You are on page 1of 52

April 2008 - number 8

Roll-out of the first pre-series M-346 Roll-out of the first pre-series M-346 An interview with ITAF Chief of Staff Gen. Tei An interview with ITAF Chief of Staff Gen. Tei Basic training with the M-311 Basic training with the M-311 Screening for aptitude Screening for aptitude



The Aermacchi M-346 is the new generation dedicated Advanced and Lead-In Fighter Trainer, designed to be superior to all existing products in its class. High thrust to weight ratio approaching 1 to 1, vortex-lift aerodynamics and re-programmable, full authority, quadruplex fly-by-wire flight control system, give the M-346 flying qualities close to modern frontline fighters and improve its teaching effectiveness. The twin engine solution provides high safety standards, and the design philosophy reduces acquisition and operational costs. M-346: the ideal platform for next generation Integrated Training Systems.




Giovanni Pasqua MANAGING EDITOR Giancarlo Naldi CONTRIBUTORS Gregory Alegi Giovanni Artioli Gaetano Battaglia Giovanni Bertolone Bruno Damascelli Vitantonio Di Lorenzo Paolo Gianvanni Massimo Lucchesini Giancarlo Naldi Paolo Varriale EDITORIAL SERVICES The Wing Consulting S.r.l. Via Chiana, 87 00198 - Roma GRAPHIC

Giovanni Bertolone
p. 2

Lighter and more agile

Massimo Lucchesini


The true discriminator in aptitude testing for future pilots is flying

Gaetano Battaglia


The importance of training together

Gregory Alegi

p. 13

MRB Consulting Via Roberto Bracco, 42 00137 Roma LAYOUT Copy Service Largo Somalia, 28 00199 - Roma PRINTING Renografica S.r.l. Via Seragnoli 13 40138 - Bologna QUARTERLY

The prancing horse was born in the Aermacchi stable

Paolo Varriale

p. 18

Air-to-Air Photographers
Bruno Damascelli

p. 24

Published by ALENIA AERMACCHI S.p.a. Via P. Foresio, 1 21040 Venegono Superiore (Varese) Tel. +39.0331.813111 REGISTERED

Fighter performances scooter consumption

Giovanni Artioli

p. 32

Aermacchi Pilot Club

Giancarlo Naldi

p. 37


n.407/14 May 1982

The new frontier of basic training

Vitantonio Di Lorenzo

p. 38

COVER PHOTO: A detail of the first pre-series M-346 at the roll-out event PHoto: Bruno Damascelli

Aviation update
Paolo Gianvanni

p. 45


The second protype of M-346 after probe installation. Photo: AMW

Giovanni Bertolone
CEO Alenia Aeronautica

defended Italian cities and trenches from AustroHungarian bomber and reconnaissance raids, helping provide air defence over the front. Sixty years ago, the fighters built by Aer.Macchi were the most effective tool in the hands of the Italian pilots who attempted to stem the flow of hundreds of enemy fighters and bombers that turned every corner of the country into a target. Forty years ago another aircraft built by Aermacchi, the MB-326, once again put the Italian aeronautical industry in the limelight of the international market with an aircraft which was at once simple and effective, a truly ideal representative of the ab initio jet trainer formula that would soon be adopted by almost every Air Force in the world. The MB-326, which was built in Brazil, South Africa and Argentina in addition to its country of origin, was the first true commercial success after the difficult early post-war years. Today we are witnessing another crucial step in the history of this company that is the heir of a great aeronautical heritage, the only one to carry its name unchanged and proudly, despite its acquisition by the Finmeccanica Group among the select group of manufacturers of complete combat and training aircraft. For the M-346 is much more than just an aeroplane. With production now launched and with the Italian commitment to purchase the first 15 aircraft, the M-346 is no longer a mere technology programme, a brilliant result of design excellence. It is first and foremost the only trainer truly available on the market that fully answers the operational requirements of the majority of the worlds Air Forces for the next three decades. The M-346 will be the yardstick against which any other competing design will be measured. It will form the basis for further developments. It will be the first love and the first challenge on which hundreds of pilots will prove their mettle before progressing to advanced front-line aircraft, from Eurofighter to JSF, and many others as well. It will have the international success it deserves, and which Alenia Aermacchi deserves for having placed its trust in this design which originated in a rather unconventional

bout a century ago Nieuport Macchi built wood and fabric fighters that were flown by those knights of the air who

innovative solutions. The third M-346, which is in fact the first pre-series machine, is being readied for its first flight, which will mark a new beginning for Alenia Aermacchi. A new beginning to continue a success story that flies in the worlds skies.


fashion but proves that even the most unique experiences can generate - when intelligently assimilated - effective and


Massimo Lucchesini

casual observer might ask why Alenia Aermacchi decided to spotlight the unveiling of the first preseries M-346 new generation advanced trainer. After all, havent the first two aircraft logged over 600 flying hours leaving the pilots and engineers of many different countries quite satisfied? The answer is that Low Rate Industrial Production 00 which is the formal name given to the third M-346 is a serialized aircraft, different from the two prototypes which took to the air respectively in 2004 and 2005, which will allow programme goals to be fully achieved in both technical and business terms, with specific reference to industrialization. To this end the M-346 has been conceived from the very beginning by using CATIA v.5 integrated with Digital Mock-up, Enovia and Delmia for digital production analysis. Upon completing development activities with the two prototypes, Alenia Aermacchi turned to optimizing the design. The attention was centred mainly around structural optimization in order to achieve the empty weight targets, the rationalization of on-board systems and related wiring harnesses and the improvement of production processes. To this end Aermacchi made the best use of the data gradually collected during the flight test campaign together with the suggestions offered by personnel entrusted with the operational support of the two prototypes and the indications supplied in addition to company test pilots by tens of other pilots, technicians and engineers belonging to the Air Forces of Italy, France, the Emirates, Singapore, Greece, Poland, Singapore, Poland, Austria etc that have performed in-flight evaluations of the M-346. Compared to the prototypes, LRIP00 and the M-346 that will follow it will offer lower operating and support costs, will require less labour and lower costs of materials and equipment, will

Lighter and

The pre-series M-346 unveiled in important step forward for the pro Structure, systems and software

LRIP 00 is the abbreviation that indicates the first pre-series aircraft. LRIP 00 is easily recognized by the different angle of the main landing gear. Photo: AMW

sport longer intervals between maintenance visits and will have lower fuel consumption. All this is the result of continuous improvement. The dedicated efforts made by Alenia Aeronautica engineers has endowed the M-346 with an extremely competitive Life Cycle Cost (LCC) compared with its class and performance, providing the basis for a favourable market success. With the importance of the step forward represented by LRIP00 now clear, it is possible to describe in greater detail the changes made to the design. OPTIMISATION OF THE STRUCTURAL DESIGN In addition to the integration of the new main landing gear, design work has revolved mainly around the optimisation of the structural design with a significant reduction of the quantity of part numbers (20 per cent). Together with the rationalization of on board systems, this has brought about a considerable reduction in the empty weight that can be quantified around 700 kilos, including the optimization of systems, wiring and landing gear described below. This result has been achieved by optimizing load paths, carefully choosing the most suitable materials for such purposes (unidirectional carbon fibres, thermoplastics, titanium) and leading edge manufacturing technologies (Super Plastic Forming, bonding, grouping of various parts through machining, large size composite skins). The fuselage structure has been completely revisited with a view to producibility, specifically by optimizing the number and placement of fuselage frames. The engine bays, which are

more agile

n Venegono on 11 April marks an ogramme. e have been significantly revised



Massimo Lucchesini

subject to high temperatures, now make significant use of titanium panels made through Super Plastic Forming, in conjunction with Alenia Aeronautica. The vertical fin was also completely redesigned, moving from the traditional technological approach adopted on the two prototypes to a box consisting exclusively of machined skins and full thickness metal honeycomb. Again with an eye to cutting down weight and production man-hours, metal alloy parts used on secondary structures on the two prototypes are now made from thermoplastic technopolymers, light materials capable of providing the required mechanical performance together with simplified production processes. A further important optimization is represented by the structural rationalization of the wing box. Series aircraft will have spars machined from
The complete fuselage of LRIP 00 still in its jig. Photo: AMW

forged blocks. The larger dimensions of the raw material allows to use two spars with a greater section, eliminating both the central spar (which was replaced with a simple stringer) and the corresponding main fuselage frame, with the additional benefit of improved accessibility. In addition, as with the fin, the wing skins are now milled mechanically rather than chemically, with the further benefit of a longer fatigue life. For the first time at Alenia Aermacchi, mechanical milling is applied to large skins applied to primary structures. A new main landing gear has also been developed for the pre-series aircraft to replace the AMX gear installed on the two prototypes. The telescoping design will allow future developments in terms of operational use. The integration of the new landing gear also brought about a considerable weight reduction with respect to the prototypes while simultaneously improving safety thanks to the possibility to drop the gear by gravity

alone in the event of an emergency. Reliability and maintainability are also improved through a proximity sensing control system. RATIONALISATION OF ONBOARD SYSTEMS The refining of the design in order to further reduce LCC was extended to the general onboard systems, which underwent a review to rationalise the installation on the basis of both a critical re-examination of the approach used on the prototypes and of the information and suggestions that became available in the course of the flight test activity on the two prototypes. The observations stemming from the aircraft assessments made by potential customers were also taken into consideration. The introduction of new access and inspection panels and the relocation of certain highermaintenance items of equipment also brought about reduced maintenance times and a reduced need for ground support equipment. The routing of both electrical wiring and hydraulic lines has also been optimised, again with a view to simplifying the installation process. The hydraulic lines have been reduced by 15%, improving system reliability and achieving a not inconsiderable weight reduction through the use of titanium. In addition to the power plant, for which Honeywell has provided the preseries aircraft with two production F124 engines, the heart of the M-346 is the Flight Control System. The latter is now fitted with new Flight Control Computers designed and built by Alenia SIA and Selex Communications, while the control law software have been developed within Alenia Aermacchi. The actuation of both primary and secondary surfaces has been serialised, once again improving its performance and reliability. The ruggedness and reliability of the design was also demonstrated in the Hot Weather trials in the United Arab Emirates, where the

Among the changes to the upper fuselage is the repositioned airbrake, now immediately behind the rear cockpit. Photo: AMW

M-346 demonstrated a 95% despatch reliability with temperatures up to 50 C and up to 1000 watt/square meter of irradiation. The aircraft also displayed excellent deployment capabilities in the long ferry flights, up to 6500 nm, carried out for flight displays or operational evaluations. The over 600 flights carried out so far have also shown the high efficiency and intrinsic stability of the aerodynamic configuration even with flight attitudes combining extreme angles of attack and yaw. The only modification carried out on the pre-series aircraft has been to relocate the airbrake, bringing it forward and increasing the its angle of extension in order to increase its effectiveness and ensure better performance throughout the Mach/speed envelope. TRAINING AND OPERATIONAL USE In accordance with the latest training philosophies, the M-346 has been equipped with a new software release for the Embedded Training Simulation system which allows complex tactical scenarios to be simulated in-flight for operations with air, naval and land forces. This is also made possible by integration with the data link. For a given level of final knowledge and ability of the student pilot, the simulation software visualized on the Multi Function Displays allows the student to perform training tasks that previously required the presence of other aircraft in flight and the integration on the aircraft of actual sensors (ECM, RWR, radar etc.), in turn resulting in LCC and training costs much higher than those which the M-346 is expected to achieve. The greater usable fuel load allowed by the rationalized wing and fuselage

structures allows both a longer presence in the training area (which in tur n allows the student to perform longer and more complex training tasks) and a greater ferry range in clean configuration, which is estimated at 1000 NM with IFR reserves. Although designed as a training aircraft for military pilots, the M-346

can also be used successfully in secondary roles. For this purpose the aircraft can be fitted with radar and a stores management system. In such roles it will also be possible to fit under wing tanks with a greater capacity than those currently in use on the prototypes, further extending the operating radius.



Gaetano Battaglia

The true discrimin testing for future

Despite the great progress alllowed by modern systems, actual flying is the only way to be certain of a students potential

n dealing with flight, and with flight training in particular, there is a tendency to concentrate almost exclusively on actual flying activity, on instructional programmes or on the aircraft best suited as trainers. What is not discussed to any great extent is the phase that precedes the training and selection of potential pilots: the flying aptitude screening phase, meaning the selection process to which candidates are subjected upon applying to become pilots. This is possibly because this phase revolves around medical and psychological factors or, perhaps, because it just doesnt have the same appeal as flying. And yet the effectiveness of this selection process can also affect the overall cost of training. An example of such costs can be found in the number of hours flown compared to the number of pilot candidates found unsuitable. It is therefore useful to look at this phase and underscore the changes that have been made over time. The first Armed Forces to use psychological testing to screen military personnel were those of the United States at the beginning of the First

Father Agostino Gemelli, the pioneer of pilot candidate aptitude testing. Photo: ITAF - Historic photo collection

World War, initially to select vehicle drivers. In any event, the first to think of using psychology to select pilots was Father Agostino Gemelli. During that conflict Gemelli worked at the front as both doctor and priest. He set up a psychology laboratory in Udine, at the Army Headquarters, to study cases of traumatic shock relating to aircraft accidents. It was the pioneering period in the history of flying, considered both an adventurous and frightening experience, and training did not follow precise rules or syllabi; rather it was based on the verbal transfer of personal flying experience to younger pilots. The quality of the final product was somewhat questionable, and the ratio of airplane accidents due to human error was extremely high. Father Agostino Gemellis studies, Application of psychophysics in the examination of Aviation candidates, and Psycho-logical reactions for selecting flying personnel were

published in 1917 and 1918 in the Rivista di psicologia, the Italian journal of psychology. Based on these studies several Aviation Psycho-physiological Offices were set up, to verify the student pilots attention span, psychomotor reactions and emotional reactions. The latter aspect, for example, involved measuring changes in heartbeat caused by a strong
The Frecce Tricolori fly over the Air Force Academy at Pozzuoli, the highest ITAF educational institution. Photo: ITAF - Air Force Academy

nator in aptitude pilots is flying


Gaetano Battaglia

emotion; for example, the sound of a firecracker, gun fire, or the sudden sound of a siren. These reactions were recorded graphically with special equipment and, at the same time, changes in pulse rates, breathing, and perspiration were observed. During the war this screening resulted in 7% of the candidates being eliminated for excessive emotionality and reduced the number of course failures at the flying school from 30% down to 6%. Father Gemellis principles and intuition proved valid over time, and even today psychological aptitude testing is based on his studies. However, as the years passed since these studies were published, less importance has been given to his discoveries and greater definitive importance has been given to intellectual-level and Rorschach response testing. Which pilot of the post-WW2 generation doesnt remember the cards with the strange shapes shown them by psychologists during their screening process? Like Hamlet, the young men would be struck with doubt: What should I say? I could say that they dont suggest anything and that they only look like simple inkblots, or should I just invent something to try to satisfy the doctor? At this point, nervous and worried, we would invent an answer hoping that it was the right one. The Rorschach test was later completed with aptitude testing in order to evaluate reactions and the ability to reason under extreme stress conditions and coordination capability. The various tests included the hypobaric chamber, which verified ones capacity for reaction in extremely low-pressure environments. Another was a vision test which involved following, with a pencil, a predetermined course drawn on a piece of paper but seen through a mirror, and therefore in reverse. This particular transitional phase involved the forty years including the

Second World War. Over the course of these years, aviation progressed incredibly, producing significant technological innovations in the field of aerodynamics, engines (with the introduction of the jet engine), avionics (complex navigational systems) and radar. At the same time, training programmes were created and improved to produce pilots able to take maximum advantage of planes with aerodynamic characteristics that often made them extremely difficult to fly. This involved great skill and attention on the part of the pilot, whereas the management of the avionics systems took on a more limited role. Starting with the Seventies, there has been something of a revolution. The selection process was expanded with behavioural analysis, which is useful for a more complete image of the individuals personality, to include interaction with others. In addition to the usual testing, a period of practical application, lasting about ten days, was added to provide, on the one hand, a way for the aspiring pilots to verify their own determination to proceed in this career field and, on the other, to allow the selection team to observe their behaviour. This is in addition to the results obtained from the various psychological tests administered during the period. This new course was the result of studies and research done within NATO by a special working group which

defined certain personality traits deemed necessary to become a good pilot, which included resistance to stress, emotional stability, selfconfidence, a sense of reality, determination, ability to cooperate, attraction to risk, motivation, assertiveness or level of positive selfimage and, lastly, flexibility. This is thoroughly discussed by Gen. Isp. Capo Prof. Antonio Tricarico in his
Future ITAF pilots are screened by the 70th Wing using the SF-260EA Photo: ITAF - Troupe Azzurra

paper Common aspects of psychological screening in jet pilots astronauts presented to the 10th National Conference of the Italian Society of Psychologists.


The results of this selection process have been judged to be positive, even by flying instructors and despite the fact that the crucial flight assessment still resulted in a 10-15% student washout rate. This is due, perhaps, to the fact that ground testing alone cannot indicate an aspiring pilots aptitude for flying with absolute certainty. As Father Gemelli declared many years ago, all the laboratory testing will never give the exact measure of the real, definitive level of emotions that the subject will reveal in flight; there is that little something that escapes testing and cannot be

measured We have to accept that actual flight is the true discriminator of a pilot candidates psychological suitability. The exceptional progress in recent

technology leading to development of Network Centric Warfare (NCW), particularly in the military sector, has added to those specific characteristics and qualities traditionally sought in potential pilots, thus broadening their professional profile. Further, the rising costs of weapon systems contrasts with the dwindling financial resources, creating the need to seek out systems which can render the selection process both effective and, at the same time, less expensive. Nevertheless, the techniques have been gradually improved, thanks also to the incredible rapidity of progress in new technologies in the medical field. A few medical selection criteria have been modified as a result of new discoveries in treatment of diseases, such as in ophthalmology. As far as flying aptitude selection is concerned, rapid progress in the field of data processing has contributed to developing computerized systems which better simulate the workload to which pilots are subjected today. Generally speaking, all wester n Armed Forces employ similar methods of pilot selection, despite the fact that enlistment procedures vary with local social and cultural characteristics or the financial resources dedicated to the sector. In the United States, for example, the sector enjoy relatively high funding (50 60 million dollars for USAF promotion alone) when compared to countries within the European Union.

Furthermore, the Internet is used to a great extent, both to advertise and accept admission applications. There is an active, positive involvement of retired government/military personnel who supervise recruiting procedures; and there is close collaboration between the Armed Forces and schools, particularly colleges, with the aim of carrying aptitude screening prior to arriving at the selection process. The first pilot selection phase is entrusted to private firms such as Doss Aviation of Pueblo, Colorado, where candidates are subjected to six weeks of training, on the ground and in the air, which is so intensive and difficult that only those with sufficient motivation and true capabilities manage to complete the programme. With a comparable number of candidates, EU nations have adopted similar procedures designed to limit as much as possible wastage from dropouts during the flying selection phase. In some countries, as in Italy, each Armed Forces has its own organization which conducts the selection process. Germany, however, conducts pilot selection on a joint basis, followed by training in either fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. It is only later, at the end of this instructional period, that pilots are individually assigned to the various Armed Forces. Some countries are improving their selection processes, from a cost/effectiveness point of view, through the use of simulators in the selection phase. This is the case in both the USA and Germany. The results attained to date seem to bear out its value, in that, as regards Germany, it produces a high attrition rate (around 40 - 50%) favouring quality. This is based on the limited cost of simulated missions and the fact that stricter selection criteria can be applied without wasting financial resources. Italy is also employing selection methods similar to those of other western nations. Its selection process




Gaetano Battaglia

encompasses the excellent teamwork of personnel assigned to various entities having roles which are both different and complementary: the Guidonia Centre for Aptitude Selection, whose proven experience is also sought by non-military organizations; the Rome Legal Medicine Institute, which provides all Legal Medicinerelated testing; and the Air Force Academy where on-the-job behavioural observation of candidates and final exams is accomplished by expert personnel. The pilot selection process

and personally paid exam. While this saves financial resources, it also increases the risk of administrative protests when Air Force physicians evaluate situations differently from private doctors. One positive modification is, however, offered by the adoption of computerized systems, such as the Pilot Aptitude test (PILAPT) which, by means of specifically designed software, verifies whether candidates actually possess the qualities needed by a pilot. Such qualities include

The written Italian exam is still one of the crucial tests to evaluate the applicants education and personality. Photo: ITAF - Air Force Academy

ends with actual in-flight evaluation at Latina Air Base. Lack of adequate funding over the last few years has necessitated a modification in procedures and the selection programme itself. For example, candidates are asked to bring along to their physical examination the results of expensive, privately-taken

psychological-motor abilities while processing additional inputs, concentration on the primary objective in spite of an evolving and changing situation (situational awareness), the reaction to emergency situations or handling additional input while sustaining a particularly difficult workload. The results obtained since adopting this system seem to confirm its validity, having reduced to almost zero the percentage of pilots judged unsuitable during the actual flightscreening phase. However, this information must be

evaluated carefully due to new systems short track record and the fact that it doesnt yet include the complete flight training process, the achievement of combat readiness and, above all, the experience gained through a sufficient number of courses. Of course, should the data be confirmed, this will afford considerable savings in Defence resources and reduce the disappointment for aspiring young pilots. Even greater savings in financial resources can be achieved through the employment of simulators. This idea requires careful evaluation, considering that it inevitably involves extending the flying-aptitude selection process over an entire year (several thousand simulated missions cant be accomplished over a short, limited period). In any event, it would be useful to improve the selection process itself before moving the candidates on to the more complex and costly phases of the training programme. From what has been expressed above, there seems to be additional room for improvement in the flyingaptitude selection process even if, as Father Agostino Gemelli believed, actual flying is the true aptitude discriminator for becoming a pilot. It is therefore even more important when the objective is to achieve financial savings. A modern aircraft whether it be for combat or transport, civil or military has such a high cost that it is essential to be sure that it is being placed in the most competent hands possible. To conclude, it is advisable to acquire as much data as possible before judging the selection processes and modern selection systems in use. Above all, it would be wise to continue following the performance of pilots throughout their careers, creating a database and making comparisons with data from the aptitude selection process with the objective of bringing out any deficiencies and making constant improvements.


Gregory Alegi

The importance of training together

An interview with General Daniele Tei, the new Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force

eneral Daniele Tei became Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force on 30 January. Just a few weeks later, he granted Aermacchi World this interview on the overall situation of the Air Force, touching on specifically the aspects of pilot training. The latter aspects helped make the cordial interview a doubly interesting opportunity, which allowed General Tei to bring to bear the considerable experience gathered as commander of the Air Force Academy and the Schools Command, both key posts directly involved with preparing future Italian pilots. General Tei, what will be the first issue on your desk as Chief of Staff of the Air Force? The Air Force, which is a crucial component of the nations joint military
Official portrait of Gen. S.A. Daniele Tei, new ITAF Chief of Staff. Photo: ITAF - Troupe Azzurra




Gregory Alegi

instrument, is called increasingly to intervene even in the remotest corners of the world, operating under the aegis of the international community. In order to meet its commitments, the military instrument must be as agile, reactive and flexible as possible. The transformations that the Air Force will continue to undergo must take into account two fundamental resources, human and financial. The first aspect is the one which I intend to make my first priority, in the full awareness that the human element is pivotal in any organization, particularly at a time in which the well-known financial strictures dictate that we continue to work to downsize the organizational structure of the Air Force. What are today the main exercises in which the Air Force participates together with other international Air Forces? Among the main events in which the Air Force is involved I would underline, because of their high training returns, the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP), the large periodical exercises such as Spring Flag and Red Flag and even our annual Giornata Azzurra (Blue Day) show. The TLP is a full-fledged four-week advanced specialization course in the conduct of air operations, during which selected air crew from operational squadrons of several air forces gather on a single base (currently Florennes, in Belgium, but the programme will be relocated to Albacete, in Spain). Here they share both theoretical technical and operational concepts (ranging from the performance of the various tactical aircraft in service worldwide to the tactics used in air battles) and actual flight operations. Programme graduates qualify as Mission Commanders, which is a crucial skill to participate in NATO and coalition air operations as it enables them to lead large formations of aircraft. The Flag series of exercises,

organized annually at the Italian base at Decimomannu (Spring Flag) and on the American base at Nellis (Spring Flag), are excellent opportunities to test the Air Forces ability to project its assets in theatres of operation away from the Home Base, as well as the ability to carry out the air battle. Finally, the Blue Day, which this year will be held on 25 May at Pratica di Mare air base, represents a unique opportunity to test Air Force organizational and planning capabilities. Every professional profile, from administration to logistics, from communications to aircrew, are called upon to operate in an integrated, joint and multinational mode. Among the high-level posts you have held we find that of Commander of the ITAF Schools Command. How would you summarise our training activities? The time I spent at the Schools Command and at the Air Force Command allowed me to come into direct contact with two precious organizations within our Air Force. They cannot do without each other, because the former which provides the basic cultural, military and professional education of all Air Force military personnel is a fundamentally important and vital premise to the latter, which in turn must guarantee further training and use with front-line units. I am fully aware of the need to maintain and make the most of both functions, increasing their natural propensity to achieve results, to the daily quest for excellence and always in step with emerging technologies. During 2007 we awarded military wings to 56 pilots, who trained in both Italian and international schools, and 5 navigators, all graduated from schools in the USA. The 70th Wing at Latina saw 53 pilots, from the Air Force and from other Italian Armed Forces, complete the basic pilot licence. The 72nd Wing at Frosinone saw 35 pilots

complete their helicopter type-rating, with 14 additional licences awarded to pilots from other Armed Forces and Government agencies. Training is therefore an essential pillar on which the Air Force is based. We will constantly attempt to verify the related processes with our European partners and in the Mediterranean area in order to identify needs, requirements and common solutions. You belong to a generation of pilots who trained on the MB-326 and during your long career you had the opportunity to fly its MB-339A successor. Have you already tried the new M-346 and, if so, what are your impressions? The M-346 is a very interesting new generation advanced trainer. I have been able to appreciate its very easy piloting and manoeuvrability, the great visibility even from the rear seat, and the remarkable thrust level of the engines which endow it with a spectacular but smooth acceleration with speeds close to Mach 1. The aircraft has great potential as advanced Lead-in Fighter Trainer, and in consideration of its excellent performance the M-346 will represent the ideal tool for advanced training as stepping stone to future fighters. As such, it will have the potential to emerge as the European trainer. The Air Force guarantees its commitment to provide the greatest support to allow this programme to achieve the attention it deserves at both the domestic and international levels. With a view to the planned acquisition of about 15 M-346 trainers, the Italian Air Force is defining the related operational requirement for the so-called Integrated Training System (ITS), that is to say the entire aircraft, simulator, academics and logistics support package leading to their eventual use at Lecce in the broader context of the internationalization of the school itself.


Gen. Vincenzo Camporini hands the ITAF Standard to his successor Gen. Tei in a poignant moment of the handover ceremony. Photo: ITAF - Troupe Azzurra

The current financial constraints affect both operations and investment. Which of the two is more important and why? We know that the past two years have shown a positive change in investment expenditures, and we hope

that this trend will continue in the future. The 2007 budget law created a dedicated fund for investment expenditures, amounting to 1,700 m in 2007, 1,550 m in 2008 and 1,200 m in 2009, with which to meet

otherwise impossible obligations towards the main projects already under way but also to look confidently to their required financial support, at least in the medium term. Unfortunately we have not witnessed a comparable turn - around in the operating budget, which is undoubtedly the most affected by the dramatic lack of resources of the recent past. Over the past five years this lack has resulted in a reduction, in real terms, of one-half of the resources assigned for this area. In this respect, I would like to stress that unlike what happens in other branches of gover nment the operating expenses of the Defence sector are directly linked to the functioning of the Armed Forces, because they are inescapably connected to the efficiency and maintenance of equipment and bases, to training and to education. Therefore these expenditures have a direct impact on the readiness of the military instrument, whose effectiveness can be negatively impacted by every spending cut. I would like to recall that during the inauguration of the judiciary year the president of the Corte dei Conti (Italys official accounting court) stressed that the very habit of indiscriminate cutting of expenditures for intermediate purchases has brought them down to such a level as to compromise the operational capability and even dignity of the administrations. Within the Defence world, in addition, the Air Force requires particularly important resources in order to maintain its aircraft, reflecting the increased cost of technology. I think this clarifies my concern for the level of criticality which can affect our field in the short and medium term. Not only does this under




Gregory Alegi

nourishing of the operating budget create immediate difficulties in the Air Forces ability to operate but should it continue through time it will make it very difficult, if not simply impossible, to sustain the weapon systems which will have been purchased with the investment budget.

This is why, in the current planning and financial framework, I believe the greatest threat is the under nourishment of the operating budget. How are the Air Force Special Forces and 9th Wing projects proceeding?

The Italian Air Force contributes to the joint Special Forces component operating in the Afghan theatre with the personnel of the Reparto Incursori dellAeronautica Militare (Air Force Special Force Unit, RIAM). For obvious reasons, Air Force Special Forces have an air connotation and this vocation is continuously implemented through new techniques and operational tactics based on air assets or interfacing with them. For this reason the Air Force has decided to assign these duties to the 1st Special Operations Air Brigade. The Brigade has recently received organically both air and ground assets, fully integrated and standardised with the criteria identified by applicable NATO operating procedures. Which vital sectors of the Air Force are unknown to the general public and why do you consider them vital? There are many aspects of the Air Force which although not widely known are nonetheless essential to us. Among these I would stress the Boeing KC-767 tanker, the identification of a weapon system that will replace the Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) of the G-222 electronic warfare variant and, last but not least, the entire space and satellite sector. Specifically the KC-767 programme, which revolves the acquisition of four multi-role tanker aircraft, represents the completion of one of the most important goals in the process of modernizing the Air Force support and transport fleet. The KC-767A will confer upon the Air Force, but particularly upon Italian Defence, an effective and solid air support asset for whatever force projection activities the Country
Gen. Tei has considerable flying experience, largely accumulated in fighter-bomber units. Photo: ITAF


might require. Speaking of Defence, and thus of jointness, I would underscore the effort we are making to upgrade the reconnaissance and observation capabilities in a collaborative virtual environment. This capability is crucial in order to offer to the various operational commanders a level of situational awareness adequate for the safe and effective carrying out of their duties. A key element in the development of these capabilities is represented by the Joint Airborne Multisensor Multimission System (JAMMS). This is an airborne system, currently in an advanced phase of definition, that will be used to gather and distribute information and to process data. The system, which is of strategic and operational interest to the Air Force and other Armed Forces, will reinforce the automation and interconnection capabilities between different operational platforms. We have not as yet identified the platform that will host the JAMMS system, replacing the G-222VS. I would further want to recall that Italy has committed to hosting this year the NATO Trial Imperial Hammer exercise, one of the

most important NATO C4 ISTAR and SIGINT events. This edition follows the Spartan Hammer held in Greece, at which the Italian SIGINT introduced some interesting innovations and was particularly appreciated. Space was and will always be a strategically important environment of the Ministry of Defence and for the Air Force specifically. Today the MoD works on several space programmes. Among the key ones I want to recall the Helios strategic observation satellites born from an inter national collaborative programme, the Cosmo-SkyMed sensing programme with dual civilian and military applications, and Sicral 2, the military communications satellite which will integrate the current Sicral satellite. Together with the satellite component, the Air Force also attributes importance to the manned spaceflight segment, in which we have acquired experience through the recent Marco Polo and Eneide space missions. This advanced presence in space programmes will allow the development of other niche specialties such as the Aeronautical and Space Medicine Unit

of the Experimental Test Centre, which studies the effect on humans of long stays in space. Coming back to Earth, we should not forget another operational area which is only partially known to the public but which registers growing interest also outside the strictly military community. I am referring to Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). It is known that the Italian Air Force uses the Predator weapon system, with an internationally acknowledged niche capability. With regard to these surveillance systems, the positive results obtained with the use of the Predator A resulted in continuing development. We are proceeding to reinforce the fleet, both in terms of the quantity of platforms and of the sensors integrated on board, as well as in the equipment to analyse and share the data acquired. This technological upgrade will significantly increase its performance and possibilities of use, in order to guarantee the required level of flexibility, reliability and safety to carry out missions in so-called non permissive scenarios in which the risk of human life is greater.




ieutenant General Daniele Tei became Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force on 30 January 2008. Born in Perugia on 30 June 1946, Tei attended the Italian Air Force Academy with the Drago III course the same as his predecessor Vincenzo Camporini, who became Chief of the Defence Staff on 12 February and earned his wings at Lecce on the Aermacchi MB-326. He completed his military training in 1970 on the Fiat G-91T at the Scuola Aviogetti at Amendola, near Foggia. Since then Tei has accumulated some 2,700 flying hours on 13 different aircraft types, including about 2,000 jet hours. He has served with tactical units, flying first the Fiat G-91R light attack aircraft with the 2nd Wing and then the Lockheed F-104G fighter-bomber in the reconnaissance role with the 3rd Wing. In 1988-89 he commanded

the 37th Wing at Trapani, followed in 1993 by the Joint Test Range at Salto di Quirra. His staff experience began in 1984 with the 4th Department (Logistics) as head of the Armament Research and Development Section and continued at the 1st Department and then as commander of the 2nd Department (Intelligence) and the 3rd Department (Operations). In 2001-2003 he commanded the Air Force Academy, and he has twice headed the Directorate for the Employment of Air Force Military Personnel (DIPMA). Promoted Lieutenant General in 2003, Tei commanded the Air Force Schools Command from November 2006 until June 2007, when he became commander of the Air Force Command. He is a founding member of the Aermacchi Pilot Club.


Paolo Varriale

While some know that the Ferrari badge com remember that the insignia appeared 91 yea flies with the Frecce Tricolori on their MB-339

The prancing hor the Aermacchi st

aracca had shot down two German aircraft. It was in the days before Caporetto. One hour later, on the same airfield near Udine, unconscious of the sad days ahead, Baracca told me the vicissitudes of the fight that ended with a classic doublet. [] Lined up, shining and neat as if par-

ticipate in a parade, stood the SPADs and Nieuports of the 91 Squadriglia and of the other units of the airfield. Baracca stood next to his plane identified by the black prancing horse on the fuselage. Vittorio Varale, the first biographer of Baracca, remembered with these words his first encounter with the ace.

In 1968, dusting off his old wartime notebooks, the journalist described the scene vividly, also mentioning the famous insignia destined to survive the war and its first owner, migrating to the Macchi fighters during World War II and the Ferrari cars to eventually become the most popular Italian insignia in the world. But just a few people remember that the Prancing Horse made its debut in the Aermacchi stable, on fighters built by what was then NieuportMacchi. The link between Francesco Baracca, the greatest Italian fighter ace of the First World War with 34 confirmed victories in air combat, and Macchi began a few months after the birth of Societ Anonima Nieuport Macchi, which was established on 1
At left: the ace Francesco Baracca in a Nieuport Beb built under licence by Macchi. Photo: AMW At right: Grosseto, 11 December 2003. The Frecce Tricolori overfly the Ferrari and the Eurofighter before their speed race. Photo: ITAF - Troupe Azzurra


mes from WWI ace Francesco Baracca, few rs ago on a Nieuport-Macchi fighter and still 9s

rse was born in table


Paolo Varriale

May 1913 to build planes under French license and sell them to the Italian government. Baracca flew an Italian built Nieuport monoplane when he was assigned to 6 Squadriglia in Busto Arsizio on 1 July 1913, and with this unit he flew in the Cavalry Manoeuvres in September with the Blue Party. To his great satisfaction on 27 September the airman was the first to salute the hometown from the air ways, as a newspaper wrote, describing the flight of
This photo taken in Padua in April 1918 became a true icon for Italian Fighter pilots and inspired many pictures, posters and postcards. Photo: ITAF Historic photo collection

A wooden panel with the emblem of the Prancing Horse painted for Baracca and used during his funeral. Photo: Baracca Museum - Lugo di Romagna

the Newport over Lugo as safe, without shakes and hesitations. Baracca landed on a grass field marked by sheets and took off between the applauses of his fellow citizens. Most of them were seeing an aeroplane for the first time. Some time later, Baracca was also briefly assigned to Macchi as a production inspector. When war broke out, Baracca was flying a Nieuport 11 when he scored his first victory on 7 April 1916: a victory

which was also the first aerial victory of the Italian air force. The Nieuport fully belongs to the Macchi heritage, because although designed in France it was built in large quantities by Macchi itself. There was no Prancing Horse on that plane, nor would there be for another year or so. The insignia is not present in any pictures of the Nieuport 10 flown in the first quarter of 1916 those serialled 383 and 1035, to be precise - nor of the smaller Nieuport 11 that starred in the 7 April dogfight. On this occasion Baracca was flying no. 1451, which he had received in March 1916. The Cavallino appeared for the first time on both sides of the fuselage of Nieuport 17 2614. While we know that the insignia was on Baraccas aircraft in the dark October days of Caporetto, unfortunately no sources have been found to pinpoint the date on which the Prancing Horse was originally painted. Nieuport 2614 is attested in service with the Squadron at least from January 1917. The first written description of the insignia is found in the 13 May 1917 issue of La Vedetta, a Republican magazine of Lugo, and the first exactly dated photographic evidence is an article about the 91 Squadriglia in the 20 May 1917 issue of


Il Mondo, then a weekly magazine published by Sonzogno. An undated set of pictures possibly from the same period, or perhaps a little earlier, show grass and men without heavy clothes, possibly indicating Spring. Paolina Biancoli Baracca, the aces mother, explictly mentioned the insignia in a letter dated 10 September 1917, but by then the ace only flew SPADs. Paolina wrote that on 6 September soldiers cheered the low flying SPAD that crossed the lines after shooting down an enemy - a plane that we know was Brandenburg C.I 129.50 - over San Gabriele Hill. Its not unreasonable to suppose that the insignia made its first appearance in Spring 1917, the same period in which, it should be recalled, personal insignia came into widespread use not only with the 91 Squadriglia, but also in other units. On the other hand, the alleged presence of the insignia as early as 1 January 1917 often described by the Austrian ace Gottfried Banfield, is far from reliable. In several moments of his life, Banfield told the story of his dogfight with the Italian ace, which he claimed ended with a chivalrous mutual salute. The story is amusing and edifying, but it cannot be considered completely reliable because its substance is not supported by contemporary Italian sources, by the letters written by Baracca and even by the contemporary documents signed by the very same Austrian airman. But what led Baracca to choose the Cavallino as insignia? It has been said the he adopted it after the fifth victory, achieved over a German pilot born in Stuttgart, a city that has a mare in its crest. Even ignoring the fact that there are no traces of such a custom in the contemporary sources of any country involved in the war, and setting aside the fact that German air units only arrived in Italy in October 1917, the true origin was explained by Baracca himself. The Prancing Horse was a tribute to his former cavalry unit, the pre-

stigious Piemonte Reale Regiment, whose crest sported a silver horse over a red background. Some authors have said that the Cavallino was red, basing this theory on evidence that - although real is rather doubtful. This includes the 1931 portrait of Baracca by the painter Amerigo Bartoli Natinguerra, now exhibited in the Casa dellAviatore in Rome. The picture was almost certainly inspired by a well-known black and white photo, with no knowledge of the true colours of its subject. While the horse in the portrait is indeed red, the chromatic accuracy of the whole work is invalida-

ted by the wrong colours of the decorations on Baraccas jacket. These ribbons are regulated by strict rules and were very familiar to contemporaries. It should be noted that those very same ribbons were depicted in the right colours in a print published by Il Secolo Illustrato on 15 July 1918, again inspired by a photo but showing a black warhorse. Another element frequently cited by
Padua: the Prancing Horse in full display on the fuselage of a Spad XIII of 91st Squadron, surrounded by Macchi-Nieuports and Hanriots. Photo: Villa Brizza archive




Paolo Varriale

Istrana, 21 November 1981. The first speed race between a 51st Wing F-104S and the Ferrari driven by Gilles Villeneuve. Photo: ITAF Historic photo collection

red horse theorists is that the colour was changed in mourning for the death of Baracca, in a manner similar to Rolls-Royce when it changed its two Rs from red to black after the death of Henry Royce. The legend of colourchange is discounted by Rolls-Royce itself and, in any case, no historical sources ever described such a change for Baraccas insignia. On the contrary, plenty of evidence attests that the colour was black from the beginning. The evidence is literary (like a letter written by Gabriele dAnnunzio to general Ugo Cavallero), journalistic (like an article published on 28 June 1918 by the newspaper Il Gazzettino), and even tangi-

ble, like the wonderful wooden panel now kept by Baracca Museum in Lugo, in the Sala Piemonte Cavalleria. This relic is pictured in several images of Baraccas casket and funeral and even quoted in the deed of gift made by the cousin Teresina Chetoni to the municipality of Lugo on 10 September 1951 as The original Prancing Horse painted on behalf of the Hero. From the Nieuport 17 the insignia immediately migrated to the SPAD VII in May 1917, when this fighter began to equip the 91 Squadriglia, and later to the more powerful SPAD XIII, with two machine guns and a more powerful engine. This SPAD model had a camouflaged fuselage and, to highlight the black horse against the darker background, the insignia was applied on a white field which, on account of its shape soon became known as the nuvoletta

(little cloud). The same need for visibility led the unit to apply the black individual aircraft numbers with a white shadow. By the way, its noteworthy that unlike other units - the 91 Squadriglia used Latin numbers and not Arabian ones, perhaps another sign of its desire to be different from the other Squadriglie. The presence of individual insignia on WWI planes was not only to satisfy aesthetics or glorify individual airmen. In a time in which there were no in-flight radio communications, it actually stemmed from the more important and pragmatic necessity to be identified. The 91 Squadriglia aircraft carried personal insignia from its establishment, but for many months they lacked a Squadron badge. This was remedied in Spring 1918 when Baracca approved the black Griffon proposed by the fiery Guido


Keller during a dinner in the restaurant Storione in Padua. Keller said that the Griffon was a symbol of strength in the air and on the ground, due to its nature of animal half eagle and half lion. Because the Cavallino was a personal insignia and disappeared with its owner, the Griffon and Black Horse only flew together on the fuselage sides of Baraccas plane until 19 June 1918. On 11 July the king of Italy himself, Victor Emmanuel III, decreed that the 91 Squadriglia be known as the Squadriglia Baracca, but its insignia remained the Griffon. The Black Horse was occasionally seen in the midTwenties as insignia of 91 Squadriglia, but it was definitively adopted as the 4 Stormo (Wing) badge by the unit commander, HRH Amedeo dAosta. The duke followed a suggestion made by his aide de camp, Alessandro Bianchedi, who had first conceived the idea in 1931 when he had commanded the 91. The adoption by the most famous Italian Air Force unit enormously increased the popularity of the Prancing Horse and fixed its colours forever: black for the Wing and the 10th Gruppo, white for the 9th Gruppo. The men of the Prancing Horse to transla-

te the title of the excellent 4 Stormo history written by General Antonio Duma and now in its second, expanded edition have since then carried the badge throughout the sad and happy events of the Italian Air Force. Meanwhile, the stallion had become known, respected and even feared in another challenging world, which like aviation is also driven by technical skill, courage, enthusiasm and diligence. In 1923 Paolina Baracca entrusted the insignia to the young racing pilot Enzo Ferrari when he won the Senio Race, as Ferrari described in his memories. When Alfa Romeo retired from racing, it was the Prancing Horse that replaced the Alfa Cloverleaf on the cars of the new Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari began to build his own cars after WW2, still using Baraccas venerable insignia. The names of those riding the Cavallino on the worlds most famous racing tracks are engraved in enter in motor sports legend: Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher and Gilles Villeneuve, perhaps the more loved of all. In recent years the Prancing Horse has continued to fly proudly on the planes of the 4 Stormo, accompanying

Italian pilots through many generations of jet fighters, from the early Vampires also built by Aermacchi to the F-86E Sabres and F-104 Starfighters. Today the horse still prances on the Eurofighter Typhoons of the 9th Gruppo and the F-16 Falcons of the 10th, but also on 9 Stormo Agusta-Bell AB.212 helicopters deployed to Afghanistan. The link between the Cavallino and Aermacchi aircraft still lives on. The Pony call sign used by Frecce Tricolori pilots on their MB-339 refers specifically to Baraccas insignia. Their call sign was chosen in 1960 by Captain Zeno Tascio for the acrobatic team of the 4 Aerobrigata in overt tribute to the Prancing Horse. When the Air Staff decided to draw from this team the core of the new Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale, planes and men left Grosseto for Rivolto carrying with them the call sign Pony. So the most popular horse in the world continues to fly in the skies in which it was born over 90 years ago on that first Nieuport-Macchi.
The prestigious Ferrari Prancing Horse badge on the F-2008 raced by Kimi Raikkonen at the 2008 Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo: Studio Colombo


Bruno Damascelli

Taking photos of an airplane in flight from othe for a professor of radiology, such as the autho

Air-to-Air Photog
Prior action-photography experience is required, because the subjects move rapidly, and the emotional factor and physical stress play an important role.
ir-to-air photography for the Italian Air Force is normally entrusted to military personnel. The Air Forces official photography unit, the Troupe Azzurra, has developed a high-level photographic activity, undoubtedly enjoying the advantage of having their personnel assigned specifically to the units. Their photographic documentation and cinematography involving aircraft are exceptional. In civil aviation photography is accomplished by professionals, though not necessarily by those specialized in the sector. On the ground and aboard commercial aircraft it is easy to take good photos. Then there are the aces of airplane photography, like KatsuhikoTokunaga. And, finally, there are some stowaways like me. Its difficult to say whether this latter category flies to take pictures or takes pictures to be able to fly. In general, it is the passion for flight and for a certain type of unusual photography that pushes very few people to go up into the sky aboard military airplanes that epitomise modern flight. The photographic action, the camera, the safety aspects, the general organization and the processing of images are described briefly in this note. We must leave the chemical film era

behind us and consider photography accomplished with digital cameras. Professional equipment should be preferred for its durability, reliability and precision. These cameras have the advantage of offering the latest technology in both software and hardware. The digital photographic system is a living creature that sees no end to its progress. It was once said that photographic film would never be improved upon. Then they said that its equal was still years away. Today it is difficult to find shops selling even professional 35mm photographic film. Talk continued a bit about the advantages in using fixed-focus versus
A 4th Wing TF-104G at altitude at the end of a supersonic run. Canon EOS-1 Ds Mark II; 24-70mm, f 2.8, ISO 100, 1/640 f 8. Closing the A/B gives the exhaust gas an unusual effect. The sharp aircraft was obtained by the total filtering of UV rays. Photo: Bruno Damascelli

zoom lenses. The latter were criticized for their less-than-optimal photographic sharpness and differences in clarity at the various focal lengths. Fortunately, this isnt the case today. Because there is little space available in a

combat aircraft, to try and switch lenses in flight is both discouraged and dangerous. The distances between the aircraft are subject to continuous change, as is the camera angle. Because of ventilation in the cockpit, circulating dust


er aircraft is an unusual activity. It is even rarer r, to fly in military aircraft for this purpose


particles inevitably collect on the digital sensors when you remove the lens from the camera body. Sunshades for lenses are essential, so additional optical pieces mean greater difficulty to manoeuvre. Reflections off of the canopy, when not

intense, are not spotted in time by the photographer whose eye is separated from the viewfinder by its shade, and beautiful shots can be ruined by them. Lighter photographic equipment, like that usually employed by amateurs, is difficult

to hold steady and responds to intentional trembling, which is the muscular contraction induced by the photographers effort to hold the camera steady. The trembling tends to increase as the operators hands are subject to the




Bruno Damascelli

fatigue imposed by the Gs during acrobatic manoeuvres. We stowaways rarely get to fly, but we do have access to various types of aircraft, something that is generally not possible for pilots assigned to a unit. But the training that a pilot gets, and which we dont get, has its importance, and keeping ahead of a plane with both thought and action is difficult. Each moment that catches the photographer by surprise can be a lost image, usually the most beautiful one. Available light varies rapidly at high

speed, and photography lives by light. Though the options may not be many, a choice must be made among various photographic systems. I dont favour one particular product over another, in that only Nikon and Canon meet the requirements for this kind of photography. If we wear a helmet, oxygen mask and fire-resistant gloves, and then add the vibrations, time which also flies, rapidly diminishing fuel, radio communications and keeping the bearing offering the proper light, it goes without saying that

manipulating the controls of the camera has to be practically automatic. This is like the pilot who doesnt look at the controls that are at his fingertips. Replacing a battery or a memory card are manoeuvres which must be done with eyes closed. In the past replacing rolls of film was a problem. I would smile when the pilot would say over the intercom, We are going to level out so you can change the filmhow considerate they were to me! I kept the rolls ready with the tails already out, and put them in a bag made by a tailor which was like a lobster trap. In fact, I had one for fresh rolls and one for exposed ones. The bags were conveniently positioned and held in place by Velcro strips, but there was the constant obsession that they might drop to the floor of the cockpit. About 400 exposures were made in an hour, but perfect results were few. Today, the situation has been overturned: a lot of images can be saved by subsequent processing. In the past, upon landing, I had the impression of not having been up to achieving a good session. But later, while reviewing the images, I would discover moments that I couldnt remember even having seen. The digital sensor must be of proper size for 35mm format, in order that the focal length will have the same print ratio as with traditional film. The rate of exposure must be fast, and the availability of track focusing is crucial. That is, the automatic system must be able to hold on to the subject once it has been identified by the sensors. One must worry about researching the best focusing distances while still on the ground, working with the software for each individual lens. Freed from the effort required for focusing, a limiting factor in
MB-339 CD cockpit. Diving towards the Venegono runway during a loop. The fast photo sequence (4 frames/sec) must begin before the dive. Canon EOS D Mark II, 14 mm f 2.8, ISO 100, 1/1000 f 3.5. Photo: Bruno Damascelli


the past, we retain a greater ability to study the composition, the exposure times, and the apertures for normal and inverted flight. The situation is different if the subject aircraft has a propeller. Exposure time mustnt freeze the prop blades, which is always a risk with shutter faster than 1/250 of a second. With helicopters, natural vibrators, it is very difficult to take good photographs. Maintaining the effect of the rotors in motion is very important, but you mustnt sacrifice clarity of the rest of the aircraft in the image. When taking a series of photos, so as to chance upon one or two lucky shots, the best advice I can give is to vary the parameters to include a basic exposure time-versus-lens opening combination that is dictated by previous experience. One advantage of the digital system is the ability to memorize all the parameters

Determination in capturing images in high-speed flight, of interest to all of us, is the spirit which animates the air-to-air photographer. The technical aspects are simple. The subject itself guarantees 90% of the result, because there arent many photographers bringing similar images back to earth.
that have been applied in taking a photograph. This information is crucial for future efforts. You will notice, for example, that in the photographs of a plane flying beside another, and Im referring to fighters, the focal length of the lens

employed is almost always around 50mm, which approximates the normal field of view of the human eye. When having to photograph two aircraft of different dimensions, it is better to position the smaller one closer to you. A zoom lens is indispensable. For jet planes the shutter speed must be rather fast, especially for acrobatics, because of the jolts and the Gs and for capturing the images that appear unexpectedly and mustnt be lost. Here were speaking of from 1/800 to 1/1250 of a second, with sensitivity set at 100 ISO in order to reduce the noise that is greater in digital than that present in fine-grained

Agusta A-129 shot from an AW-139 with open doors. Note the sharpness. Canon EOS-1 Ds Mark II, 85 mm, f 1.8, ISO 100, 1/250, f11. Photo: Bruno Damascelli



Eurofighter Typhoons peel off at one second intervals for an aerobatic line abreast formation. Canon EOS D Mark II, 24-70 mm, f 2.8, ISO 100, 1/800, f 8. Photo: Bruno Damascelli

photographic film. In the sky the light is sufficient for use of an intermediate lens opening. For a zoom lens varying between 24 and 105mm, with exposure times memorized, we generally set the aperture between 8 and 11. If the flight is calm and the subjects are multiple, the focal length will be shorter, and the depth of field will increase. Of course, we will request over the radio that the formation be as compact as possible. With the Frecce Tricolori acrobatic team, harmonious flight is natural and without the brusque movements that are typical of combat aircraft. The leader decides, and the others gradually take up their predetermined positions with respect to the leader. The Gs are applied gradually, and it is easier to choose and hold the camera steady on the subject. It is difficult to obtain authorization to fly in the PANs Number Nine position. Thats the best position for taking pictures of the other eight planes together and sometimes nine when the soloist joins the group. In order to fly aboard Number Nine, one must have a curriculum vitae that certifies extensive flying experience, like that of members of the Troupe Azzurra or outsiders of Tokunagas class. This isnt an arbitrary rule, in that the strick in the Frecce Tricoloris MB-339 moves around a lot and any contact with the photographers body could be dangerous. Would you like to take photographs in flight? Keep in the cockpit two cameras, with identical controls, which you are familiar with. Each should have a 24 105mm zoom lens with as much aperture as possible. One of the cameras should be ready for shots in series and in rapid succession; the other for higher quality events. A super-wide-angle lens should be available for pictures taken of the inside of the cockpit, and it must be firmly secured

in a safe position. Although I have seen pictures of someone in a fighter plane transporting, without any apparent difficulty, an aquarium with tropical fish swimming around in it, an inevitable negative half-G is to be expected. The presence of an electronic stabilization system in the lenses can be useful for the slower shutter speeds, but the mechanism is fragile. Minor bumps against the canopy or strong vibrations can render the system inoperable without you being aware of it. Its best to shoot for raw data, rather than JPG, and we should try to evaluate in advance the duration of the photographic event. The camera will inevitably stop working when we least want it to, as happens with all things that are important to us, and we will never have a second opportunity. From the moment the canopy is closed, everything seems to proceed in an unstoppable manner. Like the magician sitting in front, we too make a mental inventory and visual scan of all the elements that we must keep under control. The adrenaline flow increases during the taxiing, as does the desire to achieve a good result. A competition has begun with the pilots, in that we verbally give commands, on occasion. We dont even notice the famous acceleration of the F104. We try to spot the wingman flying

directly behind us, and we ask him to stay close by. We can read the pilots notes on his thigh pad. Here are the first enthusiastic clicks of the camera! Now there is a moment of peace, until we level out and reach the zone of operations. We can work with tranquillity and precision, choosing distance, position, changing sides but everything seems a bit immobile and static. In the meantime, we adjust the height of the ejection seat in order to see past the sides of our plane or the tips of its wings. The Tornado has extremely large air intakes which block the downward view. Upon request, the pilots put turn his beast on its side, for a few seconds, to give us just enough time for a series of fifty exposures. We keep our seatbelts loosened during the passage to the operational area, but we are ready to hitch them up for acrobatics: we become thing with the airplane, and the camera with us. We slip on the camera handgrips wrist loop, so as to hold it firmly with one hand but be able to
Self portrait. The camera is held with the left hand against the control panel, hand focussed and with the sight masked to prevent the light meter from reading behind it. Canon EOS 1 DS Mark II,17-35 f 2.8, 1/350 f 4, ISO 100. Photo: Bruno Damascelli


Bruno Damascelli

release it in an emergency. The photographer and his equipment mustnt represent an additional worry for the pilot. We assure him that we havent forgotten the remote possibility of hearing the order, Bail out! Bail out! Bail out! It is indispensable that, long before the actual flight, you are aware of the aspects regarding safety. On the ground and in the air we repeat each communication, as is the custom in this environment. When I tried to introduce this procedure during a medical surgical operation, I heard my assistant say, You always tell me the same things. Then the moment of truth arrives, and the photographic session begins. It has been fully planned and briefed with graphic designs and simulations. We insisted on an early-morning flight, with cold, clear air but, as always, were already at noon and everything starts to become complicated. The air masses are

moving, and haze blurs the details. I had just set the focus to read the rescue stencils and now I cant even see the side number on the plane beside us. If we run into some clouds, well have a windscreen and diffused lighting like a portrait photograph. We ask the pilot to gravitate around our subjects so as to find some satisfactory lighting. My pilot is a bit concerned and tries to imagine where I would like to be positioned and where I would like the others to be. Its an art to accompany a photographer, and squadrons are well aware of this. There are some pilots able to fly outside the formation with a special sensitivity for the proper filming distances. These super pilots can hold the plane in unusual positions, defying the physics of flight. At the zenith, in the sky, it seems like being in Mexico, where the plane creates a dense shadow, like a sombrero of those characters you see in cartoons, who are

sitting against a wall and sleeping. If one of the fighters has the canopy with the gold coating, a radiation reflective cover condition results that is a barrier to photography. But if the sunlight is just right, that plastic cover becomes quite beautiful. Price should be no object in choosing the camera, lenses, computers and programmes for processing the images. Air-to-air photography offers no discounts. Just imagine the cost of one hour of flight! Because two-seaters are dedicated to training purposes, photographic activities usually represent a rare addition to the operational sortie flight. Between one burst (of exposures) and another, while we are passing through a series of barrel-rolls, lazyeights, loops and other manoeuvres we are just spectators amazed by the complexity and nature of military flight, by the performance of these machines, and by the control that these combat ready young individuals demonstrate. At the briefing, we asked to take off in the role of leader of a pair of fighters and to be wingmen or the last to land. Capturing the landing of the plane directly in front of you is difficult to synchronize. We are low and close, like a motorcycle behind Valentino Rossi, but the emotion felt at the moment of maximum power in climbing after the manoeuvre repays all the tension that took our breath away a few seconds before. Reviewing the frames is a long process, to be done in complete tranquillity. Basic data are translated into images that have not been compressed by means of any particular programme. You can realign the pixels and improve the clarity, balance colours and correct the exposure. It seems somewhat like cheating but, in reality, it is a valid aid; and we are flying higher and faster that we
MB-339 PAN. Photo taken from aircraft n 4. Canon EOS-1 Ds, 20-35 mm, f 2.8, ISO 200, 1/640 f 8 Photo: Bruno Damascelli

once did. In high-definition digital photography, with greater-than-15 megapixel sensors, one has to work with an excess of information. In processing, you have to bring out the right data in order for the images to appear as we saw

them. We relive each individual flight tens of times in this phase of our work, but we dont keep these photographs to ourselves or just for the editors. The commanders, pilots and specialists who trusted in us are eagerly waiting for them.

A Tornado IDS during a night take-off. Canon EOS-1 Ds Mark II on tripod, 24-70 mm, f 2.8, ISO 400, 1/60 f 8, 1/80 f 5.6, 1/125 f4 (bracketing). Photo: Bruno Damascelli


degree in Medicine and Surgery, Professor of Radiology, and Director of the Imaging Diagnostic Services for the National Tumour Institute of Milan. He has been an action photographer for many years, especially aboard aircraft. He has published numerous photographs and the book Custodians of the Skies, published by LativaVarese in 2005, which was dedicated to the Italian Air Force. He is currently the only civilian to have flown in the Eurofighter, and his photographs were published in the magazines JP4 and Aircraft.



briefings for pilots

Giovanni Artioli

The M-346 takes off with refuelling probe and underwing tanks. Photo: AMW


iao Olinto. In our conversation a few months ago you said that Ever y plane has a soul But pilots also have a stomach! Im here in the neighbourhood with Pino Stefani and Vittorio Bella (both ex military F-104 pilots from the 21st Group in Cameri, like the author of this article and, like him now airline captain Ed. note). Take us out to lunch and bring us up to date on the latest events regarding your baby: Singapore, airto- air refuelling, etc Come on over Ill be waiting for you. There he is at the company gates, next to the beautiful orange MB-326 Macchino guarding it. The roar of two turbofans going full blast calls our attention to the 346 that is taking off wearing its grey air-superiority livery. Thats Quirino Bucci who is going to the zone to accomplish some test rolls Lets follow him from the Control Room at the Test Centre. We go into the futuristic facility, where a high-definition screen displays the pilots view captured in flight by a highresolution camera. The plane is in the Valtellina area, and the snow-covered mountains are almost close enough to touch Onboard instrumentation is duplicated on the various LCDs by the Aircraft Telemetry Satellite Link, and each screen is subject to the intense concentration of its technician. As you can see, todays mission profile is fairly simple, indeed maybe a bit boring. Just some rolling tests ...


An unusual panel captures our attention. A three-dimensional model of the aircraft carries coloured vectors that change continuously in direction and intensity. Here we can follow the instantaneous dynamic loads and forces that the plane is subjected to. Our engineers have an immediate picture of the load envelope and its analysis at the end of the mission. In the past it took weeks to analyze the changes in loads and material tension during flight. This has allowed us, from a construction point of view, to realize that the plane excessively robust, so we eliminated a wing spar from the third prototype. This resulted in a significant weight reduction, without compromising strength. We enter Olintos office, which is stacked with paper. Next to a beautiful airplane model there is a photograph of the MC-205 Veltro in North African camouflage. What a beautiful picture, Olinto! You know, the most emotional moment in my aeronautical life was when I sat in the 205 on static display at Pratica and closed the canopy I know what youre sayingimagine what I feel having actually flown it...! I made 17 flights in the Veltro. Come on, tell us about it! Just as I reported for work at the Aermacchi, the Sion Air Show was held in Switzerland. The Swiss Air Force was about to chose its new trainer, and we decided to participate with our products, among which was the 205. My experience with propeller-driven aircraft was based on the Armys SIAI Marchetti 1019 that I had tested at the Experimental Test Unit. Furthermore, having read that our young Royal Air Force pilots were flying the Veltro with a few dozen hours of flying experience, I said to

myself, I have nearly three thousand. If I stay calm and maintain my tranquillity I approached the problem very methodically and coolly, and the system worked I personally saw the plane fly at Cameri, says Bolla, piloted by Bonazzi, and I was struck by the gloominess of its roar and its characteristic groaning that was completely different from the Spitfire or the Mustang. How was its handling? It was a machine that you had to constantly fly. As soon as you let go, it left you. To be manoeuvrable, in fact, it had to be unstable. You couldnt say Ill trim it and take a look at a navigational chart because, in the meantime, it was off on its own. What struck me was the length of the nose. From the pilots head to the tip of the nose, it was about four metres and twenty centimetres of beautiful snout Then I tried to do a few acrobatics. Nothing harsh, of course, because after all those years of inactivity we couldnt be certain of its flight envelope; and as far as its structural resistance and material fatigue in spite of todays technological progress, this is still an unexplored area However, I tried to do some stall turns, a few slow barrel rolls. I made a few moderate vertical manoeuvres. I have to say that the plane showed particular smoothness and excellent manoeuvrability, especially around the horizontal axis. I was truly impressed Being a vintage aircraft enthusiast, Bolla presses on: But did you manage to release the reins on all of its 1,400-plus horsepower? Only at take-off. The aircraft had a strong tendency to ground loop. At the beginning of the take-off run, I gave full opposite rudder and opened up the throttle a bit. As the speed gradually increased, the rudder became more ef-

The M-346 made its long-range ferry flight to Singapore at Mach 0.84, with a fuel burn of just 15 kg/min and consuming only 280 gr. of oil throughout the entire 50 hour mission.


briefings for pilots

briefings for pilots

Giovanni Artioli

fective. Then a little more throttle. When I felt that the increased speed allowed me to keep it straight with the rudder, I gave a bit more throttle, and so on until I reached the maximum power at the moment of unsticking. The rudder was too small It was probably the right size, continued Bolla - for the 202 that, together with the left wing being shorter by 20 cm, was able to counter torque during the ground run Besides that, it was a born climber. I remember that, at 280 knots, it left the 326 behind And did you manage to open it up to full power in flight? Yes, even if I tried to be a bit conservative. The engine life between overhauls was limited to a few dozen hours. Maximum speed was limited to 320 kts. Statistically, mostly at the end of the war, the life of a fighter plane didnt exceed 25 hours For this reason the socalled Time Between Overhauls (TBO) was extremely short Later, while a colleague was flying it, the 205 suffered a rather serious accident, and its airworthiness certificate lapsed. Its here today, tied down in a static display, unfortunately! That beautiful Veltro Well, Olinto, after this long and interesting parenthesis about the Veltro, lets talk about today Tell me about air-to-air refuelling. I see that you have installed a fixed probe. Will it be the final version? Do you foresee a possible retractable solution? Negative. The Tornado-style solution you are talking about involves an automatic mechanism that could become a source of breakdowns. But the drag index is increased this way. Does it produce any aerodynamic problems? No, it doesnt create any negative

phenomena, and the resistance is minimal. As you can see, the 346 has adopted the Navy-type tactical refuelling system, that is, the probe and drogue. Generally speaking, this involves a flexible tube with a basket on the end, into which the receiving pilot must insert his probe. The other system, adopted by the Air Force, involves a rigid boom manoeuvred by the operator aboard the tanker, which must be inserted into a receptacle located on the top of the receiving aircraft. Tanker aircraft have both systems. In our case, we have accomplished Buddy-Buddy air-refuelling from a Tornado How is the rendezvous with the blessed milk cow accomplished in hostile skies? With assistance from the Intercept Controller, or with the TACtical Air Navigation (TACAN) system on the Tanker, which has systems to give you bearings when in close proximity. Have you ever refuelled from a Tanker? What technique did you use for the final hook-up? Yes, I qualified Tornadoes, AMXs and 339s. You have to get to one side of the B-707s wing then, slowing down, move back slowly so as to avoid the wings vortex. A Tanker is a big beast. The wing sucks you in. You stabilize your position about a metre from the basket and, when the relative speed is zero, you begin the approach. This must be carried out with a relative speed of about five knots. If you go faster, you hit with too much force and can damage the mechanism. With lower speeds you risk a soft contact with a possible fuel leak. In fact, when the two elements arent firmly connected they produce clouds of fuel which then must fly through Its not fun Is there a simulator to train the pilot for this? - asks Stefani - And


The M-346 during a lazy eight. Photo: AMW

how is the hook-up accomplished at night? And how long does the refuelling procedure last? Simulators exist, but refuelling at night is psychologically different. This technique, in any case, can be performed by a pilot with a normal level of training. Of course, at night or just after twilight, everything is a bit more difficult and surreal. In any event, the basket has an illuminated rim. Its a bit like the difference between flying formation in daylight or at night. Its a question of training. As far as the duration of refuelling is concerned, keep in mind that the transfer rate is 200 kg/minute Which Wing did your Buddy Big Brother belong to? To the 6th Wing. We refuelled at 15,000 ft and, during the hook-up, at a speed of 280 kts in order to avoid having an excess of power, I kept one engine on IDLE. In the meantime, Quirino Bucci returns from the test area and performs a few manoeuvres over the field. We can admire the beautiful lines of the 346, which in flight are even more evident. And, as they say in the flying world, if a plane is beautiful, it obviously must fly well The planes performance is very impressive and positions the M-346 as the best stepping stone to fighters like the Typhoon or the Rafale. And this shortens the training time for attaining combat-readiness, which then results in cost reduction. With his operational experience, Stefani notes something that doesnt seem right: Olinto, the take-off we saw earlier used very little runway. Arent we risking teaching the student pilots an improper take-off technique? Youre very observant, Peppino!

With this plane, take-off can be done with the throttle in one of two positions: There is a detent that limits the throttle to a Military rating, or you can move it the full length for a take-off at maximum power. Its like in civil aviation, where you conserve power (conditions permitting) by taking off with reduced thrust. But is this reduction variable with the altitude of the field and the temperature? The aircraft has a plenty of excess thrust. Imagine, it reaches 520 KTS on just one engine. Furthermore, with Max T/O thrust applying the brakes will not stop the aircraft because the thrust is greater than the weight of the plane itself. You can only do a Rolling Take-Off. At the Military setting, you have a fixed reduction in power of about 50% with the engine turning 90% RPMs. It takes off with just half the thrust?!!! Yes and, in this case, it takes off like a G-91. The student pilot has plenty of time to visualize the take-off phase. In the event of a flame-out, you can always re-establish Max thrust on the working engine. One nice characteristic of the 346 is that it is impossible to land without flaps. Dropping the landing gear lowers the flaps to a predetermined setting. So, if the student forgets to extract the flaps or should there be a malfunction, you always land with flaps. This keeps you from approaching the field too fast and, above all, with the wrong attitude. Now lets talk about the trip to Singapore. What can you tell us about it? Well! Nothing in particular. It was a ferry flight like any other, except that it was the longest flight ever for a 346. What was the cruising speed? I must underscore that with an average fuel burn of 15 kg per minute, I


briefings for pilots

briefings for pilots

Giovanni Artioli

The M-346 is highly manoeuvrable even with external loads. At the latest Dubai show, it was always displayed with medium sized tanks. Photo: AMW

ready opened up completely? Not yet, because we still havent flown in the supersonic region. At this point we have tested the controls and the behaviour of the plane up to Mach 0.96. It behaves beautifully. There is a little buffeting between Mach 0.88 and Mach 0.92, and then it goes away smoothly. By the end of the year, well have done the testing in the supersonic envelope, and we have to complete one part of the low-speed flight with high angles of attack. There is a rapid mention of other innovations, like the APU, the new-concept oxygen system, an autotrimming system that will help avoid the classic hard landing, etc Our time is getting short, and space constraints force us to end our days conversation. There are so many other things to add here, such as brief memories and stories to tell. Well just make a note to continue our conversation more in depth when we get together to gather impressions about flying the third prototype, which has just been rolled out. The plane will be 700 kg lighter, which is somewhat unusual in that aircraft normally increase in weight as they are being developed. There was one thing that gave me extreme pleasure: climbing aboard the 346, Bolla and Stefani were struck, like me, by details that seem irrelevant to the uninitiated. For instance, there is the instrumentation with its medium-large letters, in addition to the handy, spacious storage compartments for charts. Anyone who has had to deal with the confined cockpit of a Starfighter will know what Im talking about Thank you, Cecco. We look forward to our next get-together!

travelled at Mach 0.84! Like the 104 or the Boeing 777 Amazing, and a fine pace! Compared to the Boeing that has a virtual navigational map, our software allowed me to load all the 1,000,000scale charts for navigation and the 500,000 charts for the approach. My Flight Management Computer (FMC) slaved to GPS satellite data always kept the outline of the plane on the navigation chart, with zero error. Apart from ferry flights, this system has enormous tactical-operational value Did you consider the flight worthwhile? Yes, for two reasons. In Singapore, apart from the normal air-show exhibitions performed mostly by Quirino Bucci, I took up all the attending test pilots, who then left with a great impression of the plane. But, above all, there is another thing. We were able to verify the extreme reliability of the aircraft. Of course, we had already had confirmation of this during the recent visit in the Emirates

What did you do for logistical support? A Cessna Citation rented for the occasion followed us with a pair of spare wheels and a few of the most frequently used replacement parts. About 300 kg worth of stuff, in all, of which we used only 280 grams of oil! Two hundred and eighty grams! Did I understand you correctly? I would have used more oil in my little Fiat Panda! The 346 has two exceptional engines: the Honeywell F124-Ga-200 with 2,850 kg of thrust. They have four axial stages and a final radial stage. This way the engine is stall-free. You all remember the T-33 and how it was impossible to stall its engine Bolla then comments: But the Allison J-33 of the T-33 was a really fat engine! Thats true, but the air that comes out of the fourth stage is already greatly compressed, so there is no need for a large diameter Has the flight envelope been al-


Giancarlo Naldi


All pilots current or rated on Aermacchi aircraft can apply for membership using this form and mailing, complete with the necessary documentation, to: AERMACCHI PILOT CLUB Viale B. Buozzi 58, 00197 Rome, Italy Alternatively, the form can be downloaded from the website: and submitted by e-mail to: The charter is posted on the Club website. Membership is free of charge.

CLUB MEMBERSHIP The applications for Club membership continue to arrive. In the first ten months since the founding ceremony in Rome, over 500 members have already joined the association. ANNIVERSARY EVENT The Italian Air Force Training Command has invited the Club to hold an event in May at the Air Force Academy to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Aermacchi MB-326. The aircraft flew on 10 December 1957 and subsequently trained many generations of Academy pilots. The event will also celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the Macchi C.200 fighter (24 December 1937). PHOTO ARCHIVE The historical articles published in our magazine has raised much interest within the Club, with several members expressing the desire to make their personal photo collections available to the Club. Those who wish to share unpublished photos of suitable quality depicting Macchi, Aermacchi, Alenia Aermacchi or former SIAI types should send them in digital format, on CD or DVD, to the Club address shown on the form at right. The pictures should be scanned at high resolution and accompanied by suitable captioning information, including whenever possible the following information: Aircraft type; Unit; Place; Date; Name and rank (if applicable) of any people; Further useful details on the event/ occasion.

Rank/Title: ...................................................................................................... Given name and Family name: .......................................................................
Place and date of birth: ...................................................................................

Air Force/Agency/Affiliation: ........................................................................... Occupation: .................................................................................................... Office address: Home address: .............................................................................................. ..............................................................................................

Telephone: ...................................................................................................... Fax: ................................................................................................................. Mobile: e-mail: ........................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................

Aermacchi type ratings and experience *: ...................................................... ........................................................................................................................... Supporting evidence **: .................................................................................. In accordance with Italian privacy laws, I hereby authorize the Club to process the information provided in this form and store it in the Club databases for the sole purpose of Club activities. Date ................................ APPLICANTS SIGNATURE NOTES * Including former SIAI Marchetti aircraft now built and supported by Alenia Aermacchi ** Please attach a copy of supporting evidence.


pilot club



Vitantonio Di Lorenzo


Early identification of candidates best suited to pilots remains a priority in order to reduce was advanced and expensive phases

he training of military pilots is certainly one of the most debated subjects between Air Forces worldwide, especially when it is necessary to best allocate the limited resources available for the purchase of the most suitable training aircraft for the purpose. The review of the newest training needs, in terms of skill, together with the mandatory goal of keeping as low as possible the costs associated with training, requires a review of the various training phases in order to identify as

quickly as possible the candidates with the greatest potential. THE DEVELOPMENT OF PILOT SKILLS The training of a military pilot is usually based on four phases: Phase I (Screening/Primary) and II (Basic) for the so-called undergraduate segment, and Phases III (Advanced) and IV (PreOperations) for post-graduate training. At the completion of the basic phase, the student generally earns a military pilot licence (Wings), after which the new pilot will be streamed for further training

(helicopters, support, or tactical air) on the basis of ability. Generally, each phase is divided into specific training modules or training types. THE UNDERGRADUADUATE PHASE Even when pilot candidates are highly motivated, it is necessary to identify those that demonstrate the full potential to complete all the phases of training. This is a critical function of the screening process. In fact, since it is inevitable for this screening to occur at a certain point in the training period, it is cost-effective and time-effective to identify non-ideal candidates before financial and time resources (training time, and in particular flight time) are used on the more expensive basic and advanced training aircraft. The screening phase, a turning point that usually occurs after 20 flight hours, can be completed using a lower-end piston trainer (150200 hp, even with fixed landing gear). Nevertheless, an aircraft with superior performance (250300 hp, retractable landing gear) allows the candidates to be exposed to a piloting phase of greater difficulty. The increased selectivity allows a better








INSTRUM. Basic or Phase II





Advanced/LIFT PHASE or Phase III & IV


become military hout in the more
transition to the subsequent basic trainer, thus savings time and money. The essential development of pilot skills occurs during the basic phase, which represents the most important and crucial portion of the entire course of training. In this initial part of the training, the overall behavior of the basic aircraft and the level of piloting difficulty must be compatible with the level of skill possessed by an inexperienced student. This will allow the student to learn what is planned with a learning curve both gradual and effective. At the end of the basic course, the same aircraft must also provide students who by now have acquired greater maturity - the abitily to gain other skills that will assure, without complications, a speedy transition to the subsequent advanced training. Since in reality students will have acquired valid experience by learning on a higher performance basic aircraft, the
With its performance the M-311 can expand the basic syllabus to include part of the LIFT programme. Photo: AMW


Vitantonio Di Lorenzo



G. Hand.





training events

Phase M-311 concentrated on

Mental capability Mental flexibility Priorityzation Analytical abilities

following transition to a advanced aircraft will not only be smooth and efficient, but also cost effective. While the basic requirement has always been more or less standard of traditional basic trainer, the final requirement requires elevated performance and the necessity to pilot an aircraft with flight characteristics truly representative of an advanced modern trainer. In reality, considering that the purchase and operating cost of any advanced/pre-operational aircraft will obviously be greater than the corresponding costs of a basic trainer, it makes sense to shift to the latter aircraft the greatest number of training activities and flight hours. This operation is referred to as down-loading. The need for down-loading can be particularly appreciated when considering the impact that the introduction of fighters will have on traditional training. In order to contain costs and better prepare their pilots, air forces will increase activities on more advanced trainers in order to better address training needs. This makes it important to download as many training events as possible from the advanced phase to the basic one, an option which is only available to those equipped with adequately performing trainers. In other words, with jet trainers.

THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BASIC TRAINING PHASE As a rule, turboprop aircraft with limited aerodynamic characteristics and without avionics are seen as the ideal aircraft to teach basic skills in basic training. Studies conducted by Alenia Aermacchi showed that Air Forces agree on the need to download and that they are orienting themselves toward a training concept where ground school and simulations available on the aircraft be completely integrated in every phase of training. Furthermore, opinion is spreading that a moder n training system must emphasize the development of Situational and Tactical Awareness (possessing a clear and correct perception of what happened, what is happening and what can happen in the immediate future even from a tactical point of view). The development of these skills is tied to available avionics, but also to adequate aircraft performance. Therefore, there exists a pressing need for a new concept of trainer able to satisfy a vast array of roles and characterized by low initial and operational costs, together with performance enabling it to fly the training profiles that are currently flown in the advanced syllabus.

DEMONSTRATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF A TRAINING SYSTEM In a training system each component, combined with the related syllabus, is capable of developing/ increasing the skills ofthe student. In the case of training aircraft, the highest level achievable depends upon the available on-board systems and its capabilities. For each component there exists a relationship between the maximum skill level that can be achieved and the flying hours necessary to achieve it. Even if the hours of instruction were to be increased, it could happen that the student would become much more familiar with that type of trainer without in fact increasing his level of skill, because of the limited performance of the aircraft. Avionics and the possibility of providing a simulation system on-board the aircraft no longer constitute a discriminating factor between basic trainers. There are in fact initiatives to upgrade existing aircraft with the possibility of an open architecture able to accept updates as the electronics technology evolves. On the negative side, the performance and flight capabilities cannot be significantly improved given the unchangeable qualitative capacity of the airframe and power plant. In response to a United States Air Force Air Education Training Command (USAF AETC) commission, the RAND Corporation, the research organization that performs analyses and provides solutions upon request of public or private entities, has produced a document entitled Assessing the Impact of Future Operations on Trainer Aircraft Requirements. The pilots from tactical units interviewed by RAND maintain that streaming pilots for different roles at the end of the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) phase is premature. Some believe, in fact, that the experience acquired upon completing training on the T-37 or T-6 does not allow instructors to identify which operational line is most


appropriate for the new pilot. The document identifies several possible solutions: consider the possibility of further extending the T-6 syllabus, taking into account the limitations imposed by the low performance of the aircraft; introduce a T-38C module in the training syllabus prior to proceeding with assigning the students to operational activities (which, however, involves an increase in the number of advanced trainers and consequently raises the cost of pilot training); return to the UPT (Undergraduate

PERFORMANCE REQUIRED OF THE BASIC TRAINER The requirement to broaden the content of the training syllabus can be pursued by appropriately broadening the formation and low altitude navigation modules, which can be considered closely correlated to the development of the capabilities necessary for the tactical situations and a variety of simulated operational scenarios. In line with this and according to the indications that emerged from the EuroTraining study, the best characteristics that aircraft must possess

two aircraft in space, this being an introduction to attack geometries. These greater capabilities carry with them also the possibility of including in the training syllabus the two additional Fighter Maneuvers and Intercept modules, which are preliminary to the advanced phase; ability to carry out low altitude navigation at a speed of at least Mach 0.5, and with the possibility of 3 g accelerations with the aim to train to increase the speed and simulate the procedures to attack targets; These capabilities allow a significant

The Alenia Aermacchi M-311 in the desert camouflage applied for the operational evaluation in the United Arab Emirates, where is showed its ability to cope with very high temperatures. Photo: AMW

Pilot Training) syllabus in such a way that all the students fly both the T-6 and T-38C before the decision as to which operational activity to send the students is taken; this would result in increased pilot training costs.

in terms of performance, in order to make possible the downloading of training events or modules from the advanced phase, can be summarised as: ability to execute turns with sustained Calibrated Air Speed (CAS) of at least 300 knots at an altitude of 10,000 feet (typical training altitude) with an acceleration of at least 3 gs. This capability would permit the broadening of the training activities currently planned in the formation module, including tactical formations and teaching at a greater level of competency the angular relationship of

broadening of the Low Altitude Navigation module to include more complex training activities such as the application of tactics in the conduct of low altitude navigation, in the attack and management of on-board systems installed in modern basic trainers such as CCIP (Continuously Computed Impact Point), CCRP (Continuously Computed Release Point), Embedded Functionality, etc. The availability of a new generation basic trainer with greater capabilities in terms of both improved performance and




Vitantonio Di Lorenzo



Advanced Training

Fase II A M-311

Fase II B M-311

Fase III C M-311

Fase III & IV FJ


Fase III Eli - Supporto

availability of advanced on-board systems, would make it possible to include in the basic syllabus the Ground Attack Range module to learn the procedures to use Air-Ground ranges and the use of on-board weapons (real or simulated). It should be underlined that whenever a trainer with more modest performance is used, this inevitably will cause a negative impact on the learning curve of the student. Indeed supplementary and corrective training might be necessary to carry out those same activities, without therefore obtaining the anticipated flight time savings generated through downloading. THE ALENIA AERMACCHI BASIC TRAINING CONCEPT BASED ON THE M-311 The considerable impact on the preparation of a future pilot of the ability to process information (tactical skills) and the capacity to interpret information in every situation for a complete understanding of the tactical situation, in addition to airmanship, have lead Alenia Aermacchi to reconsider the structure of Phase II, expanding its content to include training activities and training modules that are typical of the advanced phase. The change will enable instructors to better evaluate the potential aptitudes of the student (screening process) with the goal of identifying, with greater probability of success, the operational activity that is best suited and most consistent with the

demonstrated aptitude. The implementation of this new concept is made possible by the availability of a trainer with greater performance, such as the M-311, the new basic trainer developed by Alenia Aermacchi with the goal of making available a modern jet aircraft capable of performing the new role of trainer with the best cost-effectiveness and in line with the expectations of the most modern air forces. The M-311 is a completely modified version of the S-211, with revisited aerodynamics, a strengthened structure with a broadened maneuvering envelope, a longer service life, a cockpit with liquid crystal displays and Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS), new onboard systems and a new maintenance philosophy.

For the requirements of the initial part of training, the piloting characteristics of the M-311 assure the students coming from propeller aircraft used during the screening process, a smooth initial familiarization with the different maneuverability and flight behavior typical of a jet aircraft. The flying hours necessary for the transition are reduced to a minimum and the student can quickly start the learning process for the new phase of training. In the final phase of training, the M-311 prepares students better than any propeller aircraft - even if turbine powered and whatever its power - for the subsequent transition to the more demanding advanced trainers. This guarantees a significant capability to shift flight hours from the advanced trainers and at the same time maintaining the flying qualities required to perform appropriately in its role as basic trainer. The basic phase thus broadened by Alenia Aermacchi envisions three training blocks: PHASE II A: This first block is mainly a transition phase for student pilots with flying experience based solely on that acquired during the screening process. The student will begin to develop the basic abilities necessary for flight management, theoretical knowledge and








INSTRUM. Basic or Phase II





Advanced/LIFT PHASE or Phase III & IV


begin to develop airmanship. The training content will therefore satisfy the basic requirements posited as a common factor for every candidate destined to become a military pilot (jet, helicopters, or heavy aircraft). The student will practice with the manual handling of the aircraft, to execute basic maneuvers and local

the local procedures in the work area. PHASE II B: This second block must be considered as a continuation of the previous phase with the purpose of introducing the pupil to advanced training concepts and new capabilities. Students will acquire greater familiarity in the planning and execution of navigation

simple tactical scenario. Student pilots, operating in a more complex training environment, will be lead to demonstrate their ability to face a progressively higher workload and improve the development of their skills. This phase will allow instructors to verify and evaluate student abilities with the goal of identifying the operational line

Despite appearances, the M-311 has some significant innovations from the previous S-211, particularly regarding the airframe, flight envelope, avionics and landing gear. Photo: AMW

operational procedures planned in all training modules, including the ability to manage on-board instrumentation, and is also introduced to mission planning. This phase is geared to motivate and orient the student toward flight training, the basic procedures for aircraft handling and

with mixed profiles, night flying, basic and advanced formation, instrument flying and advanced navigation including flights according to IFR rules. The availability on-board the M-311 of a latest generation human-machine interface and of tactical simulations provided by the new generation avionics, allows students to begin developing the ability to interpret and work out the information available on-board (Tactical Skills) and therefore, the capability to develop Situational Awareness in a

PHASE II C: This third block, called Fighter Module, is designed for those students that have successfully



for which they are best suited (rotary wing, multi-engine, or tactical air) and allow them to acquire the military pilot license under the regulations applicable in their country. Pilots considered suitable for tactical units, and therefore destined to follow the related advanced training, will complete basic training with Phase IIC.


Vitantonio Di Lorenzo

Using an aircraft with a flying envelope much larger than typical basic trainers allows instructors to develop a better and earlier assessment of the students potential. Photo: AMW

operational aircraft. Air Forces set themselves the goal of preparing adequately trained combatready military pilots at the lowest possible cost. This goal can be achieved only by redesigning the various phases

of the piloting course with a better distribution of training activities. Therefore, it remains crucial to have for each phase an aircraft which has not only the latest avionic systems, but also adequate flight performance.

completed the previous phase, with the aim of developing competency with weapons, the skills necessary in tactical situations and in a variety of simulated operational scenarios. Students will face increasingly demanding tasks and training activities typical of the advanced phase, downloaded from it within the possibilities of the capabilities of the training system itself. Through this phase students must confirm and demonstrate their capabilities and their potential for successfully continuing with the subsequent advanced training. CONCLUSION The purchase, operating and support costs of new operational aircraft is bringing many air forces to increase their interest in the level of training of future pilots in flying schools. By now it is considered indispensable to download training with the goal of reducing both the time and the cost of qualifying on


Clean aircraft - Standard day






High Power TP Medium Power TP





0 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450

True Airspeed kts


Paolo Gianvanni

Aviation update
NEW CHIEFS FOR THE ITALIAN AIR FORCE AND DEFENCE STAFFS On 11 January the Italian government appointed Lt. Gen. Daniele Tei as Chief of the Air Force Staff. He replaces Lt. Gen. Vincenzo Camporini, who was appointed Chief of the Defence Staff with effect from 12 February 2008. Gen. Tei, formerly head of the Air Force Command, formally took over from Gen. Camporini in a ceremony on 30 January 2008. Gen. Camporini had held the highest Air Force position from 20 September 2006. (See interview with Gen. Tei on page 13.) THE M-346 SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES ITS FIRST IN-FLIGHT REFUELLING Between 24 and 25 January the second M-346 prototype (CSX-616) carried out air refuelling tests over the Ligurian Sea, with the collaboration and support of the Experimental Test Unit (RSV) of the Italian Air Force. A Tornado equipped with a ventral buddy pod and 15 metre flexible hose was used to assess the in-flight refuelling operational capability of the M-346. The M-346 pilot first carried out a series of positioning manoeuvres to verify the behaviour in close proximity to the tanker aircraft and to the droguebasket unit. After assessing the stress imposed upon the fixed refuelling probe by the aerodynamic loads and verifying the consistency and accuracy of the air data, the M-346 successfully completed several contacts. The first flight was dry (without transferring fuel), proceeding to wet (with fuel transfer) on the second. During the first flight, the air refuelling operations were assessed by an RSV pilot flying as observer in the rear seat of the M-346. On the second flight, with an all-Aermacchi crew, the air-to-air refuelling operations were carried out from both pilot positions. The tests were monitored visually and remotely by both Aermacchi and RSV personnel, while another RSV crew flew in an Aermacchi MB-339CD chase plane for air-to-air filming and to provide assistance in case of need. Both Alenia Aermacchi test pilots, Commanders Cecconello and Bucci, took part in the refuelling operations, together with Major Davide Cipelletti of the RSV. The results confirm the excellent handling qualities of the M-346 (which flew in its current maximum range configuration, with two 580 lt under wing drop tanks), its high controllability and the correct behaviour of the air data system, even in the wake of other aircraft, confirming the maturity level of the flight control system that integrates these functions. The fuel system dedicated to this kind of operation was also confirmed to work correctly. THE M-346 IN SINGAPORE The second prototype M-346 took part in the Singapore Air Show, which it reached in flight from Italy. Flown by Alenia Aermacchi Chief Test Pilot Olinto Cecconello with Test Pilot Quirino Bucci, the aircraft was fitted with two 580 litre under wing tanks and covered the over 12,000 km course in four days, departing from Venegono and stopping at Iraklion (Crete), Hurghada (Egypt), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), Ahmadabad (India), Calcutta (India) and Bangkok (Thailand) before reaching Singapore. The ferry flight was made with minimal technical support and the aircraft arrived on 14 February, with ample time to obtain the required clearances to display the M-346 during the air show which opened on the 19th. The M-346 trainer is a leading contender for Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Fighter Wings Course (FWC) competition, aimed at replacing the TA-4SU Skyhawk fleet currently operated from Cazaux air base in France. The 2008 Singapore Airshow is the 26th edition of the event but also the first one held in the new 30-hectare Changi

Buddy-Buddy refuelling from a Tornado. Photo: Bruno Damascelli



Paolo Gianvanni

Major Swanz and Cdr Cecconello pose for a classic souvenir photo after their M-346 flight. Photo: AMW

Exhibition Center (CEC), which offers over 40,000 square metres of covered and air conditioned area, plus another 130,000 square metres of open areas. (See interview with Cdr. Cecconello on page 32.) AUSTRIAN AIR FORCE DELEGATION VISITS THE ALENIA AERMACCHI FACTORY IN VENEGONO Between 10-14 March a high level delegation of Austrian Air Force officers, led by Gen. Norbert Huber, head of the Planning Staff at the Austrian Ministry of Defence, held Staff Talks with an Italian delegation headed by Gen. Paolo Magro, head of the 3rd Department of the Italian Air Force Staff. The agenda included meetings at the Air Force Staff and visits to several

ITAF bases including the Air Space Control Training Centre (RACSA) at Pratica di Mare, the 4th Wing at Grosseto, the 1st Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Cameri and the Air Gunnery Development and Standardization Unit (RSSTA) at Decimomannu. The delegation also visited the Alenia Aermacchi factory in Venegono, where two Austrian pilots flew the M346, experiencing its great handling and high technical and training qualities. The bilateral meetings revolved around the opportunities for possible cooperation between the two air forces, with particular reference to the advanced pilot flight training, to Eurofighter logistic support and the training of Eurofighter technicalmaintenance personnel. FINMECCANICA ANNOUNCES 2007 RESULTS On 17 March the Finmeccanica

Board of Directors approved the 2007 results which show an 8 per cent growth in revenues up, a 14 per cent increase in new orders and 375 million in Free Operating Cash Flow. The adjusted EBITA grows by 11%, net profits stand at 521 m and the return on investment jumps from 17.1% top 18.9%. On this basis the Board proposed a 41 eurocent dividend, a 17% increase over 2006. Finmeccanica improved its results through organic growth, confirming the stability and quality of its development process. Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented The excellent results achieved in 2007 confirm our credibility and our ability to meet the forecasts we provided to the market. We have exceeded the targets we set and will continue to meet our commitments. The companies of the Finmeccanica aeronautical business - Alenia


Aeronautica, Alenia Aeronavali, Alenia Aermacchi, GIE ATR (consolidated proportionally at 50%) and Alenia SIA recorded 2,306 million (+21%) and an Adj. EBITA* of 240 m. This performance was due to a greater contribution from the civil market, in particular work on the ATR aircraft and start-up of Boeing 787 production. In the military field, revenues from the Eurofighter contract grew thanks to increased development and production activity relating to the second tranche of the programme. New orders totalled 3,104 million, up from 2,634 million in 2006 (+18%). In the military segment, these included the Eurofighter order for activities associated with the supply of 72 aircraft to Saudi Arabia, the Future Enhancements order for further developments of the aircraft, the second tranche of EFA logistics, the contract for the supply of two ATR 42 MP to Nigeria and the order for the supply of the first two C-27Js to the US Army. In the civil sector, these included orders of the GIE-ATR consortium (123 aircraft) and further tranches of the Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Airbus A-321, Dassault Falcon, engine nacelles and cargo aircraft conversion programmes. The order backlog totalled 8,248

million, up 9% from 7,538 million at 31 December 2006. Of this total, 49% related to the Eurofighter programme, 19% to the Boeing 787 and 3% to the C-27J. Headcount was 13,301 employees, compared to 12,135 at 31 December 2006, with a 1,166 unit increase due to hirings by Alenia Aeronautica in response to the increased workload and by Alenia Composite following the growth in 787 production at the Grottaglie plant. FINMECCANICA TURNS 60 In March Finmeccanica celebrated its 60th anniversary. The Societ Finanziaria Finmeccanica was founded on 18 March 1948 and the Board of Directors held its first meeting on 22 March in Rome under the chairmanship of Ing. Aristide Ferrari. The at same year 1948 also saw the birth of the Italian Constitution, with a parallelism which suggests how deeply rooted Finmeccanica and its industrial activity are in the history of this country, in its post-war recovery and in its growth. History, skills, innovation and future the key words of this anniversary are also the sources of inspiration for the initiatives launched by Finmeccanica to celebrate the anniversary, concluding

with the annual Christmas concert. The sense which Finmeccanica wants to convey through its anniversary is the rediscovery and appreciation of its roots as a propellant towards the future. An opportunity to look behind to better see ahead, to draw upon our heritage as a source of strength to take up the challenges of today and tomorrow with a greater awareness of the role played so far and the will nourished by pride in our history to achieve goals even greater than those we have already reached. Amongst the many rewards of these many decades of industrial evolution, one is very clear: the achievement of a truly international dimension: a path built upon alliances and the ability to win in the market, in different businesses, which today puts Finmeccanica in the enviable position of being to thank on its 60th birthday the women and men who work for the Group in Italy, the United Kingdom, the USA and the world. This is the scenario today, and this is the tale told by the Finmeccanica anniversary: a story of Italian excellence capable of competing globally and of broadening its horizons, saying much albeit not everything, of course about the events of the past sixty years. AERMACCHI AND ENAER TOGETHER ON THE M-346 AND M-311 Alenia Aermacchi and ENAER, Empresa Nacional de Aeronutica de Chile, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that defines the terms under which the two companies will cooperate on the new generation M-346 advanced trainer and the M-311 basic-advanced trainer programmes. The MoU envisions agreements for
The M-311 and M-346, together with the SF-260, form the Alenia Aeronautica trainer line that can meet every need in this field. Photo: AMW




Paolo Gianvanni

the joint production and marketing of the M-346 and M-311 trainers in Latin America, in order to provide effective answers to the various needs of the continents Air Forces in terms of basic, advanced and Lead-In Fighter training, as well as the Close Air Support operational role. For Alenia Aermacchi, the understanding with ENAER represents an important agreement reflecting its strategy to promote the M-346 on international markets also by specific regional agreements with appropriate international players. Through a process of development and exchange of leading-edge technologies, the agreement will contribute to the overall growth of ENAER and enrich its technology base. The MoU was reflected in the FIDAE 2008 exhibition, held at Santiago de Chile between 31 March and 6 April, at which Alenia Aermacchi and ENAER displayed and promoted the M-346 and

M-311 to delegations of Latin American air forces. ALENIA AERMACCHI ROLLS OUT THE FIRST PRE-PRODUCTION M-346 Alenia Aermacchi unveiled on 11 April the first M-346 new generation advanced trainer in the baseline industrial configuration. The aircraft was rolled out from the Alenia Aermacchi factory at Venegono Superiore, in the presence of the Chief of the Italian Defence Staff, Gen. Vincenzo Camporini, and of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, Gen. Giuseppe Ber nardis. This confirms the ever more productive cooperation between Alenia Aermacchi and the Italian Air Force, which has been a feature of M-346 development. The event was also attended by highranking executives of the Finmeccanica Group and of the aviation industry, as well as by the

Alenia Aermacchi engineers and technicians which have contributed to the success of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 programme. The first pre-production M-346 simultaneously bears witness to and reinforces the great maturity of the program which - thanks to the intensive development work performed on the two prototypes - has allowed the design to be optimized and industrialized. The design effort for the baseline industrial configuration aircraft has concentrated on structural optimization, with additional benefits in terms of improved maintenance. The goal has been achieved by rationalizing the distribution of wing spars and fuselage frames, together with a more widespread use of composite and titanium parts. Together with the integration of the new main landing gear and the standardization of general mission systems, this has brought about a considerable reduction in the empty weight, in the order of about 700 kilos. The Flight Control Systems, designed by companies including Alenia SIA and Selex Communications, have also been enhanced with software control laws developed in-house by Alenia Aermacchi. These new results have been reached by applying data collected during the intensive flight test campaigns in which both prototypes have been engaged, with additional valuable input from the many international Air Forces that have evaluated and assessed the M-346. The unveiling marked a new season for the M-346 which, by reaching this milestone, now looks forward to a rapid industrialization program leading to service entry within the planned timescale. (See story on page 4.)
A fascinating picture of the pre-series M-346 before its unveiling. Photo AMW


A Finmeccanica Company