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Alenia Aermacchi SF.260

Basic trainer

SF.260

The Alenia Aermacchi SF.260 is a successful Italian trainer aircraft

 
 
Entered service 1966
Crew 2 + 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 7.1 m
Wing span 8.35 m
Height 2.41 m
Weight (empty) 720 kg
Weight (maximum take off) 1 200 kg
Engines and performance
Engines Lycoming O-540-E4A5 piston engine
Engine power 260 hp
Maximum speed 347 km/h
Cruising speed 329 km/h
Service ceiling 5.76 km
Range 1 490 km
Ferry range 2 050 km

 

   The Alenia Aermacchi SF.260 is an Italian basic trainer aircraft. It made its first flight in 1964 and entered service in 1966. Formerly it was known as SIAI Marchetti SF.260. However in 1997 the SIAI Marchetti was taken over by Aermacchi. And in 2012 Alenia merged with Aermacchi.

   The SF.260 represents a primary training aircraft that serves as an effective trainer plane with minimal operating costs. It is flown at an early stage by student pilots and provides a smooth transition on advances stages. This aircraft has high aerobatic capability. SIAI Marchetti was well known for various aerobatic groups that were performing shows using the SF.260 aircraft.

   More than 900 of these aircraft have been produced. These are operated by some military operators across the world. Largest operators are Italy, Mexico, Philippines and Turkey. Also there are many civil operators of this aircraft. Overall this trainer aircraft is operational with 27 countries, including civil operators. Production of the SF.260 still continues.

   Due to its low servicing costs together with high performance and reliability different modifications of the SF.260 are being used as trainer aircraft by many NATO countries. Approximately 100 units were delivered to US Air Forces.

   The best known event related to the SF.260, that also served as a major trial for this aircraft, took place in 1983 when it made a transatlantic flight from Orbietto lagoon to Chicago, crossing Britain, Iceland and Greenland. The trip lasted 7 days and was dedicated to 50 years anniversary of the first transatlantic flight from Europe to America in 1933. When 25 Savoia hydroplanes piloted by the General Italo Balbo performed the first mass crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

   Cabin of the SF.260 has two side-by-side seats. There is a seat for the third person at the rear part of the cabin. Usually trainer seats behind the students, that are situated side-by-side. Glass canopy provides large area of view. Aero navigation systems of the SF.260 allow this aircraft to fly at night too.

   There were combat modifications of the SIAI Marchetti SF.260. These were used in more than 5 hotspots in different parts of the globe. In the early 1980s Sri Lanka used SF.260PT against Tamil Tigers. In 2006 it has seen action during military conflict between Chad and Sudan. Chad operated six SF.260W (Warrior) aircraft. One of them was downed. In 2011 during the Libyan civil war governmental pro-Gaddafi forces used SF.260 in air raids against the rebels. One plane has been hit by rebels over Misrata. Nowadays the SF.260 is also used as an anti-smuggling interceptor in some African countries.

   More than 20 different modifications of the SF.260 are being operated all over the world. These include SF.260W (Warrior), C, D, E, AM, EA, WL, TP, MP and WP. The latest modification was the SF.250TD.

 

Zaal Tchkuaseli

   Article by ZAAL TCHKUASELI

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SF.260

SF.260

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