On Wednesday 24 June, at the "Enrico Comani" military airport of Latina Scalo, the change took place at the command of the 70th flock "Giulio Cesare Graziani", between Colonel Francesco Maresca outgoing commander and Colonel Michele Grassi incoming commander.
The event, chaired by the commander of the Schools of the Air Force and the Third Air Region of Bari, general of air team Aurelio Colagrande, took place in front of the Flag of the Institute and saw the participation of a restricted representation of the staff of the department, in the full compliance with the provisions dictated by the emergency situation still in progress.
Colonel Maresca who left the command of the Pontina Flight School after almost two years from his inauguration, during his farewell speech, wished to extend a grateful greeting to the military, civil and religious authorities, who despite not having been able to participate in the event in compliance with COVID-19 contagion prevention measures "... have always shown their closeness to seal the link between this land and the 70th flock that has been operating on the Latina airport for eighty years in its various operational and training capacities". Thanking the women and men of the Department for the continuous commitment and perseverance shown, he wanted to share one of his most precious memories "that to admire the happiness of the patrons when they land from their solo mission or when, with pride, they receive the airplane pilot eagle pinned on their chests (...) that moment of joy and pure happiness was worth the effort of many. This is the strength of the 70th flock, the dream and the charge of these young aviators gives us the stimulus to always do our job well. It is an energy that is renewed at every course, year after year, without ever changing in the time".
Colonel Grassi said he was proud of the assignment assigned to him and thanked the superior authorities for designating him in the prestigious position of commander of the 70th flock, declaring himself "aware of the challenge before me, especially in a period in which the country requires an ever greater commitment from our Armed Force, all the more intense due to the recent and still current pandemic, during which it is however required to maintain a very high level of efficiency and professionalism, which has always distinguished the Arma Azzurra and the ". Addressing the staff of the Department he urged them to consider "improvement and excellence as guiding principles. The adjective 'Ours' is not a simple word, it is only in the team that we can reach the most coveted goals. The Stormo commander can only trace the way but it is together that we can and we have to go through it. The best way to predict the future is to create it and that's what I ask you to be with me: the creators of our future ".
Finally, the commander of the Air Force Schools and 3rd air region took the floor, who, in thanking Colonel Maresca for the excellent work done, wanted to highlight the many activities carried out at the Pontine Flight School in his period of command, such as the creation of the "Ground School" in English, an e-learning platform that has become a point of reference in the Air Force flight schools; as well as the celebration of the 50.000 flight hours reached by the SF 260EA fighter aircraft; the contextual celebration of the anniversary of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Military Airport and the tenth anniversary of the title of the flock to the Gold Medal for Military Valor "general of the air team Giulio Cesare Graziani", as well as the renewed affirmation of a leading role plan in the training of military pilots and armed forces of the state both nationally and internationally. General Colagrande, certain of the accurate, prudent and intelligent action that Colonel Grassi will be able to carry out in the immediate future, invited the staff to make an ever greater commitment in order to bring the department to a further level of excellence.
The 70th flock, located under the command of the Air Force Schools and 3rd air region of Bari, has been based on the "Enrico Comani" Military Airport of Latina and for over sixty years, represents the first compulsory stage in training professional of the "military pilot", since it performs the institutional tasks of selecting and training future military pilots of the Air Force, of the other Armed Forces and Armed Corps of the State and cadets of other Nations, through the release of the first pilot license, the Airplane Pilot Patent (BPA). From its inception to the present, the Pontine Flight School has issued over 15.000 piloting patents, making a total of approximately 500.000 flight hours, carried out on the aircraft: Douglas C-47 Dakota, Beechcraft C45, Piaggio P.166M, Piaggio P.148 , SIAI Marchetti SF260AM, Cessna L.19, Dornier 228, Piaggio P.68, Piaggio P.166 DL3, Alenia Aermacchi SF260EA, SIAI Marchetti S.208M, Piaggio P.166 DP1 and Tecnam P-2006T.