The HISTORICAL AIRCRAFT GROUP (HAG) held their 6th annual FLY PARTY at Montagnana airfield in the province of Padua, Italy over the weekend of June 25th/26th. Almost two hundred aircraft and pilots gathered in this little Veneto regional airport to spend two days flying and promoting aviation. Aircraft came from all over Italy and other parts of Europe. The crowd-favorite was clearly the French-based OV-10 Bronco; visiting Italy for the very first time. A particularly moving moment took place on Sunday afternoon. Andrea Rossetto’s recently restored Cessna Bird Dog, painted in the markings of a US Army O-1 dubbed Mekong Mauler, flew in formation with the Bronco while carrying American Rick Shoup as a passenger. Shoup flew the real Mekong Mauler during the Viet Nam War.
The ‘Viet Nam formation’ flew over the field delighting photographers and aviation enthusiasts alike. It was, of course, a deeply emotional experience for the American veteran, bringing back many memories of his time flying hazardous air support missions over Southeast Asia.
But the Fly Party offered more – the YAK Italia Association held a reunion at Montagnana and several Yak-52s were present, flying on both days. Sunday also marked the FLY PARTY debut for one of the most recent historic aircraft to join the HAG fleet; the beautiful Yak-11 piloted by Stefano Landi. The Russian warbird is marked in a livery representing the French-manned Normandie Niemen squadron supporting the Russians on the Eastern Front during WWII. The aircraft impressed the audience with fast, low-altitude passes. Alongside the latest HAG acquisition, were a recently acquired Saab Safir, a Piaggio P.166, a newly-restored Fiat G.46 in Italian Air Force Headquarters colors and the much appreciated Swiss P3 Flyers aerobatics team in their Pilatus P-3s.
Also of note on Saturday evening was Luca Bertossio‘s excellent aerobatic performance in the acro glider. The young World Champion, flying at twilight, used smoke pods on the glider’s wing tips to make his flight stand out.
Many thanks to Luigino Caliaro for his report and photography. Be sure to check out the slide-show below for more of his photographs from this event.
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