58th anniversary of the foundation of the Italian PAN
From the F-86E Sabre to the future of the "Frecce Tricolori" -VIDEO
58 years ago, on March 1st of 1961 at Rivolto airport (Udine, in Friuli Venezia Giulia Region), the 313rd Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico was established, or Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN) also known as "Frecce Tricolori". The first commander was Major Mario Squarcina, former commander of the "Diavoli Rossi", who had been commissioned the year before by the Italian Air Force (AMI) to unify the existing acrobatic patrols ("Cavallino Rampante", "Diavoli Rossi" and "Lancieri Bianchi"). The first aircraft used by the new PAN was the North American F-86E Saber which remained in use until 1963 when it was replaced by the Fiat G-91PAN, or a specially modified version of the Italian-produced fighter-bomber. 1963, however, was the year of the actual consecration of the acrobatic team as the number of planes was increased (brought to 10) and the airplanes were equipped with green, white and red colored fumes.
If the G-91 was the plane for the growth of the "myth" of the "Frecce Tricolori", the next -since 1982- plane used was that of the definitive consecration on an international scale. The Aermacchi MB-339A/PAN, born for the advanced training of the pilots, allowed -and still does- the possibility to perform acrobatic maneuvers of all kinds thanks to the engine's capabilities, but also to the aerodynamic structure that guarantees a very high maneuverability at any speed and altitude.
The arrival of the MB-339 coincided, in fact, with the expansion of the exhibition program and with the increase of the presence and the awards for the "Frecce Tricolori" on an international scale. A symbol of ability and pride for the Air Force, but also and above all for Italy and for the Italians. To demonstrate this there are the awards received, the merchandising linked to the "Frecce Tricolori" brand and the very high presence of the public at every national or international event in which the acrobatic team takes part. In the future, of course, they will continue to dye the skies over the course of their passes, even though it will probably soon be time to retire the MB-339s; the substitute is already ready and is the M-345 announced in 2013 but blocked in 2014 by the Government that did not consider the acquisition as a priority. The arrival of a new aircraft in the future will change, again, the "Frecce Tricolori" that will pass to a new machine with different characteristics and capabilities from the current MB-339, but as has already been demonstrated in the past this will not change the spirit and emotions aroused by their performances.
Below, the video published for the 50th anniversary:
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