Alenia Aermacchi - Issue 20
The prototype of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 transonic military training aircraft, one of the current range of types produced by the Italian aerospace giant. Alenia Aermacchi
This issue of Aviation Classics traces the complete history of one of the most successful aviation companies in Europe in this, its centenary year.
In 1912, Guilio Macchi founded Aeronautica Macchi on the shores of Lake Varese in Lombardy. The new company was to produce some of the most unusual fighter aircraft of the First World War as the majority of these were fighter flying boats.
During the interwar years, the name of Macchi became synonymous with high speed racing seaplanes, becoming world famous through its participation in the Schnieder Trophy. Other types of aircraft from airliners to trainers were also produced during this period, as well as the first of a family of fighter designs that were to remain in production throughout the Second World War.
Postwar, the company began to produce a range of motorcycles, particularly racing machines, while the world market for aircraft re-established itself. From the 1950s onwards, Aermacchi introduced the first of a range of military jet trainers that continues to this day, bringing global success to the company as these were sold to air forces all over the world.
Various amalgamations with other aeronautical companies throughout the 1990s resulted in the formation of Alenia Aermacchi in 2012 as part of the Finmeccanica Group. The company is a major partner in many international military aircraft programmes, such as the AMX, Panavia Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II, as well as the ATR 42 and 72, Boeing 787 and Airbus family of airliners. Alenia Aermacchi also produces the remarkably agile C-27J Spartan military transport and a range of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as continuing to produce world class military trainers such as the M-346 pictured here.
Aviation Classics celebrates the history of this remarkable company throughout its 100 years, covering all of the major developments and designs that form a story of innovation and genius at the cutting edge of aerospace development.
100 years of Lockheed Martin
The next issue of Aviation Classics tells the complete story of the most innovative and successful aircraft manufacturer in the world.
In 1913, brothers Allan and Malcolm Loughead flew their Model G seaplane built by their first business, the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company. From there they moved to Santa Barbara and were now known as the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company. Here they began building flying boats and light aircraft, in 1926 changing the name to the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, because Allan Loughead was tired of the mispronunciation of his name.
The world famous Lockheed Vega monoplane passenger transport brought success to the company in 1927, its base moving to Hollywood then Burbank. In 1932, the company was purchased by the Gross brothers, Robert and Courtland, who brought in Hall Livingstone Hibbard as chief designer. Hibbard and a young designer by the name of Clarence ‘Kelly’ Johnson began work on the Lockheed Model 10, which was to develop into the Electra and the wartime Hudson and Ventura. Johnson began work on Lockheed’s first fighter in 1937, the legendary P-38 Lightning. While this was being built, the company also began work on one of the most beautiful transport aircraft ever created, the elegant Constellation. Johnson also designed the first operational American jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star, itself developed into the T-33 two seat trainer, both of which sold around the world.
A wide variety of aircraft followed into the 1950s, from the P-2 Neptune maritime patrol aircraft, the L-188 Electra airliner and P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft to the F-104 Starfighter supersonic interceptor. In 1954, the first flight was made of the only military aircraft to still be in production after nearly 60 years, the irreplaceable C-130 Hercules. The list of types after this includes some of the most iconic high performance aircraft in history, such as the U-2 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft and the C-141 and C-5 jet transports. The magazine also uncovers the story of the ‘father of stealth’, Benjamin Robert Rich, and his stealth fighter, the F-117 Nighthawk. The amalgamation with General Dynamics and Martin brought the F-16 Fighting Falcon and its upgrades into the company, continuing the worldwide success of the fighter. The story comes up to date with the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, the fighter that will replace many other types now in service worldwide. This is followed by a glimpse into the future of this remarkable organisation, detailing its plans for ‘accelerating tomorrow’.
On sale August 30, 2013