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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother and I have been collecting aviation uniforms and equipment since 1983.
With the kind permission of the Moderators, I would like to present to you our collection of military aircraft pilots from the First World War to today: 100 years of military flight history represented by about 45 fully equipped mannequins, fully equipped in flight order.
Everything is complete and original, perfectly "matching" for the right type of aircraft, era, war theater and operations. For each visible item, there are many more hidden in emergency vests, pockets etc. Some items are in the history books.
Years of research and studies in days without Internet but on mountains of books ... and many sacrifices.
To those interested, a good view. Thanks to everybody.
 

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WOW! All I can say is with the display above, you guys have dedication to this project and thanks for sharing. I can't even imagine all the time and effort it took to gather and assemble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
WOW! All I can say is with the display above, you guys have dedication to this project and thanks for sharing. I can't even imagine all the time and effort it took to gather and assemble.
Ciao Taichungman, thank you very much.
Some examples:
For the Top Gun pilot you see above, it took about 4 years.
The Battle of Britain 1940 Luftwaffe fighter pilot, about 9 years... and so on.
The one who took us the most, an USAAF P-38 Ligthning fighter pilot in Pacific theater 1943, it took us 16 years: but it is so realistic that it seems to be talking to you, and telling what he saw and experienced...
 

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Have you ever had a public exhibition of you collection ? or considered the publication of a “Coffee Table Book” of your curation ?

Your hard work and out of pocket expenses needs to be shared with many.

He is the story of one man and his passion :

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
As a pilot, I'm interested in how you got started in this expensive and unusual hobby. Do you, or one of your family members work in aviation?
Hello Sir, no no, absolutely not. I am a hospital employee, my brother a factory worker.
We started from zero, with a lot of books and with a flight helmet in May 1983. At the time Internet did not exist, and it was all a call in the middle of the night due to time zones, writing letters and waiting weeks or months for the goods to arrive ... in short, a world that does not exist anymore and that is now centuries away.

But ... I have to say this: in WW1 1915 my grandfather was a blacksmith worker and carpenter in the aeronautical workshops in Turin, then in 1917 he became a tester pilot of the planes leaving the factories.
His eldest son (my uncle passed away only a few years ago) was an airman in Sicily and Africa in WW2; after the armistice in 1943 as a co-belligerent he was in the USAAF airports of the 15th Air Force in southern Italy.
A cousin of ours in 1941 was a machine gunner on the Savoia Marchetti SM79 ("the damned hunchback"), awarded for the shooting down of two Hurricane fighters over Malta. He then died in crash landing in Sicily due for damage suffered by anti-aircraft fire during a torpedo bombing attack against a convoy in the Mediterranean Sea.
Is there something left inside? ...
I like to think so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Have you ever had a public exhibition of you collection ? or considered the publication of a “Coffee Table Book” of your curation? Your hard work and out of pocket expenses needs to be shared with many.
Thank you Sir. We would have liked it so much, and over time we have had many requests. But here in Italy such an exhibition was always frowned upon, for many reasons.
So to avoid problems we have long since stopped thinking about it. The collection has only been seen live by senior military personalities and professional pilots, including foreign ones. On the web only on a few forums.
You are one of these few.
 

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Thank you Sir. We would have liked it so much, and over time we have had many requests. But here in Italy such an exhibition was always frowned upon, for many reasons.
So to avoid problems we have long since stopped thinking about it. The collection has only been seen live by senior military personalities and professional pilots, including foreign ones. On the web only on a few forums.
You are one of these few.
Understood, amazing pursuit !

Looking at the flight vest and the placement of auxiliary tools…have you noticed an ergonomic pattern of where they place them ?

Back before GPS’s some motorcycle pants had map pocket velcro on the thigh.
 

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His eldest son (my uncle passed away only a few years ago) was an airman in Sicily and Africa in WW2
If he was stationed in Libya at El Adam or Tobruk I may have spent time in his footprints in the ‘60s when it was an RAF base. There was an Italian forces cemetery and a a German one with a very dramatic entrance.
I have many photos but they are not catalogued and on old fashioned slide film.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unfortunately I don't know in which bases it was stationed. He commuted between Sicily and Africa several times. He remembered well the JG77 of the German ace Joachim Müncheberg, and the Ju-88 and Fw-190 attacking the ports of Bari and Taranto.
He left Sicily chased by the Americans crossing the Strait of Messina in the water tied to a rope to a German anti-aircraft pontoon, continuously machine-gunned by the Hurricanes and Aircobra.
When he touched the mainland after a few hours, he was more dead than alive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looking at the flight vest and the placement of auxiliary tools…have you noticed an ergonomic pattern of where they place them ?
Yes, auxiliary tools such as the knife were placed at the pilot's liking, sewn directly on the survival vest or tied to the leg.
As well as pistols, on the belt at the hip or in the armpit with cartridges scattered all over the place (this will be seen well on my pilots in Vietnam)
 

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Thanks so much, Daniele, my father was an instuctor in heavy bombers during WWII and I spent 30 years in the USAF. I appreciate your interest in aviation and am grateful for your generous gesture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thank you Sir, we have several USAF pilots from Korean War to Desert Storm.
About WW2 we also have two USAAF mannequins: a 15th AF B-24 Liberator waist gunner mid-1944 (complete with armored "Flak vest") and a 8th AF P51 Mustang fighter pilot top-cover in escort missions over Third Reich late 1944.
I hope you will like them, and a virtual hug to your papa
 
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