Following up on last week’s article, where we covered the Italian Air Force at RIAT 2014, this week we are featuring the Frecce Tricolori.The Frecce Tricolori (which translates as the Tricolour Arrows), are officially known as the 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico or the 313th Aerobatic Training Squadron. The team was formed in 1961 as an Air Force team, replacing many unofficial teams that had been sponsored by various commands of the Air Force. The actual flying team is officially known as the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (National Aerobatic Patrol). The full official name of the flying team is the 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN) Frecce Tricolori.
The team flies the Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN fighter-trainer aircraft. The MB-339 is a twin seat trainer and light attack aircraft. The MB-339-A/PAN is a special variant of the MB-339A for the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team, its adds a smoke generator and removes the wing tip tanks.
The team flies 11 aircraft to any show and flies 10 aircraft in it’s display. It is the most number of aircraft used by any team for an aerobatic display. The tricolori was awarded the Lockheed Martin Cannestra Trophy at RIAT 2014 for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant.
The team begins it’s display by taking off in two groups of five. Five aircraft roll down the runway in a triangle pattern and take off in perfect sequence, never breaking the triangle pattern.
The team then immediately launches into it’s first sequence which is to rejoin and perform a Schneider turn. The turn lines up the entire team with the runway where they form a triangle formation and perform a flypast with white smoke on.
Towards the end of the flypast the team begins a sequence known as the triangle formation loop. The entire triangle makes a steep climb and does a loop which is then followed by a sharp climbing bank and another loop. The begining of this sequence is indicated by the team changing smoke colours to the tams namesake the red, white and green Italian tricolour.
After completing the loops the team shifts into a diamond formation and start their signature move the big apple. The entire diamond will perform a vertical climb and split into two triangle formations at the top of the loop . The two groups loop around and them cross at the bottom of the loop.
The team then performs a long series of splits and rejoins in which the groups perform various crosses and solo maneuvers. The entire display takes about 25 minutes from the time they take off till their final maneuver.
The team closes it’s display by once again forming the colours of the Italian flag in a flypast over the runway. They then begin to land in sequence.
Which is your favourite aerobatic display team? Please tell us in a comment bellow. Next week we will be featuring a unique aircraft from RIAT, so please check back soon.
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