Sunday, December 29, 2013

A flight on an Aermacchi MB.326

My fortieth (40th!) birthday is just few weeks away and so came my middle-age crisis. So, instead of buying a motorbike, I spent full monthly wage (and then some) in a flight in a Aermacchi MB.326: an absolutely unforgettable experience and a dream come true! Just a few maneuvers were enough to turn my stomach upside down, so we decided enough to turn my stomach upside down, so we decided to stick to a very basic flight, but I had the chance to take the controls for few minutes and it was totally AWESOME! Here are few pics of this incredible experience.
Let's start with the real star: the Renzo Catellani's Aermacchi MB.326 restored by the VolaFenice Group in Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Aermacchi MB-326 is a light military jet aircraft designed  in the fifties by ing.Ermanno Bazzocchi for Aermacchi in Varese, Italy Originally conceived as a two-seat jet trainer. there have also been single and two-seat light attack versions produced. It is one of the most commercially successful aircraft of its type, being bought by more than 10 countries and produced under licence in Australia, Brazil and South Africa.Simply put, the conditions of this restored aicraft are really spectacular!The aicraft looks like a brand new one - this is simply amazing, considering they started from a scrapped aicraft which has been kept in open air for years.This is a -E version, that was an armed variant, with 6 hard points. Only 12 of this variant were built. This is the only MB.326 in flying condition in Europe - and one of the very few in the world
Above is a picture of the pilot's cockpit. Keeping in mind I am a very short guy, it was not as narrow as I thought, and was actually relatively comfortable. Still, pulling the stick at full travel was kind of cumbersome as it could easily hit your legs.

And above is yours truly dressed up for an incredible flight. The military flight suit feels a little cumbersome initially, but you easily get used to it and to its weight. Volafenice provided a complete Italian Air Force military flight suit, complete with anti-g trousers - by the way the anti-g system was fully operative - and felt a little weird when in action.

Strapped in the cockpit - you can't really move much in the cockpit and that is, of course a good thing. A small lever on the right side allows (temporarily) for more shoulder movement if need be. The ejection seats (which were not operational) were a little uncomfortable - but pilot comfort in military jets is a relatively new concept.
Ready to start the engines. Just the sound of the engine was totally incredible - and when we hit full throttle for take-off it was totally awesome.

Taxiing for take-off at the airport of Reggio Emilia. Unfortunately the weather got a little worse during the day... up to a couple of hours before takeoff the weather was absolutely perfect.

Happy (albeit a little dizzy!) after the flight! The pilot gave me controls for a little, just a couple of turns and then we tried an intentional stall. The MB.326 is easy to maneuver and very accurate. Also, bringing it to stall took forever and the behavior was really good. No surprise it has been such an extemely successfull trainer.
I think this photo speaks for itself! A dream come true...and, then, well...I'd want more! Still I feel extemely privileged of having lived such a wonderful experience


Anonymous said...

Envyyyy, greeennn, you deserve it

ArnieBook said...

Dino, I know what a great time you had! Had a ride in a T-6 Texan back in 2004. 62 at the time. I flew it for about 45 minutes. Amazingly, it felt completely natural because of years of playing pilot in Flight Simulator! Re-Inspired by your projects! Trapping is the most fun in FSX … thanks to you!

ukyou said...

Dino :D
You really deserve it after all the effort and hard work you did for the FSX community. I hope you enjoyed it to the MAX.

We are all happy for you!
We hope you get to enjoy another great flight in the future :D

Sean Trestrail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Trestrail said...

All RAAF MB326H aircraft were Hard point equipped.

Orion said...

Sounds fun! Happy birthday to come! :)

David Telford said...

I know you truly enjoyed that, I had the opportunity to take a back seat ride in an F/A-18 several years ago and will never forget it. Great way to celebrate going over the hill, LOL .