Monthly Archives: January 2010

Gate XXI at Rome Urbe airport

Last week, along with Giovanni Maduli, I attended the Gate XXI trade fair and exhibition, held at Rome Urbe airport. Gate XXI is the first International exhibition organized in Italy dealing with the aerospace industry, “from ultralight aircraft to satellite development”. This year’s edition focused on the airport sector: from handling systems to baggage processing from ATC to security access, from the Passenger Line to Cargo Management. Actually, there wasn’t much to see: airport, aerospace and satellite equipment, technologies and services, airplanes, helicopters and ultralight aircraft were on display on the apron in front of the Corpo Forestale dello Stato hangar. Noteworthy, a Canadair CL-415, a private-held SF-260, a Storch, a Stearman, a Diamond, a DF2000 ULM with the Protezione Civile markings and a MustFly Cessna C-510 Mustang (EI-SFD).
Here are some of the picture of the Gate XXI (both display area and exhibit booths).

Is B747-8 hackable?

According to the Special Conditions issued by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) on Jan. 15, prior to certification of the new technologies in B747-8, the Agency has requested Boeing to identify and assess all the potential security threats and to implement proper countermeasures to prevent the exploitation of the eventual vulnerabilities:

The Model 747-8/-8F architecture and network configuration may allow increased connectivity to and access from external network sources and airline operations and maintenance networks to the aircraft control domain and airline information domain. The aircraft control domain and airline information domain perform functions required for the safe operation and maintenance of the airplane. Previously these domains had very limited connectivity with external network sources. The architecture and network configuration may allow the
exploitation of network security vulnerabilities resulting in intentional or unintentional destruction, disruption, degradation, or exploitation of data, systems, and networks critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane. The existing regulations and guidance material did not anticipate these types of airplane system architectures. Furthermore, 14 CFR regulations and current system safety assessment policy and techniques do not address potential security vulnerabilities, which could be exploited by unauthorized access the airplane networks, data bases, and servers. Therefore, these special conditions and a means of compliance are provided to ensure that the security (i.e., confidentiality, integrity, and availability) of airplane systems is not compromised by unauthorized wired or wireless electronic connections.

The aircraft is expected to perform its maiden flight in the following weeks, hence, the first revenue flight is still long to come. However, I’d rather board this complex aircraft after all its security breaches have been fixed and tested with a penetration test…..

Cavour aircraft carrier joins Haiti relief effort

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.

Shipbucket image by MihoshiK & MConrads & Enrr

1974 memories

Recently, Jean-Luc Beghin, a Belgian Aviation Illustrator (I suggest you to visit his site:, 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.

Flying with the SF-260EA

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.