An alleged new video of the Italian Air Force display flight demonstration team, the Frecce Tricolori, has provided the virus-embattled nation a symbol of unity and strength during the battle against Coronavirus.
Italy is currently experiencing the second-largest outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in the world, following only China in the number of deaths reported. The latest figures tell of about 31,506 tested positive to Covid-19 and more than 2,503 people deaths. For about a week now, the whole country is on lockdown to slow down the new infections and death toll and the Italians have relied on emotional flashmobs and social media initiatives to break the monotony and lift spirits.
The video shows the team creating the Italian national flag out of colored smoke, to the accompaniment of Luciano Pavorotti’s “Nessun Dorma” from the Italian opera Turandot.
The video quickly spread on Italian social media and eventually worldwide.
Even President Trump used the clip for a tweet of encouragement to Italy.
THE UNITED STATES LOVES ITALY! pic.twitter.com/DESUJ4QM41
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2020
The video shows the Frecce Tricolori, Italy’s equivalent of the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds, flying its MB339 jets while creating the colors of il Tricolore, the Italian flag. A single MB339 flies in the opposite direction and then enters a steep climb. One interpretation of the display is that the opposing plane represents the virus, while the rest of the planes symbolize Italian unity and resolve in the face of the pandemic.
For those who don’t know them, the Italian Frecce Tricolori is one of the world’s most famous display teams.
The Frecce Tricolori fly 13 Aermacchi MB339 jet trainers, a modified version of the aircraft used to train student pilots. The MB339 features two seats, one for an instructor and the other for the pilot. The MB339 is powered by a Rolls-Royce Viper Mk. 632 turbojet engine and flies at top speed of 558 miles an hour. In addition to its primary training mission, it can also be armed with rockets, gun pods, and bombs and serve in the light attack role.
The team’s jets are equipped with a unique skywriting system designed to produce the colors of the Italian flag during demonstrations. As The Aviationist points out, the modified MB339s utilize a smoke generation system that injects a coloring agent into the jet’s exhaust.
During the demonstration, nine of the jets fly abreast, simultaneously creating the flag as engines roar over Pavorotti’s final lyric: Vincéro.
In English, it means “I will win.”