The first and only meeting, so far, that I had with the Italian aerobatic Pioneer Team took place at Szeged Aviation Days & Air Parade 2016. They participated as guests at the first edition of the air show organized at the Szeged airport since then. The Pioneer Team was founded in 2005 in the Province of Pordenone, Italy, and is led by Corrado Rusalen. It consists of 4 civilian pilots and a former military pilot. In their flight you can see the influences of the Italian military aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori. This is due to the fact that they benefited from the support, advice and training from six former military pilots of the aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori. These former military aerobatic pilots organized the entire aerial program for air shows and aviation events together with the Pioneer Team members.
The Pioneer Team consists of seven members, of which five are pilots and two are ground technicians. The Team Leader is Corrado Rusalen. Founder of Alpi Aviation company, he is a pilot and flight instructor for both planes and helicopters, with over 8000 flight hours. Silvia Rappo – left wing pilot with over 1200 flight hours. She is licensed to fly both planes and helicopters. Left wing position is shared with Marco Savini, who has accumulated over 1550 flight hours so far. Alberto Biagetti is a former military and airliner pilot with over 13000 flight hours. He used to fly military planes, such as SIAI-Marchetti SF.260, Aermacchi-MB326, Fiat G.91, Lockheed Martin F-104 Starfighter, and civilian airliners, such as McDonnell Douglas MD-80, Boeing B-747. As a Pioneer Team member he flies the Pioneer 300 or the Pioneer 330 Acro. He is also the team Safety Manager. Sandro Nicosanti – right wing pilot. In over 20 years of flying he has accumulated over 2500 flight hours. He joined Pioneer Team over three years ago.
Pierluigi Tassi & Mattia Brunetta are the team’s ground technicians who make sure that the Pioneer 330 Acro planes run smooth and without any problems.
During its 15 years of existence, the Pioneer Team has participated at numerous air shows and aviation events in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia and Spain. They have specialized in formation flight without special individual aerobatic evolutions. These evolutions are accompanied by pyrotechnic effects that create a magical effect of the Pioneer Team flight.
When they first started flying the Pioneer Team they used Pioneer 300 aircraft, produced by the Italian company Alpi Aviation. They later switched to the Pioneer 330 Acro, a cote-a-cote two-seater. Developed since 2004, these planes are equipped with 100 HP Rotax ULS2 engines, retractable landing gear, variable pitch propeller, smoke system for aerobatic evolutions. The structure has been strengthened for load factors varying from + 6G to – 3G. The maximum total weight of the Pioneer 330 is 530 kg. The maximum speed is 270 km/ h, and the cruising speed is 240 km/ h. The maximum flight altitude is 6000 meters. The Pioneer 330 Acro aircraft used by the Pioneer Team are painted in white, red and blue.
The formation flight that Pioneer team performs during 15-20 minutes of aerial evolution is a demonstration of elegance and precision, performed as a “dance” in the sky. This is due to both the qualities of the Pioneer 330 Acro aircraft, and the skills and passion of the Pioneer Team pilots. I hope that in the future we will also see them in Romania as participants to one of the many air shows that take place every year.