President Mattarella at the 60th anniversary of the acrobatic team. On 8 October the pilots at the Trento Sport Festival
From our correspondent Francesco Rizzo
– RIVOLTO (UDINE)
Families with children, couples with sandwiches in their bags, lovers with cameras and umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. It looks like a concert or a party in the park were it not for the fact that the approximately four thousand people present are all sitting or waiting in line. And, above all, that the heads do not stare at the stage but at the sky, the huge blue square spread over the vineyards of Friuli. It is there that the birthday of the Frecce Tricolori (now the encore) is celebrated, 60 years of the acrobatic team in blue livery, right above Rivolto, in the historic headquarters of the team. A place where you find people who explain to you that, “of course”, the naja is done in the Alpini “but when I hear the noise of the planes I still enjoy” or who remember when, for the 55th anniversary of the Frecce, there were 500,000 attendance in two days. Today, however, the pandemic has forced the creation of a “bubble”, with a thousand men to watch over the safety of what remains, however, an afternoon-symbol of restart. And if something strikes – inside, in the party – it is the calm of the celebrated: people who, five times a week, instead of going to the office, make evolutions in the sky that require tailoring precision and, while on their lunch break, recognize the models in take off only from the noise of the engine. Even if some pilot waiting to give the gas, between a sandwich and a gossip, smiles and admits “the tension before the flight may not appear, but there is”.
Meanwhile, out there, everyone’s eyes are on the Eurofighter fighters whizzing away green or the F-35Bs that remain floating in the void or the C-27Js, mechanical elephants intended for the transport of vehicles or men but which pilots and particular technical characteristics make vehicles suitable for surprising evolutions for that tonnage. As prima donnas waiting for the grand ball, the Frecce remain instead to strut along the runway, with the tail rudders dedicated to historical formations of our aerobatic aviation, from the White Tigers of the Fifties to the Prancing Horse, to whom we owe the nickname “Pony” for those who currently fly. Their moment arrives at 6 pm, with the repertoire of the case. At close range, the use of space, agility and roars are astonishing, the rest seems to be creativity and guts. The jets open like a flower dividing into two groups, intertwine along apparently impractical corridors, give way to the soloist Massimiliano Salvatore, sow the Italian flag with smoke, draw a heart while the loudspeakers broadcast Con te partirò. After the “spark”, Salvatore seems to drop down onto the meadows. A show that will be repeated on Friday 8 October in Trento for the Sport Festival, organized by the Gazzetta.
The authorities parade in the stands: President Sergio Mattarella, who arrives by plane, sits in the center of the stand, greets the pilots – who give him a team poster – and poses for the group photo. “It is always a sight to see you. Congratulations, it was exciting. You are a magnificent symbol of Italy, ”he says. Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini unbuttons the protocol, explaining that the Arrows “ask us for them all over the world” while General Alberto Rosso, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, replies when asked: “Women will join the Arrows, it’s just a question of time: skills, professionalism, seriousness count, not gender. After all, we have women who are already group commanders ”. But the party is above all of those who, less known to the general public, frequent the Frecce every day. Like Colonel Marco Bertoli, from Livorno, commander of the 2nd Wing: “Why is the Patrol unique? Because his program has no downtime. But the Arrows are our pride for another reason: they represent what, as Aeronautics, we do behind the scenes 365 days a year, both with tactical and transport vehicles, recent protagonists, for example, in the evacuation of ‘Afghanistan. The work done on the ground and in flight with the Arrows communicates with the rest of the Air Force ”. In the evening that is in a hurry there is a last roar of engines. Already this morning, over Rivolto, it is back to fly.
September 19 – 08:54
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