The E-3A attracts crowds - Open Days at
Pratica di Mare, Rome Italy
In the weekend of 25 to 26 May the Component once again showed its unique E-3A at an air show. 'Giornata Azzurra 2008' at Pratica di Mare (Rome) is the biggest air show in Italy and is held as a two-day event every year. The E-3A is always a major attraction at every air show because it is one of the few aircraft that is open to the public. Saturday the base was open to air force personnel, their families and friends and acted as the trial run for the Sunday show. Sunday was primarily for the public. More than 200,000 spectators showed up that Sunday, and it was a real "Sun Day" - the thermometer showed more than 30° Celsius.
Approximately 70 aircraft were on static display and 37 different air displays were performed by helicopters, transporters, single fighters, and 4 different acrobatic teams: Patrouille de France, Patrulla Aguila from Spain, the Breitling Jet Team stationed in France, and last but not least Italy's pride, the Frecce Tricolori display team. All of this formed the basis of Giornata Azzurra 2008. The air display also consisted of one big tactical event lasting more than 40 minutes involving almost all the assets in the Italian Air Force Order of Battle.
The E-3 was on static display among other heavy aircraft. As usual, it was a big hit among the visitors on both days. From early morning till late afternoon the waiting line outside the E-3 was a long one. Visitors of all ages stood in line to see the E-3A from the inside. Questions were asked, stickers, yoyos, pens, balloons and other items were handed out. From the look of the visitor's faces when they entered the E-3A, you could see that waiting in the heat outside was still worthwhile. Besides the information given to the public, the media showed their interest too. The Deployment Commander gave two interviews to national TV stations during the two-day event.