"This time I do not ask the press pass, I go to the beach and I watch the show from there, in fact, I do not even bring the camera, otherwise ends up looking for the best shot, I lose the taste of the show" .
This was my idea before the air show in Marina di Grosseto, to celebrate the centenary of the hunting departments.
Never choice was more apt!
Of course, doing so I missed the important celebration at the airport, but if on one hand I had no intention of writing an article, and for once to enjoy a show not too publicized that gave me the idea to have a lot of content interesting, on the other what I saw prevents me from keeping my promise to myself, and so I am writing.
It was a long time ago (I would not exaggerate, but I would say from the "Wing Day" of 1989!) That I did not happen to see a true military air show.
I'm almost afraid to have just written a few words too, because in this country of hypocrites, you must pretend not to have real modern Armed Forces, nor to celebrate their abilities, because otherwise you are taken for fascists and warmongers, delivering so our best military capabilities at the service of those who pass the resources necessary for their maintenance that the politicians reduce for the purpose of personal propaganda.
Having missed the commemoration at the Grosseto airport, however, allowed me to benefit from a very representative scene of how our population approaches those who, in their area of expertise, are ready to defend it.
In fact, while I was looking around in amazement at the "strange" lack of stalls of Gadgets and of the usual tents of the "Frecce Tricolori" clubs (usually irreducible supporters of our winged national leading into the name and heart), I queue up behind an individual at the "Rivista Aeronautica" tent-stand to renew my season ticket. This guy starts asking for information on the event and the non-commissioned officer of the service dedicates all his attention with courtesy and education, also explaining very briefly (but correctly) the various tasks of the various departments that would take part in the event and that the event itself was designed to commemorate the 100 years of the hunting departments that guarantee air defense. As an answer the guy imposes his spiky conclusion that "he did not feel at all defended". So he takes a poster and leaves, without saying goodbye, and thanking those who sat on Saturday and in uniform under a Saharan sun to take gratuitous insults from an ignorant instead of going to the sea with his family like the ignorant himself.
And I say ignorant (I would like to say something else, but the silent, suffered smile with narrow teeth and low eyes of the non-commissioned officer is also a lesson for me) in the Latin meaning of "Ignoramus"because it probably does not have the faintest idea what it means to defend the air space of a NATO country in the middle of the Mediterranean at the dawn of the second decade of the 21st century.
And here this air show intervenes with its unusual, as effective structure.
It is a weekend of an early summer when the sun churns out (in the true sense of the word) temperatures never seen even in mid-August, and people want to go to the beach and get wet.
It is rare to see a demonstration (as it has been), in which people are allowed to assist without suffering. You can even get wet until just a few minutes from the start of the show, provided that the same will not start until the police patrol (at sea, but everywhere in plain clothes on the ground) and Coast Guard will give more results than sure that even the last bather is at a safe distance from the water's edge. It should always be like that, because the air-show should entice ALL to get closer to the flight and its world, not only the diehards of the Frecce Tricolori Clubs, who mostly wait only for the last 25 conclusive minutes by their heroes.
When an airshow is well structured, like this, it can become an excellent moment for explaining the tasks and the organization of complex and structured entities of which too many do not know anything, because nothing is said or communicated in the wrong way.
Even elsewhere (the most famous is Jesolo), every year we propose airshow on the beach, but this air show in Marina di Grosseto took place differently: it did not upset the normal seaside planning of families and fans, ensuring a show of superior quality, in complete safety and order, without "disturbing".
Thousands of people in a bathing suit under the umbrella have enjoyed a bathing day a little different from a normal weekend at the beach, but moreover they could see demonstrations and explanations of how many different specializations (and all of high level) are necessary to defend the airspace of a nation.
Interceptors, tankers are needed to give the interceptors logistical support during their interventions, as well as radar aircraft for support and tactical direction. We need radiomeasure aircraft for the verification and calibration of airport instruments and air navigation support, as well as aircrafts to ensure sanitary evacuation, air transport and rescue. And they also need aircraft suitable for formal pilots to whom these aircraft will be entrusted.
In Marina di Grosseto we saw all this, almost without intruders of acrobats outside the world of military flight, and those few who have intervened have not bored, even amazed, as the Breitling Jet Team.
It was seen from the Boeing 767 tanker that simulated the supply of 2 pairs (AMX and Tornado), the new Gulfstream radar-plane committed to direct two Eurofighter in an air superiority operation simulation, while a P180 proposed itself as a "target" of a pair of Eurofighter for an interception simulation.
The heart of the event was obviously the evolution of the fighter departments, so the Experimental Flight Department presented the 40-year-old Tornado and the 20-year-old Eurofighter, while the lack of a pure III generation interceptor under the Air Force was filled by the guest foreigner, the Belgian F16 soloist. From the point of view of the pure qualities of flight, the differences are noticed, it is true, but the old men do not even disfigure too much with the younger. Indeed ... the F16 ... (!) Is probably not one of the first production batches (as instead were those obtained by the Air Force, then replaced with the Eurofighter and this is perhaps why the Belgians still use it .
In general, however, a military aircraft is a weapon system consisting of an airplane and flight and aerotactic instrumentation. From a beach you can only evaluate the airplane, but it would be necessary to be at the controls to understand how much the instrumentation can make the difference in the real operational scenario between an aircraft belonging to a generation and its successor.
The speaker explains to us (more than anybody has told me that RAI's live TV has not been at the same level) indirectly, describing the evolution of training aircraft and commenting on the T6 and T346 presentations (which has really general performances) very interesting, almost a small F16, flying simulator of more complex hunting of IV and V generation) and of its magnificent terrestrial teaching device. Before the "Frecce Tricolori", which as said by themselves gather thousands of fans, the always wonderful presentation of the C27 of the Experimental.
A vast program, therefore, enriched by the rare presence, in Italy, of the Breitling Jet Team, which left the surgical procedure of their L39 (typical of the Patrouille de France from which they originate) too long (just as typical of the Patrouille de France) ), but has given the presence of hostess in their stand of the highest level.
Is this all the commentary on an airshow? NO, it is the demonstration of how to make aeronautical and military culture without frightening people, even motivating them!
Defects? One: the sun exactly in front of the eyes. But for this you can not do anything, because Marina di Grosseto is on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the sun in the afternoon goes down to the West.
The demonstration could have been held in Foggia, where the sun would have been behind, but perhaps it would have been a little off-center.
Then, "if Muhammad does not go to the mountain, the mountain goes to Muhammad " (or vice versa, I do not know, however, we understood each other), and so, with great surprise, here comes from the 32 ° Stormo base in Foggia, the F35!
Two stages in formation (the first in an arrow formation, symbol of the Hunting) with 4 Eurofighter representative of the parties celebrated and a couple of solo passages, one of which with open bomb compartment.
In this way, with the presentation of this representative of the fifth generation, the presentation of the evolution of the Italian fighter airplane is also completed.
At the beach there is a lot of interest: I realize that explaining some things to my partner who is close to me, my explanations attracted the attention of those close to me and I was amazed that these demonstrations of interest also came from who does not even know that soon there would be the Frecce Tricolori.
Of course, with hindsight I'm sorry I did not go to the airport and also attend the commemoration, but maybe I would have taken the scene of the unofficial journalist's tent which teased the observation of the interest of the people more usually " normally distant "from the military flight, if you approach in the right way.
An unusual target centered, therefore, by our hunting departments and also this time thanks to all that is behind it and that often does not make the magnificent roar of a post-burner!
(photo of the author)