The transfer of the second prototype of the Aermacchi M-346 C.P. X616 from Leonardo’s Venegono facilities to the Volandia Museum in Somma Lombardo, near Malpensa airport, has been successfully completed. In the coming months, the prototype will be restored, prior to being exhibited alongside the other prototypes and aircraft - forming part of the museum’s extensive collection that celebrates aviation history in Italy.
The aircraft, which had been stored at Venegono since the end of the testing phase, contributed substantially to the development and certification of the M-346, performing hundreds of test flights and evaluation missions, as well as numerous marketing demos around the world since its first flight on 16 May 2005.
The prototype represents a unique stage in the aircraft’s development with engineers of the then Aermacchi choosing to install an AMX landing gear as a risk mitigation strategy for the initial development phase, as well as by the presence on-board of extensive instrumentation specific to flight tests, necessary to expand the flight envelope, in terms of both altitude and speed, and load and flutter.
The aircraft’s transfer has been made possible by an agreement between the Leonardo Aircraft Division and the Volandia Museum, drawing on their long-standing collaboration, and by the support and commitment of the many people making up the team now called upon to prepare the X616 for display in its new location. This aeroplane, representing one of the most advanced flying machines produced in Italy and, beyond purely aesthetic considerations, universally regarded as the best advanced training aircraft on the market, will be one of the main attractions of Volandia, and one more good reason to go and visit the museum.