Italian Air Force Flight School stages rare Elephant Walk with 27 trainer jets

Twenty-seven Italian Air Force trainer jets line the runway during an Elephant Walk at
Galatina Air Base, Italy

The Italian Air Force 61st Wing conducted a rare Elephant Walk at the Galatina Air Base, Southern Italy, on September 6, 2022. The exercise planned to line up 27 trainer jets belonging to the three home squadrons (214°, 213° and 212° Gruppo Volo) along the runway.

As explained by the Italian Air Force, the Elephant Walk is an exercise conducted with aircraft normally used for training and aimed at validating and verifying all procedures in order to maximize the ability to prepare sorties.

The exercise in Galatina involved MB-339A, MB-339CD and T-346A aircraft which are used by the flight school during Phases 2, 3 and 4 of the training process for military pilots. They carried out a taxiing phase "all together" followed by flight activities of some of them.

The Italian Air Force said that the exercise confirmed the extreme effectiveness and great organization of the flight school which is recognized and appreciated all over the world.

The 61st Wing has the task of providing the following training:
- Phase 2 (Primary Pilot Training), common to all military pilot students, aimed at identifying the type of aircraft to which they are assigned (fighters, remotely piloted aircraft, helicopters, transport aircraft);
- Phase 3 (Specialized Pilot Training), aimed only at student pilots selected for the "Fighter";
- Phase 4 (Lead In to Fighter Training - LIFT), preparatory for the latest generation fighter aircraft.

The Italian Air Force has also recently activated the new IFTS (International Flight Training School) campus at the Decimomannu Air Base, Sardinia. It is managed in partnership with the aerospace company Leonardo and aims to become a primary training center for Italian and foreign pilots for fourth and fifth generation aircraft.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: Italian Air Force

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