Monthly Archives: May 2010

A new (civil) Special Colour

To celebrate the new Zurich – San Francisco route, beginning on Jun. 2, 2010, Swiss International Air Lines has painted, for the first time ever, one of its Airbus A340, with a special coulour scheme. The aircraft that will perform the first flight on the new route is registered HB-JMJ and sports a colourful hippie livery with a large “San Francisco” text and the emblem of the flower power (the hippies movement that had its iconic center at the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco, California). The colour scheme applied to the aircraft was chosen among three different proposals voted by 30.000 readers of the 20 Minuten newspapers and it will remain on the Airbus 340 for more than one year.

courtesy of Swiss Press Office

Cervia, 16-17.04.10 – Con la Diana sul Petto – Part 3

The following pictures were taken during “Con la Diana sul Petto” event, on Apr. 16, at Cervia airbase. Even if the mini-airshow was not organised to celebrate the disbandment of the 23° Gruppo that, on May 23, 2010, undertook its last QRA duty, perhaps it was the last opportunity to see the “Veltri” (from “Veltro”, the Squadron’s radio callsign) at work. By September, both the 23° Gr and its parent unit, the 5° Stormo, will be placed “in quadro” (disbanded). The most efficient F-16s will move to Trapani, where the 18° Gruppo will be the last Italian Squadron to fly the Viper until mid 2012. The 15° Stormo of Pratica di Mare should relocate to Cervia, where the 83° Gruppo SAR, currently based in Rimini, should also move.

The event’s official Squadron Print is a courtesy of Ugo Crisponi of AVIATIONGRAPHIC.COM.

Starex 2010 – part 2

More pictures taken at “XMannu” (X is the Roman numeral for 10th or 10°, in Italian “Decimo”, so XMannu is a short form for Decimomannu) on May 11, 2010, by Giovanni Maduli, during the Starex exercise.

Banner target release

The following sequence of images taken by Giovanni Maduli, shows “Bullet”, an MB.339A assigned to the RSSTA (Reparto Sperimentale e di Standardizzazione del Tiro Aereo), releasing a banner target over Decimomannu airbase, before landing, at the end of a firing target practice mission during Starex Exercise.

Sarzana Luni airport

The following images were taken by Matteo Marianeschi during a recent visit in Luni Sarzana, airport where the 1° Nucleo Aereo, 1° Sezione Volo Elicotteri of the Guardia Costiera (CP, Italian Coast Guard) and the Maristaeli Luni Sarzana with the Gruppi 1 and 5 of the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) operate.
The local Guardia Costiera unit is equipped with 6 AB-412CP Koala that are employed by the Sezione Elicotteri for SAR (Search and Rescue), Port State Control e Maritime Navigation Safety, Fishing Control, Maritime Policing, Liaison and Transportation and Civil Protection (for fire fighting activities during Summer, by means of the bambi bucket system) duties. The alert take off is performed within 30 minutes during daylight hours and with 120 minutes at night on a 7/24/365 basis.
On the other side of the airport the 1° and 5° Gruppo of the Italian Navy operate with the EH-101 and the AB-212 helos. Noteworthy, all the new helicopters of the rotary wing component of the Marina are tested in Luni before being delivered to the front line operative units. Beginning on October 2010, crews, aircraft and maintenance personnel, will be deployed to Afghanistan even if no more information have been unveiled so far dealing with the exact number of people and helos involved in the mission.
Absolutely interesting is the building hosting the helo dunker for underwater escape training, a mock up of a helicopter cockpit (so far, the system is able to depict the AB-212 and SH-3D cockpit, even if an upgrade to reproduce the EH-101 and NH-90 ones has been requested) that is plunged into a pool, and then flipped over (if required). The system is used to train crews to escape an aircraft from an upside down position, in case of impact with the water. At least once a year all the flying crews of the Marina have to test their ability to fight their way clear of restraint and harness to surface, to maintain their currencies. The Sarzana’s helo dunker is one of the few available in Europe and it is also used by many NATO countries and Italian Armed Forces for their own crews.