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AMI NH.500s at Frosinone "Girolamo Moscardini"

Frosinone Airbase, which is entitled to the memory of Captain pilot Girolamo Moscardini, was constituted on January 1st 1939 on the basis of an old ‘emergency airfield’. Later, Frosinone became a 3rd Class armed Airbase, home of First Period NCOs Pilot School until 1943. From 1944 to 1946 Frosinone Airbase was the home base of Bomber and Fighter Training School. At the end of WW2 training activity started again with an airlift pilot training, navigation training (from 1947) and a flight-crew training (from 1954).


In the meantime, on February 1st 1953, the Helicopter Training Unit, the first rotor winged unit of the Italian Air Force, was equipped with Bell 47D-1 and WS-51 was constituted in Roma-Urbe airport. On December 1954 the helicopter AB.47G were delivered and on April 2nd 1955 the Unit moved to Frosinone where it was renamed as Helicopters Center. On April 27th 1955 the Center received its first Flight Squadron, the 208° Gruppo Volo Scuola. On February 15th 1960, in Frosinone, the Center became the Air Force Helicopter Training School, with the 208° Gruppo equipped with AB.47G2, AB.47J and later with AB.204B.

On June 21st 1985 the Scuola Volo Elicotteri (SVE) took the name of 72° Stormo that, in more than 50 years of history, have graduated about 5000 helicopter pilots. On May 1990 the Wing was equipped with the brand new helicopter Breda-Nardi NH-500E. Helicopters and personnel of 72° Stormo has been employed from July 1999 to June 2000 in Kosovo and Albania, at the Dakovica  airport, as support to Italian and NATO contingents of the KFOR (Kosovo FORces). From 2000 to December 2003 the Wing operated in Kosovo for the following complementary operation of ‘Allied Harbour’ and from December 2000 to July 2001, it operated also in Eritrea in the UNMEE (United Nation Mission Ethiopia-Eritrea). 


Currently the 72° Stormo, which is entitled to Sergeant pilot Marcello De Salvia, Gold Medal for Military Valour, is organized on the 208° Gruppo, the Gruppo Istruzione Professionale (Professional Instuction Squadron), the 472° Gruppo STO (Operational Technical  Squadron), the 572° Gruppo SLO (Operational Logistical Squadron), the Gruppo Efficienza Aeromobili (Aircraft Mainteinance Squadron) and the Compagnia Protezione della Forze (Force Protection Unit).


The 72° Stormo carries out its training activity on behalf of the Italian Air Force and the other Military and Police Corps, which have helicopters units (Carabinieri, Army, Navy, Guardia di Finanza, Polizia di Stato, Corpo Forestale dello Stato, Vigili del Fuoco and Guardia Costeria). The 72° Stormo gives its support to any request from the Italian Air Force whenever the NH.500 is needed and it can also give its assistance, on request, to SAR operations. The 72° Stormo also prepares technicians, already qualified for rotor-winged units, with practical courses.


During my stay in the Roma region I visited Frosinone Airbase in the morning to take some shots of the NH.500s. A total of eight NH.500s were noted of which seven flew local missions. Also located at Frosinone Airbase is a part of the Agusta factory. From this facility two AW-109N Nexus helicopters of the Guardia di Finanza made a local test flight.   (Click here for a log)





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