"Mammaiut": all the ItAF HH-3Fs grounded

Oct 28 2008 - 3 Comments

“Mammaiut” is the historical motto of the Soccorso Aereo (SAR, Search And Rescue) of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force, ItAF). It is shouted by the personnel of the 15° Stormo during official ceremonies in place of the “Ghere Ghe Ghez” shouted by the other units of the ItAF. It was also shouted to honour the lost ones during the funerals of the crew members of the HH-3F “Pelikan” that crashed in France on Oct. 23 during a flight from Dijon to Florennes where the helicopter had to attend the TLP course. “Mammaiut” means “Mum, help me”, an SOS request that sounds perfectly suitable with the current Italian SAR situation. After loosing an helicopter and 8 experienced crew members, the ItAF has decided to ground all its fleet of 30 remaining HH-3Fs until the root cause of the crash is found. The aircraft, performing the daily SAR Service on an H24 basis from Pratica di Mare, Rimini, Brindisi and Trapani airbases, will be “partially” replaced the AB.212AMI-SAR serving with the Squadriglie of Istrana, Linate and Decimomannu. Dealing with the reasons of the tragic accident, I believe that the aircraft crashed into the ground at very high speed and (almost) disintegrated. Most probably, the aircraft suffered a catastrophic collapse and smashed into the ground without giving the crew enough time to react. I believe that they had no warning sign inside the cockpit and for this reason they did not radio any message to the other aircraft that was leading the formation. The pilots had no time to react, nor they did try to slow down the speed to solve the problem nor to land. Everything happened very fast and the aircraft fell at high speed in less than a second. I think only a structural damage, a collapse of the rotor or a fracture of a blade could have such a devastating effect.

  • Marco

    I’m waiting for this decision, it’s importatnt to know the real reason of this accident.

    Regarding the use of AB212 in the SAR service is good but the performances of the 212 are not comparable with the HH3f!

    Now at Pratica di Mare in Trapani Birgi there are ab212 ready for take-off due to SAR OPS.

  • Matteo Marianeschi

    Hi all,
    I would like to invite all the readers to give a look at the last article written by Cap. Stefano Bazzo, former PR officer 83 SAR Center and one of the eight crewmembers perished in the accident.
    Today the article – titled “THE PRIVILEGE OF SAVING HUMAN LIVES” –
    has been published online in the official Italian Air Force website:


  • Brett Bollinger

    I just found out about the passing of Stefano Bazzo. He was a great friend (parico) and cultural liaison to his pilot training classmates at Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training. Ciao, brother Bazzo, you’ll be greatly missed.