Francesco Dante flying his RV-8 aircraft

Pilot Spotlight: Francesco Dante, CrewRV8 Wingman

What are the three fundamental elements of an airshow? CrewRV8 wingman, Francesco Dante, shares his thoughts. Learn how he got started and why he loves to fly!

(Did you miss the spotlight on CrewRV8 leader, Luca Perazzolli? Find it here)

CrewRV8 flying at airshow

Q: Why did you learn to fly? How did you start?

A: I flew for the first time in a small plane when I was 6 years old and after landing I said, “I would like to become a military pilot." In 1993, I got a glider pilot license and in 1996, I joined the Italian Air Force. I’m still on duty as a pilot instructor.

Q: How long have you been flying? 

A: As a pilot in command since 1993. 

Q: What type of planes do you fly?

A: Gliders, Aermacchi MB-339 and MB326, L-19, Cap 10, Siai 208, Jet Provost, and the RV-8 that I built in 2012-2014.

Q: What advice do you have for a young pilot?

A: To a student pilot: set a goal and stay focused. To a young pilot: train to be flexible.

Q: What do you love about flying?

A: The joy of flying, in general, plus the sense of freedom and the beauty of our planet from above.

Q: What are your favorite flying or airshow memories?

A: I vividly remember my last flight at the air to ground range in a flight of four aircraft. It was almost sunset, the air was smooth, and flying back to the base I had a feeling of accomplishment, and I really enjoyed the moment.

When I fly at airshow, before take off I feel responsibility for safety and some pressure for the people watching. But when I’m airborne, everything else disappears.

Q: Why do you love having a smoke system on your plane?

A: At an airshow, there are three fundamental elements: nice maneuvers, the engine noise and a good smoking system.


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