Italian Air Force - Glider Pilot

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"The Glider Pilot badges are a tough one, they are so rare and they were such a clandestine unit that all we know about them is that they came in what are actually called "3 Classe" - prima classa is the one gull (called a "gabbione") and second classa, and terza classa for the 3. We must state (until I am able to get more info) this refers to the criteria of actual flying hours of training before being awarded the "brevetto". Now that you have raised the question, I will renew my efforts to get the actual answer, but in the past, all of the airforce and wing collectors in Italy know them only as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class Glider Pilots. I am aware only that the 3rd class wing was the most difficult to get, only awarded for pilots who succeeded in nighttime training and operations, including landing the craft at night. The Glider school was at Novara before and during the war, but after September 1943, this closed. It re-opened in in 1944 under the RSI Airforce at Varese. After the war, gliders were replaced by helicopters by 1949. Italians were one of the first nations to experiment with gliders, starting in 1904. Since the 1st Nucleus was formed in June 1942, that is the best approximate date we use for the issue of the wings.

Less than 250 glider pilots graduated from the Novara school and 10 Italian gliders took part in the C3 Malta Operation. Only one Glider pilot Group was organized, it was called the 1st Nucleus of Assault Gliders under command of Lt. Colonel Adolfo Contoli (later general). Sometimes the wings are called "Brevetto A, B, and C. There also existed the blue enamel badge for the lapel of the civilian jacket and a large one for the flying suit." - Rudy D'Angelo in response to my question about the three grades of badges

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Rudy A. D'Angelo Collection
3/7/2002
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Rudy A. D'Angelo Collection
3/7/2002
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80 mm
16 mm
Edizioni, D'arte Boeri Roma
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6/26/2002
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Rudy A. D'Angelo Collection
3/7/2002
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Aviation Wings and Badges of the World Wars