After my early flight baptism at age 7 on a Piper Cub, at my statutory 16 years I seriously contemplated attending the course for a pilot's license.
Also in consideration of the fact that up to the early 1960s the Italian Government refunded 50% of its total costs: those were Cold War times, and RIAF pilot losses in WWII had been very heavy, percentage-wise probably the heaviest of all our armed forces, so recreating a pilots' pool was a priority then.
It also meant that up to the mid 1950s, my father was officially required to notify the police of his whereabouts in case he left Milan for more than 2 weeks - a former military pilot was probably considered faster to re-train in case of international emergencies.
However, my heavy school schedule of about 50 hours/week did not really allow me the necessary time. Therefore, I had to wait a long time before I eventually acquired my Private Pilot's Licenses at Aero Club Varese, Venegono Inferiore:
- Brevetto di Pilota di I° grado (1983)
- Brevetto di Pilota di II° grado (1984)
Below, the 2 unofficial 'diplomas' given by the Aero Club, and my official 'Civilian Pilot Brevet and License'.
At the time, Italy had not yet accepted the ICAO recommendation of flying licenses (Private/Commercial) and was still using the old system based on brevets of 3 gradi, the latter two 'gradi' being our equivalent - the I° grado enabled one to fly alone (no passengers) in national airspace only.
|My aircraft ratings:
- Aviamilano P-19 Scricciolo
- Partenavia P-66
- Cessna C-172M
- Grob G-115
Partenavia P-66, prior to take-off for a rally race
Aviamilano P-19 Scricciolo
Grob G-115 (foreground) and Cessna C-172M (background)
One of my favourite flights, the "Floriani Special", a 40' tour over 6 lakes (Varese, Comabbio, Monate, Maggiore, Orta, Mergozzo).
Why did I become a pilot? It's all my father's fault!
I flew my first solo September 7th, 1983 and my last flight on 2nd November 2003, thus concluding my 20 years of piloting activity, with a total flight time of 231h 42'.
But it's now the time to relate what could very well have been my last flight on a different lake, Como's.