Leonardo M-346 crashes

A Leonardo M-346 training aircraft crashed at approximately 1200hrs on March 16 while in flight over Colico in northern Italy, resulting in one fatality.

In a press release, aircraft manufacturer Leonardo said that it had launched an investigation into the accident. Rescue teams at the site of the crash said that one of the two pilots operating the aircraft was fatally injured in the incident.

According to the Leonardo release the aircraft took off from the company’s Venegono Superiore site (Varese – Italy) at 1100hrs, performing a flight plan authorised by aviation authorities.

M-346
A Leonardo M-346A of the Italian Air Force seen in flight during a formation training sortie. Leonardo

The aircraft involved is a double crew M-346, operated by a Leonardo test pilot and an ‘outsourced’ instructor pilot. The instructor pilot was confirmed to have died in the crash.

The flight plan included trials aimed at demonstrating specific capabilities which had already been tested during several flights carried out previously. Contact was lost with the aircraft 35 minutes later.