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Pier Paolo Racchetti

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Pier Paolo Racchetti
Born(1964-09-28)September 28, 1964
DiedJune 30, 1994(1994-06-30) (aged 29)
Service/branchItalian Air Force
AwardsMedaglia d'oro al merito civile - nastrino per uniforme ordinaria

Pier Paolo Racchetti (Rome, 28 September 1964 - Toulouse, 30 June 1994) was an Italian aviator.


Racchetti was the son of Pier Luigi Racchetti, who also a commercial aircraft pilot and Alitalia's Boeing 747 captain, student of a high school student at the San Leone Magno Institute in Rome, at the age of 17 he obtained a second degree patent.[1][2]

After graduation he became an Italian Air Force Officer and instructor at the Naples Non-commissioned School.

Now a professional pilot was hired in the Alitalia group. In 1987 he flew on ATR 42 aircraft and following the incident of Conca di Crezzo caused by ice formation on the plane of the ATI Aero Trasporti Italiani in which he had lost his life a dear friend and colleague, he began to deepen the problems related to to flight safety for new types of aircraft. For this reason he went to France to perform tests in flight with the ATR 42, artificially coated with ice shapes, in order to improve flight safety. In a short time he became one of the most experienced pilots in the flight safety assessment for the introduction of new, never before experienced, aeronautical technologies.

Coordinator of the technical committee of the pilots' associations, publish technical articles on their magazines and collaborated with the aeronautical magazines Volare and JP4.[2]

Married and waiting for a child, in June 1994 he went, on behalf of the ANPAC pilots' union, to the Airbus Industrie plants in Toulouse to perform a commercial internship on the Airbus A330 aircraft, the model that the airline Alitalia he was considering buying. On June 30, 1994, the last day of the internship, together with his friend and colleague Alberto Nassetti, Pier Paolo was invited on board a test flight that crashed, at about 9.40 seconds after takeoff, killing all seven people on board.[1][3][4]

On June 30, 2001, in Toulouse, on the seventh anniversary of the accident, the president of Airbus, Noël Forgeard, declared the responsibilities of Airbus during the inauguration ceremony of the Memorial dedicated to the victims.[5]

On December 20, 2005, on the occasion of the traditional greetings of good festivities to the high offices, in the Pauline Chapel of the Palazzo del Quirinale the President of the Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, awarded Pier Paolo Racchetti with the gold medal for civil merit, giving it to his father Pier Luigi and his son Pier Francesco, born about a month after his father's death.[2]

Judicial case[edit]

In 2000 the company Airbus Industrie was sent to trial as the moral manager of the accident, while both the President Jean Pierson and the test flight manager Claude Lelaie were charged with the negligence of culpable homicide. Passengers were not allowed on test flights.

In spring 2002 the criminal proceedings ended at the Court of Toulouse with the acquittal of all the accused. The civil parties had previously reached an out-of-court settlement with the company Airbus Industrie.


Medaglia d'oro al merito civile - nastrino per uniforme ordinaria Gold medal for civil merit [it]
"Pilot always engaged, with generous dedication and considerable enthusiasm, in the research, evaluation and introduction of new technologies regarding flight safety, he lost his young life during the test, as an observer, of an Airbus 330. Wonderful example of exceptional courage, altruistic spirit and commendable civic sense."

- Toulouse - 30 June 1994[6]


  • To Pier Paolo Racchetti and his colleague Alberto Nassetti, Alitalia has dedicated two Boeing 777, respectively I-DISE Portofino - Pier Paolo Racchetti and I-DISU Madonna di Campiglio - Alberto Nassetti. Previously, the aircraft named after the two unfortunate pilots-testers were two Boeing 767s, which entered service in 1999 and were discontinued in 2007. They currently fly both for TAM Linhas Aéreas.
  • The National Agency for Civil Aviation named two of the two routes of the Leonardo da Vinci Airport of Fiumicino to the two pilots.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Precipita Airbus in prova".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Pier Paolo".
  3. "L'A330 s'écrase au décollage" (in français).
  4. "L'A330 s'écrase au décollage" (in français).
  5. "30 giugno 2001".
  6. Dettaglio decorato: Racchetti Sig.

External links[edit]

Other articles of the topics Aviation AND Biography : Alberto Nassetti

Other articles of the topic Aviation : Albany Air, Rahul Bhatia, Alim Airlines, 2008 Conviasa Boeing 737 crash, 2009 Joy Flight crash, Alrosa-Avia, Sol América

Other articles of the topic Biography : Carlos Ágreda, List of people granted executive clemency by Joe Biden, Hayley-Marie Coppin, Captan Jack Wyly, Sr., Dan Maes, Massimiliano Caroletti, Alvan Henry Lafargue, Sr.
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