Frecce Tricolori Pilot Dies In Ultralight Crash In Northeast Italy


Pony 5
Capt. Alessio Ghersi posing with one of the Frecce Tricolori MB-339s. (Photo: RaiNews)

Capt. Alessio Ghersi was flying with a relative on an ultralight aircraft when the aircraft crashed killing both occupants.

An Alpi Aviation Pioneer 300 ultralight, registration I-8548, crashed for unknown reason near Lusevera, Udine, northeastern Italy, around 18.30LT on April 29, 2023. The ultralight had taken off from Campoformido airfield with two people on board, who were both killed in the accident. Later on the same day it was announced that one of them was Capt. Alessio Ghersi, one of the pilots of the Italian Air Force’s Frecce Tricolori display team.

Capt. Ghersi, who was about to start his fifth airshow season with the team, was flying with a relative. The causes of the crash are not known and an investigation to discover what happened has been announced.

34 years old, Ghersi was assigned the “Pony 5” position, the second right wingman of the Frecce Tricolori, that holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest military display team flying with jets (10). He enrolled in the Italian Air Force Academy in 2007 and, after the completion of flight training, graduated as a combat ready pilot on the Eurofighter Typhoon at Grosseto airbase, where he was assigned to the 4° Stormo (Wing). In 2017 he was selected to join the Frecce Tricolori for the 2018 airshow season.

He was a very well known and loved Frecce Tricolori pilot: his sudden loss shocked the Italian aviation community, as proved by the number of posts expressing sympathy and solidarity with the family, the Frecce Tricolori and the Italian Air Force, that flooded the social media networks few hours after the news started to be circulated.

Following the accident, the Italian Air Force decided to cancel the traditional May 1 event, the first public display of the year of the Frecce Tricolori at their homebase in Rivolto, which marks the end of the winter training and the beginning of the airshow season. It’s not clear how and to what extent the tragic loss of one of its pilots will affect the schedule of team, that plays a crucial role in the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Aeronautica Militare. But that one is a secondary issue now; for the Italian Air Force, Ghersi’s family and friends, this is a time of mourning.

Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


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