Our Episode #9 – In Italy, flying Mach 2 jets parallel to STOL UL/LSA taildraggers on bushweels and floats with Fabio Guerra.
‘’Make your life a dream, and a dream a reality’’ – Antoine de St Exupéry
Our dear Italian friend Fabio Guerra definitively lived up and still lives the Dream of aviation!
Born and raised in Verona – Italy, Fabio Guerra always dreamt about flying the mighty F104 Starfighter. After joining the Accademia Aeronautica – the Italian Air force Academy and climbing up the ladder to a fighter jet office desk, he very soon had the opportunity to move to the United States of America as an exchange pilot in the US Air Force. Flying mostly T-38 White Rockets out of Reese AFB Texas and then Holloman AFB New-Mexico, Fabio decided to purchase an extremely rudimentary and light Quicksilver MX together with a young fellow American fighter pilot. This was the discovery and birth of a new consuming passion for very slow flying airplanes.
Coming back to Italy in the mid 80´s and transitioning to his beloved F104 Starfighter, Fabio discovered the freedom allowed to UL/LSA aircrafts which were, back then, considered as sporting equipment. He decided to acquire a single seat Aeromarine Buccaneer XA flying boat and explore his home region lakes, among them the famous Lago di Garda – Garda Lake and rivers. For almost fifteen years, Fabio flew Mach 2 during the week and under 100 kph (60 mph) during the weekend. Wanting to fly even slower and land safer on water with his flying boat, Fabio started to experiment new wing designs which finally led him to meet his now friend of more than twenty years, Pasquale Russo, the CEO of Zlin Aviation s.r.o and creator of the Zlin Savage taildragger bush plane family.
Having left the Italian Air Force as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the beginning of the 2000´s and then started to work (fly) for the national airline company Alitalia, Fabio purchased an early Zlin Savage Classic, named EXPLORER, and discovered the endless possibilities of flying playground offered by this already very capable little taildragger. Still wanting to experiment slower and slower flight with VGs as well as new equipment such as Alaskan Bushwheels, he soon started a long cooperation together with Zlin Aviation as a test pilot. Almost ten years ago, Fabio came back to his love about float planes by being one of the first in Europe to put his Zlin Savage on floats.
Today, Fabio is a flight captain flying B777 for Alitalia, a rescue pilot for the Protezione Civile – the civil protection with his EXPLORER, the head instructor pilot of Scuola Volo Brescia, Garda Eagle – Brescia Flight School specialized in taildraggers, float and bush flying as well as a flight examiner but most of all for him “every way of flying is beautiful!”.
In this episode, Fabio shares with us his story about dreaming to fly the mighty F104 Starfighter and making this dream a reality to discovering the endless possibilities offered by UL/LSA airplanes both on (bush) wheels and floats to fly in Italy, especially in his home regions of Veneto and Lombardia.
If you want to watch Fabio in action with his Zlin Savage EXPLORER on floats or test flying the new Zlin Aviation aircrafts, check out these videos:
Fabio showing EXPLORER´s new paint scheme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XaTQWpODT8
Test flying the new awaited Zlin NORDEN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGwBuaXinvg&t=1s
Flying the Zlin SHOCK CUB around Garda Lake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUjcIG8fWaA
Here a bunch of videos from our dear Italian friend Massimo Uberti featuring Fabio in action:
yes! only in Italian but is sounds so cool! 🙂
Waterskiing and water assisted landings 9 years ago: https://vimeo.com/44741256
Testing VGs on the Savage: https://vimeo.com/75781085
Formation Flying along the Pô river: https://vimeo.com/76171480
River Hang Out: https://vimeo.com/97539321
Seaplane 1: https://vimeo.com/116228503
Seaplane 2: https://vimeo.com/116846803
Pradellez 2015 – Aerobatic with a floatplane!: https://vimeo.com/130632043
Special video with your host back in 2016 when we met Massimo Uberti and his wife during a weekend trip in Italy: https://vimeo.com/171079181
This episode’s book tip is: Voyage of the Southern Sun: An Amazing Solo Journey Around the World, by Michael Smith – 2017 – ISBN: 1925435806, 9781925435801 https://books.google.de/books/about/Voyage_of_the_Southern_Sun.html?id=IEw0DwAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y
This episode’s movie tip can only be my personal favourite anime of all time: Porco Rosso, by Hayao Miyazaki – 1992
Music credits: “Slowly”, Amon Tobin – Supermodified, 2000
Cover photography: Fabio Guerra