Club Frecce Tricolori of North America, No 117

The Club Frecce Tricolori No117 History

My name is Thomas Ricci, I am the founder and current president of the Club Frecce Tricolori of North America No 117. The Club makes Toronto, Ontario, Canada it's home. This is how the club formed:

In 1992 the Frecce Tricolori Team arrived in North America to take part in the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of America. The celebration was shared in a number of communities in Canada and the United States of America. Earlier that year, I had a researched and wrote an article on the Frecce Tricolori. This article was reviewed and approved by the editorial staff and published by the Corriere Canadese. The Corriere Canadese is an Italian-language daily newspaper published in Toronto, Canada. Its target audience is a nearly two million Italian Canadians. Soon after I had learned that the Frecce Tricolori were coming to North America. The thrill to be involved was overwhelming.

I attended the airshows with family and friends, and participated in other communities’ related activities as a guest. During the events, one of the pilots approached me and asked if I had knowledge of a local Frecce Tricolori club, after attempts to identify a group in North America failed the decision was obvious: the Club Frecce Tricolori of North America was born. Soon after their returning departure to Italy I contacted the Aeronautica Militare Italiana and the office of the Frecce Tricolori; and 2004 I received the Club Frecce Tricolori North America no117 charter approval (Statuto della Associazione).

Today the club charter still remains with one mission:

    • Bring the Aeronautica Militare Italiana through the Frecce Tricolori acrobatic activity and status to the North American general public.
    • Build interest in aviation including Italian aviation history and heritage.
    • Develop and nurture interest in aviation though our youth and all others interested.
    • Create corporate interest to sponsor the world famous and most respected acrobatic flying team the Italian Frecce Tricolori to visit North America and display their unique acrobatic skills that are the best.

The Frecce Tricolori History

The Frecce Tricolori (Italian, literally Tricolour Arrows), officially known as the 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, is the aerobatic demonstration team of the Pattuglia Aeronautica Nazionale.

The Frecce Tricolori, officially known as the 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, is the aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Aeronautica Militare, based at Rivolto Air Force Base, in the north-eastern Italian region of Friuli.

They were formed in 1961 as an Air Force team, replacing unofficial teams that had been sponsored by various commands by the end of the 1920s.

Currently the team flies the Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN, a two-seat fighter-trainer craft capable of 898 km/h at sea level, with nine aircraft and a solo; the highest number of aircrafts in any aerobatic team in the world.

The Frecce Tricolori team was not the first AMI aerobatics team: military aerobatics as a group began in Campoformido, home of the 1st Wing, in the late 1920s under the supervision of Col. Rino Corso Fougier (an Italian pioneer in aerobatic group flying). Since then, except in the Second World War period, many fighter wings gave birth to demonstration teams like Cavallino Rampante (Rampant Horse), Getti Tonanti (Thundering Jets), Diavoli Rossi (Red Devils), Tigri Bianche (White Tigers) and Lanceri Neri (Black Lancers). Finally, in 1961, the Air Force General Staff decided to form a single aerobatic team, the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (National Acrobatic Patrol).

During the 2000 aerobatic season they reached 50,000 flying hours on the MB-339.

In 2005 they won the award for best exhibition at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, England (a major military airshow) and they have obtained, for the first time for a non-Russian unit, the Russian Silver Medal for Aeronautical Merit.