The origins of the world’s largest aerobatic squadron date back to the 1920s, when Italian flying officers in England first became enamoured with aerobatics. In 1930, Italy’s first military aerobatic squadron was founded and performed its aerobatics on seven Fiat CR.20 fighter biplanes. After the Second World War, various squadrons performed, catching the Italian Air Force’s General Staff’s attention and desire for a single national group of aerial acrobats.
In 1961, the time had come: The 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, better known as “Frecce Tricolori” (three-coloured arrows), was created and has been stationed at Rivolto in Udine ever since. Initially, they were equipped with North American F-86Es; at the end of 1963, they switched to Fiat G.91s. Since 1982, the Frecce Tricolori have presented their demanding manoeuvres in the Aermacchi MB-339 PAN, a custom-built aircraft for their aerobatics. During their show, the formation often splits into a group of five and a group of four, while a soloist demonstrates the aircraft’s agility. Today, the squadron consists of ten aircraft, making it the largest aerobatic team in the world. Every year, the squadron performs at around 40 airshows, starting on 1 May with the launch display at its home airbase in Rivolto near Udine.
Characteristic of the Frecce’s performances is the use of smoke trails in the Italian national colours of green, white, and red.
The Frecce Tricolori are regular guests, and it is hard to imagine AIRPOWER without them.