On Feb. 2, the following formation was seen overflying Pratica di Mare airbase. Even if the aircraft involved can fly at the same speed without particular problems, it is quite unusual to see an helicopter flying along with a plane.
Last week, Giovanni Maduli went to Decimomannu to report about the training activities performed by the aircraft deployed in Sardinia. Interestingly, he not only took some pictures of the temporary based Tornados of the 155° Gruppo and F-16s of the 37° Stormo, but he also caught some interesting visitors, as the Austrian C-130K.
At the time of writing, the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour, is currently cruising towards Haiti in order to assist the rescue efforts in Haiti. The ship of the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) is carrying a field hospital, medical equipments, food supply, cranes, bulldozers, 4 SH-3Ds and 2 EH-101s helicopters for MEDEVAC (MEDdical Evacuation) missions, and special teams of the Carabinieri (Italian Military Police), the Esercito Italiano (Italian Army) and of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF). Before reaching the Caribbean island, the Cavour will make a stop in Brazil, to embark Brazilian military and rescue personnel destined to Haiti. “White Crane” is the first operative mission since the ship was commissioned and since its deployment will cost Italy a lot (the vessel costs some 100.000 – 200.000 Euro each day), many argued the ship was the most appropriate asset to support the relief operations. First of all, it represents a sign of Italy’s willingness to provide help to a poor country devastetad by a earthquake stronger than the one that hit Abruzzo in April 2009; second, it will showcase Italy’s latest hi-tech defense jewel at work. The Cavour will not be the only aircraft carrier supporting the multi-national rescue force: the USS Carl Vinson, a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was sent towards Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake to serve as a landing pad for a fleet of helicopters carrying emergency teams, survivors and victims. The supercarrier, carrying 19 helicopters (CH-53 and SH-60s) is outfitted with water-purifying machinery (capable of 400.000 gallons of driking water each day), dozens of hospital beds, three operating rooms and a giant flight deck that can accommodate many “external” helicopters.
Recently, Jean-Luc Beghin, a Belgian Aviation Illustrator (I suggest you to visit his site: http://www.jeanlucbeghin.com/), sent me the following pictures explaining that he was looking for the names of some pilots of the 22° Gruppo of the 51° Stormo of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) who he had the opportunity to meet and invite for dinner at his house, in 1974, while they were deployed to Beauvechain, Belgium, for a Squadron Exchange. While I was unable to recognize them I thought that the pictures below could be of some interest for the F-104 and flight gears enthusiasts as they provide some details on the flight suits, patch and hats worn by the Italian pilots in the mid 70’s.
Usually, within my articles and blog posts, I tend to publish the most beautiful pictures of a particular photo-session. These, most of times, depict the aircraft with as less distubing objects (canopy mounts, wing tips, etc.). However, in some cases, pictures that don’t make the news and that are not published, are interesting as well, as they provide a different point of view and give “a taste” of what, flying an airplane looks like. The following “flight-oriented” pictures were taken by both me and Giovanni Maduli (flying in the 70-24 bird) during King flight on June 4, 2009. The article about the 70° Stormo SF-260EAs was published on Rivista Aeronautica 06/2009.