Italian Air Force G-91R to return to the skies in early 2023

Italian Air Force G91R restoration
Italian Air Force personnel turn on the engine of a G-91R aircraft undergoing restoration at the Piacenza air base, Northern Italy.

An Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force) G-91R reconnaissance aircraft that belonged to the 2° Stormo (2nd Wing) recently returned to roar at the Piacenza air base, Northern Italy. The Bristol Siddeley "Orpheus" 803-02 engine was started up in March during the restoration of the aircraft which is expected to fly again on the occasion of the centenary of the Italian Air Force, on 28 March 2023.

The jet recovery project was launched in October 2021, while the works began in January 2022, thanks to the collaboration between the company Callegari Srl, the technicians of the Italian Air Force and the support of small and medium-sized Italian companies. The Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile - ENAC (Italian Civil Aviation Authority) will also play a key role in getting the aircraft back in flight.

The Italian Air Force said the most stimulating challenge was updating procedures and equipment that have no longer been in use for about 30 years. The jet, designed in the 1950s by the Italian engineer Giuseppe Gabrielli, was completely disassembled and overhauled in every single component. The works were preceded by an accurate analysis of all the technical and historical documentation of the aircraft.

Italian Air Force G91R restoration

The Fiat G-91R was a single-seater and single-engine aircraft for ground attack and photographic reconnaissance, thanks to a system of cameras installed in the nose. It reached a maximum speed of 1,045 km/h, for a range of about 1,900 km.

It was conceived following a tender announced by NATO in 1953 for a light European-made tactical fighter. It remained in service in the Italian Air Force fleet until April 1992 when, with an official ceremony at the Treviso-Sant’Angelo airport, the last aircraft (the MM 6413) passed the baton to the new AMX fighter.

The G-91, nicknamed "Gina", was produced in over 750 units in different versions, including the two-seater training "T" and the twin-engine variant "Yankee" which took its name from the Y-shaped air intake that powered the two General Electric J85 turbojets.

Furthermore, from 1963 to 1982, the G-91 equipped the Italian aerobatic team "Frecce Tricolori" thanks to the development of a lighter variant equipped with colored smoke generation systems.

Italian Air Force G91R restoration

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Italian Air Force

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