Close up view of the cockpit of the NH90 before it crashed into the Bracciano Lake

Giovanni Maduli, one of my co-workers, sent me the following picture he took at Bracciano a few minutes before the NH90 EI-202 crashed into the Bracciano Lake causing the death of Capt. Fornassi. The picture was taken with a Canon EOS D20 with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens (400mm, ISO 200, F/5.6, 1/1250s). It is particularly interesting cause it shows all the three crew members inside the cockpit. Even if I took many pictures of the aircraft before it crashed (see some of them here) no one was so detailed to show also the third member of the crew seated behind the two pilots (you can actually only see his hand and knee in the following picture).

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Cencio as per picture of the demo-flight of NH90 the crew never see out the cockpit.

    Probably the new helmets permits the crew to fly without the external visual check.

    Obviously is a my opinion.

  2. Ciao Marco,
    thank you for your comment. However maybe you didn’t understand what I meant: in the picture you can see the three crew members in the cockpit through the windshield while in all the other picture you can see only the two pilots.

  3. Yes i understand and i’m appreciating the details on the picture of Giovanni.

    My reply is only to show that in other pictures the heads of the pilots were in foward position and no one saw outside the cockpit.

    Probably the location (Bracciano lake) required a cross check between the instruments in the cockpit and the outside situation.

    Repeat it is a my opinion.

  4. I was contacted by Mar.Ca. Cosimo Palladino, who was the third member of the crew inside the helicopter. He is curious to understand what that presumed knee and hand is, since he actually was seated elsewhere, in the n. 8 seat, that is the first one aft the hatch.

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