Fiat G.91 Commences Flight Certification Program

Iconic Fiat G.91 PAN begins a series of ten flights to obtain the certification with Italian civil aviation authority

The beautiful G-91 PAN (Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale) taking of from San Damiano Air Force Base. Photo by Omar Pacchioni
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

On April 11, 2024 the Fiat G.91 MM6305 owned by VolaFenice took off from San Damiano Air Base in northern Italy, for a series of flights aimed at obtaining the aircraft’s certification with the ENAC (Ente Nazionale Aviation Civile, the Italian civil aviation authority). For the occasion the pilot was once again Maurizio Lodovisi, who also test-flew VolaFenice founder Renzo Catellani’s MB-326K, and who flew the Fiat during the Italian Air Force Centenary Airshow. This was the aircraft’s first flight in almost ten months.

Fiat G.91 MM6305 pictured on its first post-restoration flight on June 14th, 2023. [Photo via Renzo Catellani]
MM6305 pictured on its first post-restoration flight on June 14th, 2023. [Photo via Renzo Catellani]

This project first saw light in February 2021, while the actual work began in January 2022 as we reported here, thanks to a collaboration between VolaFenice, Callegari Srl and the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force, AMI). Technicians and specialists involved have come, in particular, from the AMI’s Distaccamento Aeroportuale di Piacenza, the NVPA (Nucleo Valorizzazione Patrimonio Aeronautico) of Piacenza San Damiano, 1st Aircraft Maintenance Department of Cameri (Novara), from the 3rd Aircraft Maintenance and Armament Department at Treviso, from the 6th Wing at Ghedi, and from the 61st Wing at Galatina (Lecce). The support of the ACS company and other small and medium-sized Italian companies has also been vital.

On June 14th, 2023, with just a few days to spare before the AMI’s 100th-anniversary airshow at Pratica di Mare Air Base, MM6305 flew under a special flight permit issued by ENAC to allow the aircraft to fly in the event. Following the initial successful tests and performance in the centenary airshow, ENAC requested a series of technical evaluation reports and documentation which grounded the airplane until yesterday. Following a long negotiation between the parties involved a flight certification program was developed and agreed upon to guarantee the certification of the iconic Italian jet.

FIat G.91 MM6305
[Photo by Omar Pacchioni]

The program includes a step-by-step approach for a total of ten flights aimed at evaluating the aircraft’s flight envelope. On each flight, the aircraft will be put through a series of maneuvers to determine its capabilities towards the final certification. The objective of the flight test is to bring the airplane to a full flight envelope capability minus 20% of its original specification as agreed with ENAC at the beginning of the restoration project.

“The aircraft performed well and we are very confident of the positive outcome,” Renzo Catellani told us, “We have also decided that the aircraft is going to receive a new paint coat, but still maintaining its iconic Frecce Tricolori scheme.”

The aircraft itself served as MM6305 during its AMI service, the MM standing for Matriola Militare (military serial number). The G.91’s restoration has been divided between two locations: Catellani and his team work on the fuselage, avionics, and hydraulic systems in Reggio Emilia, while personnel from AMI are working on the wings and tail section of the aircraft. Once completed the airplane will be painted in the colors of “PONY 10,” the airplane flow by legendary aerobatic pilot G.B. Molinaro with  Italian Aerobatic Team Frecce Tricolori. “The good news is that the aircraft will be ready for the summer airshows,” Catellani said.

Ground crew check over the aircraft on the tarmac. [Photo by Omar Pacchioni]

We will be following this flight test program and report regularly about its progress. We wish to thank Renzo Catellani, his VolaFenice team, and the AMI for sharing these photos with us, and of course for preserving such a beautiful aircraft for the enjoyment of all.


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