Today, Friday 22 September, in the evocative setting of the renovated MUSAM (Historical Air Force Museum) in Vigna di Valle, the award ceremony of the prestigious ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Landmark Award to the Macchi MC seaplane took place -72. The ceremony, presided over by the commander of COMAER (Rome Air Force Command), air team general Giandomenico Taricco, was attended by numerous military, civil and scientific and university authorities. Doing the honors were the commander of the CSSAM (Historical and Sports Center AM) of Vigna di Valle, Colonel Luigi Barbagallo, and the director of the MUSAM, Lieutenant Colonel Arturo Alfredo Cccetto. Also present at the event was Dr. Elena Guerri Dall'Oro for the presidency of the Council of Ministers.
The coveted recognition is assigned by ASME to those products of human inventiveness that have contributed more than anyone else to the development of mechanical engineering, with effects and benefits also on the social and economic aspects of society, and from this perspective hydroracing The Macchi MC-72 marked an epochal step: in fact, first in 1932 and then in 1934, it established the speed record for seaplanes with traditional piston engines, still unbeaten today, of over 709 km/h. This was possible thanks to the use of a very powerful FIAT AS6 engine of around 3100 horsepower and the use of extreme technological solutions, such as two counter-rotating coaxial propellers.
In his welcome speech, General Taricco underlined: “Today's is the result of an evaluation process by a competent committee which took into consideration the characteristics not only of the aircraft but also of the engine that equipped it. The technological solutions adopted for this aircraft have earned the MC.72 this prestigious award. The fact that the event takes place right here where the MC-72 is kept is a source of pride for the entire Air Force, in the year of our Centenary, which had among its flagships the reopening of the Historical Museum of Vigna di Valle after its renovation. A special thank you to the students present here, who represent our future..."
Promoter of the initiative and member of the ASME mechanical engineering history and heritage commission, prof. Marco Ceccarelli, of the Mechanics of Robots department of the University of Tor Vergata, in his speech, in addition to explaining the importance of the ASME Landmark program, also exposed the technical-scientific value of the MC-72 and its peculiarities, not only the speed record, which allowed him to obtain the prestigious LANDAMARK ASME recognition.
“I am very proud of the unanimous award of this ASME landmark to the MC72 by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. – declared the Ph.D. engineer. Giuseppe Genchi, technical superintendent of the Museum System of the University of Palermo. – It constitutes the epilogue of a long research and preparation activity, started during the pandemic, which was inspired by the experience gained on the occasion of the one awarded to the Motor Museum in 2017. This prestigious international recognition contributes significantly to the promotion of the vast heritage historian of the Air Force in the year of the centenary of its constitution and represents one of the most indicative results of the multiple forms of technical, scientific and cultural collaboration that have existed, for over a decade, between the Air Force and the University of Palermo, through its Museum System and, in particular, its Historical Museum of Engines and Mechanisms".
Karen Ohlan, president of ASME, closed the speeches: “The ASME is particularly honored to confer this 281st award in our history to the MC.72, the only one left in the world, which with its design and innovative solutions presented by engineer Mario Castoldi for the Schneider Cup it represented an epochal leap in engineering history. This ASME Landmark also wants to remember where we come from and where we are going: towards a world made of new solutions and new challenges in terms of sustainability, clean energy, transport and safety. The members of ASME, mostly engineers and technicians, have the well-being of our planet at heart, it is no coincidence that we are committed to the greatest of challenges, that against climate change, towards which we have an opportunity but also a responsibility . Thanks to the Air Force and the Historical Museum for their work in promoting aeronautical culture.”
At the end of the speeches, a commemorative plaque was unveiled right in front of the MC-72 speed record holder, today on display at the Velo hangar of MUSAM. A guided tour of MUSAM for guests and school groups concluded the event.
The ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) is an American engineering association founded in 1880 which has thousands of members around the world, including engineers, professionals, researchers and entrepreneurs. Known for its regulations and standards, ASME operates one of the world's largest technical publications operations, holds numerous technical conferences and hundreds of professional development courses each year, as well as sponsors numerous education programs and awards several annual awards, including the ASME award just received by the Macchi MC-72. From 1971 to today, ASME has awarded 280 landmarks around the world, of which 18 in Europe and only two in Italy: the first, awarded in 2017 to the entire collection of the Historical Museum of Motors and Mechanisms of the University of Palermo, the second to the MUSAM MC-72.
The MUSAM (Historical Museum of the Air Force) has the task of disseminating the aeronautical culture, history and traditions of the Armed Forces. As part of the celebrations for the Centenary of the establishment of the Air Force, it was expanded and completely renovated and can now be visited according to the methods indicated on the official website.