Italian Eurofighter Typhoon Crashes During Terracina Airshow Killing Test Pilot

An Italian Typhoon has crashed into the sea while performing its display during an airshow in Italy.

On Sunday Sept. 24, 2017, an Italian Air Force Eurofighter F-2000A Typhoon (most probably MM7278/RS-23) belonging to the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (Test Wing) has crashed into the sea at Terracina, 76 kilometres south of Rome.

Based on the several videos that have already emerged on social media, the pilot Capt. Gabriele Orlandi, for unknown reasons, was unable to /did not recover the aircraft at the end of a looping and didn’t attempt to eject from the jet.

Here below you can find a few clips that have been posted on Youtube so far. Many more are being uploaded on Twitter and Instagram as well:

The causes of the crash are under investigation, the Italian Air Force said in a press statement.

The Typhoon of the RSV most probably involved in the crash MM7278/RS-23 taking off from Grosseto during the Marina di Grosseto airshow rehearsals, on Jun. 24, 2017.

The following composite image was created using Photoshop and images posted on

Composite image created with Photoshop with the photos by Simone Grossi published on

This is the second deadly crash of a Typhoon in little less than two weeks: a RSAF Typhoon combat aircraft involved in a mission against Houthi fighters over Yemen crashed into a mountain in Al Wade’a district on Sept. 13, 2017.

Top image credit: screenshots from Michele F. video


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. Being a combat pilot is a dangerous job…

    (time index 7:20)

    RIP. May the angels carry him carry him away to the skies and heavens above where he can fly forever. May the Lord bless his family and leave them only with cherished memories of the life he lived in this world.

    • It’s romantic, but I seem this was the romanticism of WW1
      war is death, blood, destruction, and over all many and many people that don’t wants war dead. much more than soldiers.
      This is untenable, impracticable, unfair

      • Some see war in a romantic and nostalgic way. Especially when it comes to air combat. The clear sky is seen as the ideal and untainted battleground. Not like the war in the trenches with all the horror, death and mutilated bodies. Air combat is compared with a scenario where two knights in shiny armor fight it out. But in modern times that’s an illusion that can’t be idealized. Large scale wars only happen when the attacker has an overwhelming force. Like the US/NATO in Iraq or Afghanistan (latest examples). I have said that before, but alone the wars and incursions by American troop and their proxies have cost the lives of 30 million people (since WW2 ended 1945).

        Some insight into the mind of high ranking military people was given, when the secret diary of Admiral Moorer was partly published to the public.

        Top Air Force Official Told JCS in 1971: “We Could Lose Two Hundred Million People [in a Nuclear War] and Still Have More Than We Had at the Time of the Civil War”

  2. hi Davide (or anyone reading). while waiting for response from investigators and without speculating on the unfortunate accident, can you clarify what is the minimum height at the top of the loop to decide whether to close it or to abort it? thank you. I join you, guys, in deep sadness for Capt. Gabriele Orlandi.

  3. In my opinion no. It’s more likely he lost the horizon in the way the user Leroy in his previous message suggests . Very sad because Italian air force needs more skilled man like him, not fewer

  4. …..if engines were the problem he would not have been hurtling down so fast, and if he didn’t have any indication of their failure or else he would have knocked it off prior to the dive – you don’t go into an energy killing maneuver with the knowledge of hey my power might go out soon, you keep that energy and use it. The pilot initiated the descent too low and I’ll bet my paycheck that will be the discovered cause.

    I would like to know what the hard deck was set at, and if it was lower because of the overwater nature of this display. Perhaps he did this maneuver just fine over a runway with a 250ft deck and didn’t know how badly he was missing the mark until the time came. That’s speculation, however I will not be surprised in the slightest if the venue chosen impacted this disaster. Height estimation over water is a tricky problem that varies with weather and lighting.

    RIP, me and the pilot share names, and as a pilot, I’ll give him thoughts, a salute, and a moment of silence at 5000 feet during my next sortie.

    • That’s right about flying over water. Much easier to misjudge altitude due to lack of visual cues that you get over land and light reflectivity. It can fool you. Same can happen over desert terrain due to consistency in the features and contours. “Topped out” too low in part due to this being an over-water performance is a good guess. Accident investigation will determine, and hopefully some good can come from this via changes to flight restrictions while performing air displays.

    • There is a clear loss of power as he is unable to pull up and a minute prior there was an engine flare. The two are related.

      • I’ve seen a picture taken from behind just before impact and both engines are in full reheat. If he’d had any engine problem prior to the manoever hey have stopped the display and recovered to base. Shouldn’t speculate but looked very similar to the Shoreham crash, too low to complete the manoever. Another 100ft and he’d still be with us.

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