Siai-Marchetti SF-260D Picture

Siai-Marchetti SF-260 Picture

Los Angeles Aerial Photography Siai-Marchetti SF-260 Picture

A beautiful Siai-Marchetti SF-260 photographed by our aerial photography experts on behalf of Flight International Magazine.

This shot of the crazy-painted Siai-Marchetti SF-260 airplane is one of my favorite pictures. I was on assignment for Flight International Magazine to photograph a cover story evaluating the Italian-sexy Marchetti as a candidate for the US Air Force Elementary Flight Screener (EFS) program. Spoiler alert, the little Italian didn’t win.

The goal of EFS was to find a cost and mission effective airplane, or, “civil certified,” off-the-shelf elementary trainer, to replace their fleet of Cessna T-41s (aka Cessna C-172s to you and me.)

I’ve tried to recall what type of aircraft I used as a camera ship but I can’t be certain. I do remember that it was a general aviation airplane and that I was shooting out of an open doorway (door removed) on the left side of the plane. It was likely either a Piper or a Beechcraft. My gut tells me Piper.

We launched out of Santa Monica (SMO) but onshore flow (June Gloom) prevented us from landing there after sunset so we ended up at Van Nuys (VNY). This picture was captured above those low clouds over Highway 33 on the Western edge of Ventura with the hills of Ojai just visible in the background.

I used Fuji Velvia film. Remember film? My camera was a Nikon F4. The glass was probably my trusty Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED Zoom AF Lens. I do like getting close and using wider lenses too. No exif data in the days of film. Oh, and my Nikon F4s are for sale.

I thought this Siai-Marchetti SF-260D was a gorgeous looking airplane. Most of the reaction I got from the pictures and the story was very positive. But my editor thought the plane looked ridiculous. He wasn’t mad at me, he just hated the paint scheme.

What do you think? Comment below. Please be civil.

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