75th flight school

75th anniversary of the Air Force flight school

M.E.C. Military watches is proud to announce the collaboration with the 61st flock of the Galatina Air Force and is preparing to market a series of watches dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the flight school.

In September 1946, the Galatina base, due to its constitution on three flying groups, took on the staff of a flock with the name of Apulian Flight Schools. The main aircraft used are the P51 Mustang for the basic fighter part and the T6 Texan for basic flight training

With the adoption of more rational training methods and with the continuous increase in the number of students it becomes necessary to establish new schools dedicated to advanced flight, leaving the task of basic flight training to the Galatina school which, since November 1957, has taken on the name of Flight School Basic Period.

From January 1, 1959, the school’s task was to provide initial military and basic flight training to student pilots of the Air Force, assuming in December 1960 the name of Initial Basic Flight School.

In 1962, following the modernization process of the Italian Air Force line, the school was equipped with the new Aermacchi MB-326 training jets, of entirely Italian design.

The school therefore takes the name of Aviogetti Initial Basic Flight School, thus starting the training of student pilots according to more modern criteria using a jet aircraft from the first flight.

In 1982, after twenty years of activity with the MB326 aircraft and over 400,000 flight hours, the school began the conversion to the new Aermacchi MB339 Alpha.

On 14 September 1986, the school, which has always been the focal point of the professional training chain for Air Force pilots, assumed the name of 61st Air Brigade and then acquired, on 1 December 1995, the current name of 61 ° Stormo while retaining the training and operational tasks previously carried out

Since August 1997, the Stormo has adopted the new version of the T339A called FT339C which allows it to perform more complex missions, thanks to a completely digital cockpit and new tools available.

In 2014, the introduction of the new training system adopted by the Italian Air Force transformed the process that leads to the achievement of the military pilot’s license, entrusting the 61 ° Stormo, in addition to phase 2, also phase 3 for the pilots selected for the Fighter and remote piloted lines.

In compliance with the new mission assigned to the 61st Wing, on 8 May 2015 the Department badge changes: the penguin, which had accompanied the school since its origins, is replaced by an eagle embracing Diana the Hunter’s bow, symbol that best suits you to the new tasks of the department.

In the same period, the school was supplied with a new trainer aircraft, this time too, the result of Made in Italy, the T346A intended for advanced phase IV training for fighter pilots.

On 23 December 2020, the first two T345 aircraft, destined to progressively replace the 339 Alpha and CD lines, touch the runway of the Salento base.