After the HH-212 helicopters, the collection of historic aircraft flying in Piacenza is enriched with the arrival of the latest AMXs

(To air Force)

With the landing of the last four AMX fighters still operational of the Air Force coming from Istrana, where their activity ended in recent days after 35 years at the service of the country, the collection of historic flying aircraft present on the Airport Detachment of Piacenza, which had already welcomed the HH-212 helicopters from Grazzanise at the end of February, which had also "retired" after over 40 years of missions in Italy and abroad.

The event was an opportunity to illustrate the present and future projects of the base commanded by the t.col to local institutions and businesses, professionals and media representatives. Salvatore Occini, a military airport which remains an important operational garrison at the service of the Armed Forces but which has for some time now had among its renewed tasks that of the recovery and valorisation of the historical aeronautical heritage. In fact, thanks to the skills of its specialist staff, and in collaboration with a team of technicians from specialized civil companies, the complex restoration of a Fiat G-91, brought back into flight with the special livery of the Frecce Tricolori on the occasion of the air show of Centenary of the Air Force which was held in June 2023 at Pratica di Mare airport.

Air team general Francesco Vestito, commander of the 1st air region, who presided over the event, greeted the authorities and guests who attended, with whom he wanted first of all to share the feeling of profound sadness and closeness to the families of the victims and of the injured in the tragic accident that hit the Emilia-Romagna region in recent hours, he wanted to reiterate “the centrality and importance of the Piacenza base for the Air Force. A base – added General Vestito – fully operational, as demonstrated by the arrival of the AMX fighters today, and which remains strategic in the plans of the Armed Forces as a possible deployment base for operational activities, training and exercises, as well as for research, development and testing activities in the aeronautical and of the automotive sector thanks to the use of airport facilities and synergies already in place with institutional, university and industrial entities".

Among the projects that the Armed Forces are evaluating and studying to project themselves towards an increasingly dual use of the Piacenza military airport is that of a Flying Museum which in the future will be able to allow enthusiasts of the aeronautical world and historians of the sector to admire, even in flight, these assets which have characterized the centenary history of the Armed Forces.

This design hypothesis, for which a specific feasibility study has been launched, was presented during the event by Air Division General Luigi Del Bene, commander of the combat forces. “The key word of this design hypothesis is sustainability – General Del Bene remarked in his speech – and around this we are working to understand how to expand the potential of a department which already has the valorisation of the historical aeronautical heritage in its mission and which in perspective, thanks to synergies with the territory, to our skills in maintenance and restoration processes and resorting in an extended manner to advanced and immersive technologies, we plan to develop further in an integrated manner with the other museums of the Armed Forces".

On this occasion, the "Aeronautica Militare Balloon Cup" was also promoted, a unique aerostatic competition of its kind in Europe and of international scope, which will take place at San Damiano Airport from 11 to 13 October. Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Carusone, division head, spoke about the initiative Brands and Media of Difesa Servizi SpA, the in-house company of the Ministry of Defense that manages and enhances the assets of the Dicastery, which created the competition in collaboration with the Air Force.

The day was also an opportunity for a large representation of students from schools of all levels in the Piacenza province to attend a training session of a formation of aircraft from the Frecce Tricolori, in view of the imminent start of the 2024 aerobatic season.