In 1912, Guilio Macchi founded Aeronautica Macchi on the shores of Lake Varese in Lombardy. The new company was to produce some of the most unusual fighter aircraft of the First World War as the majority of these were fighter flying boats.
During the interwar years, the name of Macchi became synonymous with high speed racing seaplanes, becoming world famous through its participation in the Schnieder Trophy. Other types of aircraft from airliners to trainers were also produced during this period, as well as the first of a family of fighter designs that were to remain in production throughout the Second World War.
Postwar, the company began to produce a range of motorcycles, particularly racing machines, while the world market for aircraft re-established itself. From the 1950s onwards, Aermacchi introduced the first of a range of military jet trainers that continues to this day, bringing global success to the company as these were sold to air forces all over the world.
Various amalgamations with other aeronautical companies throughout the 1990s resulted in the formation of Alenia Aermacchi in 2012 as part of the Finmeccanica Group. The company is a major partner in many international military aircraft programmes, such as the AMX, Panavia Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning II, as well as the ATR 42 and 72, Boeing 787 and Airbus family of airliners. Alenia Aermacchi also produces the remarkably agile C-27J Spartan military transport and a range of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as continuing to produce world class military trainers such as the M-346 pictured here.
Aviation Classics celebrates the history of this remarkable company throughout its 100 years, covering all of the major developments and designs that form a story of innovation and genius at the cutting edge of aerospace development.
Author: Tim Callaway