Covid-19: the experience of our pilots. Interview with Enrico Scarabotto

18 May 2020

21,777 nautical miles travelled by Leonardo's C-27J and ATR72. Almost 110 hours of flight time transporting 468 cubic meters of materials (about 38,485 kg) for the Covid-19 relief effort throughout Italy. These are the key numbers provided by Enrico Scarabotto, Head of Flight Operations of Leonardo's Aircraft Division, who has been sharing details of his activities during this critical period.


You have had a successful career, marked by technological innovation and emotion-packed experiences. What role have your emotions played in this latest life experience?

 Passion is paramount when carrying out a mission, whether in flight or on the ground, whether for the Air Force or for Leonardo. What drives me to overcome my fears and face the challenges, dangers and fatigue, is the sense of pride I feel in lending a hand and delivering value, doing something that is both useful and interesting. When dealing with technological innovation, maintaining a high level of emotional intelligence and curiosity is essential. As long as I am driven by curiosity, I will continue to do my job with enthusiasm and perseverance.


Have you taken part directly in any Covid-related mission? During such operations, did you establish new or build closer relationships with colleagues, medical staff or the armed forces?

 I have taken part in several humanitarian missions recently. At the start of each mission, we are tasked by the Rome-based operational centre of the Civil Protection Department. Having received its mission, Leonardo’s organisational machine then springs into action, its well-oiled mechanisms fuelled by the technical and operational skills of specialists, flight personnel and ground staff, all synchronised to make our aircraft operations as fast and effective as possible. Ours is a highly motivated team, which works towards a single goal in every Italian airport, always with a smile and ensuring a positive work climate, despite the fatigue, the long flying hours and the difficult situation created by the state of emergency.


Leonardo has helped address this emergency with a range of solutions and initiatives. Have these particular circumstances led to an even stronger team spirit than usual, and the sense of working towards a truly common goal?

 Colleagues of all levels have displayed strong and renewed enthusiasm for what they do. Many proactive solutions have been implemented, such as the many complex preparations made to remain productive and operational – all driven by a remarkable desire to make a real difference. The resulting strengthened team spirit has enabled us to work quickly and professionally, perfecting and adapting new work methods based on changing Covid-19 protocols.



Enrico Scarabotto joined Alenia Aermacchi (today Leonardo) as Test Pilot in 2000, where he initially followed the development programs of the C-27J, Tornado and AMX aircraft. Following his time as a Display Pilot for the C-27J and 346 aircraft, Enrico later joined the UAV, Eurofighter and M-346 programmes, taking on the role of Chief Test Pilot in December 2008.

Since 2016, he has held the position of Head of Flight Operations of Leonardo's Aircraft Division.

During his career, Enrico has amassed over 5,000 hours of flight time on more than 50 different types of aircraft, helicopters and gliders.



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