Monthly Archives: May 2008

Supersonic scramble for the Italian F-16 Jets

Today, two Trapani based F-16s belonging to the 37 Stormo were scrambled to intercept a Lufthansa flight transiting through the Italian airspace. LH8619T, was flying from Milan Linate to Athinai, when at 08.29 LT it lost the radio contact with Padova ATC. The QRA flight of Southern Italy was immediately scrambled to intercept and escort the civilian A300 and two armed “Vipers”, just after take off, were cleared to accelerate to supersonic speed in order to reach the “zombie” as soon as possible.  The consequent shock wave caused a loud “bang” that was heard from many miles away. The two fighters were cruising above Mach 1, when the Lufthansa flight was able to establish the radio contact with “Brindisi Control”, and they were ordered to “skip it”, to slow down to subsonic speed and RTB (Return To Base). The F-16s made a fuel stop to Gioia del Colle before proceeding to Trapani.
This was the 5th scramble of 2008.

Giornata Azzurra 2008 – pictures (part 4) – (first) arrivals and departures

Here are the pictures that Giovanni Maduli took on May 22 during the first wave of arrivals to the Giornata Azzurra and on May 26 during the departures. Noteworthy, the interesting picture of the ASK21 glider piloted by Stefano Zuccarini aerotowed by a Siai 208 of the Italian Air Force.

May 22 arrivals (and general movements):

ASK 21 glider serialled “I-IVWS” piloted by Stefano Zuccarini, the first handicapped acrobatic glider’s pilot of the World, aerotowed by a Siai 208 of the Italian Air Force overhead Pratica di Mare on May 22.

May 26 departures:

Giornata Azzurra 2008 – pictures (part 3) – static display

Here is a selection of pictures of the huge Pratica di Mare static display.
Among the most photographed aircraft, the mock up of the JSF, the UAE Mirages, the Turkish NF-5 and also the new Punto Abarth of the Frecce Tricolori. Other interesting aircraft were the ROF Mig-21 and AN-26, G-222VS, the last ItAF B707 (that in spite of its last operative flight, is still flying some sorties from Pratica di Mare), the NH-500E with rockets and in MEDEVAC configuration.

Giornata Azzurra 2008 – pictures (part 2)

The following pictures were taken during the air display of May 25 by Giovanni Maduli. Noteworthy, the P.180 suffering a tyre problem just after landing on RWY31, the Belgian F-16 pilot with an Italian flag, the images of the tactical event and the sequence of the Mi-24 realising flares.

More pictures dealing with the static display and the departures will be published in the next days.

Giornata Azzurra 2008 – pictures (part 1)

Blessed with good weather, this year’s edition of the Giornata Azzura was attended by more than 200.000 people on May 25. The two UAE Mirage 2000s and the accompanying C-130 were the most rare aircraft attending the show. The aircraft had arrived in the evening of May 23, even if there were rumors that the aircraft were scheduled for May 22, followed by the grey C-130. Pilots and military personnel were extremely polite, answered to all the questions made by the public and (unlike many others that sell their expensive Squadron’s memorabilia) offered the public a lot of presents (pins, stickers, etc), a sign of the prosperous Arab economics. Among the most photographed aircraft were the Romanian Air Force Mig-21 and AN-26 (arrived on May 23 after a stop in Istrana), the SH-3D in Special Colour scheme of the Belgian Air Force and the Turkish AF F-5 (that had arrived on May 22). The air display was focused on the tactical event that was described on a previous post on this site and that particularly interesting since it involved HH-3F, AB.212ICO, AMX, C-27J, C-130J, Tornado and F-2000 of the Italian Air Force in a simulated blitz to take an airport located at the border between two fighting countries. According to Pierfrancesco “Fats” Grassi, an F-16 driver of the 10th Gruppo, the Danish F-16 made one of the most technical display, not as “powerful” as the ones of the Belgian and Dutch Vipers, but probably more difficult. Other interesting displays were those of the Alenia M-346 , the AAR (Air to Air Refueling) demonstration of the KC-130J of the ItAF, the display of the CL-415 of the Protezione Civile, the Italian Army A-129s and Navy AV-8B and EH-101 ones, the one of the Italian Eurofighter, the Polish Team Orlik and the Patrouille de France and Frecce Tricolori. Unlike advertised, the B-1B did not perform the expected flyby, there was no B.767 used for the qualification of the ItAF pilots waiting for the delivery of the first KC-767 and there was no RAF Typhoon in static.