Working together with Armed Forces and Government Agencies in Italy and around the world, Leonardo's Aircraft Division, is making assets available to the authorities to support the Coronavirus emergency.
The Italian Air Force and various neighbouring air forces have flown several missions transporting vital medical supplies and equipment (masks, personal protective equipment, ventilators) as well as specialised personnel across Italy. These flights have supplemented those made by commercial aircraft from various supporting countries.
To support this essential job, Leonardo is carrying out a series of flights to transport medical material and transfer it, on behalf of the Italian Civil Protection agency, in the shortest time possible to the regions and centres most affected by the emergency. This joint effort with the Italian armed forces has seen 70 helicopters and 7 planes made available to support the emergency, including ATR 42 and 72 (Italian Coast Guard and Customs Police) and the Italian Air Force’s C-27J which has been employed as "flying ambulances" to transport highly infectious patients in biocontainment units using special insulated stretchers ATI (Aircraft Transit Isolator) and breathing apparatus during the flight.
The aircraft used by Leonardo were an ATR 72 and a C-27J, based in Turin-Caselle. Leonardo’s test pilots flew our two planes to various Italian airports: “We were feeling helpless facing this difficult fight against the pandemic – says one of the Leonardo pilots – but flying and bringing help is an amazing feeling: being able to have the whole Leonardo team in on this battle without borders, is a source of pride and the enthusiasm will help us continue helping those in the front line. Loading, taking off, and then unloading at another destination, we are finding people working like us in an atmosphere of silent mutual respect: these are memories we will keep for a long time”.
In the past two weeks in particular, the ATR 72 has flown some 5,230 nautical miles for a total of 27.35 hours between Turin and various Italian destinations (Rome, Sicily, Sardinia, Puglia, Veneto) transporting 74.7 m3 of heavy materials, for a total of 3.1 tons. The C-27J flew 3,000 nautical miles for a total of 13.40 flight hours, transporting 64 m3 of material, weighing 3.5 tons, to the main islands and Puglia, passing through Rome.
The loading and management of the materials in flight are managed by the loadmaster: “I feel part of a united, proactive, safe team, ready to help all together – says one of the Aircraft Division loadmasters – it’s an honour to use my skills to help such a worthy cause and with my Leonardo colleagues by my side. It's hard as we've got to act with extreme urgency, rest the bare minimum, and protect our families. But it is gratifying and right, with seriousness and attentiveness and... we'll make it together!”.
The commitment has been not an easy task for the Division's flight operation organisation given the exceptional nature of the type of flights and the health risks involved: “Given the current circumstances – says the Head of the Flight Line of the Division - the company has implemented all the necessary precautions to be able to work with an adequate level of safety. I am one of the lucky few who can still work and try to have as "normal" a life as possible despite the social and economic constraints to which we are all subjected, however this activity represents for me, and for all of us, a source of pride and further satisfaction and it offers me the opportunity to really contribute to fighting this battle".
For the planning and management of these flights, the contribution of the control room was essential: “Apart from the first days of smart working in which, for obvious reasons, all my habits were turned upside down - says a member of the Division's Fight Control Room - I have reached a good balance in which I feel I can do my job safely both for my health and that of my family, but above all I know I can guarantee all my professionalism and availability in this particularly difficult time. I consider my activity in the Flight Control Room even more important and fundamental now in order to guarantee good coordination among the corporate bodies in order to better support the institutions during this emergency ".
To all those working tireless across the division and the whole of Leonardo to support the battle against the virus, we give our thanks!