50 years of Frecce Tricolori

Last weekend our company set up a day at Rivolto airport, to attend the airshow for the 50th anniversary of PAN - Frecce Tricolory. Thanks to our parent company Finmeccanica we were able to obtain passes to park at the airport and be guest at the Finmeccanica chalet, just to the left of the authorities area in the middle of the airport.

We arrived early and we were able to take seats in the front row, along the taxyway parallel to the runaway, where the acrobatic teams planes were parked, under a perfect blue sky and shining sun, with just a hint of wind.

To celebrate the PAN 50th "birthday" AMI (Aereonautica Militare Italiana - Italian Air Force) organized the 10th acrobatic team pilots meeting. The military acrobatic teams from Poland, Croatia, Spain, Jordan, Switzerland, France, UK, and of course Italy were present.

The show started at 10.30, with the AB-212 and its rescuer hanging outside holding the Italian flag. The Poland team was the first to fly, followed by the others in the order above (although the Red Arrows flew only Sunday).

The acrobatic team alternated with the planes of Reparto Sperimentale Volo (the Experimental Squadron of the AMI), with its MB-339CD, Tornado IDS, AMX, the new M-346 in its red livery, C-27J (performing acrobatic unusual for a transport) and the EF-2000.

Because each team flew a different type of aircraft, it was a really interesting show, with a full range of manoeuvre, from the pure aereobatic ones of the Jordanian Extra-300 to the most powerful ones of the combat fighters, to the very complex coreographic displays of the larger teams, especially the Patrouille de France and Frecce Tricolori.

There was also a static display of almost all the types in service with the AMI, including some helicopters, plus an AV-8 from Marina Militare (Italian Navy), and some historical planes, among them the F-86 and F-84 Frecce Tricolori used in the past.

Among the smell of burned fuel, the sound of propellers and the deafening scream of afterburners, the day really flew away. When the greem, white and red smokes of the PAN dimmed in the air well past five, the only thought was "already over?"