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Sailplane & Glider article Guidonia 2010   
Italian Air Force - Aeronautica Militare
Gliding Centre (Centro di Volo a Vela)

Guidonia-Montecelio Air Force Base
July, 2012
A day spent flying with the Italian Air Force Gliding Centre at Guidonia-Montecelio. First of all with Instructor Pilot Captain Stefano Rotatori in a SIAI S.208M towing up Grob G.103A Twin Astir IIs to 3,000 feet before the student releases the tow line to glide back to the airfield in around 20 minutes. The S.208 dives down to the airfield to initially release the towing cable adjacent to the next glider which was waiting to be launched. The S.208 is pulled up turns sharply and lands on the grass cross-runway on this day to taxi back for the hook up with the next student's glider. In all 13 students took to the air in the morning.
Swapping aircraft mid-morning we towed the students till pasta time which was at 13:00. After lunch it was my turn to be pulled to 3,000 feet in a Twin Astir for what turned out to be a 40 minute flight before we lost the thirmals and were forced to land.

The air to air shots were all taken with a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS on a Canon 5D camera with its full-frame sensor. Inside the cockpits and with flash I was using a 15mm lens. Many thanks to all those that made it happen especially to Major Filippo Zuffada the Gliding Centre Commander who invited me to re-visit the school when I was next in Italy.

Left: In the back-seat of the Grob Twin Astir II circling over Guidonia.

Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02') over the well-known Travertine marble quarries which have been worked since Ancient Roman times.

Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02') the town of Montecelio is in the background.
Left to right: G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02').
422 Squadriglia Collegamenti Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100054 'CVV-07') over Guidonia airfield
Left to right: Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100054 'CVV-07').
423 Squadriglia Collegamenti SIAI S.208M (MM61934) while towing a Grob G.103A Twin Astir II
Left to right: 423 Squadriglia Collegamenti SIAI S.208Ms (MM61934 and MM61986).
SIAI S.208M (MM61934) while towing a Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02') to 3,000 feet before release.
Left to right: S.208M (MM61934) while towing a Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02').
Instructor Pilot Captain Stefano Rotatori at the controls of SIAI S.208M (MM61986).

Turn around is very quick during operations, they need to be as usually each flight lasts around 25 minutes and several gliders can be airborn at a time.
Left to right: Returning to Guidonia in a S.208M after towing a glider it dives down to the runway to release the tow rope with the orange handle above his head before landing, while the students prepare for the next launch.

The G.103A Twin Astir II is turned around and the student and instructors take their seats for the next launch.
Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02') turns away just after release from the tow line.

Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02') if you look closely you can see my Mother-in-law and Brother-in-law's house, yes thats it next to the church.
Left to right: G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02').
Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100054 'CVV-07') with a student at the controls
Left to right: G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100054 'CVV-07').
Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02')
Left to right: G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02').
Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02')
Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02').
Grob G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02') viewed east towards Tivoli.
Left to right: 3,000 feet above Guidonia in G.103A Twin Astir II (MM100049 'CVV-02').