Friday, September 22nd, at the evocative setting of the renovated MUSAM (Museo Storico dell’Aeronautica Militare) in Vigna di Valle, the prestigious ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Landmark award ceremony was held for the Macchi MC-72 seaplane. The ceremony, chaired by the Commander of COMAER (Rome Air Force Command), Air Team General Giandomenico Taricco, was attended by numerous military, civil, scientific, and university authorities. To do the honors, the Commander of the CSSAM (Centro Historico e Sportivo AM) of Vigna di Valle, Colonel Luigi Barbagallo, and the Director of MUSAM, Lieutenant Colonel Arturo Alfredo Caccetta. Also present at the event was Dr. Elena Guerri Dall’Oro for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
The coveted recognition is assigned by ASME to those products of human inventiveness that most of all have contributed to the development of mechanical engineering, with effects and benefits also on the social and economic aspects of society, and in this perspective the Macchi MC-72 seaplane has marked an epochal step: in fact, in 1932 first and in 1934 then, it established the speed record for seaplanes with traditional piston engines, Still unbeaten, over 709 km/h. This was possible thanks to the use of a very powerful FIAT AS6 engine of about 3100 horsepower and the use of extreme technological solutions, such as two counter-rotating coaxial propellers.
In his welcome speech, General Taricco underlined: “Today’s is the result of an evaluation process by a competent committee that took into consideration the characteristics not only of the aircraft but also of the engine that equipped it. The technological solutions adopted for this aircraft have earned the MC.72 this prestigious award. The fact that the event takes place right here where the MC-72 is kept is a source of pride for the entire Air Force, in the year of our Centenary, which had among the flagships the reopening of the Historical Museum of Vigna di Valle after its renovation. A special thanks to the students present here, who represent our future…”
The promoter of the initiative and member of the Commission of History and Heritage of mechanical engineering of ASME, Prof. Marco Ceccarelli, of the Mechanics of Robots department of the University of Tor Vergata, in his speech in addition to explaining the importance of the ASME Landmark program, also exposed the technical-scientific value of the MC-72 and its peculiarities, not only the speed record, which have earned him the prestigious LANDAMARK ASME award.
“I am very proud of the unanimous awarding of this ASME landmark to the M.C.72 by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. – said Ph.D. ing. Giuseppe Genchi, Technical Superintendent of the Museum System of the University of Palermo. – “It is the epilogue of a long research and preparation activity, started during the pandemic, which was inspired by the experience gained on the occasion of the one assigned to the Motor Museum in 2017. This prestigious international award contributes significantly to the promotion of the vast historical heritage of the Air Force in the centenary year of its establishment and represents one of the most indicative results of the many forms of technical, scientific, and cultural collaboration that have existed for over a decade between the Air Force and the University of Palermo, through its Museum System and, in particular, its Historical Museum of Engines and Mechanisms”.
Karen Ohlan, President of ASME, closed the speeches: “ASME is particularly honored to award this 281st award in our history to the MC.72, the only one left in the world, which with its design and innovative solutions presented by engineer Mario Castoldi for the Schneider Cup represented an epochal leap in engineering history. This ASME Landmark also wants to remember where we come from and where we are going: towards a world of new solutions and new challenges in terms of sustainability, clean energy, transport and safety. The members of ASME, mostly engineers and technicians, care about the well-being of our planet, not surprisingly we are committed to the greatest of challenges, the one against climate change, towards which we have an opportunity but also a responsibility. Thanks to the Italian Air Force and the Historical Museum for their work in promoting aeronautical culture.”
At the end of the speeches, right in front of the MC-72 speed record holder, today exhibited at the Velo hangar of MUSAM, a souvenir plaque was unveiled. A guided tour of MUSAM for guests and school groups concluded the event.
The ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) is an American engineering association founded in 1880 that has thousands of members around the world, including engineers, professionals, researchers, and entrepreneurs. Known for its norms and standards, ASME conducts one of the largest technical publications operations in the world, organizes numerous technical conferences and hundreds of professional development courses each year, as well as sponsors numerous education programs, and awards several annual awards, including the ASME award just received by the Macchi MC-72. Since 1971, ASME has assigned 280 landmarks worldwide, of which 18 in Europe and only two in Italy: the first, awarded in 2017 to the entire collection of the Historical Museum of Engines and Mechanisms of the University of Palermo, the second to the MC-72 of MUSAM. The MUSAM (Museo Storico dell’Aeronautica Militare), has the task of disseminating the aeronautical culture, history, and traditions of the Armed Forces. As part of the celebrations for the centenary of the establishment of the Air Force it has been expanded and completely renovated and can now be visited according to the methods indicated on the official website.