sometimes warbirds come in unusual packages
by Michael O'Leary photography by Michael O'Leary
The neat thing about Warbird aviation is that all sorts of aircraft fit into the Warbird category - everything from L-4 Cubs right on up to four-engine bombers. However, one of the more overlooked Warbirds is the SF-260 series of aircraft. Most of us are familiar with the piston-powered SF-260 but the turbine-powered SF-260TP is much less known in the United States. "It's a mean macho machine," states Mike Patlin of Thousand Oaks, California. "That Allison up front puts the TP into a whole different category." Mike should know since he is the United States representative for selling the slick SIAI-Marchetti design.
"The piston-engine aircraft have become something of a 'cult' aircraft with a very devoted group of owners. Currently there are about 80-90 SF-260s on the US civil register and between 25-30% of these aircraft are former military machines although most owners have opted for civilian-style paint schemes," said Mike. The design has been around for some time and stems from the Aviamilano F.250 prototype, which was a fully aerobatic trainer, that first flew on 15 July 1964. Production of WARBIRDS INTERNATIONAL....58
civil and military variants powered by reciprocating engines was undertaken in 1966 by SIAI-Marchetti SpA (now Aermacchi). The SF-260C/D/M variants are trainers with no provision for carrying armament or external tanks. The SF-260W and SF-260E/F (currently in production) are capable of carrying a wide variety of armaments. SF-260s are/or have been operated by a wide variety of air forces including Belgium, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Libya, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE/Dubai, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe. "We imported five SF-260TPs from the United Arab Emirates," said Mike. "These planes were in original military condition and still retain their original camouflage. All five had been completely taken apart for a 1500-hr IRAN and then put back together. Average time is 2000-hr so these are almost new machines. We have sold two and the other three are available in the $300,000 range." The first SF-260TP flew in July WARBIRDS INTERNATIONAL....60
1980. Over 1000 of all SF-260 variants have been built and both piston and turbine variants are currently in production - al for military customers but Aermacchi is pursuing a program for a standard category license for the TP. "Some SF-260 owners like the idea of upgrading to the TP but there is a bit of intimidation. The TP is a military airplane and its operation is more critical but you wind up with an airplane that you are not going to see when you taxi up to the airport hamburger stand," says Patlin. Currently, Mike Patlin can supply both piston and turbine 260s as well as a wide variety of spare parts. Further information may be obtained by calling 805-499-0307. WARBIRDS INTERNATIONAL....61
The neat thing about Warbird aviation is that all sorts of aircraft fit into the Warbird category-everything from L-4 Cubs right on up to four engine bombers. However, one of the more overlooked Warbirds is the SF-260 series of aircraft. Most of us are familiar with the piston powered SF-260 but the Turbine-Powered SF-260TP is much less known in the Unted States. "Its a mean macho machine," states Mike Patlin of Thousand Oaks, California. "That Allison up front puts the TP into a whole different category." Mike should know since he is the United States representative for selling the slick SIAI-Marchetti design.