course, I cannot complain too much. I hope anyway that the show for the 55th will be far better that this.


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Categories: aviation

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