What has become the world's largest aerobatic display team dates back to the 1920s, when Italian officer pilots first experienced the thrill of aerobatic flying in England. Italy's first military display team was established in 1930 - for their aerobatic manoeuvres they used seven Fiat CR.20 biplane fighters. After World War II various different squadrons performed, inspiring the General Staff of the Italian Air Force to establish one dedicated national team of aerobatic pilots.
In 1961, the 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico - better known as the "Frecce Tricolori" (literally the Tricolour Arrows) - was unveiled. Ever since, they have been based at Rivolto air force base in Udine. They first used North American F-86Es, switching to the Fiat G.91 in 1963. Since 1982 the Frecce Tricolori have been performing with ten Aermacchi MB-339 PAN which were specially adapted for their aerobatic routines. During their show the formation frequently splits into groups of five and four, leaving a solo pilot to demonstrate the agility of the aircraft. The Frecce are renowned for their use of smoke trails in the Italian national colours of green, white and red.
Aircraft Aermacchi MB-339 PAN