My name is Marc Frattini and I’m a test pilot for Airbus Defence & Space in Manching where I fly the aircraft C160 “Transall” and P3-C “Orion”. I am also a gliding instructor at a local aviation group. I have been flying since I was 16 years old.
I started flying planes at the Messerschmitt Museum of Flight in 2005. My first flights were with the M17 and I later went on to fly the HA200 and Me163. In 2013, I also started flying the Me108.
I feel an enormous sense of pride in the work we do at the Messerschmitt Museum of Flight. I am proud to be a member of this extremely professional team dedicated to not just preserving these unique examples of German engineering but to keeping them airworthy and flying them for members of the public who are just as passionate about these vintage machines.
Keeping these historic aircraft up and running requires a wealth of experience and a great deal of care and attention from everyone involved – pilots and technicians alike.
Looking at the aircraft today fills me with admiration for the designers and what they achieved back in their day. These planes were developed and built at a time before complex computer and simulation programs. Back then, engineers used slide-rules, curves, tracing paper and a good bit of experience and intuition to get the job done.
Despite all our care and attention, I have had to make two emergency landings in the M17 due to engine failure. Luckily, neither incident resulted in any injuries, although the plane did get badly damaged in one of the landings. Original engines from 1918 just aren’t as reliable as their modern counterparts.
For me, the Me163 “Komet” was a particularly challenging but also a particularly rewarding plane to fly. I have enormous respect for the designer Professor Lippisch. He created a machine with amazing flying characteristics. Its unusual shape (flying wing) and the fact that it does not have a landing aid system mean that pilots have to show the utmost concentration and skill during every take-off and landing.
Messerschmitt Museum of Flight